Friday 25 June 2010

Does ingenious man need God?

Father Ignatius approached the pulpit and waited until the congregation had settled down before speaking.

“I was reading the other day about Isambard Kingdom Brunel. As you may know, he was a leading British civil engineer who lived in the 1800s. He was famous for building many bridges, tunnels, dockyards and of course the Great Western Railway … our first major railway. He also built steamships including the first propeller-driven ocean going iron ship.

“When I read about famous people like Brunel I never cease to be amazed about the ingenuity of man.

“And of course … the ingenuity of women too.

“Mrs Davenport, our housekeeper, can create an outstanding meal which would make even Brunel envious … I tell you.”

Mrs Davenport, sitting upfront, smiled coyly.

“The point I am trying to make here,” continued Father Ignatius, “is that mankind is very inventive in every sphere of life … engineering, construction, medicine, the arts such as music and the theatre and almost everything we set our mind to.

“And with our ingenuity comes satisfaction for what we have done, a little bit of well deserved pride perhaps, and encouragement to others to pick up what we have done and take it even further and progress it for the benefit of mankind in general …

“Certainly nothing wrong with that …

“Until the devil steps in …”

Father Ignatius paused for a while.

“And when the devil steps in, man thinks he is too clever by half. After all if we can build bridges, and tunnels and ships and planes, if we can gaze at the stars and planets and learn all sort of things from them, if we can heal all sorts of illnesses and study every aspect of life and genetics to the point of Creation itself. We become self-important to the point where we no longer need God.

“Or at least that’s what we think …

“How often do you read in the papers about famous scientists who proclaim in all certainty that God doesn’t exist? After all, these learned men have made many an important discovery and no doubt the world owes them much. So they are listened to and their pronouncements, on matters they know nothing about, are taken as gospel, if you’ll pardon the pun, and revered by one and all.

“As I said, the devil steps in and fills man’s mind with false self-importance. It reminds you of the serpent who said to Adam and Eve that if they eat the fruit of the forbidden tree they would be like God. And they fell for his trick, as many do right now in their mistaken beliefs and self-importance.”

The priest stopped once again to allow the congregation to think about his warnings.

“I often visit the local hospital,” he continued, “and I got to know a famous doctor there. He is not a Catholic, but he goes to church all the same … he watches a different TV channel shall we say …”

The congregation laughed.

“We got talking the other day about religion,” continued Father Ignatius, “and I asked him how he reconciled his vast scientific and medical knowledge to his Faith as a Christian.

“He replied that his job was no different than a car mechanic’s.

“He had learnt over the years how different parts of the body work and function and how to fix them when they sometimes go wrong. Just like a mechanic follows the manufacturer’s instructions when he fixes or maintains a car, so does this doctor do the same.

“But then he added, ‘however, unlike a car mechanic, I do not have the full blue-print designs and instructions to work from … the manufacturer in my case, God the Creator, has decided to leave some things secret from us so that we never know about life and how it was created … just as well I suppose … or else we’d make a mess of that too!’

“So you see … no matter how clever we may become, no matter how ingenious and resourceful … there will always be matters that the Good Lord, in His wisdom, will keep secret from us.

“Pretentious and conceited we may well be; but not half as clever and almighty as He.”


  1. Victor -

    Your writing is so good!!!! ingenious..

    and still needing the man upstairs!

  2. What a lovely thing to say Brian! I don't deserve it - thanx.

    It's so nice to see you visiting here.

    We all need the Man upstairs I'm sure.

    God bless you Brian.

  3. As I read this I thought about the account of the tower of Babel in Genesis 11 (most likely I thought about this since I just read it).

    There certainly is a large part of our faith that's a mystery.

  4. Thank you Victor for visiting my blog and for the kind words. I've never really had a problem integrating my faith with the tenets of behvioral science. Proverbs 1:7 states, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." I believe the world and mankind can only be understood in light of knowing God.

    Some intellectuals have difficulty with faith in an unseen, unproven God. God knew there would be such people as this and as a result He chose basic, simple, and humble things to show power. That way, no man can take credit for the works of God. Knowledge has been bypassed. God cannot be known through knowledge nor can the things of God be known through knowledge.

    It's one of those awesome things God does that just makes me smile. God bless, I really liked this post. I'll be back. Dr. Bobbi

  5. Hi Tracy, Dr Bobbi and Colleen.

    Thank you for writing in. It's nice to see you visiting here; and it's great to see Dr Bobbi for the first time.

    What you say makes perfect sense Dr Bobbi. God is not a "subject" we study at school/college and gain knowledge about through research and education. He is a living God and we believe in His existance through Faith, and/or through having direct experience of Him - as many can testify.

    God bless you Tracy, Dr Bobbi and Colleen. Thanx again for your comments.

  6. Victor,
    Some of the most intelligent people in the world are also some of the dumbest spiritually. All you have to do is turn on the news or listen to politicians, scientists, professors and the like to see that this is often the case ;)
    I had an opportunity to share the story of my healing with an older couple a few weeks back. The woman was amazed, she said her whole body felt electrified by my story. The man (an intellectual) was unmoved by it. She is attending Mass now (after many years) and he is still agnostic. Temporarily agnostic, I should say because no one stays agnostic forever, do they? :)
    I think some very clever people are in for a very big surprise some day!

  7. Hi Mary,

    How right you are, and what a lovely story. It's so nice that at least the woman is attending Mass now. I am praying for her husband to do the same soon.

    God bless you Mary, and thanx for visiting me again.

  8. When God is taken out of the equation, the knowledge science and medicine gains can go very wrong. Just because we have the knowledge and ability to do something, doesn't necessarily mean we should. We have to remember as Fr Ignatius' doctor friend says: God has the complete set of blueprints.
    We have no right to go and redesign them.
    Thanks for another thought provoking post Victor.
    God Bless!

  9. Hello Karinann,

    Thanx for writing in. You're right; we have no right to redesign God's blueprint ... and I'm sure He's in control and will ensure that we don't.

    God bless you Karinann.

  10. Very clever.

    This post also made me wonder how great this world would be if all our "smartest" folks spent their time thinking of ways to promote the Kingdom.

    (Sort of like how great the US Soccer team could have been if all our best athletes played soccer instead of other sports ... but I digress ...)

    God bless you, my friend.

  11. I love the auto mechanic analogy. I love the way you always tie the most complex ideas to the simple, everyday examples.

    About uploading videos... you're most welcome! I'm glad I could help.

    God bless you.

  12. Hi Michael,

    Thanx for writing in. You're right - if all smart people turned their attention to promoting God and His word ... WOW.

    As for US Soccer ... you should be very proud. The US team played very well and deserve a lot of praise for what they've done. Unlike the England team whose performance throughout the tournament, and yesterday against Germany was ... putting it politely: TERRIBLE.

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for your kind compliments. And thank you too for sorting out the uploading video problem. Hopefully, the song I have up-loaded will be seen widely and help save more lives.

    God bless you Michael and Sarah.



God bless you.