I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you the clear remembrance of the Creator… One blade of grass or one speck of dust is enough to occupy your entire mind in beholding the art with which it has been made.
Basil the Great (329-79), Hexameron, Homily V, “The Germination of the Earth”
That last line makes me think of quantum physicists obsessed with minute particles. I don’t think that’s what Basil had in mind, but perhaps it’s appropriate. I recently met another science minded skeptic who was visiting the farm. I talked to him about the New Atheists. He said they were too militant for him. Then I had a thought about science and faith that I shared with him. Both sides often have more certainty than they should. Both sides should stand in awe of what little we can say or know and the vastness of the mystery that lays before us. If both science and faith (and those who hold them together) took a position with such humility… maybe we could get somewhere.
Many scientists, Dawkins included, talk about the awe they feel when considering the natural world and all its components. In many ways I think scientists, like Dawkins, put Christians to shame with the way they revere and respect creation. I haven’t had too much time yet at the farm to sit with a speck or blade of grass and allow it to occupy my mind. It has caused my world to narrow significantly (without becoming provincial). I’m learning from the details of life right now. How to pull a carrot out of the ground. How to deal with the insect world. (So far it’s been commercial pesticide in our apartment, but I hope to graduate to better more natural methods.) Lots of weeding and what to call caterpillar poop (It’s frass).
Narrowing our focus can sometimes have the effect of broadening our mind. Not sure quite how that works, but it does. At the farm we are consumed with the stuff of life (and death). It doesn’t get more basic than that. Though we do have air conditioning, creation is beginning to permeate me. I hope to sweat top soil by the time I’m done. In so doing perhaps I will be able to draw closer to the Creator.
This is an ongoing series exploring Teachings on Creation Through the Ages. Quotes are taken from the article of that name in The Green Bible.