Download Jesus Christ: God's Revelation to the World (excerpt) PDF

TitleJesus Christ: God's Revelation to the World (excerpt)
File Size1.1 MB
Total Pages31
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Jesus Christ
God’s Revelation to the World

Page 15

Searching for God 7

The famous astronomer then answered: “Friend,
you say that this toy could not make itself. But listen
to yourself. This model is but a very weak imitation
of this vast universe, which, I think you said, made
itself.”

At this point, Kepler made his point. Something
does not come out of nothing. Logically, there must
be a Creator behind everything that exists.

Contemplating Creation
(CCC, 31–32)
In the fi rst verse of the Bible, we learn that God is
the Creator of the universe. It stands to reason that
by looking at the natural universe, we can discover
the handiwork of the Creator. The Book of Psalms
describes it this way: “The heavens declare the glo-
ry of God; the sky proclaims its builder’s craft” (Ps
19:2). The Letter to the Romans emphasizes Church
teaching that humans can discover the existence of
God by studying his creation:

Ever since the creation of the world, his in-
visible attributes of eternal power and di-
vinity have been able to be understood and
perceived in what he has made. (Rom 1:20)

Simply put, because we are created in God’s im-
age, we are endowed with intelligence. We should
use our human reason by opening our eyes to look
at the beautiful world in which we live. And then
we should ask, where did all these beautiful things
come from if not from the beautiful one who made
them? St. Augustine made the same point:

Question the beauty of the earth, question
the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of
the air distending and diffusing itself, ques-
tion the beauty of the sky . . . question all
these realities. All respond: “See, we are
beautiful.” Their beauty is a profession.
These beauties are subject to change. Who
made them if not the Beautiful One who is
not subject to change?3

The First Vatican Council (1869–1870) stated
authoritatively that human intelligence can discover
God: “The Church teaches that the one true God,
our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty
from his works, by the natural light of human rea-
son” (CCC, 47). Earlier St. Thomas Aquinas (1223–
1274) set out fi ve proofs for God’s existence. These
are not proofs in the sense that science would defi ne
them. Rather, they are “converging and convincing
arguments” that allow us to be certain that there is
a Creator.

1. Unmoved Mover. The world is in motion (for
example, neutrons, electrons, protons, atoms,
etc.). For the world to move, there must have
been a “First Mover” who started everything.
That “unmoved mover” is God.

2. First Cause. Nothing causes itself. As in Ke-
pler’s example above, a model needs some-
one to make it. Everything that exists resulted
from something or someone that came be-
fore it. Trace it all the way back to the begin-
ning. Logically, there has to be a fi rst cause
or uncaused cause that is eternal and started
the universe off. Today, many who accept the
“big bang” theory of the universe’s origins
conclude that the original matter and spark of
energy must have been created by a divine be-
ing. No other explanation makes sense.

3. Everything Comes from Something (known as
the “cosmological argument”). “Nothing” can-
not create “something.” For anything to exist,
there must be a necessary, eternal being (God)
who always existed and brought other beings
into existence.

4. Supreme Model. We all recognize in the world
degrees of perfection in qualities like good-
ness, truth, justice, beauty, and so forth. For
example, think of the words “good, better,
best” or “most beautiful.” We can only speak
of these different qualities by comparing them
to a supreme model or reference point. This

Page 16

8 Jesus Christ: God’s Revelation to the World

supreme model of goodness, truth, and beauty
is the perfect being we call God.

5. Grand Designer. The world contains beauty,
symmetry, order, and power that must have
been put in it by a grand designer. You can see
this when you look at a leaf under a micro-
scope, marvel at a spider spinning its web, or
look at the beauty of a newborn child. Promi-
nent scientists marvel at the statistical impos-
sibility of human life forming in the universe
out of chance alone. For example, the ratio
of the weight of the proton to the electron is
balanced perfectly; if it were different, there
would be no life here on earth. Someone must
have put the laws into nature that make human
life in a well-ordered universe possible. That
someone is God!

If you were to combine all these arguments into
one, you might simply ask, “How did I come into
existence?” No scientist has yet been able to ex-
plain how living beings evolved from matter. No

mathematical formula can prove that human life
appeared by chance. Take a deeper look at human
history. For example, think only about the techno-
logical explosion of the past century. Does there not
seem to be a superior intelligence leading and guid-
ing us? It is logical to conclude that the mystery of
how and why we are here is because God is at the
heart of the universe.

Contemplating the Human
Person (CCC, 33)
Of course, when we think about God’s creation, we
must also think about the human person. We have
already considered how the human heart longs for
happiness, love, and understanding. Nothing in this
world can satisfy this thirst. Is this yearning and tug
of the heartstrings, which is felt by every human be-
ing, merely accidental? Might not a better explana-
tion be that our Creator made us this way so we can
fi nd him? Additionally, don’t you sense that life has
meaning? You sense this because it is true: our lives

Knowing God as Creator naturally leads us to take care of his creation, the
environment. Consider these facts:

• For every ton of paper that is recycled, the following is saved: 7,000
gallons of water; 380 gallons of oil; and enough electricity to power
an average house for six months.

• You can run a television for six hours on the amount of electricity that
is saved by recycling one aluminum can.

• By recycling just one glass bottle, you save enough electricity to pow-
er a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

• For every ink cartridge that is recycled, 2.5 lbs. of petroleum prod-
ucts are kept out of our rivers and oceans.4

On your own or with classmates, devise a recycling project to help pro-
tect the environment. For example, collect empty ink cartridges and turn
them in at an offi ce supplies store or some other recycling center. Calcu-
late how much you have contributed to preserving some of the resources
of God’s good earth.

Caring for God’s Creation

Page 30

22 Jesus Christ: God’s Revelation to the World
C

h
ap

te
r

1
Q

u
ic

k
V

ie
w

But either fi re, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty
water, or the luminaries of Heaven, the
governors of the world, they considered
gods. Now if out of joy in their beauty
they thought them gods, let them know
how far more excellent is the Lord than
these; for the original source of beauty
fashioned them.

—Wisdom 13:1–3

Finding the Lord in Creation

When we see the beauty of creation and
recognize the goodness present there, it
is impossible not to believe in God and
to experience his saving and reassuring
presence. If we came to see all the good
that exists in the world—and moreover,
experience the good that comes from
God himself—we would never cease to
approach him, praise him, and thank him.
He continually fi lls us with joy and good
things. His joy is our strength.

—Pope Benedict XVI

God is not what you imagine or what you
think you understand. If you understand,
you have failed.

—St. Augustine

God is closer to us than water is to a fi sh.
—St. Catherine of Siena

Research the context of one of these quota-
tions. Write a short report that includes informa-
tion on the source of the quotation and what else
the author wrote on God and how people come
to know him.

Ongoing Assignments
As you cover the material in this chapter,
choose and complete at least three of these
assignments:

1. Psalm 104 praises God for his creation.
Create a PowerPoint presentation to illus-
trate this Psalm. Choose appropriate back-
ground music to accompany the text and
pictures.

2. In your journal, create a list of the Twelve
Apostles (see Matthew 10:1–4, Mark 3:13–
19, or Luke 6:12–16). Then, consult one of
the following Web sites to read a biogra-
phy of one of the Apostles. Write a one-
page report. Download an image from the
Internet for an illustration of the Apostle or
one of his symbols.

• American Catholic.org–Saints: www.
americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/
byname.asp

• Catholic Information Network: www.
cin.org/saints.html

• Catholic Online Saints: www.catholic.
org/saints/stindex.php

• Patron Saints: www.catholic-
forum.com/saints/indexsnt.htm

• Theology Library: www.shc.edu/
theolibrary/saints2.htm

3. Identify four of the happiest people you
know, including at least two adults. Record
interviews (either audio or video) asking
them to defi ne what it means to be happy.
Then ask them for their secrets to a happy
life.

4. At a Church function, interview at least
fi ve people on why they believe God ex-
ists. Prepare a report on your fi ndings.

5. Write a letter from God to you telling you
why you should be happy and how to fi nd
happiness. Make sure your letter includes a
description of your strengths and talents.

6. Check out LifeTeen.com. Read some en-
tries under “Teen Talk.” Report on some
faith statements you read there.

Page 31

Searching for God 23
C

h
ap

te
r 1

Q
u
ick V

ie
w

7. Check out Disciplesnow.com. Under “It’s
Catholic,” fi nd and report on an article
about God or faith.

8. Check out “Interview with Jesus”: www.
interviewwithgod.com. Look at some of
the presentations, for example, “Interview
with God.” Transcribe some favorite Scrip-
ture passages into your journal.

9. Create a dialogue skit in which a believer
answers the arguments of a nonbeliever
about the existence of God.

10. Find the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine
Revelation (Dei Verbum) on the Vatican
Web site: www.vatican.va. Read Chapter 4
of that document (paragraphs 14–16). Write
a one-paragraph summary of the purpose of
the Old Testament.

11. Interview several members of the older
generation of your family. For tips on how
to do oral history, check out Cyndi’s List:
www.cyndislist.com/oral.htm. See if you
can fi nd answers to these questions:

• Where did your family come from?
• When did they settle in this country?
• Are there any famous relatives?
• Are there any family legends? Are they

true or false?
As part of this activity, perform a service in

gratitude for your relative: do some house-
keeping or yard work, run an errand, or
help to bind some family photos.

Prayer
Make it a habit to recite this hymn of praise to
begin each day:

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
cry out to the rock of our Salvation.
Let us greet him with a song of praise,
joyfully sing out our psalms.
For the LORD is the great God,
the great king over all gods,

Whose hand holds depths of the earth;
who owns the tops of the mountains.
The sea and dry land belong to God,
who mad them, formed them by hand.
Enter, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For this is our God,
whose people we are, God’s well-tended
fl ock.

—Psalm 95:1–7
• Refl ection: What for you is God’s greatest

creation for which you want to thank him?
• Resolution: Take time this week to thank

one person who brings you happiness.

Similer Documents