God, Love, and Synchronicity

by Kenneth Francis (October 2021)
 

125, The Red Cross, Carl Jung (The Red Book)
 

 

For those not familiar with the meaning of the word synchronicity: It’s not a choreographed form of swimming consisting of bathing beauties performing a synchronised routine in a pool; synchronicity is when two separate—and seemingly unrelated—experiences are meaningfully intertwined, even though there is no evidence that one led to the other or that the two events are linked in any other causal way.

        A good example of this would be if you were thinking of a friend who you hadn’t heard or seen in years and he rings you at that precise moment. Another example was when my grandmother died back in the early 1950s; her daughter, my mother, was awoken in her bed, on a calm night in the early hours of the morning, by a loud bang on her window. The bang was so loud, the cat lying at the end of her bed screeched and jumped off in shock.

        My mother looked at the clock and immediately thought of her mother, who died of cancer at that time. She wasn’t afraid but overcome with love and sadness. Her mother once told her that she loved her so much, she would know when she died by a sign, and not to ever be afraid. At the time of her death, they both lived 35 miles away from each other.

        Most scientists (a once-noble profession that has become corrupt, politicised and discredited) view synchronicity as coincidences, whereas those with an open mind and less faith in Naturalism, view it as having a spiritual meaning. The term was coined by the psychoanalyst, Carl Jung (1875-1961), who believed in God. He once said, in 1959 in a ‘Face To Face’ interview with John Freeman: “I don’t need to believe, I know [He exists].”

        Jung tells the following story as an example of a synchronistic event in his book Synchronicity: “By way of example, I shall mention an incident from my own observation. A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window pane from outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab that one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeoid beetle, the common rose-chafer, which contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt an urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment.”

        I’ve had some synchronistic moments in my life (which I’ll come to later), but recently I was remined of the phenomenon again when last month a magnitude 7 earthquake and subsequent lightning strike hit Mexico, soon after abortion was made legal. This is significant because, in the ancient world, such phenomena were once viewed as a manifestation of God’s anger, which must have spooked many Mexicans in fear of an apocalypse in the world’s second largest Roman Catholic country.

        Although there was only one casualty (one too many) and some damaged buildings, Mexicans immediately tweeted about the event and posted videos of ‘strange blue lights’ lighting up the sky after the ’quake. In mature reflection, the question remains: Was this a divine warning, natural phenomena, a coincidence, or something resembling synchronicity? The timing of the event might not be the best example of synchronicity, as it seemed to have occurred some hours after the abortion law was passed.

        Something similar eight years ago happened to the Vatican. According to a BBC report: “When Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on 11 February, it wasn't the only shock to hit the Vatican. There were also electrical shocks, as two separate bolts of lightning struck St Peter's. An act of God, some concluded—but how unlikely is such an event?” (BBC News, March 2, 2013.)

        A better example is a story I once heard from an old acquaintance of mine. During the 1960s’ sexual revolution, she worked as an art dealer in Canada. She told me about a strange incident that occurred one summer’s evening, with calm weather, while having a party by her swimming pool. A seemingly stoned or drunk guest got up on the diving board, spread both his arms apart, and shouted a two-worded blasphemy about Jesus, the ‘F’ word being the first word. Instantly, in flawless unison with his vile shout, a streak of lightning struck the swimming pool. All the guests’ laughter immediately stopped and they became silent, while someone switched off the music as they sheepishly left the house.  

        In my own personal experience, I believe a synchronistic event happened as I was trying to get the deposit to buy a house many years ago. My partner told me she had raised half of the money for the deposit but the remaining four-figure sum had to be borrowed. I remember falling back on the chair feeling bewildered as I had exhausted all my funds and had nowhere else to turn to. At that moment, my phone rang. It was my old boss whose company I was made redundant from a year previously.

        He said he had a cheque for the exact amount I needed for the remainder deposit for the house. My ex-boss told me the money was from shares he bought some years ago for all of his staff (including me) without my knowledge. Was that phone call a case of synchronicity?

        In another case some 23 years ago during my toxic atheistic years, my friend and I were walking through London’s Soho district in search of wine, women and song. While walking, my friend said he felt a bit uneasy in London, as his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend lived there and he was quite a violent thug who once attacked him.

        I told him the last place he would bump into the thug was London, with its eight-million population. I no sooner said this when we saw him standing in the doorway of a pub sipping a beer. We quickly walked on and headed to a posher side of town. What was the chance of us bumping into this man in such a large city with so many people? Again, was this a coincidence or synchronicity?

        The Bible references a great many things that support the notion of synchronicity, as God gives signs, miracles and wonders for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear: ‘And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs…”.’ (Genesis); “The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles.” (Deuteronomy 29:3)

        With that in mind, what appears to us as random chance or cosmic phenomenon is in fact overseen by a sovereign God who knows the number of every grain of sand in all the beaches and deserts of the world, as well as every synchronistic moment that occurs amongst us finite creatures. For God, with His unrestricted power and absolute dominion, is involved in all synchronicity events.

        He causes such events for the greater good, and, on our behalf, occasionally projecting His will on some situations in our lives. A Divine will infused with love that makes us reflect on those curious moments we call synchronicity. Such events make us feel more than just mere animals in a chaotic world; make us feel human, worthy, and with dignity.

        In the beginning of the book and movie, The Exorcist, a seemingly synchronistic event occurs when an old archaeologist priest (Fr Merrin) digging in Northern Iraq, finds a sculpted head of the demon Pazuzu. The priest freezes in shock, while at the same time in the other part of the world in Washington DC, a young girl is about to be possessed by the above demon, who will later come face to face in a battle with the priest.

        Writing in his book on his novel and subsequent movie, The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty’s character, Fr Merrin, says to his assistant priest, who eventually gives his life in order to save a possessed girl: ‘I think the demon’s target is not the possessed; it is us…the observers…every person in this house. And I think the point is to make us despair, to reject our own humanity…To see ourselves as ultimately bestial, as ultimately vile and putrescent; without dignity, ugly, unworthy.’

        Fr Merrin continues: ‘And there lies the heart of it, perhaps: In unworthiness. For I think belief in God is not a matter of reason at all; I think it finally is a matter of love; of accepting the possibility that God could love us.’ (William Peter Blatty on The Exorcist: From Novel to Screen.)

        Blatty adds that in a mechanistic universe [one void of synchronicity], ‘where the atoms that make up a human being should logically be expected, even in the aggregate, to pursue their selfish ends more blindly than the rivers rush out to the seas, how is it there is love in the sense that a God would love and that a man would give his life for another?’ Or that God would occasionally show us a sign?

Table of Contents
 
 

__________________________________
Kenneth Francis is a Contributing Editor at New English Review. For the past 20 years, he has worked as an editor in various publications, as well as a university lecturer in journalism. He also holds an MA in Theology and is the author of The Little Book of God, Mind, Cosmos and Truth (St Pauls Publishing) and, most recently, The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd (with Theodore Dalrymple).

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast
Comments
3 Oct 2021
Send an emailCarl Nelson
"Such events make us feel more than just mere animals in a chaotic world; make us feel human, worthy, and with dignity." - sums it up well, I think.


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