Psalms 42. Quemadmodum.
- LIKE as the hart desireth the water-brooks, * so longeth my soul after thee, O God.
- My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God: * when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?
- My tears have been my meat day and night, * while they daily say unto me, Where is now thy God? …
- One deep calleth another, because of the noise of thy water-floods; * all thy waves and storms are gone over me.
- The LORD will grant his loving-kindness in the daytime; * and in the night season will I sing of him, and make my prayer unto the God of my life.
- I will say unto the God of my strength, Why hast thou forgotten me? * why go I thus heavily, while the enemy oppresseth me?
- My bones are smitten asunder as with a sword, * while mine enemies that trouble me cast me in the teeth;
- Namely, while they say daily unto me, * Where is now thy God?
- Why art thou so vexed, O my soul? * and why art thou so disquieted within me?
- O put thy trust in God; * for I will yet thank him, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.
One of the most common tropes of atheists is that they discover in the cosmos no evidence for the existence of God. They ask, “where is your God now?”
The theist insists that the cosmos itself is evidence for God’s existence: the cosmological arguments all infer from the contingence of the cosmos that there must be something that brought it into being. That there is a cosmos, when there might not have been, entails some context or matrix or medium for the cosmos, some way for the cosmos to come to be. Ex hypothesi, God is that matrix. It is not so much that he is in the cosmos, then (although, being ubiquitous, he pervades it, just as the sky pervades the Earth and all that therein is), as that the cosmos is in him. To ask for evidence of God in the cosmos then is rather like asking where the number line is to be found on the number line. It’s a category error.
Because God does pervade all things, there is of course throughout the world plentiful evidence of his existence, in miracles of all sorts, from the Resurrection down to the quotidian synchronicity by which our lives at every moment proceed and – lo! – coordinate, perfectly, and that sometimes startles us with its spooky perspicuity to our conscious intentions. But while the evidence for God may be more apparent to us in some sorts of events than others, we should remember that, strictly speaking, all events are throughly formed by the Holy Spirit, and are therefore in very truth all equally miraculous, however ordinary or unremarkable they might at first seem to us. The fidelity of mundane events to natural law is after all the palmary instance of quotidian synchronicity: events are all knit together in and by an order fathomless and fantastic, and without the tiniest loose end. We almost never notice this fact, because it is so basic. But of the things we all experience, it is the most staggering and incomprehensible miracle of all.
Events are each unique, so every event is miraculous; every event is a novelty that has never before appeared in the actual world, and is therefore in part an ingression from outside the world. And existence per se is miraculous – not in the sense that it passes the bounds of its own normal behavior, but that it is always an object of wonder. So it is that to look here or there for evidence that God exists is wrongheaded. The evidence is everywhere, for existence as such, in general and in every particular, is evidence that God exists.
Thus while it is not improper to adduce as evidence for God such remarkable phenomena as life, consciousness, order, or odd events that seem incomprehensible under the terms of our present scientific understanding – they are all, indeed, evidence for God – it behooves us ever to remember that *every* phenomenon is evidence for God.
But never mind all that; the atheist is in no position to understand that his ability, say, to button his shirt, or chew his food, or aim his eyeballs, or breathe, is the least bit mysterious, because and only because such things seem so ordinary and unremarkable to him. They are in fact thundering great mysteries, but he can’t see this; and provided that he is intellectually honest and courageous, this lacuna is not to his particular discredit, but rather is merely natural to his predicament as an animal that notices only what it must in order to survive.
To the theist’s reasonable argument employing the number line (or other such handy examples), the atheist then often responds by saying, “Oh yeah? Well if God caused the universe, what caused God?” It’s another category error; like asking, “what caused causation?”
The curious thing about this sort of category error is not that it happens, but that when it is pointed out to atheists they so often fail, utterly, to comprehend its errance. I have no explanation for this. It seems sometimes that they may indeed suffer from an innate inability to see the distinction between this contingent world and its necessary environment – a literal blind spot. Metaphysics often seems just invisible to them. All they can see is the physical world and the science thereof.
They ask, “Where is now thy God?” I point, and answer: “He’s right there, he’s everywhere you look, indeed he is in your looking; can’t you see him?” They whirl about, and see … nothing.
They think I am crazy, seeing what is not there. I think they are blind.