Feature Article of Saturday, 16 June 2012
Columnist: The Citizen
By Stanley Asangalisah
My favourite Middle School teacher used to say “He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a clown”… and when I entered secondary school, another teacher loved the rather derogatory adage “Empty barrels make the most noise” As I grew up and mature through the ranks of life, the two statements have increasingly become more and more true.
A couple of weeks ago, a young Ghanaian-American self-styled scientist had a wonderful opportunity to share his ignorance freely with the general public on radio. I’m not too sure I got in from the beginning of the programme, but I clearly heard him declare there was no God. I heard he was a postgraduate science student in America. He confessed he was not quite a good science student in secondary school in Ghana; and tried to blame that on the teaching and learning environment in Ghana. He also confessed he did not know how T. B. Joshua is able to do what he does on TV.
Ghana may not have the best science teaching conditions in the world, and America is certainly streets ahead of Ghana in the teaching, learning and development of science. But once you are naturally not a good scientist, the chances are that you will remain the same, whether in Ghana or in America. There are, in fact, some bad scientists in America and there are some good scientists in Ghana. So what really makes you good or not good at something boils down to the natural free gifts imprinted in your very being—your talent. And I would love to meet the mortal human being of a scientist, living or dead, who created or invented talent! By the way, what was happening in Albert Einstein’s brains that for the first 3 years of living on earth, he never uttered a word?
Now, before delving into the subject matter of God, religion and science, I want to level the play ground by saying a bit about myself. 25 years ago, I was taught Scientific Atheism as a compulsory subject in the Moscow Agricultural Academy, which is one of the world’s leading centres of teaching, learning and scientific experimentation—from Agronomy and Anatomy, through Botany, Mechanization and Soil Science, to Zoology and Zymology. I scored “A” in Scientific Atheism, but I made sure I told my communist professors something to the effect that Communism was a good thing, but the teachings against God meant that it did not have a future. And that has come to pass!
I will dare say a little more, I am a baptized and confirmed Roman Catholic, member of the first and the largest universal church founded by the Lord our Saviour Himself with Saint Peter the Apostle as the first Pope. I was, as a matter of fact, a pretty good pure science student in Navrongo Secondary School, where I acquired a firm grip of most of the basic principles of science as well as those of Pure-and-Applied Mathematics. I am also, by nature’s design, a Prince from a typical African family, and have been well exposed to the African traditional belief system. As a naturally humble person, I am beginning to feel shy about seeming to blow my own horn. So let’s leave it there and plunge into the subject matter of this article.
During the said radio interview, the impression of God created was that of a very old man with a very long white beard that trails behind when slung over the shoulder. If that is the God our-brother-turned-American-scientist is looking to find, I can assure him he will never find Him. Not even with the twin Keck telescopes—so far, the world’s largest optical and infrared telescopes with astronomically high resolution power—mounted on the summit of the Island of Hawaii, from where the Americans are conducting a sustained espionage champagne on the heavens 24/365. But he can rest assured that the day he will be called upon to cross over to the “land” of the multitude, he won’t need any telescopes to find his dead close relations live, and to discover two mysterious “countries” — God’s Kingdom and Satan’s burning ‘empire’.
God is certainly not a very, very old man sitting somewhere and refusing to die. God is spirit (note that I’m not saying God is a spirit). So you cannot encounter Him in the physical, even though He can and does control the physical. The only way to encounter God is to transform from the physical to the spiritual, and for most human beings, that means ceasing to live. But there are a few men and women who have been able to ‘develop’ themselves (or have been gifted) to the point of being able to switch over between the physical and the spiritual while alive. Like me, if that sounds impossible to do, then it simply means that you and I are not some of those people.
But in reality, it is all as simple as the difference between, for example, literacy and illiteracy. If you’re beginning to enjoy or dislike this article, it is because you took the trouble to learn to speak, read and write English to a certain standard. But if I gave the same article to my intelligent-but-unlettered uncle in Fumbisi Baasa, the chances are as good as sunrise that he’ll ‘read’ it all the rest of his life without any results. I hear the Chinese write very interesting stories, but with all my training that allows me to read English, French and Russian, if I got hold of a Chinese novel I won’t do better than simply admire all those boxes, crooked lines and butterflies in their writing. But it will be stark intellectual bankruptcy and an affront to basic scientific logic to conclude that Chinese novels are all about boxes, crooked lines and butterflies, simply because that is how far I can see!!
The other 2 attributes (or, if you prefer a more scientific word, properties) of God, which happen to be closer to our physical environment, are that ‘God is Light’, and ‘God is Love’. And I won’t hesitate to share my limited knowledge on these important attributes of God. In the physical, light is an enormous source of energy, handed over by God to us to harness and use, and we must pat science on the back for doing a good job in harnessing this enormous energy to the benefit of mankind—X-rays in medicine, Microwaves in cooking, radio and television, satellite communication, etc., all tap from the abundantly inexhaustible resourcefulness of the electromagnetic spectrum, which is the totality of visible and invisible light, given to us for free by the Creator to discover and use. X-rays, for example, were discovered purely accidentally by a German scientist.
Now, beyond the physical light spectrum which science is busy discovering, measuring and tapping energy from, I think and I believe there is a spiritual dimension of light. This dimension takes the form of spiritual illumination, awareness and strength—the power to do things outside the ordinary. This is the form of light that humans, consciously or unconsciously, tap on at the individual level on a continuous basis, albeit to varied extents. This is the totality of the light you see in your sub-consciousness, made up of what you have seen before and not seen before, including the deeply rooted fear, uncertainty and awareness that there is something bigger, larger and stronger than you. That Light is the “God-presence” that some people are able to ‘harness’ and do miracles. Sadly, some people cannot even imagine this Light, let alone see it, because they are rather too blind in the soul.
The other attribute of God is that ‘God is Love’. God created man out of love, because He is Love, and gave us the ability to love. The love that God engrained in us at birth goes far beyond the material and lustful interpretations offered by the material world. God’s love in us is what instinctively drives us to want to seek Him. And it also compels us to want to preserve ourselves and the rest of God’s creation as much as possible. For want of a better illustration, let’s, for a moment, create a mental picture of the world completely devoid of love; and we cannot fail to see the picture of the dangerously chaotic commotion that will ensue. If all of a sudden God withdraws all the love on earth, humanity will probably kill itself and all forms of life on earth to complete extinction. Thanks to science, we have madly accumulated enough nuclear energy to destroy all life on Earth 10 times over in 10 minutes!!
Nobody can wish away the contribution of science to the enhancement of life on earth. Over the years, decades and centuries, science has done, and will continue to do great things. Thanks to the power of science, this article I am typing on my computer from my little corner in Accra can be sent to anybody who cares to read it in any part of the world by the click of a button. Science has, indeed, become so much part of us that we often take its achievements for granted. And so when the airline says the maximum permissible load per passenger is 20 kilogrammes, we try to outwit that by carrying nearly the same weight as hand luggage. The sophisticated mobile phones and the powerful cars we drive are all taken for granted. But all of that is so much the same human tendency as the tendency some scientists have to take the air they breathe for granted.
Just as there are good carpenters and bad carpenters, good lawyers and bad lawyers, good economists and bad economists, good boxers and bad boxers, etc., so there are good scientists and bad scientists. Good scientists are keenly aware that science only discovers studies, explains, imitates and harnesses what is already there in nature. Good scientists do not say “Since we cannot find it, it does not exist,” Good scientists are also keenly aware that science is bigger than them, and that there is something bigger than science, as there are many natural phenomena that cannot be explained or stopped by science, including the tsunamis; the origin of the ‘extremely compact and hot body’ before the explosive ‘big bang’ split it to form the universe 13,7 billion years ago; the powerfully evasive abilities of the fragile-but-deadly AIDS virus having a field day around the world; …the list is endless.
Make no mistake, God is the Devine Scientist—the first, the biggest, the oldest and the everlasting scientist. He created all the explainable and the unexplainable Laws. Then He created man in His own image—that is to say He gave us a little bit of His infinite intelligence—so that we are able to discover and use some of the Laws He has created to create man-made things in a more or less miniature semblance of His own creative abilities! To see God’s scientific handiworks, we do not have to worry about planets, stars, galaxies and quasars. All we have to do is think critically about the transportation system; the waste management detail; the energy generation, supply and storage system; the sheer automation; the chemistry; the biological electricity; the powerful memory and computation capacity; the defense army on constant patrol to all parts; etc., all of which work in perfect synchrony to sustain LIFE in the human body. Then the phenomenon of life and living! …My apologies, but I am under the compelling impression that one has to be idiotically scientific not to marvel and wonder why, what and who is responsible for all that!!
In truth, nature is streets ahead of science at any given time. Laureate 20th Century scientists, including Albert Einstein, Alexander Friedmann, Georges Lemaitre, George Gamow, etc. all did their best proving and disproving one another with mathematical equations in nuclear physics, astrophysics, the electrodynamics of moving bodies, etc — all in a vain attempt to explain the origin of the universe and its enormous energy. But never mind, because all those were BBC (Born Before Computer) scientists. I hear the BAC scientists of our day and age have taken over the mantle and are sleeplessly looking for a unified theory to explain the phenomena of gravitational pull, electromagnetism, the weak and strong nuclear forces — all in one go with a single theory called the Theory of Everything (TOE). Well, I wish them luck, but they shouldn’t be alarmed to discover that ‘toe’ is, indeed, in one of their toes!
To conclude, please join me in prayer that the day our dear scientist crosses over, the Creator exercise mercy upon him. But wherever his Maker chooses to send him that day, the moment of unmistakable truth will unfold before him. Suddenly, all the things that science on earth could not explain will become simple to understand, including how T. B. Joshua does his own thing on TV. Our brother will, indeed, from thence become a renowned scientist among renowned scientists, because God Almighty is the beginning and the end of science and beyond!!
Source: The Citizen Newspaper (firstname.lastname@example.org)