The Lost Sense of Wonder: What Modern Science is Missing
Long ago, man looked at the world and wondered. He gazed up at the stars and found them beautiful. He watched the change of the seasons and marveled. He heard the chirping of the birds and was held spellbound.
Where had all this splendor come from? Man pondered this question for long days and nights. He had no telescope to observe the stars at closer range, no microscope to explore the basic components of living things; but he did have a brain which was more complex than the most wondrous of modern computers. So, he thought; and he arrived at the conclusion that, somehow, there was a Higher Being in charge of it all. Somehow, there was a Creator responsible for all this creation.
This belief of Man's took a different shape in different times and places, but it is very interesting to consider that it was always there. The Greeks considered this Higher Being to take the form of many gods and goddesses who dwelt in glory on Mount Olympus, Zeus and Hera and hundreds of other characters who still capture the world's imagination today. The Norse believed in the sky-god Oden and a myriad of deities - Loki and Freya and the thunder-god Thor. The Sumerians had the fiercely beautiful Ishtar, and the Egyptians worshipped Amon and Osiris. And in a little stretch of fertile land called Canaan, an odd group of people called the Hebrews claimed to have the true belief - a belief in One All-Powerful God, a God with a Name so sacred it was not to be spoken by the light tongues of men.
Flash forward several thousand years, to the present day. Man has made great strides in science and technology, achievements so remarkable his earliest fathers would not have believes such things possible. Now, man looks at the world and discovers. He peers at the stars through a telescope and finds that they are massive orbs of burning gas, suspended in a limitless universe and visible from distances so great it makes one dizzy to think on them. He studies the change of the seasons and learns that they are caused by the tilting of Earth on its axis as it spins its yearly course around the sun. He scrutinizes the intricate anatomy of every living thing and realizes each is composed of thousands of living cells, each one a little unit of activity in itself - and, furthermore, that every element is formed at its most basic level of tiny atoms, that within these atoms are even tinier particles called protons and neatrons and electrons - that all of this is so miniscule and yet so detailed that it is nearly as mind-boggling as the size of the universe.
Can you imagine what primitive man would have thought if he had known this world was so vast, so intricate, so surprising? What reaction do you think would have been his? Would it not have been a resounding "wow"? Would it not have been a breathless confusion of wonder? We could hardly expect anything else! Man's sense of wonder at the world all around him, already admirably awakened, would have grown a thousandfold if he had learned, in a moment, all these truths which modern man has uncovered over the centuries.
And yet...what does modern man think? He certainly doesn't have the same reaction the ancient man would have had.
Modern, atheistic science draws conclusion that would shock any self-respecting wonderer of the ancient world.
"There is no God."
"This universe is the product of chance."
"Humankind was not designed, but came about due to random evolution."
Where has man's sense of wonder gone? It has disappeared, flown away like the epic mythology of that distant ancient world. Only snatches of it remain, and these are scorned. We think ourselves so very smart, don't we? We know we have learned much since those days of the old philosophers, and so we scorn their wisdom. It is true that we have made great progress in the last several thousand years. But does this mean we can scorn the little wisdom and great thoughts which were the basis for all our learning?
We have lost that supreme, that essential, that glorious sense of wonder! And with it, we have lost our belief in Someone greater.
It is ridiculous, what we men have done. It is as though a peasant had a clock, and always knew it had been crafted by someone - and then, upon breaking the clock's face and seeing the intricate clockwork inside, decided the clock made itself. Or as though a group of children, having lived all their lives in a house and assuming its builder had been a capable workman, suddenly came out of the house and realized it had merely been a dollhouse in a room more magnificent and massive than anything they had ever seen - and concluded that there was no builder at all.
As our knowledge has grown, our wonder has shrunk. It doesn't make much sense to me. Does it make much sense to you?
Maybe the ancients had something there when they said there was a higher power. Maybe we should look into that God of the Hebrews. Because, no matter how informed the modern and atheistic mind is, it cannot be denied that there is something missing - a sense of awe and wonder at the world around us.
It would be a shame if we accepted the new marvels of modern science at the expense of the old. I'm not saying we should go back to believing in Zeus. I'm saying we should move forward to believing in God. We should be able to look at this world with that same sense of wonder as the ancients, to stand there and look up at the stars and simply lose ourselves in meditating that those dots of life - those huge orbs of flame light-years out in space - were created by a God, a God who also made us, who cares about us, who loves us.
It'd be a shame if we lost that sense of wonder - because that sense of wonder is what makes life worthwhile.