Begin With God

Loehr-Daniels Study Course of Basic Teachings

            By Franklin Loehr

            “I don’t believe what you’re talking about!” 

            My audience went dead still at this sudden interruption. Then all heads turned toward the speaker, an attractive young woman of 30 to 32, I gauged, standing in a pew about two-thirds the way back in the church.

              “I don’t believe these things you’re talking about. About us being God’s children and God loving us. And Having a God-nature of our own. And prayer. And life after death.

              “And I don’t believe there is a God!” She was visibly shaken by her own audacity, but driven by an inner desperation. She stood there a moment longer, all the time on the edge of tears, then sat down.

            Now the heads turned back to me, the guest speaker brought in for a special lecture on prayer. What would I do with this? Had she insulted me? Would I be angry with her, or – even worse – condescending? What would I do with the rest of the lecture? I was only about eighteen minutes into it, with most of the evening yet ahead.

              Before I could reply the man beside her stood quietly and said, “You must excuse my wife. We lost our little girl three weeks ago. She was run over, in the street, in front of our home.” He sat down.

            Mentally I reached inward and upward for directions on how best to handle this. The reply came, quietly: “You must give her reason to believe again that there is a God.” As people who live close to spirit know, this kind of guidance can come veritably within “the wink of an eye,” much more quickly than it takes to tell. The spiritual computer, too, can be unbelievably immediate.

              My inner guide did not need to add that this assurance of God’s existence must be more than simply the “have faith” of the bible-quoting approach. I could not fall back on religious authority and dogma to help this woman. This is what had failed her. Her traditional religious faith had collapsed under the burden of her loss. She wanted, she needed, a reason strong enough to support her through the emotional devastation of her suffering and grief, a reason that would stand up in this science-oriented age as a fact.

  Begin With God

            “Let us change our plan for tonight,” I said quietly in that hushed church. “There is a prior question to prayer. That first question is precisely the one this woman has asked: Is there a God? And many of us here, not only she, have asked that question at one time or another in our lives.”

              I was ready. My training and experience as a scientist, and then my training and experience as a minister, had come together in my years of Religious Research. I could “give a reason for the faith within me” as the bible enjoins us – and now in modern terms, not available before the development of science. Science is not the death-knell of religion. Just the opposite! Science enables us to put our spiritual faith upon the foundation of factual knowledge, a foundation stronger than ever before. We are now “Adding Facts to Faith.”

              The God of religion is the God of science, too. Let me share with you, as I did so unexpectedly with that audience years ago, the case science builds for God. This is the beginning point for these Religious Research lessons in the modern knowledge of God, ourselves, and the world in which we live.

In the Beginning, God

            I will say one thing, the same thing, in three languages. The first time is in its own original language (phonetically spelled here). The second, you will recognize. The third may surprise you:

  (1)    “B’ray-sheeth ba-rah Eloheem ayth ha-shay-maym wa-ayth ha-aretz.” That is in the Hebrew language.

(2)    “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” That is the same verse in English. You recognize it as the opening verse, the very first words, of both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Bible.

(3)    “This is a cause-and-effect universe.” That is the same thing in the language of science. Nothing just happens by chance. Everything that is, has been brought into being somehow. There is a cause, an adequate cause, back of every effect.

  Science, evaluating its own findings in all the fields it has researched, comes to one basic conclusion: This world and all within it was brought into being and unto its present condition not by chance, not by whimsy, not by chaos, but by cause. The cause that produces anything must be adequate to bring about that cause. The cause to produce an earth, a solar system, a universe, must be big enough, powerful enough, of a nature capable enough to do it.

              The existence of a creation requires – and thus indicates, reveals, evidences, shows the existence of – a Creator. Thus science leads us squarely to God. The scientific study of the world we live in leads us inescapably to the fact there must be someone or something that brought it into being. Back of every thing there must be a cause that produced that thing. Back of it all there must be a creative force and intelligence that produced it all. “This is a cause-and-effect universe.” “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” 

            There are some who raise an interesting question here. I remember lecturing for a group at Cal Tech and one professor asked, “But how do you know the Creator was God?” He had missed the point. The scripture writers of all religions, not just the Judeo-Christian, were saying that whoever or whatever did create this universe, that is God. They were not claiming this function for God out of a number of claimants! They were sensibly tracing things back as far as they could go – to the very beginning of all things – and saying that that universe-producing cause there at the very beginning, Whoever or Whatever, let’s give it the name “God.” God is simply the name they used for the Creator. Creator is the first name for God in all of man’s religions.

              This Creator-aspect of God is further emphasized in the Judeo-Christian religion by the particular name “Jehovah.” Actually, the pronunciation of that particular name, following the ancient Hebrew, would be “Yahweh.” This name for God is the basic Hebrew word “yah,” meaning being, doubled for emphasis. The God name Yah-Yah, or Yahweh, or Jehovah, is an emphatic “Being-Being” – that which exists, even that which causes to exist, the very source of beingness or existence. Or as we would say, Creator.

              Already this business of God is getting simpler, isn’t it? The existence of God is more reasonable when we understand what is first meant by that word. The Creator – That, or He, or She, or It, Whoever or Whatever brought this universe into being – is what is meant by “God.” That word “God” is simply the word, the title, the appellation, the language designation, used to refer to the Creator – just as other things are named apples, rivers, trees, airplanes, pigs or peanuts. Use some other word than God if you wish – “First Cause,” “Ground of Existence,” “Great Spirit,” “the Big Boss,” or whatever. Names are only convenient, recognized ways of referring to the reality behind the name.

              Now let us turn to science and its approach to God. Here we recognize immediately – and regretfully – that many professional “scientists” stop far short of recognizing God, any god or Creator. All their research, all their study, all their evidence, shouts out unanimously to them that this universe they spend their lives studying must come from a Universe-Maker. But they sidestep admitting this, saying it lies outside their field and in the field of religion!

              This is a copout. This is avoiding the issue. This is a self-imposed stopping point (or ego-point) beyond which they soon must go. True, (1) Religion is and always has been that field of human thought and investigation which deals with God, the Creator -–using such tools and concepts of inquiry and understanding as were available in each culture and stage of civilization. True, (2) Religion as now expressed expresses largely through old doctrines and dogmas, and subjective experiences of worship, enlightenment, etc., whereas Science is that method (very new in human experience) which deals with the objective facts, the real truth, the universe-maker’s truth of the universe. True also, (3) Science, with its emphasis in these, its early years, upon material physical research – of which there is still so very much to do – has not yet evolved the tools and procedures for scientific research of the non-material (spiritual) realm. Religious Research is still the lone pioneer organization in this field. And true, (4) Religion is still needlessly, bewilderedly, shamefully ignorant of the methods and approach of science, which is man’s best tool yet for discovering objective truth, real truth, the truth of a thing within itself – in short, the Creator’s truth rather than man’s opinions and speculations. But these are simply initial obstacles to be overcome, and actually of not much difficulty or consequence. 

            During the seven years 1964-71, I made my residence at our then Religious Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey. Here I attended most of the fascinating Physics Seminars held at Princeton University, prominent the world over for its eminence in the field of Physics (the Einstein and Oppenheimer heritage). With my background in physics and chemistry I had talked my way in and was welcomed at these Seminars. (They had precious few ministers, or even other professors, who understood the fascinating things they were doing.) I heard the outstanding physics professors of Princeton – Dr. Robert H. Dicke, Dr. John Wheeler – and the brilliant graduate students they attracted to the school. And I heard visiting professor-researchers, among them several world-renowned Nobel Laureate physicists.

              One of these Nobelists, I believe from Sweden, came close to this science-religion meeting point of creation-Creator, developing briefly in his talk the necessity for science to recognize that there does exist a Universe-Maker (a Creator) simply because there is a universe, a creation. He said, "This world around us and the universe of the skies did not just happen." But there he stopped, saying, “But that is the field of religion, and beyond my competence.”

              Well, it will be “beyond the competence” of scientists and religionists alike until there are scientists – skilled and persistent users of the scientific tools and methods – in the field of religion, which is the field of knowledge of the spiritual (non-physical) components of Man and the Universe.

              And what fascinating, ultra-important, eye-opening, truth-expanding, life-enriching discoveries will then be made, adding immeasurably and in most important areas to our knowing the world/universe in which we live and our resultant knowledge of ourselves, when this best method man has ever had for getting truth – scientific research – is used in the most important of all man’s fields of knowledge, the field of our spiritual (non-material) nature and the spiritual (non-material) components of life, humanity, and the universe! This is not impossible. This is no impassable gulf between science and religion, any more than there is between flying and oceans. They are two different categories. Science is a method of getting information. Religion is a field of knowledge. Scientific (objective, factual) knowledge of the spiritual (non-material, non-physical) components of man and the universe can be gotten by mankind. In a small way, in the now-famous prayer-plant research we of Religious Research conducted, we showed it can be done. We did it.

              During my college and seminary years the physicists and cosmologists were divided, generally, by two theories of what the universe was like “in the beginning” – by which they meant its state of being just after it had been produced. One group believed that at that beginning point all matter had been gathered into one incredibly dense ball. This then exploded in a cosmic “Big Bang” which sent matter (still in a plasma stage) flying out in all directions in space – perhaps creating space as it did so. Then out of this diffused superhot gas, gradually and by different means – the super shockwaves from Novas, exploding stars, being a recent suggestion as I write this (1980) – the matter accumulated or agglomerated into the pattern we now have of solar systems, galaxies, nebulae, and other celestial bodies and substances.

              The other theory then (my college and Seminary years were 1929-1936) was of a “Solid State Universe,” and many fine astrophysicists and others thought this probably so. This theory held that “in the beginning” – meaning its state of being just after it had been produced – matter was distributed evenly through space, at the rate of about one electron per cubic meter (roughly a cubic yard) or space. Then by various means, perhaps by the bending of gravitational lines wherever a piece of matter rested upon a gravitational line of force, the matter collected into dust, suns, the stars, and other objects we now find in our skies. 

            The argument between these two schools of scientists was most stimulating and a lot of fun. Then a fact was discovered, at Princeton and during my residence there (I was in on the earliest announcements of the decisive discoveries), which has established now the “Big Bang” theory as being probably the correct understanding.

              The discovery first was made accidentally, as so many fundamental discoveries are. Some Bell Telephone scientists of the very fine and large Bell research laboratory at Princeton (not connected with the University – there are many research centers in Princeton) had been assigned to research all possible sources of static in telephone transmissions. These men discovered by sophisticated research observation that there is a “residual hiss” – a background radiation – everywhere they probed the skies! It took well-developed instrumentation to find it, but everywhere they pointed their “horns” (and they do actually look like the “horns” or speakers of early gramophones) – it was there! This was a slight source of static on telephone transmission. But it was a large piece of evidence science-wise.

              Professor Robert H. Dicke and a team of bright young Ph.D. students under him took up the matter and carried it farther, for its significance in physics. I remember hearing reports coming in from a team they had sent high into the winter Rockies of Colorado, among others. The theory into which this evidence fit was that if there were an initial “Big Bang” (perhaps about 20 billion years ago), there could be – there might be – still an “echo” of it throughout space, theoretically figured as being a radiation level equal to that of a black body at about two to five degrees absolute temperature (which would be about 448 to 451 degrees below zero by our usual Fahrenheit scale, very near to the absolute zero of no molecular movement at all.) The evidence fit. The radiation they found, everywhere in space and apparently throughout all of space, was of about 2.7 degrees magnitude, and supported the “Big Bang.” I had no part in this research, of course. But I was in on the moment (or several years) of a major scientific achievement, discovered incidentally by the careful observations and measurements of the Bell Telephone researchers and then verified, established, by one of the finest university physics groups in all the world.

              But – from where does the matter they study come? Who or What created, brought about, produced this universe of matter? And how? And why? And what is mankind’s place in it? That question was never even asked.

              The net result, of course, is that the students of these brilliant physicists graduate feeling that there is no God, or that if there be a God, He/She/It/That is somehow not really important and the world and universe can be adequately, brilliantly understood and quite adequately, brilliantly explained with no inclusion of any Creator of it all.

              Even as the ministers of America today do not preach reincarnation from their pulpits because they were not taught reincarnation in the seminaries (and will preach reincarnation in their pulpits when reincarnation is taught them in their seminaries), so the scientists of our day do not include God in their thinking and living because their teachers did not include God. When the teachers do include God, so will the students – in their teaching, in their philosophy of life, in their living. Then our children will not find college, or even high school, such a materialistic challenge to their faith (if they have a faith).

              When I look at my watch I know one thing for sure: It did not just happen. Back of it somewhere, there is a watch-maker. I may not know the correct time, for the watch may be wrong there. It may not even be the kind of watch it says, for someone may have switched the works behind the face. But I do know one thing for sure: That watch was purposefully, factually, blueprinted, thought out, constructed, produced. Back of that watch there is a watchmaker.

              And when I look at the world around me, the grass beneath my feet, the skies and stars and sun and moon above, I know one thing for sure: It did not just happen. There are many things I do not know about this universe, many things even the most advanced scientists do not know yet. But one thing I know, and they could know if they would: Back of it somewhere there is a Universe-Maker.  Science, not religion, has taught me this, with hard facts, the sure foundation. For science, everywhere it has observed and studied and researched this universe, discovers it to be a cause and effect universe. Nothing comes from nothing. Everything and anything comes from something, something adequate and aligned to bring it about. In the vast existence, the fact of beingness, of the universe (and us within it), is the first inescapable, simple, profound, immovable proof of the Creator, by human convention called “God.”

 

There is no watch without a watchmaker.

There is no universe without a universe-maker.

“Universe-Maker” is the first name for God.

Thus, “In the beginning, God---“

Begin with God.

 

            Sometimes when I listen to a scientist I am reminded of that definition of a specialist (most scientists are specialists; even the generalists are specialized as generalists!):

              “A specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing at all!”

              How on earth can you understand earth (let alone the universe) if you leave out the Creator of it all! True, to know about God – the nature, the qualities, the purposes, the actions of the Creator – is a job for considerable research and discovery in itself. Religion with its pre-scientific methods so far has only scratched the surface and the material scientist has done nothing. But all true knowledge of God (which can be had, through scientific research of the spiritual as well as of the material realm) gives us such basic clues, such organizing insights, to the universe and us in it.

              If you want to discuss God with a science-minded friend, you might speak first of the theory of creationism. But understand what creationism really means. It is not the pitting of old-fashioned interpretations of Genesis against Darwin and evolution. It is not an emotional throwback to fundamentalist preaching. Even the term creationism needs to be rescued from such well-meaning but stupid anti-scientism.

              The scientific theory of creationism is simply stated: The existence of our universe necessarily implies the existence of Someone or Something that brought it into being. It did not come into being by itself or without adequate cause. The existence, the presence around us and before us, of creation, evidences and requires the existence of a Source, a Creative Being or Force or Something, a Creator.

              The alternative to creationism, of course, is the theory of non-creationism. For the theory of non-creationism, no scientist can advance any scientific argument at all. Everywhere science has been able to explore this universe – in chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology, geography, mathematics, biology, psychology, oceanology, medicine, etc., etc. – science always has found no effect without a cause.

  Cause and effect extends from the workings of the tiny electrons (and the still tinier quarks and gluons, and gravitational and electro-magnetic and the weak and the strong forces, and whatever else may be found in man’s progressive study of energies and matter) up to the largest extra-galactic nebulae and other bodies and substances in the far skies. Even the phenomena called random, the unpredictable behavior, are still caused by something. The electron which momentarily flows against the general flow or power in a high voltage line may not be identified before it does so, nor its course pre-charted, but there are causes – adequate causes – for it behaving in this manner.

Before Science, God Was Optional

            Before science, God was optional. Prophets could reveal and thunder, priests could teach the ancient creeds proclaiming God. But before science showed – proved – this to be a cause and effect universe, necessitating a Creator, people could postulate whimsy, chaos and all sorts of disorderly factors and phenomena in and causing our world. Science has established as fact that all effects are produced by causes, that all causes produce effects, and that the dynamic cause and effect equation is balanced (causes equal effects) at all times.

              Science makes God (Creator) required. Science makes it impossible for any but the ignorant and the willful to not believe in God. Pre-scientific man (of whom many yet remain!) could believe in chance rather than in a Creator. Science leads man back to First Cause. Before science, God was optional and the job of religion was harder. Since science, God is essential and the work of religion can progress faster and farther than ever before – when finally it gets started.

              Science has even put chance into the straight jacket of a mathematical formula called the law of combinations and permutations. It is this science-established natural law which enabled Esther Foster, a mathematician then working with Dr. J. B. Rhine in the Duke University Para-psychology Laboratory (Durham, North Carolina, U. S. A.), to calculate during my 1953 visit there that the chance of our getting purely by chance the results of a particular one of our positive-negative prayer-plant experiments, was only one chance in two million tries.  

            Science has truly proved that this is not a universe ruled by chance. And it is not a universe created by chance. In this universe only nothing comes from nothing, and everything comes from something. This is the first great proof science brings for the existence of God.

  We Begin With God Because—

            --Because God, the Creator, Whoever or Whatever That/It/She/He may be, whatever name you may use – is by scientific definition our First Cause. Names and terminologies may vary, and mankind’s total understanding of God is still woefully inadequate and probably impossible. Religious Research, we hope, is bringing some additional and new light to our human understanding of the Creator. And we begin right here: The Source of the universe and of our selves. God is the beginning point of understanding the universe and ourselves because God is the beginning point of the existence of the universe, and of you and me.

              The universe and we within it owe our existence to the Creator. And in turn we are the scientific evidence, the proof, of the Creator’s existence.

Religious Research Home

Return to Loehr-Daniels Study Course Index

Next Lesson