I believe in God…
It has to start there, doesn’t it? That phrase begins our Creed, it leads the Catechism. Certainly, you can’t be Catholic without first believing in God.
I went through periods in my life where I believed in God, and periods when I didn’t, or at least I convinced myself that I didnt. The discussion for me always revolved around logic, and tangible evidence. I stopped going to Sunday School when I was 5 because they couldn’t explain to me adequately where God came from. But, while I do think it is logical to believe in God, ultimately belief first requires Faith.
For me, it required something intangible: A feeling I can’t describe with words, which is what has made this series so hard to write. How to write about something you cannot describe?
My whole life I have always just known that there was a God, and even when I was agnostic or attempting to fool myself into Atheism, I couldn’t shake that feeling. I couldn’t shake the need to pray. Who was I praying to?
The desire for God is written on our hearts, and that is a beautiful revelation that you don’t even notice permeates everything until you allow yourself to embrace the gift of faith.
Now, I also said belief in God is logical. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect to change anyone’s minds with this. This is my experience with my Faith, which is informed by Catholic belief. I am not a trained logician or philosopher.
The Catechism says that we can know God through our own observations. This has been true for me. I see God in the natural world all around me.I see God in the delicate balance of the ecosystems on earth. I see God in the perfect design of water. I see God in the fact that our Earth is exactly the perfect distance from the sun. I see God in the beauty and mystery of the human person, in the complexity of our DNA and of our anatomy and physiology.
It isn’t reasonable to be that all of this just came to be, out of sheer randomness and coincidence. I believe in science, and evolution, but I believe that it is firstly informed by God. I also believe that science is our limited, flawed method of trying to figure out how God does what he does (and religion is our limited way to explain why). But, we can’t fully explain or understand God, or he wouldn’t be God.
The question that stumped me in Sunday School more than 2o years ago I have recently found was answered by St Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. I wanted to know, if God created everything, who created God? It was unacceptable to me that “he was just always there”. And, this is because the question doesn’t actually make sense. The question misunderstands the nature of God. Namely, it mistakes God for part of his creation. It names God as highest being among other beings. God is not a being, but the very act of being itself, or in the words of St Thomas: “ipsum esse subsistens”. I don’t know if that would have satisfied my 5 year old heart, but it satisfies the heart now.