October 11, 2011 - Tuesday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

St. Paul’s point in the first reading today is that every person has within them the power to know that God exists. He is referring to knowledge, not faith. That there is a God is a certain fact, for the world does not provide its own explanation. Scientists can learn everything about the universe that can be discovered, but they will never find within the universe the answer to the most basic question possible: Why is there something rather than nothing?

This is the point of the psalm today as well: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge.” The sun and the moon and the stars and the earth all scream to anyone listening: how is it that we exist?

This reasoning is not sufficient to prove any particular religion. The mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation are matters of faith, but logic is sufficient to deny atheism. Atheism is nonsense, and this is not an insult thrown ad hominem. Atheism is nonsense because it does not make sense. The atheist accuses the religious person of inventing God. In reality, the atheist has invented a more fanciful thing: a universe that exists without any explanation.

No philosopher can deny that the existence of God is logically proven, so those who do not choose to accept it have started saying that human thought is so imperfect that any real knowledge of the universe is impossible for the human mind. Unable to deny the proofs, they deny that the human mind is capable of discovering the truth. They claim that any sense we have of knowing the truth is an illusion. According to their thinking, thought only tells us about the thinker and nothing else.

So the accusation of St. Paul applies to them: “claiming to be wise, they became fools.” For, what is more foolish than claiming that wisdom is impossible? If the human mind works (and how could anyone think that the human mind does not work?) then we know that the universe needs an explanation, and that explanation needs no explanation. Only God, not God as we Christians know him, but just the basic idea of God, only God is a sufficient answer to the question the universe proposes to us. How did all this get here? God created it. How did God get here? He did not get here. He is and has always been.