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Discerning the creator in the creature

Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE should all try to learn this skill. We need to discern the creator—God—in every creature, including the one that happens to be a product also of our own making. And that is because there is actually nothing man-made that is not ultimately a creation of God.

Whatever we invent, discover, produce or make out of our own creativity will always make use of what God as creator has already endowed in nature. And so, even if we are already enjoying the most sophisticated level of our man-made technology, we should never forget that God is its very foundation, its law and author.

In fact, we should be most wary when we make progress in our inventions and discoveries, because we can tend to forget God the more advances we make in this department. We tend to give more credit to ourselves than to God. And from there, we can expropriate for ourselves what actually belongs to God.

This danger is dramatized in the Book of Wisdom where a divine reproach is expressed: “All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan… For from the greatness and the beauty of created things, their original author, by analogy, is seen.” (13)

We should not allow our human affairs, no matter how riveting, absorbing and exciting they may be, to be detached from that basic reference to God, our Creator who continues to govern all of his creation through his providence.

We should feel at home with the reality that all our human affairs, irrespective of how they fare according to our human standards, should be a material of that continuing conversation we ought to have with God. This is a skill we need to learn and to spread as widely as possible.

The very least thing we can tell God in our human affairs is to thank him, or to ask for guidance, or simply to praise him. We can also convert those events as a means of sacrifice or atonement for the sins of men, ours and those of others.

The basis for all this is that God is everywhere, is in everything. There is nothing that exists where God is not present. We, of course, have to clarify that while God is in everything, we cannot say that everything is God. This latter case is an anomaly called pantheism.

Thus, in the Sacred Scripture, we can read: “If I go up the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me.” (Ps 139,8)

And at the same time, we can read: “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.” (1 Kg 19,11)

We have to clarify that God is not in the wind nor in the earthquake when these are considered God themselves. Thus, in the Book of Wisdom, we read: “But either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods. Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these.” (13, 2)

We have to learn this skill of discerning God in all our creatures, in all our affairs and activities, and to spread it as widely possible, especially to the young. Nowadays, many kids are hooked to the internet, practically addicted to it, because they do not know how to discern God in it. Because of that, they are very much vulnerable to the dangerous allurements of this new technology.

We have to confront this problem frontally, taking due consideration to the usual mentalities of the youth today. We need to teach them that they should look for God in the internet, otherwise there’s no way but to be mesmerized, seduced and corrupted by it.

We have to reassure them that with God, they can be masters, not slaves, of the Internet.



About Fr. Roy Cimagala

Fr. Roy Cimagala is the chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (Cite) in Talamban, Cebu City.

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