Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Reality of God

Every now and then, I come across a book that explains things just as I see them.  The latest such book is The Reality of God:  The Layman’s Guide to Scientific Evidence for the Creator by Steven R. Hemler.  Mr. Hemler is the president of The Catholic Apologetics Institute of North America.  The book is published by St. Benedict Press.  I figured that a “layman’s guide” would surely mean that it is written in understandable language.  It did not disappoint.

I especially enjoyed reading Part II, Biological Evidence for God’s Existence.  Let me cite what the author states is what is missing in the atheist’s (e.g., Richard Dawkins’ and Carl Sagan’s) point of view that the whole of creation is naturalistic and that there is no need to invoke the hand of a Creator.  The atheists say that there is nothing beyond what science can determine.  Hemler cleverly uses what he calls a “layered explanation,” meaning that a given observed phenomenon can be explained in a variety of levels of understanding, in a plurality of compatible explanations.   An example is the question “Why are there so many species of life?”  One can answer by saying that it is because of “natural selection acting on random genetic mutations,” which, in keeping strictly with Darwinism and not going any deeper, is what the atheist would say.  In a deeper sense, however, is the theological layer, which states that there are so many species of life because of divine wisdom, creativity, and causation.  Both may be correct and compatible, but they are on two different levels of understanding.

Hemler’s view is the theistic view.  Darwinism (i.e., the theory of evolution) may indeed be true, but the deeper level of understanding, the theist's view that a Creator’s hand set everything in motion because of His wisdom, creativity, and causation, is a fuller and deeper explanation and, to me, one that makes a whole lot more sense and is consistent with the Genesis stories of creation. 

And as far as Genesis is concerned, it is true that the literal interpretation is not consistent with the theory of evolution, a fact that drives the atheist’s denial of God.  Hemler likens the Genesis stories to Jesus’ parables, i.e., they are not meant to be taken literally, but rather to convey some religious truth.  In the case of the parables, they are meant to convey the truth of what heaven is like, not in a literal sense but in a comparative sense (e.g., the prodigal son, the vine and the branches, etc.).  In the case of Genesis, they are meant to convey the truth that God created the heavens and the earth, not literally in terms of how He did it but the fact that He did do it.

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