“…he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” – Hebrews 1:3
The other day I had the privilege of listening in on a conversation between four incredibly intelligent professors that we have here at Northwestern. Technically this conversation had an agenda or topic at hand and technically there were about fifty other people listening in with me. Nevertheless, these professors were chatting by a fireplace so it still felt personal enough. The formal title for this discussion was “The dynamic action of the ever-present God and laws of nature”. They were basically discussing whether God simply put the laws of nature (i.e. gravity, thermodynamics, motion etc.) in place and let them “govern” the universe or if He is intimately and actively involved in every action that occurs in our world. Now, as I said before, these four people are brilliant and I think it is difficult for brilliant people to consistently speak the vernacular of college students. So phrases such as “range of manifestations” and “collapsible way functions” and the concepts of quantum mechanics were thrown around quite nonchalantly. There were times where my brain simply gave up on trying to comprehend what they were saying. But after all the scientific phraseology and intellectually dense theories, Professor Winslow ended the chat with a warm smile and these words,
“The real question that lies beneath all of this has to do with God’s love. Can he truly loves us from afar? Can he actually love us by setting up all these laws and letting the world dictate our physical actions? Or is he intentionally drawing us near to him, moment by moment, through his intimate and active work in all of creation?”
That sent a deep chill through my body. Science, one of the most systematic, logical, and seemingly emotionless facets of our world, is used by God to show us how warm and irrational and ever-present his love is for us. God’s presence, his working in our lives is constant. He wakes me up (today he was late but I think that makes him laugh so that’s ok). He keeps you on the ground as you walk to work or school or wherever. He makes sure that we don’t hurl out of orbit as we circle the sun at tens of thousands of miles an hour. Every moment he is with us, holding us, and making sure that this universe doesn’t collapse, all so that we can experience His otherworldly love.
And to be honest, sometimes this otherworldly love seems so expansive that it touches the galaxies but not my heart. Thankfully that wasn’t the case today. Sitting there by the fireplace, listening to these brilliant people talk about God’s love in such sweet and simple terms reminded me that He’s close and He’s working through and in his creation. He’s drawing each and every one of us to himself. Year by year. Season by season. Day by day. Moment by moment.
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.”
– Psalm 19