Physical Magic

One thing I believe as an apologist is that while new arguments are good, the best apologetic in many ways is simply reality. Are we going to take reality as it is or are we going to deny it? Are we going to see wonder in all that is around us or are we going to discount it all as an accident?

This is also a question for us as Christians. Are we going to be amazed at the universe that God has created as our giant playground, or are we going to nitpick about it? We are like people who get a new car to drive in, but then we get angry because when we look close at it, we notice a tiny dent on one side.

I thought about this some as I was at a church event tonight playing volleyball with my class. You do not have to guess how I play. I am not athletic at all and it was a miracle I thought the times I got it over the net. Many guys are proud of their achievements in slamming the ball over the net to get a point. I am simply thrilled if I even manage to touch a ball that’s hit to me. Through this, by some miracle, the team I was on won.

Yet as I watched, I noticed that things were happening. A ball would be rolled on the ground to the server and someone in the way would just part their legs as if the balls course had been predetermined to go right where they were. Throws would be made that hit their target every time.

I used to watch Braves baseball and I thought back to that. I remember being so stunned that the ball was so small and the field was so big but no matter what, if it was a fly ball that was fair and not a home run, you could be assured that the outfielder would catch it. It seemed to me the strangest wonder. How could they see such a small object so often in the sun even and catch it every single time? You would think something was dreadfully wrong if they didn’t.

I also thought back to watching the Ninja Turtles cartoons when I was growing up. When Raphael, for instance, would burst in on the enemy and throw his sai, you knew that it would always hit the target. Granted, that was a cartoon and not reality, but I think it hits on an idea in reality. Those with the ability are marvels to watch.

I consider it magic. You would have thought that it was written out according to a script, but it hasn’t been. It is simply day to day life. It is simply people living out their world but they act as if the world will handle things a certain way. The thrower of the ball acts as if he expects the ball to take the intended path and hit its target. Some may call that the laws of science, to which they are correct, but cannot the laws be considered magical? Could they not be an enchantment that has been cast on the world to bring order and to prevent chaos?

Yet some of you will think me silly for writing this perchance. You will say it is simply natural. My reply is that what is natural is simply marvelous. When we reduce it to mere mechanics, we remove the wonder. When we think about what puts the mechanics in motion and what is behind the mechanics and how they serve a higher purpose, then we can have wonder.

Especially if we think that it could have been another way. I do not believe laws of logic or morality could have been another way. I do believe physical laws could be another way. I can imagine a world where I can run at 200 MPH. I cannot imagine one where I am running and not running in the same time and in the same sense. I cannot imagine one where running down the street is immoral.

Yet when I see the world could have been another way, it makes me marvel that God made this world the way it is for a reason. I do not see naturalism able to explain my wonder as it reduces all to mechanics. Even the idea of wonder must be mechanical in some way. Love is mechanical even where sex truly is “just sex” with simply bodies uniting and yet not having to have the souls connect. Two strangers can have casual sex as its called when it is simply mechanics.

Any wonder you have is not really there. It is simply the mechanics of a chemical reaction. Any love you have is not really there. It is simply the mechanics of a chemical reaction. In fact, if naturalism is true, it is not because your thinking is better that you realize that. It is simply because the chemicals in your brain are working one way to produce the thought that they are not in another brain.

I say no. Now I am not a sports fan, but I do find a hidden magic in the physical world as it is. I am not speaking of the magic that I sometimes hit the ball. I am speaking of the magic that the ball comes to me, that I am capable of moving my hand, and that I am capable of hitting it in a certain direction.

That is magical.