We hear this a lot these days. From Hollywood stars to talk show hosts to perhaps even your Catholic friends. Having a positive attitude and believing that there are forces on your side that will help you succeed and have a happy life certainly seems like a good thing. Isn’t it just positive thinking? Well, let’s take a closer look.
From a strictly logical perspective, the “universe” is composed of inanimate planets, gases and matter which, in and of themselves, cannot love in any real sense. It’s scientifically and psychologically untenable. If you were to present yourself to any psychiatrist worth his salt saying that Saturn and Mercury were sending you messages of love and causing your stocks to go up, you’d most certainly be leaving that office with a prescription. And well you should!
Yet, when we hear people thanking the Universe as they accept their Oscars we barely bat an eye. I think we need to be mindful of this and ask questions of those who say this. What are they really saying? I think concealed beneath this phrase is an intense desire to feel like something bigger than ourselves cares about us. The atheists and new agers have done such a good job at pushing God out of the picture, that now we’re left with this nonsense. As harmless as it seems, this phrase is a gateway to a different worldview and way of thinking and an open door to trouble.
Once we accept this pagan concept, what follows? Believing in crystals and other charms and amulets that have some kind of special powers? Well, we’re there. The same people who would scoff at a Christian wearing a crucifix or would laugh at those who put faith in praying the Rosary, use such things with a belief that in and of themselves they contain mystical powers. The emerging field of “energy medicine” is another manifestation of this pantheistic world view that posits that all matter is imbued with “divine” energy and that by harnessing that energy with various, “hidden up until now” techniques we can somehow tap into the divine and have control over our destinies.
Now because we do have electrochemical energy in our bodies- and we can feel energetic at times- this concept seems to have gained some traction even in the medical field. But there is simply nothing scientific about it. At its root is a philosophy that gives power to inanimate forces, while denying the Triune God. In essence, it is no different than pagan cultures that believe in many gods- those that control the water, the wind, the crops etc.
Either you believe that there is a personal God who loves us or you don’t. Those are really the only two choices. I think the rub comes here…because so many have not experienced the love of a father and can’t trust others, this concept of a god force energy that we can control has gained popularity. The God of the bible seems a scary concept because this God has rules and there are consequences to our moral behaviors. He’s a tough love kind of God when what we’re looking for is a permissive parent who will never chastise us for living however we please.
And this is where the concept of a “loving Universe” falls completely apart. Violating the laws of the Universe, like gravity or even polluting our environment has unforgiving consequences. Unlike Jesus, who teaches us right from wrong but then pays the price to save us from the very sins He’s forbidden us to commit, the Universe is severe with no second chances and no redemption to be had. There’s a saying that God always forgives, people sometimes forgive but nature never forgives.
Think about that the next time someone talks about the “Loving Universe”. For me, the God of the Bible, who revealed Himself in Jesus, a suffering Savior who died for my sins and gives me second, third and fourth chances wins every time.
“…We know that ‘no idol in the world really exists’ and that ‘there is no God but one’.
Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth- as in fact
there are many gods and many lords- yet for us there is one God, the Father,
from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”
(1 Cor 8 4:6)
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