At the beginning of September professor Stephen Hawking published his new book “The Grand Design”. The newspapers commented that the book was the ultimate proof against God. I’ve bought this book just for one reason: I greatly appreciate Stephen Hawking’s achievements in science. I’ve already read over a half of the book and found it extraordinarily interesting (if you like physics), written in very light style and funny – some comparisons made me laugh loudly. I suppose that the professor didn’t intend to give any proof of the existence of God. But when I read about quantum physics, the universe and all these things I get the feeling that there is someone behind those “miracles” of the universe.
But honestly I don’t read books or watch programmes about science to look for any proof of the existence of God. Moreover, I doubt that any science can provide any proof to confirm his existence. I’m interested in science because I like to know and understand the world I live in. I expect scientists (believers and non-believers) to help me in it. I don’t want them to prove that it is a true or a false idea. Similarly I don’t look for any answers about the mechanisms of the universe in the Bible, because this book can’t give me any relevant ones.
In today’s gospel the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. This request seems to be relevant in our days too. It’s hard to be a believer when we see so many people – sometimes our relatives – who abandoned their religious heritage. Sometimes circumstances in our lives raise the question about God’s presence and providence. Natural disasters raise similar questions. These are also questions about our faith.
What actually did the apostles ask for? What does it mean: “Increase our faith”? What is the faith? For centuries religions tried to describe and explain all those things and happenings that were incomprehensible. People tried to make the hostile environment more familiar by ascribing different elements of it to gods and goddesses. That was their way of understanding the universe. We can find many similar stories in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Should we reject the Bible because those stories don’t fit in with our knowledge of the universe? Yes. Or more accurately: we shouldn’t interpret them literally. The Bible is not a book of physics, biology, geology and so on. The Bible is a book of faith. Its role is to inspire us to make good moral and ethical choices; to give us hope that even in the harshest situations in our lives we are not alone; to give as a belief that we can learn something good even from evil things that happen in our life.