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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Through All and In All

Matter itself does not exist by its own right, as some brute fact unto itself, necessitating itself and sustaining itself, but rather it exists wholly by, in, and through a Mind. The stuff of this Mind seeds existence and enables, vitalizes, infuses the material world with the ability to be and to unfold as the glorious rational universe that it is. The space the universe inhabits is not its own nor did it somehow self-actualize, but is in and through God’s being. That is why matter possesses the properties of consciousness. Human being as well as other living things grew out of the universe because matter is infused with the Logos of God, who is the life and the light. 

Matter cannot be so magical as to somehow make necessary its own existence, and then endow upon itself the ability to possess consciousness. Matter is necessitated and sustained by a transcendent and necessary Mind and this Mind is timeless and eternal, a fact unto itself in a way that we cannot comprehend.

John 1:3-4 says of this Mind, “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” This property of consciousness within matter has as its Source the same Source from and through which matter itself exists. 

This Source is that ultimate necessity which possibilizes existence: God. 

Paul the apostle states this same concept when he writes, “He is the One who is before all, and all things exist in Him” (Colossians 1:17) and “In Him we live, move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28) and "From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen" (Romans 11:36). The same life that permeates existence allowing it to be, is the life that is the light of consciousness shining forth in the human mind, bringing to life the material human body with breath and identity. He is through all and in all.

Even though we must conclude that the existence of matter is through something transcendent, this fact however is not immediately apparent. The reason it is not immediately apparent is simply because matter is immediately available to our senses and therefore does not fit our definition of transcendent. That is, we see and touch matter, we study its regular patterns, and we call these regularities laws, and we call the study of these laws science.

Nothing “transcendent” about that, right?

But just because matter is seen, touched, and shown to behave according to regular patterns, does not explain why it has being, or how it continues to be, or why it behaves in regular patterns, or why these laws continue to exist. Just because the material world is perceived and we are use to that fact does not make its existence necessary. The existence of the laws which matter follows is not necessary in and of itself either. A little closer look at the quantum nature of matter, as well as a few existential ponderings, and we begin to see the transcendent nature of all things, including matter.

To the atheist who believes that science is the be-all-end-all, allow me to say that science is simply the study of the regularities of matter. We call these regularities “laws”. Are these laws somehow compelled to exist in and of themselves? Are we to accept these laws as ultimate, brute facts with no reason for existing other than that they just do? Again the question is asked, “Who created these laws?” Professor of philosopher Richard Swiburne does a brilliant job uncovering the truth about “laws of nature”, that they are a mystery just like everything else, and must arise out of some ultimate substance.

“What is a law of nature? To say that it is a law of nature that all bodies behave in a certain way is, I suggest, just to say that each body of physical necessity behaves in that way. And it is simpler to suppose that this uniformity arises from the action of one substance which causes them all to behave in the same way, rather than to suppose that all bodies behaving in the same uniform way is an ultimate brute fact.” - Richard Swinburne, “Design Defended,” Think (Spring 2004): 14

In other words, the fact that there are laws of nature does not explain anything except that there are laws of nature. The only thing this leads to is the question, “Why are there laws of nature and where do they come from?”

As Oxford philosopher John Foster says, “We shall be rationally warranted in concluding that it is God-the God of the theistic account-who creates the laws by imposing the regularities on the world as regularities.” - John Foster, The Divine Lawmaker: Lectures on Induction, Laws of Nature and the Existence of God (Oxford: Clarendon, 2004), 160

Matter is not necessary unto itself. Matter has as its nature some transcendent, enabling factor. Though this is not immediately obvious because matter is so commonly perceived, it is nonetheless the logical conclusion.

However, consciousness is not so regular. Consciousness is spontaneous, possessing personal awareness, individual will, and subjective feelings and thoughts. For consciousness, it is more immediately obvious than matter that it is has as its source some transcendent factor. The same transcendent conscious Mind that matter exists through is what allows matter to possess the mysterious and spiritual properties of consciousness.

When I use the word transcendent, I mean something that is of a higher realm then we are capable of comprehending. I mean a reality that cannot be explained but can only be accepted as having its essence in the ineffable and eternal.

The properties for life, consciousness, and rationality are engrained in the material universe, not because matter is the ultimate fact of existence, but because life, consciousness, and rationality is the ultimate fact of existence, the life, consciousness, and rationality of God.

The universe comes forth from transcendent life, consciousness, and rationality. The universe, everywhere, is growing out of the truth of existence, which is God. Life, consciousness, and rationality is a truth to the very essence of existence, because it is the traits of God, and that is why the universe unfolded towards the same, and life and consciousness and rational beings blossomed out of this “matter”.
Material existence therefore proceeds out of a superior rational conscious Being, and thus rational consciousness inevitably is infused through the universe, being an expression of this eternal rational conscious Being.

“How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds life? It has occurred to me lately - I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities - that both questions might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality- that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create: science, art, and technology-making creatures.” -George Wald, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology, and former atheist, 1984, “Life and Mind in the Universe”, International Journal of Quantum Chemistry: Quantum Biology Symposium 11, 1984: 1-15.

Sensibleness and rationality in humans perception of the universe is part of this infusion of the transcendent Rationality through reality. For sensible mathematics to simply just exist, unconscious of how or why they exist, with no preceding Being which gave them their ability for sensibleness, would plainly contradict any type of logical scenario.

Not only can a brute, unconscious universe not endow consciousness upon itself, neither can it endow upon itself rationality.

The concepts of order and sensibleness could not have unconsciously and coincidentally jumped into existence mindlessly becoming a truth in and of themselves, with rationality and thus meaning in conscious beings being the outcome. There is no reason these concepts should have the ability of existing through brute matter without some sort of superior rational Being enabling them. The concepts of sensibleness, order, and rationality reflect a higher order, which is the Source of the universe’s reflection of the same.

This superior rational Being expresses itself through creation, and therefore existence is infused with His eternal nature of meaning and truth, inevitably causing reality to manifest consciousness and rationality and meaning. As discussed previously, matter possesses deep within it the properties of life, consciousness, and rationality. And this is simply because the primal energy which makes up matter comes forth from God, therefore naturally has within it the living expression of God.

The property of consciousness within matter is of course the life of God, infused into all things, who all things exist through, who is the fuel of existence, the life-blood running through its veins, the ability for something to be, and who’s life breathes through matter to allow living beings to come forth. In the following, Albert Einstein, through numerous quotes of his, does a good job relating the mystery of the rationality shining through the universe.

“I have never found a better expression than ‘religious’ for this trust in the rational nature of reality and of it peculiar accessibility to the human mind. Where this trust is lacking science degenerates into uninspired empiricism.” – Albert Einstein 

“But whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances made in this domain, is moved by the profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence… the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence.” – Albert Einstein 

“Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order. The firm belief, which is bound up with deep feeling, in a superior mind revealing himself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God.” - Albert Einstein 

“Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.” – Albert Einstein 

“My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God." - Albert Einstein 

Forget the gap of billions of years between the big bang and the development of human being. Billions of years doesn't do the magic trick. Time is not the hero. Time is part of the miracles of all things. No matter the long time frame, the idea that nothing (or compressed hydrogen; whatever you are convinced was there before the big bang) would morph into intelligent consciousness that perceives existence (human being), is infinitely strange and impossible. This is obvious and yet a joyous revelation of the all-pervasive and divine purpose of the universe and our existence. It is all a grand miracle endowed by a great Being. There is a purpose. Existence itself is a manifestation of that purpose. You are the carrier of this existential purpose, within your own breast, and are propelled forth by it day in and day out. This purpose that is manifested through our universe is actualized by a Being who purposes. GOD forever, amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

in the eternal radiance

In the eternal radiance
The sweet smoke and fragrance
Of undying, unyielding love
Flowing like angels
In the celestial springs above
The high immortal brilliance
Like a rushing fall of water
Billowing to and through me
Ever feeding the blaze
The purest sacred fire
Of the loveliest majesty
And terrifying beauty
Of transcendent being
Piercing through my soul
Streaming through my veins
Cascading into my heart
Flooding my vision
With tears of holy desire
The sweetness of holiness
Roars with flashing dreams
Of the romance of reality
And the glory of Essence
Boredom is joyfully stabbed
And love is eagerly awakened
Like a light show in the heavens
(A cry like the dawn
Streaking across the morning)
Then flaming music cascades
Like a thousand waves of heaven
On the shores of eternal oceans
In the hearts of the likeness
Of God.

Jacob Wright - 2005

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Wonder of Existence

"The world is still full of divinity and strangeness, Mr. Shawnessy said. The scientist stops, where all men do, at the doors of birth and death. He knows no more than you and I why a seed remembers the oak of 20 million years ago, why dust acquires the form of a woman, why we behold the earth in space and time. He hasn’t yet solved the secret of a single name upon the earth. We may pluck the nymph from the river, but we won’t pluck the river from ourselves: this coiled divinity is still all murmurous and strange. There are sacred places everywhere. The world is still man’s druid grove, where he wanders hunting for the Tree of Life.” - Ross Lockridge

God, the great Spirit who breathes through existence, who expresses Himself through a reality that manifests beauty and love and meaning. 

God penetrates, enables, and sustains, this whole reality.

"Our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in... But even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? Is the unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence?" - Stephen Hawkings

Here Hawkings is entertaining the most wonderful existential contemplation. In other words, what is the life-giving factor that enables the very concept or necessity that something should exist? Much more a rationally perceiving reality?

There is a vibrancy and life-giving factor to that infinite mind-boggler that is exploding with divine miracle and mystery: the glorious positive that there was not a chance or reason in all of nothingness that anything should ever exist, but then that it DOES, and this reality BECAME, not out of nothingness, but because this all-encompassing eternal Truth, 'I AM', this principle Being called "God" exists. Exuding out of the Infinite comes an expression, a reality. This is beautiful to me. When my mind goes to this place I can only say, "Wow."

What common people take for granted, that is, to be, is a wonderful, ineffable miracle that is exploding with mystery and life.

Once I was not, but now I am.

Existence exists.

When I look around and touch and hear, I am astounded. What is it to be? What is existence?

“The most unfathomable schools and sages have never attained to the gravity which dwells in the eyes of a baby of three months old. It is the gravity of astonishment at the universe, and astonishment at the universe is not mysticism, but a transcendent common sense. - GK Chesterton 

I think what Chesterton was getting at was more than just astonishment at the universe, but astonishment at being. Once you were not, and now you are. And the utter fascination with suddenly perceiving, fascinated with reality. Seeing, hearing, touching, a universe. It is a return to truth, a return to a most primal truth, a return to a certain innocence, and for some it might border on the ridiculous. But it is a basic necessity. To never leave this truth of the wonder of being, and all that it means.

Think of the miracle of human consciousness coming into being. A man and a woman engage in a passionate and ecstatic union of body and soul, and out of this a fusion of the man and woman begins and a new conscious being is conceived into the universe.

Locked in the dark womb, it pushes and struggles out into... a universe. Imagine the wonder.

Now, it must awaken to God.

The more I ponder the nature of existence, the more I become a child. I am sent flying into a wonder I never knew was possible. Life is magical, and so the reality of existence. As Einstein related, there is a deep, inextenguishable wonder that can be awakened within us that makes us children forever. "We never cease to stand like children before this great Mystery into which we were born" (Einstein). And Einstein was right when he said that it is  mystery, wonder, beauty that the spirit of man thrives on and that is at the center of the spiritual life:

"The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms -- this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness." - Albert Einstein

It is the reality of the Infinite, the Ineffable, which allows for a reality to be. And this God simply is. This God revealed His name as "I AM", the simple reality of Being, the reality that He IS. He is all and in all. The peak of wonder is when the mind entertains this highest existential pondering of the "Is-ness" of pure and necessary transcendent Being, the One whom we call God. This is what is sought to be captured in the ideas of the otherness, the holiness, the divine transcendence. But no finite words can ever describe what can finally only be wondered at. The highest state of the souls rapture of awe is awakening to this Being. In this we are always children, and we will be forever. In awe of the magical world that God breathes into life, that God Himself streams through.

We must be continually fascinated with the miracle of existence. If you ponder existence long enough, you will be dumbfounded by the mystery into which you born.

First, that something rather than nothing exists and the miracle of all which that fact entails.

Furthermore, earth, water, wind, fire. Dirt that is a perfect substance for fertilization and the growth of plants, grass, trees, fruit, vegetables, enlivening the earth with wild, living vibrancy. The gigantic burning ball of fire suspended in space, its energy outpouring in every direction for lightyears, which we on this planet spin around in such a way that its light touches nearly every part of this sphere. As the sun rises, do you ever think that it is not rising, but that we are sitting on this massive ball floating through space and revolving into view of this huge cosmic light?

We are in a cosmos. 

It's spectacular. 

There are endless wonders of this existence. The beginning of wonder is the miracle that anything should exist at all. From there, we are dazzled with the endless miracles which make up our earth, life, consciousness, the sun and stars, space, time, and the universe.

What is the principle upon which existence finds it reason and source for existing?

What most people do is just go along in life, conditioned into the normality of existing, accept reality as a given, try to get by, and do as their told, never stopping to wonder at their existence. But nothing should be seen as a given. The existence of existence is not necessary, unless for a purpose behind it all. 

What gives existence the right and necessity to exist? That's the point I am trying to make. To attempt to rip the blinds off to show that existence is not a given, it's not "natural". When you begin to entertain this way of thinking, you begin to be in constant wonder of it all, and I think wonder is a deep truth to existence. You feel most alive when you wonder. Nature is not ultimately natural. Nature has no basis in itself. There is not a natural state of things. What we see as nature has its source wholly in something supernatural and transcendent.

Now, sit back and ponder this. Existence. Look around. What do you perceive? Reality. Is it really just a given? Is there any reason at all why anything should be?  You’ve grown up in existence. You’re use to it. You go day in and day out, working, going to school, going to sleep, existing, and you’re use to it. But what is it all and what makes anything necessary?

Now put your fingers on something and touch it. Go ahead, touch something. Why does existence exist? There is a divine ultimate that fuels existence for a purpose. Existence is a miracle, completely unnecessary, except for God.

Think about Isaac Newton. Before him we just thought it was a given that we were walking around on earth. Things stayed on the ground. It was a given. People sat, laid, stood, and walked without giving it a thought. Surely there were curious souls who pondered why things were drawn to the earth in this way instead of flying off into the sky. But it’s just life that things are bound to the ground. What goes up must come down. We knew nothing else. Things on the earth stay on the earth, and why should the question arise of why?

Then one day, as tradition has it, Newton observed an apple falling from a tree.

A sudden moment of realization hit him, “The apple is accelerated. Its velocity goes from zero as it hangs motionless on the tree and then is accelerated as it moves towards the ground. There must be a force that acts upon the apple to cause this acceleration.“ And by pondering what was normally a given, he discovered the law of gravity.

It is this way of thinking that we can apply to existence itself. It is not just a given that things are bound to the ground, it is because of the law of gravity, a force that pulls them. But wait, is the law of gravity itself a given? Why does the law of gravity exist? This question could be applied to everything until we arrive at existence itself.

We are accustomed to gravity, and it took a brilliant mind to think out of the box as to why things moved towards the earth. But we can apply this same thinking to existence. We are accustomed to existing, many times bored with it. We don’t regularly ponder the great strange wonder of existence. And so we go about our lives as if existence is a given, chasing money, and possessions, and power, and influence, and fame. Sometimes in the back of our minds there might be a faint whisper, “There is more to this.” But rarely ever does it make us arrive at the breathtaking wonder of existence and the deep-seated longing for the truth of our existence. 

God, the Beauty of all, eternal life-force that enables every atom in the universe, allowing the existence of something rather than nothing, animating it into the reality which we perceive, birthing rational human being out of these atoms, making possible every movement of wonder in our hearts. Eternal Necessity in all, yet transcending all. He is All in all and beyond. Stand in awe. Thank Him for existence. GOD forever. 

The presence of ineffable beauty within reality is the echo of eternal truth. 

This is when life makes sense.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Birth and Awakening

Once upon a time, I did not exist.

Then once upon a time, as a result of an intimate union of two beings, I slowly began coming into existence. 

It was a miracle. Out of the fusion of two beings, a new individual, conscious identity began to emerge.

As the form of me grew, so did my consciousness, the experience of myself, my surroundings, and existence. 

I was slowly becoming me.

As I struggled and pushed out of the womb, I found myself in a universe. I was barely aware of what it all was, but with startled eyes I looked in wonder on what I had been birthed into. I screamed in terror, observed in astonishment, and found refuge in cradling arms.

I had been born into an epic struggle. A struggle between life and death, truth and falsehood, joy and pain, beauty and ugliness, love and fear.

Now that I existed, I was set on a journey to awaken to the meaning of all things. My consciousness of myself and existence would increase to the capacity that I would be able to rationally ponder and discover the Essence of what existence was about, even the awakening to God.

I went from non-existence to the capacity of knowing the Infinite.

In between was a miraculous divine spark of life, initiated by the union of two beings.

Many things would try to rob me of my awakening. This place was full of things posed as distractions. A shadow world reflecting a transcendent truth. But deep down that divine spark still flickered within, a longing I could never completely ignore, hopefully to woo me into a knowledge of a Beauty and Love calling to me through all things, and this flicker would become a wildfire that would engulf my whole awareness with the truth of my existence.