Spirit and Flesh – Preface
“The condition of human nature … is such that it has to be led by things corporeal and sensible to things spiritual and intelligible.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
As always, St. Thomas has not only arrived where we want to go centuries in advance, but he has done so with precision and the poet’s flourish.
Still, every generation must grapple with the world as they find it.
The contemporary search for proof of God’s existence often runs through the sciences, namely physics, though the atheists fancy that biology can do their work for them. Neither is necessary to show that God exists, nor can either possibly show that He doesn’t exist.
Rather, what grew out of that search, for me, were the ready analogies that physics offers for spiritual phenomena. I learned, for example, that the very laws of physics break down as one approaches the first instant of creation, the Big Bang. Seeing the Universe issuing forth from the command of God, I found it remarkable that there was nothing but the spiritual realm, when all of the sudden laws, mathematics, particles, energy, space and time came “screaming” into existence. The abstract realities – laws, mathematics – reached terminal velocity, like a satellite re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, and the resulting fire and fury resulted in forces, space, time, and matter, immediately and inexorably falling into order.
That analogy is not exactly what I mean, but a bridge to it.
That spiritual realm persists – it has to – even while our physical world lives and grows, fights and loves, and decays and dies into the matter that forms new life. And how do we know the spiritual realm exists? The first analogy…
It would be odd for any creature to have a sense which senses falsely. Biologically speaking, this would be extra baggage, more body to protect and feed. There are even instances of fish which had sight, when a group of them came to be effectively trapped in a a cave for many years. In order to save energy, they evolved the loss of their eyes.
In other words, there was first light, and so the eyes developed and were useful. Then there was no light, and the eyes were not useful, and soon they atrophied away.
Now when many billions of people around the planet claim experience or evidence of the spiritual realm, are they like fish with eyes and no light? Why haven’t we evolved the loss of this spiritual sense?
What if, instead, the organ (the soul) survives because there is something that it detects, which proves useful for living in a physical reality?
There is much here; we will explore it.