Back in April 1961, the Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, became the first human being to travel into space. It was the time of the Cold War and the race was definitely on. The competition between the United States and Russia was fierce on multiple levels. And the anticipation of what we would see “out there” once man broke the space barrier was palpable.
While soaring through the heavens, Gagarin supposedly radioed back to his earthly comrades, “I don’t see any God up here.”
Science and sense
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that we humans tend to think that if we can’t see it, hear it, touch it, smell it or measure it, it just isn’t there? And yet, we all experience the unseen all the time. I can’t see the radio waves that surround me, but I listen to the radio. We know, deep down, that there is more to reality than meets the eye.
Don’t get me wrong. I love science. There’s a security in knowing empirical facts. I can rely on things that are physical, on laws that are measurable. Gravity for example: If I step off a cliff I’ll fall straight down to my death, so I avoid stepping off cliffs. Science offers me an extremely helpful grasp of the material world. In that sense, it’s reliable, right? But from that premise often comes an illogical leap that since we’ve explored the universe by spacecraft and telescope and God hasn’t “turned up” then He must not exist.
Life, but not as we know it
Here’s the simple point Yuri Gagarin missed: If God does exist, we’re sure not going to find Him as a material, physical entity floating out there in space or hiding behind some distant nebula. To quote Jesus, “God is a Spirit” (John 4: 24). God isn’t a material part of His creation to be observed by microscope or telescope.
Think about it like this: If we represent the whole created cosmos with a circle containing all time, space and matter, and we ask, “Where is God to be found in the circle?” the obvious answer is, “Nowhere.” Nowhere, that is, as a material being or substance. Even if we could search every square centimetre of the universe with our scientific tools, we wouldn’t find God as an empirical discovery.
“We all experience the unseen all the time. . . . We know, deep down, that there is more to reality than meets the eye.”
The Bible poses the rhetorical question, “Can you by searching find out God?” (Job 11:7). The obviously implied answer is No, not by physically searching, at least. What I’m suggesting is that the answer lies somewhere else—in the signature.
Essence of genius
Consider an everyday example. Everybody remembers Steve Jobs and the incredible Apple team who designed “outside-of-the-box” products like the Macintosh and iPhone. As the cult of Apple grew we all came to know who was behind this brilliance. But we didn’t expect to find Steve Jobs inside the latest iPad. We wouldn’t look for him inside his creations. He existed outside of what he had made. And yet the evidence of his artistic imagination was clearly detectable in his creations, so much so that we were certain when we were examining Apple products—the Steve Jobs signature was all over the stuff! Not literally—he wasn’t that crass. But his style—his uncompromising demand for innovation, minimalism and seamless functionality—could be clearly discerned. Now that he’s gone, there are concerns that, although the genius of his legacy lives on, newer Apple products don’t quite have that paradigm-busting X-factor that they used to. The Steve Jobs signature—that vital essence—is missing.
Back to God. As the One who created the material universe, God must exist in a reality we can’t even begin to imagine or articulate; a reality literally outside the parameters of all we know.
Most of us understand the realities of a four dimensional world: the three physical dimensions plus time. But many physicists are telling us that at least 11 dimensions exist and probably more! Just because we don’t experience them with our senses, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So it’s really quite simplistic to say: We’ve searched the universe and God isn’t there. Of course He’s not. He made it, and therefore He transcends it.
And yet, God is knowable. As the Author and cosmic Artist, His signature is written on everything that’s beautiful and good. God is discernible in the form of design features, both in the world around us and within our own natures. Outside of ourselves, in the observable creation, we find beauty and mathematical precision. And within ourselves, we all have a desire for the kind of love that finds no perfectly satisfying match in this world. The signature of an infinitely beautiful Designer is all through the universe.
Bottom line? The scientist in me will never prove God beyond all shadow of doubt. But the lover longing for love will know.
This article is adapted from the Digma.com video series. Used with permission.