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Where is Reliable Power?

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Is God Necessary? NO! and YES!

Chapter 5

By Herbert F. Vetter

An ancient question haunts modern men and women who face facts of both life and death: “Where is your God?”

As we ponder this problem, we may find it helpful in our present situation to rephrase this question dealing with the object of man’s authentic faith, asking in the language of secular life: Where is reliable power?

In terms of precise mathematical logic, there are only three possible answers to this question: (1) reliable power is somewhere; (2) reliable power is nowhere; (3) reliable power is everywhere. In our day-to-day actions we are forced to answer our question by giving one of these three possible answers, or some combination of the three. What answer do you give?

Reliable power somewhere? For example, do you act as if the power of the sun is reliable? Humanity has always been absolutely dependent upon the sun for survival and fulfillment on this planet. In a single second our sun generates more power than people have used since the beginning of civilization on this planet. Each day streams of fire leap forth from the sun for 50,000 miles. This radiant power has been pour ing forth for 5 billion years, and scientists expect this energy to flow for another 5 billion years. Finally, in due time, the sun will likely grow into a monstrous red ball so large that it will engulf its nearest plan ets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars. From the standpoint of the family of man, therefore, the sun is reliable power, but this affirmation can hardly be the full answer to our question since we know that the finite sun will fail someday. What then shall we conclude?

Is reliable power nowhereWhen we recall that the sun—which is one of a hundred billion stars in the Milky Way—was born and will die, we realize that it is not worthy of our total trust. In this sense, reliable power is nowhere; it is not somewhere in just a fragment of space-time-power. The thrust of this negation is expressed not only by the scientist but by the artist. Consider “the prophet of Minimal Art,” Ad Reinhardt. For years he painted one black square after another, each square being virtually empty of images, empty of positive colors, empty of moving patterns of meaning and value. This art which negates art has been presented at the Museum of Fine Arts and in a LIFE feature on Ad Reinhardt, “Master of the Minimal.” Such paintings declare: reliable power is nowhere. Nonetheless, who can live on mere husks of negation? Perhaps we had best turn to our third possibility.

Is reliable power everywhere? The fiery sun participates in the death less drama of power. In terms of the principle of the conservation of energy, nothing is ever lost. The strength of the living-dying sun is preserved in the eternal procession of power, since energy is neither created nor destroyed but is forever transformed from one thing to another, worlds without end. Despite all this, however, who can wisely worship a mere abstraction—even one affirming that reliable power is everywhere?

What then shall we conclude when we ponder the question be fore us? Whether we listen to the ancient taunt asking, “Where is your God?” or listen to the modern declarations of humanity’s hidden faith, we come to the same conclusion: Reliable Power is somewhere-nowhere-everywhere always.