Fr. Francis Ongkingco
THE scene opens with a schoolboy running into a dark forlorn building. Outside there is a brewing thunderstorm that sends stray gusts of wind violently shaking the dark weather-worn leafless gnarled trees that miraculously survive in such a desolate and dry school grounds.
A stern-looking, unfeeling and almost lifeless professor presides over the class. He is wearing a dark suit which seems to have absorbed the grim and grey colors of the building’s melancholic surroundings.
He begins with a rather unexpected lesson, “I’ll prove to you that if God exists, then he is evil.”
Silence filled the room. The young pupils are struck by his words.
“Did God create everything that exists? If God created everything, then he created evil, which means God is evil.”
A young boy, however, plucked the courage to interrupt him, “Excuse me, professor, does cold exist?”
“What kind of question is this?” he tries to hide his irritation. “Of course it exists! Have you never been cold?”
“In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat,” the lad corrected him.
Even before the teacher could continue, the boy asked again, “Professor, does darkness exist?”
“Of course it does,” he answered.
“You are wrong, darkness does not exist either. Darkness in reality is the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness,” the student explained.
The teacher becomes pensive upon realizing his error.
“Evil does not exist,” the boy affirms. “It is just like darkness and cold. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart.
Before the scene fades, the name Albert Einstein (1879-1955) appears beside the brilliant and courageous boy.
* * *
Up to now, there are still men who not only doubt the existence of God, but even reject totally the slightest possibility of the existence of a ‘supernatural being.’ They perceive this religious stance, as something contrary to reason simply because it cannot be scientifically proven. And there are others who may not deny Him but who blame God for all of the world’s evils.
If such men of science were consistent with their positions, then neither should they believe in vital the realities of life such as love, justice, loyalty, friendship, etc. since these do not have any ‘scientific bases’ as well. It is a reduction, and also contrary to man’s noble reason and dignity to say that only realities that can be ‘proven’ are to be accepted as essential for man’s existence and nothing more.
Why then do we profess ‘belief in God’? Because God has taken the first step to reveal Himself by creating man and everything else. St. Thomas Aquinas calls the many facets of creation as the ‘proof’ causality: things that now exist must have been brought to existence by something whose essence is existence itself, that is, He was not brought to existence by something else. Otherwise, a rational absurdity would ensue if there were not to be a point of origin of everything that exists.
There is, however, stronger and more comprehensive proof: from God who has revealed Himself personally. “Belief in the one God is professed because he has revealed himself to the people of Israel as the only One when he said, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord (Deut 6:4)’” (Compendium of the Catholic Church, no. 37)
He is not just some neutral cause or force. He is a God who has a name, He is a living God, and above all He is a God mercifully in love with man and wants to graciously save man. All He wants, as He conveyed to Moses and His chosen people, is our fidelity, our loyalty to Him and Him alone. “Thou shalt not have other gods before me.”
What are some implications of faith in one God? The catechism tells us:
a) Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life. (no. 222)
b) It means coming to know God’s greatness and majesty (…) therefore we must serve God first. (no. 223)
c) It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: “What have you that you did not receive?” (no. 224)
d) It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God. (no. 225)
e) It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him. (no. 226)
f) It means trusting God in every circumstance. (no. 227)
* * *
How can this be F.U.N. (Faith Up Now!)? Here are some simple ideas:
a) Playing Hide and Seek. God remains hidden for a reason. And this prompts us to strive in seeking Him in all the realities of our life, big or small, joyful or burdensome.
b) Saying ‘please’. As children we have always learned this magic word. It is also useful in prayer, knowing that God knows what we need even before we ask for something, let us be cordial in our petitions, as children are and He is more likely to grant them.
c) Saying ‘thank you’: for every favor received, and this includes trying moments. There always a reason to thank God for it. It’s more difficult to do so when they’re hard, but through hardships we learn to turn and trust in Him more.
d) Saying ‘sorry’. What father can refuse to forgive his toddler who says, ‘I’m really sorry!’? Well, will not God do likewise when he sees our genuine sorrow and love to start all over again?