Encountering God in reason and revelation

March 17, 2020 by Rev. Jacques Nel

The ancient Greeks were of the opinion that human reasoning should lead to the logical conclusion that God exists.

This set in motion a whole branch of theology that survived right through the Middle Ages into modern times. It is called natural theology. Medieval scholastics such as Thomas Aquinas made much of natural theology. Natural theology is built on the assumption that by way of human reasoning we can prove the existence of God, and even draw some logical conclusions about His Being. Right now this type of theology is making a comeback, although in its present form, it is much more humble about the certainty of proof.

Mere probability

Somewhat surprisingly, a growing number of scientists are convinced that this universe is so shot through with mind, that its existence cannot possibly be a coincidence. The magnificence and the beauty of the cosmos, on almost every scale, makes it look very much like the work of an artist with infinite skill. Abstract mathematical reasoning can be used with uncanny regularity and precision to describe the processes of nature. How can this just be a coincidence?

Some 14 billion years ago, this universe literally exploded into existence. The weak and strong nuclear forces, gravity, and the electromagnetic force had to be so finely balanced, that the chances of producing this universe, especially with us in it, by coincidence was almost nil. Einstein famously remarked that the universe pretty much "looks like a set up job."

Duel or duet?

Some will try to downplay the significance of this, but there is absolutely no evidence for the argument that we are just lucky to be in the right universe out of a set of almost infinite 'less successful’ universes (the so called multi- verse). The clearest scientific reasoning is pointing towards God. Atheism is intellectually bankrupt, and fails to provide any meaningful answers. The purely imagined, and much discussed duel between the natural sciences and theology is beginning to look more and more like a duet.

It is not that I need to be convinced. I was once the world's biggest skeptic. Then more than thirty years ago, I encountered God in Christ Jesus, in totally unexpected ways. I decided to follow Jesus unconditionally. I can only say this resulted in an ongoing revelation of God’s power and protection in my own life. Amazing grace is much more than a song. It can be as real as the uncanny calming of a storm or a miraculous catch of fish. Somehow, I (and many others) experience that we encounter God in Christ Jesus. It is inexplicable and surprising, like a bolt of lightning from the sky.

Our faith is firmly rooted in both reason and revelation.

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