The study of Science teaches us that God is a God of order; that the universe is built on unchanging principles that give us solid footing on which to learn, build, predict, quantify, and operate. The circumference of a circle is always a function of pi and diameter. The interior angles of a triangle always sum to 180 degrees. There is beauty in the study of our world; in the science of it.
The arts on the other hand teach us something far different. The arts teach us that this physical universe with its granite laws is not all there is to reality. They teach us that a strict naturalism cuts the heart out of a man. It has been said that music takes words where words alone can never go. Minor chords are mathematical formulations, but they make the hair stand up on our necks, and they preach little sermons of a world that is not as it should be. They whisper pain and hurt, as even a child will ask upon hearing the minor third, “Daddy, why is this song so sad?” As we paint, sing, compose, sculpt, draw, and dance, we awaken parts of ourselves and others that long for another country; one that really exists beyond this rock we call earth. It is perhaps in the arts that we are most like God, bringing things into existence by our will and word. When God gave man the great honor of being made “in his image,” we can be sure that this likeness was more in art than science; in expression of love, relationship, creation, and stewardship, not in bodily form. When Carl Sagan proclaimed “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be,” he could not have been more wrong. Sagan was a pure naturalist. The beauty he saw in the cosmos was a physical beauty. With a clear contradiction to the opening verses of Genesis, Sagan ascribed mystery, beauty, and offered worship to the creature, rather than the Creator. He stood in awe of the result of God’s spoken word rather than in the one who spoke it into being. Sagan continued:
“Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries.”
The “tingling sensation” Sagan felt was in reality proof that the the Cosmos is NOT all that is, or was, or ever will be. His naturalism made him stop his search for the source of the tingle at the outer limits of the cosmos itself. But I do agree with him that there is a tingle, a distant memory, a falling from a great height, and a great mystery. The “tingle” is that same feeling that we get from a slowly strummed A minor chord. It’s the longing for home. The “distant memory” is one of a Garden where God walked with man. The “falling from a height” was our turning from intimacy with God to our corrupting self love. And the greatest mystery? Well, that is the fathomless love of a holy God who sent his only son to make the faint sensation an endless embrace.