Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Reunion

It has been a busy time for me these past months. Between work and study commitments I have been unable to contribute to our society blog and I am most grateful to Dr. Thursday for keeping us up to date on the wonderful developments regarding Fr. Jaki's books and society.

However, through God's grace, my Lenten season has been spent in the company of Pope Benedict's learned second volume of his Jesus of Nazareth series. A small paragraph towards the end his book reminded me of all the scrupulous scholarship Fr. Jaki laboured over, most especially his landmark work 'Science and Creation'. As we reflected on Genesis at our Easter Vigil Ceremonies this evening, I was reminded once more of the importance of those three words "In the beginning...", God's plan for his creation and the triumph of the Cross in reuniting God and man. Following from this theme of reunion, I propose for the consideration of our Society, two extracts from the works of Pope Benedict and Fr. Jaki, two streams of thought, considering two tributaries of the theme of creation, but yet exploring in unison.

A Happy Easter to all!

Let us say plainly: the unredeemed state of the world consists precisely in the failure to understand the meaning of creation, in the failure to recognise truth; as a result, the rule of pragmatism is imposed, by which the strong arm of the powerful becomes the god of this world.

At this point, modern man is tempted to say: Creation has become intelligible to us through science. Indeed, Francis S. Collins, for example, who led the Human Genome Project, says with joyful astonishment: "The language of God was revealed" (The Language of God, p. 122). Indeed, in the magnificent mathematics of creation, which today we can read in the human genetic code, we recognise the language of God. But unfortunately not the whole language. The functional truth about man has been discovered. But the truth about man himself - who he is, where he comes from, what he should do, what is right, what is wrong - this unfortunately cannot be read in the same way. Hand in hand with growing knowledge of functional truth there seems to be an increasing blindness towards "truth" itself - toward the question of our real identity and purpose....

(Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth Vol II, p. 193)

...The atmosphere is that of glib agnosticism in which only condescending smiles would greet anyone courageous enough to recall, in the name of reason, a most hallowed tenet of Western tradition which John Henry Newman formulated with devastating simplicity: "There is but one thought greater than that of the universe, and that is the thought of its Maker."

The secularisation of Western tradition seems to have run its full logic when the discrediting of belief in the Creator leads to the sublimation of the universe itself into mere nothingness. A part of that tragic intellectual process is the naturalness with which teachers and students of cosmology defend Nothing as actually Something. In witnessing such a facile game with the intellect one is tempted to despair of the purpose of any rational discourse, including the discourse about evolution, cosmic and other. If, however, evolution becomes a necessity a purposeless proposition, the rise of a purposeful being, man, will remain an insoluble puzzle. And so will remain, in that case, the purpose of man's science, a most palpable evidence of his purposeful activity. Today, more than ever in its history, science includes the making of cosmological models that truly encompass the totality of material beings, the universe, in witness of the age-old truth that all science is cosmology. Their cyclic types, unless utterly arbitrary, illustrate that the linear model is indispensable in however subtle a way. And so is faith in Creation, which enables man to commit himself to cosmic linearity, and, as this book tried to show, made possible the only viable birth of science".

(Jaki, S.L. Science and Creation, p. 366)


Dr. Thursday said...

Brilliant selection, JT! Thank you.

A happy Paschaltide to you and all members of our Society!

Angelo said...

Happy Easter to you all and greetings from Prague.