The 2.9E49 Ton Gorilla in the Living Room
A Review of Steven R. Hemler’s The Reality of God: The Layman’s Guide to Scientific Evidence for the Creator
Cur aliquid potius extiterit quam nihil.
“Why is there anything at all rather than nothing whatsoever?”
—Gottfried Leibniz, devout Christian and inventor of calculus
The universe and all that it contains weighs approximately 29,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons.
It’s usually 10 pounds less during bathing suit season.
To make this ungainly number easier to handle, it can be abbreviated as 2.9 x 1049 tons.
For all of the harangues ― they can hardly be called anything grander ― one hears from atheists these days about kids dying from leukemia and clerical sex scandals which, to their minds, magically “explain away God,” they’ve yet to address the basic question of, “Why is there something here rather than not?”
Try though they might, the only thing they’ve come up with so far is that the universe somehow inexplicably and magically appeared one moment 13.4 billion years ago.
It’s what passes for “critical thinking” these days.
This of course, flies in the face of all known scientific understanding and basic logic itself. Only nothing can come from nothing. In fact, if the universe and all it contains could magically pop into existence one moment, why would atheists brush away the conjuring tricks of a stage magician? The latter also can produce things seemingly ex nihilo.
But, of course, believing anything could just pop into existence unbidden means that atheists would have to deny science in a vain attempt at defending science and that’s what professional logicians call “nuts.”
But the good news is that, as we politely await our atheist brothers and sisters to come up with some intelligent science and actual logic, we can indulge ourselves in reading Steven R. Hemler’s excellent book, The Reality of God: The Layman’s Guide to Scientific Evidence for the Creator.
Mr. Hemler is the president of the Catholic Apologetics Institute of North America.
You come for the science, but you stay for the orthodox theology.
Like Gaul, Mr. Hemler’s book is divided into three parts: (1) Evidence of God from the Physical Universe, (2) Evidence of God from Biology and (3) Evidence of God from Human Consciousness.
The book is eminently readable and doesn’t require a deep knowledge of science. Mr. Hemler writes with a lightness and clarity that draws the reader into his narrative. His goal is not to reconcile science and faith; the two need not be reconciled at all, as there is but one Truth in the universe. Rather the author demonstrates this magnificent seamless garment of facts and faith with which God has clothed the universe. The great advantage Mr. Hemler offers is that he is knowledgeable about both science and our faith. It’s a pleasure to come across a scholar who can break down complex issues and teach rather than merely expound.
The author methodically explains the mountain of scientific evidence that supports God’s existence. There are no arguments from creationism or “Intelligent Design” in its strictest, clunkier, Evangelical forms; it simply makes a case for Theistic Evolution, also referred to as orthogenesis (i.e., goal-directed evolution). Francis Collins, American physician and geneticist, who had served as Director of the Human Genome Project and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, describes theistic evolution as believing, “Evolution is real, but that it was set in motion by God.” This is by far more reasonable than to insist, without proof, that the universe is merely one big, hot, infinite mess that “coincidently” fell into place in such a way that it has been and remains conducive to supporting human life. I can accept coincidences in life and in nature but atheists have yet to produce an intelligent explanation for this outrageous serendipity.
Without hemming and hawing, Mr. Hemler painstakingly explains why nothing in the universe makes sense without recourse to God and a theistic cosmological, biological and spiritual evolution.
Darwinian evolution is a cruel and brutish process. It alone can't account for everything that makes us human. An atheist who simply brushes away human exceptionalism as being “nothing special” is trying to hoodwink you. And though they are fond of shouting, “Big Bang!” and “Darwinian evolution!” at every twist and turn while blindly rely upon “coincidence” to explain what they can't explain, they can’t sweep the perplexing conundrums of human consciousness and existence under the cosmic rug. Mr. Hemler explains why Theistic Evolution is the only way to reconcile these human biological anomalies (i.e., human exceptionalism) with the theory of evolution.
To round out his book, Mr. Hemler also gives a nod to Pascal’s Wager and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Arguments for God’s Existence. Personally, I’ve never been fond of Pascal’s Wager as a tool to try to convince atheists because it aims for the atheist’s selfishness. And, frankly, I’ve never of that argument ever convincing anyone to believe in God. I don’t think anyone has ever been approached by someone who insisted, “Well…I don’t believe God exists but I think it’s a safe bet to pretend he does.” Thus, it didn’t need to be included in this otherwise excellent text.
Mr. Hemler writes with the mind of a scholar and teaches with the heart of a Christian. I warmly and eagerly recommend his book to those who wish to learn more about God’s wonderous Creation and our special place in it.
The Reality of God: The Layman’s Guide to Scientific Evidence for the Creator comes with an imprimatur from Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Virginia.