Is there a creative intelligence that is the source of everything? What is this energy that created you from a handful of cells and grew you into a fully formed human being?
What governs the cycles of life? Cycles such as those by which water becomes steam, which becomes clouds, which condense and fall as rain, which enables plants to grow and animals to thrive, before once again turning to steam?
What governs the cycle of birth, life and death by which spent matter returns to the earth and becomes new life?
We know the universe is sensitively balanced to make life possible. A miniscule variation either way would bring life on Earth to an end (some say it is already doing so). Air turbulence over the North Pole changes global weather patterns. A burning tree in the Amazon affects air quality in London and Paris. A ball thrown into the air anywhere requires an adjustment to be made in space. A whale harpooned off the coast of Norway eventually disturbs the balance of life in the Pacific. If the conditions which sustain life were changed by the tiniest degree, there would be no animals or plants as we know them, and no humans trying to make sense of it all.
If this endless cycle of creativity suddenly came to an end, everything – including us – would immediately cease to exist!
So what is this underlying force, energy, intelligence, whatever you want to call it?
I DON’T KNOW!
And I’m suspicious of anyone who claims to have the definite answer, especially if they’re wearing a cassock! Perhaps our tiny human brains can never know! But here’s an ancient story that illustrates the dilemma:
One day a farmer came across a traveller resting in one of his fields. ‘What a beautiful farm,’ said the traveller taking in the view. ‘Just look at the fields of golden corn, the vegetables growing, cows grazing peacefully. The gods have been very good to you.’
‘Yes they have,’ replied the farmer, ‘but you should have seen it when they had it to themselves!’
©David Lawrence Preston, 16.3.2016
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How to Books, 2007