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As The World Turns

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September 2020

In every field there are geniuses. They see the world in colors, shapes, and patterns we don’t see. They solve problems that have bedeviled us for ages. They push the envelope; they think outside the box. Their answers come with exclamation points. Yet for the most part, we don’t know who they are.

In the mid-20th century, a soap manufacturer asked some unknown ad man a question: How do we get people to buy our soap? His answer: “Give them a story that keeps people hanging, one that brings ’em back the next day and keeps ’em hanging again. And again. And all the while, play those soap commercials.” Genius at work. A genre was born. Shows like The Edge of Night, General Hospital, All My Children, Search for Tomorrow, and As the World Turns sold—and continue to sell—soaps and darn near everything else. Each show has a story, not that the story particularly matters to advertisers. It’s the soap that matters.

But as titles go, As the World Turns is worth exploring. The earth is essentially a gigantic ball floating in space, yet its oceans don’t drain out, nor do people in the southern hemisphere fall off. Our world spins around an invisible, constantly shifting axis that tilts the world up back and forth to give us our seasons. It rotates at 1,000 miles per hour—yet we don’t feel a thing. If our world ever stopped turning, the waters would move towards the poles, and our dry lands would appear in a belt around the equator. The sun’s heat would scorch us, except on the dark side, where the lack of sun would freeze us.

The world turns in another way. As the earth spins around its axis once daily, it spins around the sun once yearly. Think 1,000 mph is fast? We are orbiting the sun at 67,000 miles per hour! At that speed, why isn’t the earth flying out into deep space and crashing into the billions of asteroids, or falling into one of universe’s many black holes? It’s because the centrifugal force generated by the earth’s speed counteracts the sun’s centripetal force—gravity. In God’s grand design, it has worked this way, day after day, without fail for billions of years. Our earth and its surrounding universe exist in harmony under God’s laws of nature. It’s amazing beyond words.

The works of God’s creative genius made the psalmist ponder it—and ponder us. “When I see Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, the moon and stars that You set in place—What is man that You are mindful of him, and a son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honor. You gave him rule over the works of Your hands, put all things at His feet.” He has put the entire world at our disposal. It is the measure of God’s amazing love for us.

But being little less than God is not being God. We are mere man. And as the world turns, man turns, too—in orbit. True, we move in many other ways, but as we do we orbit. The defining question for each of us is this: what do we chose to orbit? There are only two possible answers, and the one we chose will set the stage for our life stories. Yet unlike the soap operas, those stories do matter. In the end, we will be judged on them.

We can choose to orbit God. His law lets us live in harmony and provides a peace that calms us during the storms of life. Long ago mankind worshipped the sun; we even sacrificed humans to it. But we came to realize that Someone far greater is our Source. Mankind’s greatest accomplishments have followed the realization that God is the center of our existence. God is the source of life and human freedom for everyone. Accepting each human being as made in God’s image and likeness has allowed us to recognize the inherent dignity of every human life, no matter how small and defenseless. And it has motivated us to serve the poor and marginalized. It is a measure of our love for Him.

But if we’re honest, we must admit that we have often chosen to orbit our self-interest. We only need to look to the 20th century to see how far we have fallen. The prophet Ezekiel said it in words that should make us squirm, for they are God’s words. We were like a newborn child helplessly lying in a field until God bathed us, clothed us, and gave us the finest of everything. We became renown or our beauty. But we trusted in our beauty so much that we prostituted ourselves, using God’s own gifts to do it. “The sons and daughters you bore for Me you took and offered as sacrifices for them to devour! Was it not enough that you had become a prostitute? You slaughtered and immolated my children to them, making them pass through fire. In all your abominations and prostitutions you did not remember the days of your youth when you were stark naked, struggling in your blood.”

That is exactly what we have done. We have prostituted ourselves. We have foolishly made ourselves a false god over life and death. We are literally sacrificing God’s greatest creations to the altar of power and self-interest. It threatens to get worse. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Democrats want to reverse the pro-life gains made by the Trump administration. They want taxpayers to fund the killing. Biden pledges to only nominate judges who will support continued legal abortion. Under Biden and a Democratic Congress, our bloody culture will become far, far bloodier.

Our culture is like the proverbial frog that died in boiling water because it didn’t have the sense to jump out of the pot as the water heated. There’s good reason to be genuinely afraid, for as God told Ezekiel, He will administer His justice. But for those who follow His law, He promises to remain their loving God. He wants nothing more than that we make amends, putting Him at our center of our orbit. We’ll have our chance this November. He made us little less than Himself. We can end the human sacrifice to self and restore the dignity God gave His children. It’s the least we can do to show our love for Him.

 

Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.

 © Paul V. Esposito 2020. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Visit us at http://www.the-culture-of-life.com/ and on Facebook.

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