The Whirl of Atoms
For blindly, blindly, and without design,
Did these first atoms their first meeting try;
No ordering Thought was there, no Will divine
To guide them; but through infinite time gone by,
Tossed and tormented, they essayed to join,
And clashed through the void space tempestuously,
Until at last that certain whirl began,
Which slowly formed the Earth and Heaven and Man.
~De Rerum Natura, Book I, Lucretius b. 95 B.C. d. 52 B.C.
I was amazed at the direct attack on God in this poem. I had heard that the concept of an infinite universe was an old one, but I didn’t realize it was this old! Of course, mathematics has proven time and again that the universe had a beginning, yet people still cling to their atheistic theories of millions of years. I think this poem makes clear the reason behind these theories – the human desire to be without the authority of a Creator.
And where do these theories take those who trust in them? Lucretius is supposed to have taken his own life. He believed that the body, soul and mind were one, that one could not survive without the other, and that all grow old and feeble together. As a philosopher, it makes sense that he would take his own life before his mind became too weak, especially because he believed that his consciousness would end then, too.