Tuesday, September 05 2006
"We want to know whether the universe simply happens to be what it is for no reason or whether there is a power behind it that makes it what it is." Mere Christianity
As a child I used to try to imagine "nothing". You know what? I couldn't do it.
When I would try to imagine nothing, there was always something. I would close my eyes and imagine total blackness. But then I realized that blackness is something.
So I would imagine complete whiteness instead. But then I recognized that whiteness is something.
This little exercise in imagination led me to my first philosophical insight. It made me realize that there has always been something. And that realization led to the question: Did the universe begin with some THING or with some ONE? In other words, was there a personal beginning to the universe, or an impersonal one?
It seemed obvious to me as a child, and it still seems obvious now, that humans are personal beings. Descartes said, "Cogito ergo sum." "I think therefore I am." All human beings are thinking, rational (some more than others), personal beings.
So how did the personal evolve from the impersonal? Such an evolution seemed to me as a child, and it still seems now, rather impossible, or at least improbable. Thus, there must be "behind" or "outside" of the universe itself a personal being, a mind at least, who created all that is, or at least got it all going.
By this chain of reasoning I too arrived at the same conclusion as C. S. Lewis in his chapter: What Lies Behind the Law. But of course the Psalmist put it all so much more simply, and beautifully, when he wrote:
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens made;
and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."
Why not make the following your prayer to your Creator today?
O God in whom I live and have my being,
Be in my head, and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes, and in my looking;
God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
God be in my heart, and in my feeling;
God be at my end, and at my departing.
(Adapted from the Old Sarum Primer.)