"Geometry, the first and noblest of sciences is the basis on which the superstructure of Freemasonry is erected. By Geometry, we may curiously trace nature through her various windings to her most concealed recesses. By it, we discover the wisdom, power and goodness of the Grand Architect of the Universe and view with delight the proportions which connect this vast machine. By it we discover how the planets move in their respective orbits and demonstrate their various revolutions."
We, as Freemasons, see a close and direct relationship between the functioning of the physical universe and God. After all, we do, in fact, refer to Him as "the Grand Architect of the Universe." He created it, constructed it, runs it, and that's all there is to it. In fact, you don't have to be a Freemason to hold that belief. We are so in awe of this creation that we ask, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?"
This belief doesn't just come out of thin air. We see so many things around us that tend to confirm there is something intelligent – perhaps divine – that is in control. In the classic "double slit" experiment, for example, we find electrons that behave one way if someone is watching and differently without an observer. Or, any scientist will tell you we know there is a "force" holding galaxies together. We have no idea about its nature and call it "dark matter."
If we draw a line in the sand, as some do, and say those paranoid electrons behaving that way indicate a form of divine intelligence, or buy into the common claim "dark matter" is in fact God holding the universe together, we set ourselves up.
There are plenty of examples where those lines have been drawn only to be erased by scientific discoveries. In the 17th century people saw the heavenly bodies moving around the earth and said they do that because God put the earth and mankind at the center of everything. Then a couple of guys named Galileo and Copernicus came along and burst that bubble. If we think those electrons and "dark matter" prove God exists, what will we do when a modern-day Copernicus finds a scientific causation? It's easy to fall into that trap.
If we keep doing that, and then back off on our definition and understanding of God with every scientific discovery, we seemingly wind up with what astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson calls "an ever-receding God."
Maybe it should be the other way around.
In other words, if we discover some phenomenon is not caused by a mysterious action of God, does that not also teach us a little more about what God is? The Second Degree lecture teaches us we should embrace the sciences. As those discoveries come to light the fact is God isn't receding. With each new discovery we learn more, not less, about the true nature of God: the spiritual, not the physical is what's important. Read our ritual carefully. It says By Geometry... science... we discover God's wisdom, power and goodness, not that we use it to discover God Himself.
Scientists have proven the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. This has led to a theory about its end which says it will just keep expanding until the stars all burn out and the universe will die a dark and cold death. If you're looking for an area where science and religion… or spirituality… are in agreement, look to Matthew 24:35: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." Don't get hung up about the physical universe. Both God and the scientists say it won't be around forever; but God's words – those spiritual lessons – will be.
Let's not worry over the fact that God didn't put the Earth at the center of the universe, or he may or may not be manifest in a bunch of shy electrons. Let's use His spiritual teachings to learn how to live our lives, improve them, and the lives of others.