Genes, chromosomes – and God

Recently I heard someone being interviewed on the radio make the comment: “I’m a contented agnostic. I don’t think there’s some invisible person in the sky watching me.”

I’ve since been mulling that comment over in my mind. What could I have said to that person?

First, I would say that God is so much more than an “invisible person in the sky.”

A verse from Psalm 73 says it so well: “Yet I was always in your presence. You were holding me by my right hand. You will guide me by your counsel, and so you will lead me to glory.” God is so much more than an invisible spectator of our lives. God wants to be involved in our lives in a way that raises us up to a whole new awareness of life. From a Christian perspective, God wants to share his own life with us.

Yet, if the man is an agnostic, he may not care about, or believe, in what Christians think. So let’s take a step back and just see if belief in God is worthwhile.

Years ago a philosopher posed the question: Suppose you believe in God and there is no God?

What have you lost? Well, we might have missed a few pleasures that a non-believer might have indulged in.

Then the philosopher asked: Suppose you believe in God and there is a God? Then you have gained everything – a sense of purpose and peace in this life, and eternal happiness with God in the next. You win in time and in eternity.

I call that the “gambler’s approach.” You take the best deal.

But suppose this person wants a more scientific proof for God? Then I would recommend Francis Collins’ 2006 best-seller, “The Language of God.” Francis Collins was the leader of the Human Genome Project. It labored for 10 years to map the human genome sequence. As he wrote in his book, “The human genome consists of all the DNA of our species, the hereditary code of life. This newly revealed text was

3 billion letters long, and written in a strange and cryptographic four-letter code. Such is the amazing complexity of the information carried within each cell of the human body.”

What’s most amazing is that Collins began his research as an agnostic, and ended up being a believer. He states that this work was “not only a stunning scientific achievement but also an occasion of worship.”

Collins writes further: “Many will be puzzled by these sentiments, assuming that a rigorous scientist could not also be a serious believer in a transcendental God. This book aims to dispel that notion by arguing that belief in God can be an entirely rational choice, and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complementary with the principles of science.”

So God is not some invisible presence watching us from the sky; God is as close to us as the DNA in our bodies. And God wants to transform us into God’s own image and likeness. We only have to believe and become.

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Father Joseph Breighner

Father Joseph Breighner

Father Joseph Breighner is a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and a columnist for the Catholic Review.