Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Wisdom of His Infinite Mind

The Wisdom of His Infinite Mind

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."

- Albert Einstein, upon being asked if he believed in God by Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the Institutional Synagogue, New York, April 24, 1921.

My earliest ambition as a child--as far as I can remember--was to become a scientist. When I was ten years old, I read a biography of Thomas Alva Edison (in Malay) which I'd found in the school library and was greatly inspired the story of this great man. From that day onwards, I dreamt of becoming a scientist like him and I began to read widely on scientific subjects.

When I grew older, I realized that my deep interest in science actually stemmed from an impulse that was spiritual in nature. Science to me was a way of understand the workings of the universe, from which I can fathom God's mind. What better way to understand the Creator if not through observing His Creations? I had and still have complete faith in the discipline of science because science is never dogmatic--it is always self-correcting. It is thus the best tool for deciphering the mysteries of the universe. And being a tool, not unlike religion itself, it can be misused for selfish purposes.

Despite the many disagreements between science and religion over the centuries, I've never really considered science and religion as being in conflict. Those who think science is the enemy of religion understands neither science nor religion. To me, God Himself should not fear the cold scrutiny of science for if He truly exists, He should be extremely pleased that His creatures are using all their God-given faculties to critically examine and question every religious assumption out there. There is no greater evil in the world than that of ignorance. A closed mind is the breeding ground of the Devil.

I believe I've alluded somewhere before in this blog that a true scientist is no different from a spiritually-inclined person. The quest to understand the universe is but a search for God, driven by a deep-seated faith that there's order in the universe and that every phenomenon in nature has an underlying harmony. The exhiliration that a scientist experiences when he is able to grasp the essence of the fundamental laws of nature is equal to the deepest ecstacies that spiritual followers find in prayer and meditation.

No, I did not exactly achieve my childhood ambition of becoming a scientist. But being trained as an engineer, I like to see myself as an "applied scientist". It's perhaps a small consolation but I know deep down inside, the spiritual instincts that guided me as a child are still there, urging me on everyday. It is this impulse that drives my insatiable hunger for learning and understanding, through which I may marvel at the splendour of His Creations, honour Him through selfless hardwork and industry, and celebrate the wisdom of His Infinite Mind.

No comments: