|Simulated Cassini image of the rings of Saturn|
In his charming BBC documentary that takes the viewers to the wonder secrets of the Solar system Professor Brian Cox describes the amazing rings of Saturn. We readily agree with him that they are among the most beautiful and astonishing features in the planets of the solar system.
As a Theologian I paid attention to a small detail in his talking about the structure and origins of these rings. The core idea was that "it is not easy to accept that the rings are result of spontaneous processes, but they are".
This choice of words is veiled reference to a major stream of thinking among Astronomers and Cosmologists following in the footsteps of Stephen Hawking - there is no need for a Creator, the Universe can be understood on the basis of the Laws of Nature and is a spontaneous development.
Spontaneous stands for "by itself" and assuming that specific Laws of Nature, starting from gravity, are in force one can explain the rings of Saturn without referring to a Creator.
I am not sure that my reading of the passing remark by Professor Cox represents his actual views but my interpretation is consistent with the content of this remarkable tour to the Solar system.
We are not dealing with only semantics when we try to explore the implicated theological contents in the expression spontaneous.
I try to make it clearer by using a simple example and without going further with the discussion. May the reader draw conclusions from the example.
Life is much more complex than the Solar system but also when talking about its wonders one could try to make the same case as with the rings of Saturn. We know this and this about the evolution of insects, about the behavior of bees in their nest, the pollination of plants done by them, the production of honey, its chemical components, nutritional value and other scientific facts.
After all that exhausting exploration of the still largely unknown life form called bees we could then say that honey is a spontaneous product of nature.
Do you see my point?
In the Bible the God of Israel claims that He has created everything and maintains life. Honey is something extraordinary special and while it is a product of Nature in the same way the rings of Saturn are a product of Nature, both tell about the deep thinking and majestic glory of God.
To those whose eyes and hearts have been opened by faith to see the hand of God in His marvelous works of Creation.