As I ponder how this beautiful world is an expression of God’s love for us, I am surprised by the number of people who do not see God’s hand in the creation of the universe. I marvel at the wonder of nebulae, the beauty of a sunset, the intricacies of a butterfly, the majesty of mountains, and the complexity of cells. I cannot fathom how anyone does not see evidence of intelligent design in this marvelous cosmos. It defies logic and the laws of science (the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time) to believe that matter, life, and order were the byproducts of an accident. Most accidents cause destruction and chaos, not orderly creation. Also, how can something come from nothing? What existed before the big bang? It takes more faith to believe in nothing than to believe in God.
To some extent, Plato was correct to surmise that the pure essence of matter is eternal. But what is that essence? Plato believed it was the idea or model of material things (forms) in a transcendent creator’s mind and eternal preexisting substrata substance that moved in an erratic, disorganized manner that produced only traces of the four fundamental elements—earth, air, water, and fire—which these substrata particles would eventually become. These quasi-particles acted as receptacles that the Divine Craftsman filled with these intelligible forms to create matter and, through this process, brought order to the universe.
Modern science has greatly enlarged our understanding of our physical universe and matter since the days of Plato, but it is interesting to notice some similarities. Energy is simply a less organized state of matter. We are all familiar with Einstein’s formula E = MC² (energy is equal to mass times the speed of light squared). We observe matter converting into energy in the sun, stars, and nuclear reactions. Matter and energy are expressions of the same substance and are eternal. They can convert back and forth between each form of expression, matter converting into energy and energy into matter, but they cannot be created out of nothing. Matter is simply a different expression of the same essence as energy. It is similar to the way H2O can be liquid water, ice, or steam, depending on its level of energy. Light acts like energy when observed, yet performs like matter when we interact with it. We use the term photon to identify this physical aspect of light, yet it behaves like energy.
It is interesting that both matter and energy contain aspects of each other. Matter contains energy. All its subatomic particles, atoms, and molecules move. Energy retains a residual element of its material existence in that it exists in time and space. We can track the movement of energy. The energy produced by and radiating out from the sun and stars is measured in relation to its location in the universe. The movement of electrical energy in our national electric grid is closely monitored. Notice that scientists even refer to dark energy in terms of it being a kind of energy density that exists in relation to time and space. Matter and energy have always existed and are eternal.
It is not just plutonium that can transform into energy as it does in nuclear reactions; all matter consists of energy. A mustard seed contains roughly 1.8 billion watts, perhaps enough to move a mountain. (Matthew 17:20). I am in awe of the incomprehensible amount of energy and power that was involved when the universe exploded into existence at Christ’s command as he converted a portion of his infinite power into organized matter.
The more I ponder God’s love for us in creating our universe, the greater appreciation I have for His love. This is because of my greater understanding that the world and universe were created not only by and through Christ but also of him or of his essence. The power or light of Christ emanates from him to fill the immensity of space. It is in all things, gives life to all living things, and is the law by which all things are governed. It is the power of God that sustains all existence. It is how God is in the midst of all things, in all things, and through all things.
It all involves intelligence. There is a relationship between God’s power and intelligence. The essence of intelligence is love, light, truth, and goodness, which are the essence of God’s persona. This intelligence is the fundamental attribute, quality, and building block of all existence. God’s unity with this essence is the source of His power and glory. Love is the underlying power and intelligence of God. There is a direct relationship between this intelligence and the essence of God that is in all things. Every material thing in the universe is an extension of God’s energy and an expression of His love. Understanding that matter is formed from the energy of God’s love certainly helps me understand why Jesus holds the key to unlock the power of the physical resurrection.
God organized this essence that we refer to as energy into matter to create the physical universe and everything contained therein. Even the word create, used in the Book of Genesis, came from the old Hebrew word which means to organize, not to create ex nihilo (out of nothing). Luther’s German translation follows that same meaning. God created some things with capacity to act and others things to be acted upon, each with its own level of organization or intelligence that is subject to the physical laws that govern its existence. Subatomic particles form the atoms that form molecules, some of which form cells found in living organisms like plants and animals, each with increasing levels of organized intelligence.
These various strata of material creation have increasing levels of organization, or intelligence, imbued by God. Each level has increasing capacity to exercise the intelligence allocated to it from God. Each higher level utilizes the intelligence or laws governing that higher level along with the intelligence associated with the portion of the matter organized at lower levels that is incorporated into its mass. A living being incorporates the intelligence at the cellular, molecular, atomic and subatomic levels in addition to it instincts and mental functions. The DNA in each living things is like its own personal computer program. If you strung all the DNA in your body in a long line, it would extend from one end of the solar system to the other.
The DNA in our body is ours, is unique, and is independent of our spirit. Our DNA contains a level of intelligence that directs our physical existence. Atoms, molecules, and cells in our body come and go, but our DNA, which is the unique form of intelligence that organizes our body, remains the same. This intelligence is the essence of what makes our physical body unique and is part of our being or soul, in conjunction with our spirit. The intelligence in our physical body was added to the intelligence of our premortal spirit, increasing our capacity to use our free will to act and our capacity to develop love.
While contemplating these things, I was humbled to my core to understand that Christ clothed each of our spirits in a physical body that consists of a portion of his power. Our bodies are literally temples of God. Christ has endowed each of us with increased power to act, to make decisions, to marry, and to have children so we can develop this increased capacity to love and become more like him. We are literally his agents, and we will have to stand before Christ and give an account of what we have done with this gift of a portion of his power.
We often envision Jesus as the meek and lowly lamb, suffering on the cross as he bore our sorrows. We think of his loving kindness, standing with outstretched arms welcoming us to him. This is very true, but he is also God, the great I Am, the creator of the universe who cannot condone sin in the least degree because it is offensive to the very essence of his being. When he comes again in his glory, all unclean things will burn with fervent heat. Even the elements will melt from the brightness of his glory. (2 Thessalonians 2:8; see Isaiah 4:4-6). It truly will be a great and a terrible day! As I contemplate God’s majesty, I am sobered to know that I will have to stand before this perfect all-powerful God to be judged whether my actions have been good or evil. I realize that I need to accept Jesus as my almighty Lord and King, and not just as my loving Savior.
Yet I am deeply humbled to have felt his love and to know that this incomprehensible being of glory and power is quick to forgive when we turn to him with sincere intent. He is offended by those who treat lightly his gift of life and his suffering for each one of us and who feel that his grace is so cheap that they can intentionally sin and casually repent, and then purposely sin some more. He commands us to love him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength because he knows that is the only way we can become joint heirs with him to inherit all that the Father has and become united with them so that we can realize a fullness of joy.
As we become unified with God and His love and goodness, we also become unified with His power and glory and, in turn, with the universe. Because God is in and through all creation, as we become more connected with God through love, we also become more connected and in harmony with the universe as well.