• Autumn’s Apologetic! Annual Performance Reminds Us: Of Course There Is a God

    Surge Summary: It’s different from other arguments for God’s existence, but the annual color-show nature puts on every autumn makes a rather stirring case to the heart that He is very real. 

    I’ve passed the majority of my over-half-a-century of life in four season climes, — i.e., places where there are distinct, clearly delineated winters, springs, summers and autumns; real seasons, that is, as opposed to the weak-tea specimens offered by more temperate regions. That said, it happens prettinear every October: I look out unimpressed at the foliage in the early part of the month and secretly conclude “Well, it looks like the color isn’t going to be too impressive this year!” Then, whammo! — I’m gobsmacked mere weeks later when God puts on his annual colorfest anyway, courtesy of my neighborhood’s once-verdant oaks, elms, maples and birches.

    Further to this, my eighty-year-old, world-traveler father has told me more than once that, by his lights, a harvest-season drive up the New York Thruway stacks up favorably against about anything else creation has to offer for majesty and beauty.

    Yes, I’m reminded all over again about this time every year how glorious fall can be. And how awesome is the One who came up with the idea in the first place.

    That conclusion is what occurred to me once more this AM as I was out driving along some roads here in New England …

    Gloomy, spitting rain, yet everywhere I looked, suddenly: a kaleidoscope of nature’s polychromatic bounty. A natural tapestry to rival the most vibrantly heart-stopping da Vinci or Monet you might find in a museum anywhere. And all of it just an accident of the eco-system, right?

    Well, that last scrap of sarcasm was hardly my reaction earlier today. Every autumn, as I survey the magnificence of the countryside splendor flaring up all around me, I can only think the opposite: Wow!  Yay, God!

    I had a similarly transcendental experience several years ago when I was out for a run one serene fall afternoon, late-October probably. The leafage all around was ablaze in season-appropriate hues with a rainbow, to boot, arching across the sky and plunging into the mounds of tree-top plumage.  I don’t know if I literally stopped in my tracks — joggers generally don’t want to do that — but inside I marveled: “Amazing! And to think some people say there is no God.”

    This pomp and pageantry around us, only happenstance? A cosmic roll of the dice? Well, whatever …

    Sorry, I ain’t buying it. The yearly candy-tinted palette says decisively to me: “No way.”

    Look, even the explosive, helter-skelter effusiveness of Jackson Pollack’s works have an intelligence, a conscious creator, behind them. The wind didn’t blow over a half-dozen open paint containers and aesthetically spatter them on a conveniently placed canvas. Obviously, no — there is, point of fact, an actual painter, a personal creative force responsible for Pollack’s pieces. Every one of them, including the most ostensibly chaotic.

    So, what about nature’s canvas? Who’s the artist to be credited for autumn’s every-year magnificence?

    Now, there are objective and subjective cases for the reality of a Creator. Objective reasonings — that is universally applied, logically rational ones for believing in Him — would include the cosmological, teleological and moral arguments. These enjoy an honorable and storied pedigree; and an enduring reputation for persuasiveness.

    Admittedly, “I believe in God because … Autumn!” isn’t classed among them. It’s rather a subjective indicator of His reality, not particularly rigorous intellectually. But it does go to another substantial part of the Judeo-Christian faith: heart. Men are exhorted to “love the Lord your God with all your heart … soul … [and] mind” (Luke 10:27; Deuteronomy 6:5). Biblical faith doesn’t only involve the cerebrum; it’s additionally a relational proposition, implicating the soul, the emotions, the inner man.

    A copse of fall trees, aflame in crimson, gold and orange tones, stands there veritably bellowing to humanity: C’mon, look at me. I dare you to call me a mere undirected, random collision of atoms. 

    I understand this argument doesn’t move everyone. I also recognize there are lots of people who choose not to be moved by this apologetic for the existence of a Maker of All Things. A “Creator”, after all, is a step toward the reality of a divine Law-Giver, which suggests rather forcefully an obligation for men and women — part of His creation — to acknowledge and serve Him. Certainly, multitudes want anything but that; they’re set on being their own “lords”, living according to their own “way” – evidences against that choice to the contrary be dashed.

    I once heard the late, notorious unbeliever Christopher Hitchens admit he was not an atheist, but an anti-theist. That is, he didn’t just reject the notion of God, he actually didn’t want there to be one. Temperamentally, of course, the now-deceased British author was famously iconoclastic and that quality found a very public part of its expression in his dismissal of any acknowledgment of a Heavenly Being. Hitchens’ impiety, you see, wasn’t simply cognitive; it was volitional.

    I suppose he’d gaze upon a splendiferous New England vista and think, My, what a fortuitously lovely cosmic spasm. 

    Many others of us, on the other hand, glimpse the same phenomenal phenomena and breath thanks to a God who cared to share such opulence with us. And Who, then, also, loved us enough to give His Son for our salvation.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge. 

    Images: Foliage: Courtesy of Steve Pauwels/Oct 2019

    Image: Abstract painting Jackson Pollock; adapted from: Art Market Watch.com., Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7846487

    Steve Pauwels

    Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH, Managing Editor over at dailysurge.com and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.

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