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Does nature testify to the reality of God?

Anna Krestyn - published on 04/03/13

There are few atheists among those who live close to nature

Do the mountains speak of God? Does the beauty of the sun, sky and ocean give witness to his power and goodness? Does the self-preserving action of the animal kingdom suggest the design of an intelligence far surpassing human comprehension? According to St. Paul, the answer is ‘yes’: “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made” (Romans 1:20). The Psalmist, too, points out that the heavens give witness to God continuously, without any verbal communication, as a universal testimony to the Creator: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course” (Psalm 19:1-6).

In line with these Scripture passages, Catholic teaching has always maintained that “starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe” (CCC 32). Noted theologian Peter Kreeft put it well when he said, “I think no one who lives by the sea, or by a little river, can be an atheist.” Or, as Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” The intricacy, power and beauty of creation awaken a wonder in the human person that compels him to affirm the existence of one great enough to have made everything from nothing.

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