Meditations from the Classics
Lucretius (c. 99 BC – c. 55 BC)
De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things–1:150)
Let’s listen in on Lucretius’ thoughts to himself as he writes his poetry:
Let me tell you why the world is gripped by fear. It’s because people think there is a god behind all the evils and mysteries of the universe. That’s nonsense. God had nothing to do with the creation of the world. In fact, my starting point will be this principle: Nothing can ever be created by divine power out of nothing…. Accordingly, when we have seen that nothing can be created out of nothing, we shall then have a clearer picture of the path ahead, the problem of how things are created and occasioned without the aid of the gods.
Well, I suppose Lucretius has the right to his opinion. But in all fairness, we ought to let another ancient luminary express a thought or two. The apostle John felt this way about God’s role in creation:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him” (John 1:1-3).
Not long after Lucretius wrote his words, at age forty-four, he killed himself. Jerome tells us he was driven mad by a love potion and took his own life. His belief in a loving God was completely shattered by his own twisted logic.
Is it such an impossible thing to believe there is a mighty Monarch above who sifts the stars for pleasure and who rolls out the galaxies like a kid playing marbles? Is it such an impossible thing to believe there is an Almighty God who once played in the dirt and made a man?
You choose. Either Lucretius is right or the apostle John is.
I’ll stick with John.
David R. Denny Ph.D.