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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Primordial Pondering

I found Stephen W. Hawking's A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes (Bantam Books, 1988) at a thrift store. I feel I owe Stephen an apology for not paying full price for this intense and awesome project.

I was first introduced to this amazing scientist when showing a video for a science class while substitute teaching at Union Pines High School once upon a time. I got to watch and take notes as many times as the day had class periods, minus one for the teacher's planning.

At the end of the video, I had this sneaking suspicion that Hawking believes in (gasp) a Creator, a Maker, which did not quell his passionate pursuit of "the outer limits of our knowledge of astrophysics and the nature of time and the universe" (from the inside book jacket).

Now that I have book in hand I am nudged into a "search for meaning." Not for my own existence but for the text before me. (I am so NOT a scientist.) Words and phrases like intrinsic mass, quantum mechanics, geodesics, pulsars, and primordial black holes hold strange fascination but are met sadly with no real comprehension from either my left or right brain.

My eyes rest upon a cool statement on a hot, glowing topic: "Black holes are not really black after all....the smaller they are the more they glow." Far out!

But my favorite gleaning from this browse-through is the last paragraph of the conclusion: "...if we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason--for then we would know the mind of God."

I honor the great effort of gifted individuals like Hawking and Einstein and I salute their passion for this pursuit. However, I am so relieved that having a glimpse of the mind of God is made available ironically through......are you ready?.......a childlike heart.

I must explain that I am a mere fascinated bystander to the scientific theories but a driven seeker of truth. The two identifications collide in an Einstein quote that I cherish. "The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives." Another favored quote rather on the same line of thought is by poet Louise Bogan, "I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!"

What a relief! Dare I tell the great scientists that the Creator is (complete theory, proven out 2000 years ago at the Roman execution of the Jewish Son of God).............are you ready?..... by His own admission, LOVE?

While that tidbit of profundity is best believed by faith, I am ever building a case to prove to someone out there that it is true. God is love.

When I taught sophomore English, Elie Wiesel's Night was in the curriculum. The story of a young boy's account of the reign of terror generated by maniacle spirits embodying the man Hitler and his engine of the final solution pushed me into deep meditation about the love of God.

I found comfort in the words of Francois Mauriac in answer to the question posed at the witness of the hanging of a child, who "had the face of a sad angel," in the concentration camp, "For God's sake, where is God?"

Mauriac replies to the question in the forward of Night:

"And I, who believe that God is love, what answer was there to give my young interlocutor [Elie] whose dark eyes still held the reflection of the angelic sadness that had appeared one day on the face of a hanged child? What did I say to him? Did I speak to him of that other Jew, this crucified brother who perhaps resembled him and whose cross conquered the world? Did I explain to him that what had been a stumbling block for his faith had become a cornerstone for mine? And that the connection between the cross and human suffering remains, in my view, the key to the unfathomable mystery in which the faith of his childhood was lost?"

If I may apply Mauriac's words to my premise, irony of ironies, "the connection between the cross and human suffering remains...the key to the unfathomable mystery...."--God is love.

In the midst of the thievery of our innocence, the killing of our brotherhood, the destruction of beauty and truth, the Crucified Jew, the ultimate expression of God's very essence on the earth, comes that we may "have life and that more abundantly."

That, dear reader, is a quantum thought that holds the universe poised on the axis of joy.


  1. Good stuff. I missed Diane Sawyer's interview with Hawkings. Did you see it?

  2. Stephen Hawkings? Isn't he the guy on Space Cowboys who helped blow up that meteor and then was asked to be left on the moon?

    Night was one of my favorite novels ever, and it really made me ponder purgatory.

    Btw, Jane Lowder gave me a word way back in the day in which she said, "God's love is like an ocean, and you are going on a deep sea dive to discover the true depth and breadth and height of it." That word came true approximately 5 years ago, and I'm telling you, the revelation that God loves me and that can't be changed, changed my life forever. I've realized that there's nothing I can think, feel, do, or say to make Him stop loving me. How freeing! :)