Since coming to faith, I’ve tried to reserve the word awesome for God and for those things that are of God. It just seems to me the praise song, Our God is an Awesome God, got it right:

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God
And when the sky was starless
In the void of the night
(Our God is an awesome God)
He spoke into the darkness
And created the light
(Our God is an awesome God)

At a recent funeral for a retired captain at the Naval Academy Chapel, the bulletin included an email he sent his wife several years ago. The captain was writing from a ship in Antarctica. “I wish all the atheists in America could be here right now. It’s dawn and we are surrounded by icebergs.” He went on to describe the ineffable beauty of a sunrise over one of the most inaccessible points on earth. The icebergs were painted pink by the sun’s rays. That was awesome.

I resisted saying I wish the captain’s wish had been granted. I don’t really wish all the atheists in America were in Antarctica!

This video is awesome. Dr. Alexander Tsiaris is a professor of medicine at Yale. Can anything good come from Yale? Yes! This video was featured on the TED Weekend series and featured on the HuffingtonPost website.

Dr. Tsiaris observation of the phenomenon known as collagen is awesome. When talking about how collagen is found throughout the body and is always a cloudy substance, except in the eye, Dr. Tsiaris says with becoming humility: “It’s hard not to attribute divinity to it.” I just hope Dr. Tsiaris has tenure.

Watching Dr. Tsiaris’s video brought me back some to my own college biology class. Dr. Howard Hamilton was a beloved professor at University of Virginia. He always lectured wearing his white lab coat and he used multi-colored chalk to illustrate his points. He spoke to packed sections of some four hundred undergraduates. At that time, only men were admitted to UVA as undergraduates. So, it was highly amusing when Dr. Hamilton showed us a film of a live birth. One of our biggest and brawniest football players passed out. It was that awesome.

Awesome is what we experience when we see an ultra-sound of our own children, or our grandchildren. To see this new life developing within the mother’s womb is a miracle.

The French phrase en ventre sa mere came into our language as a legal principle. It means “in his mother’s womb.” The term is used to explain that a child in the mother’s womb can inherit property if the father dies before he or she is born. It also means that after birth, the child can sue for injuries inflicted while in the womb.

Dr. Tsiaris’s amazing lecture doesn’t say a word about abortion. He doesn’t have to.

When you see the incredibly delicate formation of the child’s limbs and organs you gain an enhanced appreciation of our relationship with the unborn child. It does not matter if he calls it an embryo or fetus. He is showing even unbelievers how God knits us together in our mother’s womb.

The truth is so palpable, so unavoidable, that even some very liberal folks get it. TIME magazine’s Joe Klein wrote a surprisingly appreciative column giving credit to former Sen. Rick Santorum last year. In that column, Klein explained the surge in support for the pro-life position, noting science’s increasing ability to show us the world within:

“…as sonograms have made it impossible to deny that from a very early stage, that thing in the womb is a human life.”

This is most welcome, especially coming from Joe Klein and TIME magazine. The danger, however, is that everyone will acknowledge the child in the womb is a human life and say: “So what? We don’t care if the killing continues.” If our hearts were to become so hardened and the voice of conscience within us so stifled, we would lose our own humanity.

In the meantime, there is a law written on our hearts. That law tells us to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us. And that still small voice that speaks to us is powerfully amplified by such films as Dr. Tiaris has made.

There is only one word for it: Awesome.