God Uses the Small Things

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God Uses the Small Things

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An interesting opinion piece in the WSJ the other day pointed out the outrageously small odds science seems to be concluding are necessary for anything physical to exist.

A quote:

There’s more. The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces—gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces—were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction—by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000—then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp.

Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

Indeed, it seems unbelievable.

It called to mind this passage in the Bible:

"From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused.

Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead" (Romans 1:20-22, New Living Translation).

I think that what so many people forget about when they think about God—the Christian God, who is also the Hebrew God (or as I call Him, “God”)—is that one of His biggest, most enduring, most consistent qualities is that of taking super small, insignificant, non-impressive things and using them to do important stuff. That passage in Romans barely touches on it in explaining how humans have, over millennia and in every conceivable way, invented ways to understand and explain the universe that do not include or give credit to or account for God.

Seriously, it’s one of the most basic and foundational qualities of God. It’s almost like He’s just trolling the entire human race, using the small and insignificant to accomplish great, powerful things. Except where as a troll has cynical and negative motives, God has good and noble intentions: He’s created mankind to fulfill an eternal purpose of glory. This quality is sewn throughout practically every story of God’s intervention in history—from His plan to use humans instead of angels to fulfill his eternal purpose, to his sending the Messiah to be a human and die instead of conquering the world right away like everybody expected Him to.

But instead of seeing the universe, being awed by it, studying it to learn about the principles behind it, and bowing down to God in worship of the glory revealed therein, humans look at it and, successively, have bowed down to the stars themselves, bowed down to handmade (and I’d add artisanal, local, family-owned) idols, bowed down to nothing and no one, then finally bowed down to themselves for being so clever in figuring out the math to learn about these things. Once humans stop remembering God, it’s only a matter of time before things get real raunchy.

Hence Paul goes on to describe that path; where it’s led in the past, and where it leads every single time.

There’s a better way. We can learn from the past. We can learn from our mistakes (both ours personally, as well as those of people who have preceded us). The way of life espoused by God, which is written about in the Bible, works. It’s a lifestyle of abundance in the matters of joy and love (real, actual love, as evidenced by serving, helping, caring for, looking after, being there for, and numerous other ways we show love through our actions), restraint in the matters of morality and character, and satisfaction in the matters of peace of mind and lack of fear.