Tuesday, April 16, 2013

To Infinity and Beyond


We still know so little about our four dimensional reality – space plus time.  We have only the slightest inclination of an existence that remains beyond our detection.  Just a few years ago who would have heard the terms dark matter, dark energy, quarks or the Higgins boson?  These are vague catch-all terms for what, as yet, have no explanation.  All speculation about the nature of reality is valid until proven false.  There are plausible arguments for physical space having more than the three dimensions familiar to us.  Why not leave open the possibility that time itself is not as simple as we've described it?

Break down the life process of a single living cell and it can all be explained by the properties of organic molecules.  Is it at all surprising that life, which occurs only at the cellular level, should faithfully follow the laws of physics?  It appears so mechanistic, doesn’t it?  Score one for believers of sterile materialistic existence.  But wait.  How does one explain human consciousness?  What life-sustaining biological purpose does our level of inquiry serve?  Molecules organize into cells that contain the properties of life.  Cells, in turn, organize into more complex organisms.  As these organisms evolve into increasingly sophisticated forms they develop the capacity for an ever expanding awareness of, not only their surroundings, but of abstract understanding and appreciation of their own identity and of a unique inner life.  Our questions range beyond the source of our next meal to ones having for us no possible answer.  Why is there need for existence?  What is the nature of God, if God?  What role did God play prior to creation?  Was there ever a time of Nothing?  If not, why not?  If so, how does something come from absolute Nothing?

Our biological nature limits our ability to perceive and understand.  We are, after all, the mere result of an ingenious organization of simple cells.  We can stare steadfast into the face of existence itself and come away with no more understanding than does a dog peering at the printed word.  It is all there before us but we are not yet ready to know. 

Atheism is a word used by people unwilling to be limited by teachings thousands of years old.  The cantankerous old man of the Old Testament doesn’t fit what we know today except possibly as a literary metaphor or as a vengeful boogie man taught in a Sunday School class.  He might as well be Mother Goose when it comes time to answer our own more serious, probing questions. 

What happens when we die?  No one has the faintest idea.  We are completely free to speculate on the nature of existence following the physical demise of our own life-sustaining vessel.  I’m sure there are those that actually look forward to the solving of this age old mystery.  The good news is that we will either find our answers or we will never know that we didn't.

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