I don’t think I will ever forget the story my undergrad theology professor, Gary Lepine, told our class about Leonardo Da Vinci’s Sistine Chapel painting. While articulating the outer images of Adam & God upon the chapel ceiling, Da Vinci would go over several drafts & sketches of the central focus of his work - the outstretched hand’s of Adam’s human epitome & the Divine providence of God’s reach. Unsure of how to position each character’s hand, the majority of the sketches would show Adam straining to reach out, while God would only limply hold his hand out with little regard to Adam’s desire for contact. It wasn’t until his final completed work that he would reveal the image reversal of God’s great desire & effort to reach out to humanity & Adam’s lax ineptitude to truly grasp the greatness of who was before him.
The question of God’s existence is practically as old as time & we continue the great struggle to truly grasp the full nature of the divine’s character. While some focus on the laws of nature & attempt to fit his or her’s identity within its frameworks, others theologies a God who operates in the realm of philosophical omnipotence & ethical fulfillment.
This podcast was an evening where Rev. Phil Aud, a Christian & U of C Chaplin, along with Roy Alexander of the Atheist Society of Calgary, & the Imam Zahid Abid of the Ahmidyah Jama’at Muslim community, came together to explore the question of God’s existence. Each with their own focus brought worthy arguments & can expand our own thoughts as we live in the wonder of our own traditions.
As a Christian, I was greatly intrigued by listening to each of their points & remain in the mystery of God’s revelation as we “feel our way towards him.” (Acts 17:27). I also embraced the imagery of Da Vici’s epiphany that despite our best efforts, our conceptions pail to the greatness of God’s desire to incarnate himself into our lives. The teachings of Jesus have spoke greatly into my beliefs & I embrace him as fully revealing God’s incarnational presence in the world. Yet these beliefs are not meant to be forced on any other. Rather, I recognize him as also being fully human, living amongst those of diverse beliefs, & being willing to listen to them openly & loving them while they also discover new truths.
This podcast is one of the longest that I have published & I debated whether to divide it up or not. But, deciding to share it in its entirety, I hope this conversation captures your imagination & inspires you into new truths of God’s existence & love for you.
Ahmidyah Jama’at Muslim Community ~ https://www.ahmadiyya.ca
Calgary Atheist Society ~ http://www.atheistcalgary.com
U of C Christian Chaplaincy ~ https://www.ucalgary.ca/student-services/faith-spirituality