The Wonder of Creation
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind… “where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth.” (Job 38:1, 4; read Job 38-41)
Remember the wisdom of Psalm 8, “when I look at the heavens, the worlds, you have created, what are humans that God is mindful of them?” There are times we are filled with awe and wonder, when we ponder the nature of the universe. No one can fully fathom our world. Our understanding keeps evolving.
Remember when people thought the Milky Way was the totality of the universe, and then when we began to say there were 40, then 100 million, then a trillion galaxies, all in our lifetime. And, then of course, the wonders of our own bodies – the immune system, nervous system, pulmonary system, not to mention our digestive system – and our thought processes and the human imagination and its adventure of ideas.
Abraham Joshua Heschel asserted that radical amazement is central to religious experience. If you aren’t amazed, you can’t be religious, the Rabbi-theologian exclaimed.
Think about times and places when/where you’ve been amazed. I think of looking out onto the Pacific from Big Sur or the Truro light house, the night full of stars, the birth of our son, the vision of John Lewis, the forgiveness of the Amish community following the Nickels Mines massacre of their children. I think of great works of art, literature, and mystical stories.
Job is amazed when God reveals the fullness of the universe. Its majesty overwhelms him and reminds him that the tragic beauty of our lives – including this time of Coronavirus – is part of a much larger panorama of reality.
We are awestruck. Our problems still exist and yet they are no longer overwhelming. We are part of something everlasting, larger than us and our planet, dwarfing our fears and exciting our imaginations. We are truly “stardust and golden,” children of the big bang and God’s amazing and wise creativity and love.
How great thou art! How wonderful is your world, O God. I am amazed at the beauty of life and the complexity of the universe, revealed in my cells and my soul. Thank you, thank you, thank you.