No coincidences

Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.

I’ve long been fascinated by the way the world works. As a kid, that sometimes meant breaking things, where I’d been fairly confident that putting them back together would be not so hard… Although I’m pretty sure that the time I threw a clock off our 1st floor back veranda to break it open, I wasn’t planning on getting it working again anytime soon.

I don’t see the tension between God and science because – well, I can so easily imagine him also loving the way things work, and enjoying playing with the atoms etc.  (Um, who do you think made all these rules in the first place?)  When I started university after leaving school, my initial plan was to do nuclear physics: I wanted to play with atoms too. (And other strange and beautiful things).

When I doubt God’s existence – which, I admit, is quite often, I mostly think about the amazing way the world works, and that sense of wonder just makes me think God must be real. The world is far too incredible.

I often look at trees especially during those times. I am just astounded by osmosis, and by the infinite variation along a theme, (you know – every gum leaf is unique, but they are all gum leaves). It then makes me think about chaos theory which, incidentally, also counts as proof that maths is not only fun, creative and beautiful, but God’s own favourite. (Maths being the foundation of physics, which, as we all know, is the foundation of every other science.)

In theology, years ago, I loved learning about God’s continued involvement in creation: that he didn’t just “set and forget”, but he is actively sustaining all things, even as we speak.

The more I think about it, the more amazing it is: the incredible complexity and beauty of so many interacting laws. Atoms spinning, joining together, moving together, all producing the never-repeating burbling of a stream, or a cloud. And somehow it all just hangs together in a way that we find beautiful.

Of course, there is also ugliness in the world.

Reading recently, I’ve been encouraged that God is involved at every level.

From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.

There are no coincidences. He is not only close to, and actively involved in, the rest of creation: he is close to, and actively involved, with us.

I can’t really imagine God making all these things happen at once, except I can kind of imagine him singing to, or with, the universe, and that song somehow making it all happen. I certainly think it’s the image of God in us that leads to love for music. (Music being all about maths and physics of course).

When I feel like there is no hope, I often think about trees, and God, and some of the coincidences in my life that actually can’t be coincidences… and take a deep breath. God is here, I just can’t see him. I don’t always trust him either. I guess to my loss. I have very little idea what on earth he is doing. Sometimes no idea. But while he may feel far away at times, or removed, truth is, he is right now actively involved in pulling the oxygen out of the air and into my bloodstream. Keeping me breathing in and out when I forget to. He must have some good reason for doing it.

I believe he is actively involved in the world I encounter – the chance meetings, random events.
Psalm 77, the one that talks about God’s footprints not being seen, is the same one that says “You are the God who performs miracles”. I confess, I need it all to be true: For him to be real, actively involved, to care about me, able and willing to do miracles.

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.


No coincidences — 6 Comments

  1. Yes, the big picture is mind spinning, isn’t it Steve. I love it too. And when we glimpse it it brings hope and excitement, even in touch times.
    Did you ever come across John Polkinghorne’s book “Science and Religion in Quest of the Truth”…I found it great!

  2. I just wrote a comment but it disappeared into the ether! I very much appreciate your reflections Steve…the glimpses into the hugeness of creation and God’s amazing world is such a source of hope and even joy.
    Did you ever come across John Polkighorne’s book, “Science and Religion and the Quest for Truth”? it’s great. Go well. Anne

  3. Great thoughts, Stephen. I particularly relate to your third paragraph regarding doubting God’s existence and then looking at creation and acknowledging that it as far too incredible to be a mere coincidence. I’ve been having a bit of a plug now and then that we need to acknowledge God’s hand in our day to day lives. Your Mum drew my attention to your blog – I’ll have to bookmark it so I can keep track of it. Great to see you using your writing skills – a wonderful way to clarify thoughts.

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