In Absence, I concluded with this:
The end of this life comes gently or harshly, but it comes, and the question then will be whether we overcame the silent absence of ourselves from God with understanding and patience; whether we have been successful at seeing God in His creation despite our absence from Him while we are in the body.
I’d like to say what I mean about “seeing God in His creation.” I don’t mean it merely as a happy thought about the good stuff in our surroundings. I mean it as creation itself proving that God is. His creation is a part of the evidence from which we can discern God’s existence despite our absence from Him while we are in the body.
Is creation itself sufficient evidence by itself, like the Bible says in places like Romans 1:20? I think yes. Modern science tells us that things sprang from nothing, and so does the Bible. But that can’t happen without an outside agency. Kierkegaard wrote “the system cannot include the systematizer.”
Kierkegaard was a philosopher, not a scientist or mathematician, but this thought presaged the conclusion of mathematician Kurt Godel, in his Incompleteness Theorem, which is a mathematical conclusion that everything inside a closed system relies upon a source outside that system. Every material thing, therefore, inside natural reality relies upon some immaterial “thing” outside of it.
If you’re a philosopher of causation instead of a mathematician like Godel, you might say that everything we observe is contingently caused; the uncaused-cause lies outside the reality of contingent causes. Aristotle was right about the concept of pure actuality. What “calls into being that which does not exist” (Romans 4:17) is God. When Moses writes that God is the great “I Am” (Exodus 3), He’s making an ontologically sound philosophical statement. God’s existence precedes (and necessarily precedes) the material reality we know.
Theoretical physicist George Stanciu writes of the beginning of his conversion, when he discovered mathematical truth in high school:
“[I]n the tenth grade, I was changed forever by Euclid’s proof that the prime numbers are infinite, an exquisite proof that surprisingly showed in six lines of text an eternal truth. Until that point in my life, I thought truth did not exist; everything about me changed, the seasons, my body, and people. My experience of the human world was that everything was in flux, sometimes bordering on the absurd.”
This eventually led him to God:
“In my first encounter with the truth and beauty of mathematics, my fourteen year-old mind saw dimly that I was being called to the transcendent, in Christian terms to God. . . . When in my thirties and still dim-witted, Socrates pointed out to me that since I could grasp the eternal truths of mathematics, there had to be something in me that was eternal, something deathless.”
Stanciu’s remarks, incidentally, are part of a longer article about the nature of self, Death and Blind Hopes. Highly recommended.
Nature is there to be discovered, not to be created. The truth of objective reality precedes us. Even immaterial hard truths like Euclidean proofs scream the existence of God.