Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Great God

It is thus, in a sense, from ourselves that the material universe derives its power to overawe us.  To a mind that did not share our emotions, and lacked our imaginative energies, the argument from size would be sheerly meaningless.  Men look on the starry heavens with reverence; monkeys do not.  The silence of the eternals spaces terrified Pascal, but it was the greatness of Pascal that enabled them to do so.  C.S. Lewis from Dogma and the Universe

Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness … -- Job 38:19

The universe,  a bubble floating in nothingness – space itself, a matrix nestling atomic furnaces, Jovian near-suns, and rocky balls of debris, who knows what it all means, from where it comes and where it goes.  Mathematics is a corral for wild horses – better yet, for griffins, unicorns, and the occasional dragon.  It makes us feel safer, as if we understand that around which we have thrown an familiar barrier. 

I went to sleep last night listening to Emerson’s essays.  This resulted in a stubborn dream about losing my wife’s Traverse that I had parked in an auditorium in a building with many auditoriums.  I suspected it was moved, while I was asleep on the floor, to make room for a dance recital by some school children.  The most distressing part was trying to get the buttons on the key fob to flash the lights and honk the horn so I could locate the vehicle.  I have that a lot when I go fall asleep wearing my earphones.  Sometimes it’s actually the MP3 player in the dream that I’m so frustrated by.  It won’t stop no matter how hard I press the dream controls.    

I fell out with Emerson when I understood that he denied the deity of Christ.  He didn’t think that through very well and adopted the flawed analysis of Higher Criticism.  I wasn’t much of a believer at the time myself, but it was too much for me.  I made the mistake of purging everything else he had to say because he was wrong about what is, without question, a vital issue.  Thinkers get off track for any number of reasons, including the influence of their age’s time ghost.  The atmosphere of pre-Civil War America was charged with Greek error and the ardent Yankee version of hubris.  Man cannot be the measure of all things, but Emerson was able to see that when a man measured the pyramids what he really measured was himself. 

So it is as we go out into the cosmos.  We find, not the limits of the infinite, rather the asymptote that runs on up until parallax convinces us that the line of our model and reality are one.  Calculus works fine, except at the limits, those infinitesimally tiny moments of discontinuity.  It’s close enough for building bridges and skyscrapers, for going to Mars and flying by Io.  That’s not at all unimpressive. 

The wise see and know that the more we do, the farther we go, the finer we divide, the greater is God.

Updated to add from Father Stephen:

But Christians cannot point to a point of origin as evidence of the Cause, only as evidence of an origin. At that point, we must stand shoulder to shoulder with those who do not believe and simply wonder. For it is in our wonder that we encounter Jesus to whom the Apostles bare witness that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Be sure and read his post in its entirety.  


Rick said...

Mush, you and Fr Stephen: powerful pieces.
Like the evolutionists, I likewise see little to take seriously in a 6000 year old cosmos. But for different reasons. 14b years sounds like the God I know. I think He must need an aweful lot of patience to put up with me. But He wants me to know: it was nothing!
Thank you.

mushroom said...

That's a good point. There are books I can read time and again, music I can listen to over and over, movies I can watch and enjoy rewatching. Would it surprise us to find out that God likes to watch how His plan plays out even when He knows whats coming?

A 14 billion year ballet is quite a performance.