TRINITARIAN GOD: FACT OR MYSTERY?
Rev. John Kha Tran
An atheist professor was teaching a college class and he told the class that he was going to prove that there is no God. He said, “God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you 15 minutes!”
Ten minutes went by. He kept taunting God, saying, “Here I am, God. I'm still waiting.”
He got down to the last couple of minutes. Confidently, he challenged again, “Here I am, God! Come!”
Just then, a Marine just back from combat and visiting the college was walking past the room and heard the professor's taunts. The Marine stepped into the room, walked up to the professor, hit him full force in the face, and sent him flying from the platform.
The professor struggled up, obviously shaken and yelled, “What's the matter with you? Why did you do that?”
The Marine replied, “God was busy; He sent me.”
Evolution or Creation
There are different theories of the existence of the universe. The theory of evolution has been being debated and promoted widely for many years. Science is still asking many questions about the origin of life on earth. For example, New Scientist magazine has written: “There is much about planet earth that remains frustratingly unknown. How did it form from a cloud of dust? How did it manage to nurture life?” Though many scientists claim to understand the big picture, they generally say that the planets circling the sun “all formed from the same cloud of gas and dust that surrounded the sun at its center, dust grains collided and stuck to each other, growing in size and generating ever larger gravitational fields. These clumps collided and merged, building the planets we know today. That's the big picture.” (Stuart Clark, “Unknown Earth: Our Planet's Seven Biggest Mysteries,” Sept. 7, 2008).
But is it really? Who in fact truly possesses the big picture? Where did the dust and the gas come from? Can human understand the truth of the universe without revelation from the divine Creator who is “inhabits eternity”? (Isaiah 57:15). Can scientists, with limited in time, in intelligence, and in knowledge, explain the beginning and the end of the earth and of the universe? Unable to explain clearly the origin of the universe, and unwilling to accept the >existence of God, many scientists believe the formation of our planet is the product of unplanned accidents. Likewise, the >origin of life and all its marvelous complexity, they believe, is nothing more than the result of a series of chance events.
The book of Proverbs in the first reading, however, is telling us differently. It was the wisdom of God that brought forth the earth, the fountains and the springs of water. It was the wisdom of God who established the heavens, the skies and the foundations of the earth. It was the wisdom of God who set forth the limit of the sea. It was the wisdom of God that found delight in the human race.
The Bible tells its own story about the formation of our planet. St. John wrote in the Prologue: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race.” (Jn 1:1-4). >Genesis 1:1 presents an overall picture: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Along with the rest of this chapter, other parts of the Bible provide us with many additional intriguing details. Long ago God asked the patriarch Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4). This remains a humbling question for everyone today. None of us were present to witness the creation. Adam and Eve came along only after the physical creation was finished. Yet our first parents were the crown of God's work because, unlike the animals, they were made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1-2).
God questioned Job even further about the earth's origins: ”Who determined its measurements? ... Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the >morning stars sang together and all the >sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:5-7). A great number of scientists assume that the proportions of the earth were just a fortuitous accident. God says He deliberately measured it. Science can only explain facts and reality. It cannot explain mysteries.
The Trinitarian God
Life is full of mysteries. Science has tried to understand and explain facts and reality but it cannot explain mysteries. The human body is a reality; but human life is a mystery. People are also a mystery. We cannot completely understand people around us. We cannot even completely understand ourselves or the people we are living with. Yet, many people are thinking that they should understand God who is the Creator of all things. God is a Mystery of mysteries. All God’s works are mysteries. The Church professes her faith in the mystery of the Trinitarian God. When we come to worship or to begin to pray, we make the sign of the Cross in the name of the Trinity: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit to remind us about the identity of the God we believe in. God the Father is the Creator of the world. He created you and me. God the Son saves the world. He died for you and me and for everyone. We are limited in time and space. We are not able to know the whole truth about God; therefore God the Holy Spirit will have to guide us to the truth. That is why Jesus is saying, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you to all truth.”
Natural Desire for God
The very first article in the Prologue of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek Him, to know Him, to love Him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life” (CCC # 1)
When we say that God is the Creator of heaven and earth, we mean that He made all things from nothing. All the people who ever lived on earth have felt the need of adoring a higher Being, whom we call God. God has written this law in the hearts of men.
During World War II, a U.S. army transport plane going from India to China was forced to land because of engine trouble. The crew and passengers found themselves in a valley cut off from the rest of the world. In no time they were surrounded by curious and simple villagers.
At one time one or two of the villagers had left the valley to find work, and had learned some Hindustani. An army chaplain, one of the passengers, knew a little Hindustani and was able to talk to the men during the two days they were there, while plane’s faulty motor was being overhauled and repaired.
The priest was interested in the religious beliefs of these people whom nature had almost walled off from the rest of the world. Though the villagers were Indians, they were neither Mohammedans nor did they worship the gods of Hinduism. Their spokesman explained that they worshiped the spirit of God in trees, streams, and in all living things. The priest concluded after long and patient questioning that apart from the Redemption, of which they knew nothing, they were not far from the truth.
“You do believe in God, then, who made all things?”
“We have not heard of your Jesus Christ,” explained the villager, “but we do know that the One you call God has made all things. No man living could make a bird. And who made the first man? Some have said he came from the earth. Then why do men not come from the earth now? Someone must have made the first man. And who, if not God, put the earth, the sea, the sun, the moon, and the stars in place? Whoever did all this is greater than any man on earth, and Him we worship!” (Lawrence G. Lovask, Catechism in Stories # 16).