Sunday, July 26, 2015

Why Make a Universe?

(From NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); ESA/Hubble Collaboration; used w/o permission.)
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)
Genesis 1:1-31 says that God created the universe, and us, and found everything "very good."

Psalms 19:2 says that the celestial light show declares the glory of God.

Who is this message being directed at?

Us, apparently.

St. Bonaventure said that God's creation communicates the Almighty's glory, St. Thomas Aquinas said that God creates because the Almighty is good and loving, and I think they're right.1 (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 293)

God created the universe, and humanity, because God loves us and wants to adopt us. It's that simple. (John 3:17; Catechism, 27-30, 52, 1825)


Of course, it's not simple, too.

For one thing, we're starting to realize that we may have neighbors: other creatures like us, with bodies and free will, but not from Earth.

Then again, maybe we don't. Either way — as Porky Pine said — "it's a mighty sobering thought." (November 7, 2014; June 27, 2014)

We've learned a bit since the Psalms were written, about two dozen centuries back, give or take a quarter-millennium.

Living in a universe that's immensely bigger and older than Ussher's tidy little version of a Mesopotamian model upsets some folks.

I figure part of my job is appreciating God's creation: not telling the Almighty how it should be made. (March 29, 2015)

Scientific discoveries are invitations to "...even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator...." (Catechism, 283)

I've talked about faith, reason, science, and getting a grip, before. Often. (June 14, 2015; April 10, 2015; December 19, 2014)

"As a Grain from a Balance"

(From NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); ESA/Hubble Collaboration; used w/o permission.)
"4 Indeed, before you the whole universe is as a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.

"But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook the sins of men that they may repent.

"For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.

"And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?"
(Wisdom 11:22-25)
God isn't merely big and strong. God is "...infinite ... almighty and ineffable ... infinitely greater than all his works...." (Catechism, 202, 300)

What we're learning about the scale of this universe doesn't, I think, make God 'more infinite.' But I think it adds emphasis to verses like these:
"When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place -

"4What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?

"5Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor."
(Psalms 8:4-6)
I also think remembering who and what we are is important. And that's another topic.

More about faith and using my brain:

1 From the Catechism, about God, creation, and love:
"Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: 'The world was made for the glory of God.'134 St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things 'not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it',135 for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: 'Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand.'136 The First Vatican Council explains:
"This one, true God, of his own goodness and 'almighty power', not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel 'and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal. . .'137
"The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us 'to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace',138 for 'the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man's life is the vision of God: if God's revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word's manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God.'139 The ultimate purpose of creation is that God 'who is the creator of all things may at last become "all in all", thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude.'140 "
(Catechism, 293-294)

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