It is easy to understand why people see the hand of God in a spectacular sunset. The cloud patterns, the ever changing hues of colors, the sheer magnificence, what else could it be but divine. As breathtaking as it often is, it really is more an indication of our own limitations than it is as proof of the existence of God.
Because we couldn’t do it, it must be God?
We have always attributed some divine cause or power to things beyond our comprehension. My grandfather always told me thunder was the Angels in heaven bowling. It never occured to me to ask if that was the only form of recreation in heaven or why he would never take me bowling so, on the odd chance I made it there, I could participate.
It was something we didn’t fully understand, so it must be God.
Now I am sure my grandfather didn’t really believe that story, but somewhere back along the previous generations of my family there were those who not only believed in the divine nature of thunder, but also believed it would be specifically directed at them for a whole variety of transgressions against the Gods. Depending on the sincerity, adherence to proper proceedings, and quality of their sacrifice, prayers, invocations, and incantations, they and other members of their clan, would be spared, or scorched.
Lightning is the instrument, aimed and targeted, by which God punishes bad behavior.
I often wondered when people step away from someone and say “You’re gonna get hit with lightning for saying that”. Are they moving because they want a better view of the result, or do they doubt God’s aim?
Can a perfect being miss? Would it be called “friendly fire” or “divine misdirection”?
And for that matter, if Angels are divine wouldn’t every game be a perfect one?
“So Gabrielle, what did you bowl last night?”
“300, and you Michael?”
Maybe that’s how they detect evil since evil cannot be perfect.
“Did you hear about Lucifer?”
“No, what happened”
“299, missed a split”
“No!, he’s screwed”
“Yup, exit interview tomorrow and then he’s demoted to secondary status imaginary being”
There is one absolute proof that Angels do not bowl. There’s a song, obviously divinely inspired, that laments “In heaven there is no beer, that’s why we drink it here”
No Beer, no Bowling!
So the next time you admire a spectacular sunset, shimmering light off freshly fallen snow, a field of sunflowers following the sun, don’t look for the hand of God, see the amazing complexities and limitless possibilities of nature.
It is difficult to look at those images from the Hubble Space Telescope of the billions and billions of galaxies, with their billions and billions of stars, and not be tempted to think, “Who else but God could do this?”.
The difficulty lies within us, our limitations, not any intelligent design or divine intervention.
Trying to find proof for God in what is actually our limited ability to understand and appreciate the natural universe is the easy way out.
It has caused untold suffering at the hands of those who hold themselves as more knowing and capable of explaining God and guiding us to this idea.
I think, no I firmly believe, that my ability to wonder at the beauty of nature is proof, not of a divine being, but of our potential for even greater understanding and comprehension. By embracing the idea that trying to define and prove the existence of God hasn’t helped us, but has in fact hindered our quest for truth, we can become more appreciative of our part in the wonder of nature
But just in case, I am going to avoid lightning storms for a while.