I saw this print displayed on the wall at Questacon, a science museum in Canberra, last week.
Isn’t this Tokay gecko’s eye just spectacular? I find it fascinating that a small creature’s eye can remind me of scenes I’ve observed through airplane windows.
An interesting thing to google is NASA’s satellite photo of Siberia’s Lena Delta. The aerial view of the delta almost freakishly echoes the patterns and colours found this Tokay gecko’s eye. Absolutely mindblowing.
When I think of this curious repetition of patterns in the extremes of nature — the aerial image and the close-up shot — Blaise Pascal comes to mind. He’s a famous mathematician, physicist and philosopher from the Enlightenment era whose Pensées (Thoughts) I studied in my French Philosophy course at uni. There I was, feeling both intrigued and challenged by a deluge of secular humanist philosophies that rattled my faith to the core, then Pascal turned up.
In an age where the popular, cutting-edge thinkers were proud skeptics and atheists, Pascal spoke out for God (as well as making groundbreaking discoveries in physics!). He challenged his fellow scientists to undertake their studies with humility, acknowledging their limitations.
In Pascal’s words, humans are “a Nothing in comparison with the Infinite, an All in comparison with the Nothing”. He uses the image of a circle to illustrate this contrast: the centre of the circle is the Nothing (microscopic matter) and the circumference of the circle is the Infinite (the cosmos). We humans are stuck in the middle. “These extremes meet and reunite by force of distance, and find each other in God, and in God alone,” he concludes. “The Author of these wonders understands them. None other can do so.”
What a breath of fresh air this was for me, as a final-year university student, seeing someone dare to combine his thirst for knowledge and understanding of the universe with a passion for acknowledging God’s supreme power. Although I don’t share all of Pascal’s beliefs, I really admire him!
So, back to my gecko’s eye picture. In this simple circle I see both the Infinite and the Nothing. Gazing at the patterns in this gecko’s eye fills me with awe for God’s creative designs in nature.
Lord, maker of the glorious deltas and the tiny gecko’s eyes, we admire the wonderful work of your hands. Thank you for the gift of scientific research — what wonderful discoveries we humans have made! Please give us a spirit of humility as we endeavour to understand this world better. Amen.
Photo ©️ Fruitful Today