I’m a big fan of the BBC series Wonders of the Universe, hosted by Professor Brian Cox. Brian Cox is an engaging presenter, and has the rare gift of being able to make the complex seem very simple.
The final in the series focused on the properties of light – not just the visible spectrum, but the invisible spectrum which includes ultra-violet light, infra-red light (which we humans emit as heat), and beyond infra-red to radio waves (yes, radio waves are part of the light spectrum), and even microwaves. Light contains all these things, and more.
Light can also give us a sense of distance and time. As light travels through the universe, it’s properties change, and physicists can interpret these changes. As Brian Cox puts it, the beams of light that we see from the universe are actually messengers, telling us all about where they have come from.
I believe in a Creator, and intelligent design. Not just because I’m a priest, but because it just makes sense to me. Shows like Wonders of the Universe only reinforce that in my mind. Obviously, I’m not a biblical literalist – I don’t need to believe that Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale, or that creation happened over the course of six 24-hr days. I understand the Bible primarily as a narrative, holding deeper truth and meaning.
When I read the Creation Story in Genesis, I see a narrative that has a basic sequence. Some call this pattern evolution, but for me it’s creation, performed by a Creator.
Having listened to Professor Brian Cox explain the properties of light, I have a renewed appreciation for this part of the Creation Story in the Book of Genesis:
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Gen 1:3)
In Genesis, God’s primary creative force is the spoken word – the breath that becomes the swirling wind of creation. The secondary component is light, and all that it contains.
Call it the Big Bang, call it intelligent design, call it what you want. The universe had a beginning, and it wasn’t accidental. It all makes perfect sense.
As people of faith, we are called to be light – an extension of those first moments of creation:
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mt 5:14-16)
So, let your star-light shine. And let it shine using the entire spectrum that it contains.