July 23, 2011

He Who Has Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear


I've been doing a lot of staring at Oliver, pondering. Often when I look at his ear I’m reminded of a passage in the book Witness in which Whittaker Chambers recalls a scene in his apartment on St. Paul Street in Baltimore.
It was shortly before we moved to Alger Hiss's apartment in Washington. My daughter was in her high chair. I was watching her eat. She was the most miraculous thing that had ever happened in my life. I liked to watch her even when she smeared porridge on her face or dropped it meditatively on the floor. My eye came to rest on the delicate convolutions of her ear—those intricate, perfect ears. The thought passed through my mind: "No, those ears were not created by any chance coming together of atoms in nature (the Communist view). They could have been created only by immense design." The thought was involuntary and unwanted. I crowded it out of my mind. But I never wholly forgot it or the occasion. I had to crowd it out of my mind. If I had completed it, I should have had to say: Design presupposes God. I did not then know that, at that moment, the finger of God was first laid upon my forehead.
Chambers had to "crowd it out of [his] mind" that day on St. Paul Street—to "suppress the truth," as St. Paul himself phrased it. Indeed, Paul said, "what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."

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