Since becoming a Christian, I’ve heard many testimonies from people telling how they came to believe. Many were in their teens and twenties. How I envied these people. It was sometimes hearing a sermon that fitted perfectly with the state of soul they were in that was the turning point. Sometimes they were in a place of despair with life problems and God in Jesus became real to them and they were rescued. Sometimes it was a verse from the Bible that was the final release.

Listening to these people, I realise I must be a bit offbeat. My struggle was intellectual and went on for most of my life. Did other people not have these struggles and if not why not? For example, I argued that the experiences of God which people had were subjective. No doubt the experiences were real for the people concerned, but they could be explained psychologically. If God were real, He could quite easily perform an objective miracle to prove that He existed, like writing his name permanently in the sky. Why didn’t He do this?


Solar system

The DNA code and cosmic fine-tuning

At the time I didn’t realise that God had already done this and much more besides. The miracle of the written code is much nearer to every one of us than the sky; it is in the DNA code written in nearly all the estimated 37 trillion cells of every human body, including mine and yours. Each cell contains the information – equivalent to a library of books – needed to build a human body. Such incredibly complex and intelligent information doesn’t come without an intelligent source.

Couple that with the latest findings of cosmology and you have what would appear to be proof of an intelligent creator. What  astrophysicists have found is that the universe had a beginning and that if it weren’t for the incredible fine-tuning of the constants of nature, there would be no DNA and therefore no life as we know it. The universe appears to be fine-tuned for intelligent life.

Invisible attributes

In the context of these contemporary discoveries, the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 1:19-20 seem even more remarkable: ‘For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.’ (ESV)

A glimpse of the divine

In my fifties I was beginning to see the divine in nature, but it was more from poetic intuition than from what was being discovered by scientists. Many of the  poems in my fourth collection A’ Gabhail Ris (Accepting) 1994 show me to be lost in the quagmire of postmodernism, but the second last poem in the book called ‘Òran’ / Song is different:

I saw the sun rising / an innocent ball in the sky // and I had a feeling of dread (chorus) // I saw the little birds / how artfully they answer … // I saw how you loved me / although I couldn’t always understand it … // I saw the big people / how they killed their own kind … // I saw I’d never understand it / although I’d live to a hundred … // I saw the amazing steadfastness / of the atoms in the waves … // I saw that the black brine / has no feelings for the drowned … // I saw the amazing speed/distance / light travels in space … // I saw the distress / suffered unexpectedly … // I saw you world of graces / turning like a jewel in space … // I remembered how Scripture said / the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom // and I had a feeling of dread. (translated)

Nature can give us a thousand hints which we cannot ignore. These hints build into an holistic intuition, and then a near certainty that nature itself is speaking to us with a divine voice. Well that’s how I felt anyway.  I was on the way to losing my agnostic materialist baggage.