When my wife was pregnant with our fourth child, the other children were already in school, and it became a family project to calculate the development of the unborn fetus. Looking at pictures of embryos at different stages of development, we would imagine what stage our unborn family member was up to. It was a moving experience to watch the steps of a human baby forming; we saw such wisdom in it all. From the beginning of the nubs that are to become the limbs, to the forming of the spinal cortex: the entire development of a vastly complex organism all so controlled, so orchestrated. The most sophisticated explosion of life, all happening far away from the human eye. To my family and to me personally it was a very moving religious experience.
As it would happen our baby was born on Yom Kippur. You had to see me, a young Rabbi, dressed in my holiday finest, frantically rushing my wife to the hospital. David, as I stood there in the delivery room, I felt a rush of emotion, experiencing this miracle called birth; the most magnificent, stupendous occurrence, the bringing forth of life, happening on our most Holy day. I felt as high as a kite. Thank God, everything went well, the baby came out a healthy, fully formed, beautiful baby girl. I was so appreciative for this gift of life that I wanted to sing out Psalms of thanksgiving
At that moment when my mind was fully enveloped in appreciation to God for what He gave us, I said to the nurse, something like. ‘Wow, what a miracle!’ To which she answered, ‘Yes isn’t it wonderful, how nature has evolved.’
Now, this wasn’t the time for a philosophical debate, so I didn’t comment. But it brought home this point more clearly then ever. Here was a woman, who on a daily basis was involved in one of the most miraculous parts of creation: she participated and helped in the bringing forth of life. Is there anyone who could deny the holiness of such an act? Is there anyone who isn’t awed by the magnificence of a fully formed human baby arising from a tiny seed and egg, once invisible to the naked eye? All of the wisdom of the human body encoded in the subatomic DNA, a micro- computer, housed in each cell, controlling the formation of millions upon millions of cells; some becoming part of the bone structure, some becoming part of the organ systems, and other becoming the gray matter that makes up the human brain. Do we have words to describe the wonder of it all? And not only didn’t she see anything special about it, to her it was just another cog in the evolutionary process.
In Jewish thought one of the recommended methods of coming to see God is to look out at the world. When a person sees the beauty of this universe, the conformity of every part working together as a unit, everything so orderly so reliable: The sun rising every morning exactly at the appointed time; the tides always pulling in the pre-described manner; the forces of nature all so seemingly untamed, tempests out of control; yet always performing within a predictable, set pattern. The ocean never exceeding its bounds, the moon always appearing on time, the antelope always mating in season, and producing offspring to carry on after them. All diverse parts conforming to a master plan, so that the world itself cries out: there is a master to this house.
Yet we see over and over again, that while there is great debate amongst the scientific community, there remains a core of individuals who affirm, that there is no creator, the world evolved by chance, by random luck; it was nothing but a roll of the cosmic dice.
The one point to think about is, that if the greatest supernatural miracles ever shown to man, couldn’t convince an Egyptian society that there is a God, who created the world, it shouldn’t surprise us to find intelligent, well read people in our midst who can look at the miracle of creation and deny God. And the reason has to do with the very nature of the human fabric.
this is something that we experience on a daily basis. I look at a world that is so vast, so diverse, and yet so harmonious in all of its complexity. From the cosmic dimension of 100’s upon 100’s of billions of stars all moving in controlled orbits, down to the subatomic level, all components meshing in such mind numbing symmetry and accord– all screaming out the undeniable fact: There is a creator and master to this world. Yet we find, rational, intelligent people saying things like, ‘it just happened’, ‘by luck, by chance’ ‘all of the wisdom of the universe just is…’