Here’s the conclusion to part 1 of CREATOR and CREATION: How Did God Make It Happen? published on Monday.
There was soon light enough for them to see one another’s faces. The Cabby and the two children had open mouths and shining eyes; they were drinking in the sound, and they looked as if it reminded them of something. Uncle Andrew’s mouth was open too, but not open with joy. He looked more as if his chin had simply dropped away from the rest of his face. His shoulders were stooped and his knees shook. He was not liking the Voice. If he could have got away from it by creeping into a rat’s hole, he would have done so. But the Witch looked as if, in a way, she understood the music better than any of them. Her mouth was shut, her lips were pressed together, and her fists were clenched. Ever since the song began she had felt that this whole world was filled with a magic different from hers, and stronger. She hated it. She would have smashed that whole world, or all worlds, to pieces, if it would only stop the singing. The horse stood with his ears well forward and twitching. Every now and then he snorted and stamped the ground. He no longer looked like a tired old cab horse; you could now well believe that his father had been in battles.
The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had yet produced, the sun arose.
Digory had never seen such a sun. The sun above the ruins of Charn had looked older than ours; this looked younger. You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as its beams shot across the land, the travelers could see for the first time what sort of place they were in. It was a valley through which a broad, swift river wound its way, flowing eastward toward the sun. Southward there were mountains, northward there were lower hills. But it was a valley of mere earth, rock, and water; there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass to be seen. The earth was of many colors; they were fresh, hot, and vivid. They made you feel excited, until you saw the singer himself, and then you forgot everything else.
It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright, it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song and it was about three hundred yards away.
Here is a short piece by Peter Kalkavage, from A Classical Conversation, that points to the relationship between music and math.
Jesuit Priest John Navone describes how beauty calls us to truth in Towards A Theology of Beauty: “The ‘glory’ of God is known wherever the truth and goodness and beauty of God attract, beckon, transform, and delight us. God’s beauty irradiates God’s truth and goodness, and draws all creation to itself.”
The best book I read in the first decade of the 21st century is Thomas Dubay’s, The Evidential Power of Beauty. Dubay was a Marist Priest and lover of the arts. In his remarkable book, he quotes physicists, astronomers, and mathematicians who recognize that beauty points to truth. Dubay narrates a fascinating scientific phenomenon about the correlation between truth and beauty. When these scientist, in their research, begin to see beauty, whether through the microscope or telescope or on the computer screen, they know they are closing in on objective truth.
For example, Dubay quotes Richard Feynman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist known for his work in quantum electrodynamics: “You can recognize truth by its beauty and simplicity.” Similarly, consider this from The New Story of Science by Robert Augros and George Stanciu: “All of the most eminent physicists of the twentieth century agree that beauty is the primary standard for scientific truth.”
Not all the scientists Dubay quotes are theist, but they all recognize truth when they see it. Truth, Beauty, and Goodness cannot be separated. For more on this see the website God and Science .
Our dear friend Dr Elizabeth Youmans puts it this way in her paper The Fine Arts and Literature:
In nations where the Bible has highly influenced language, law and culture, the fine arts reflect beauty, truth and moral goodness. When the Bible has not been an influence or has been removed as the seedbed of language and culture, the fine arts reflect the corruption and debasement of beauty, truth and moral goodness.
We get further help in understanding how God spoke creation into existence from mathematician, philosopher, and theologian William A Dembski. A Christian trained in multiple disciplines, Dembski brings a unique perspective to the study of creation. Many scientists are either dualist Christian or atheist, and thus “siloed” in their thinking. But Dembski, freed from both dualism and naturalism, can discuss math as the language of creation from an integrated mind.
The first thing that strikes us is the mode of creation. God speaks and things happen. There is something singularly appropriate about this mode of creation. Any act of creation is the concretization of an intention by an intelligent agent. Now in our experience, the concretization of an intention can occur in any number of ways. Sculptors concretize their intentions by chipping away at stone; musicians by writing notes on lined sheets of paper; engineers by drawing up blueprints; etc. But in the final analysis, all concretizations of intentions can be subsumed under language. For instance, a precise enough set of instructions in a natural language will tell the sculptor how to form the statue, the musician how to record the notes, and the engineer how to draw up the blueprints. In this way language becomes the universal medium for concretizing intentions.
In treating language as the universal medium for concretizing intentions, we must be careful not to construe language in a narrowly linguistic sense (for example, as symbol strings manipulated by rules of grammar). The language that proceeds from God’s mouth in the act of creation is not some linguistic convention. Rather, as John’s Gospel informs us, it is the divine Logos, the Word that in Christ was made flesh, and through whom all things were created. This divine Logos subsists in himself and is under no compulsion to create. For the divine Logos to be active in creation, God must speak the divine Logos. This act of speaking always imposes a self-limitation on the divine Logos. There is a clear analogy here with human language. Just as every English utterance rules out those statements in the English language that were not uttered, so every divine spoken word rules out those possibilities in the divine Logos that were not spoken. Moreover, just as no human speaker of English ever exhausts the English language, so God in creating through the divine spoken word never exhausts the divine Logos.
More of this may be found in Dembski’s 1989 paper, The Act of Creation and in his 2009 book, The End of Christianity.
Let there be no mistake, the atheistic materialism of moderns has no absolute foundation for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. For them, all is relative. The same is true of the post-modern view of the worship of creation. Neither alternative paradigm has any foundation for absolute Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Their gods are small.
The universe came into existence through the conception, will, and speaking of the infinite-personal Creator.
As Christians, let’s not cower at the alternatives. These are weak illusions which do not comport with reality. Let us push back at these lies with lives of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
- Darrow Miller