By Annette Francine
I’m curious. I like asking questions. Encouraging others to question, think, and analyze. I want to scrutinize and attempt to understand elements of our existence: our physical world, our emotional world, our spiritual world, and how they interrelate, regardless of whether or not that interrelation is readily perceived or can be measured. The more I learn, the more curious I tend to become.
For example: I readily accept what Science maintains as true regarding the Big Bang Theory of our universe’s creation. To wit: the universe was born with the Big Bang as an unimaginably hot, dense point. Scientists have not yet determined nor settled on any hypothesis about the origin of this hot, dense point; from what or where it manifested itself. But, lacking evidence to argue against what conforms to the best theory presented so far, we accept that it simply was.
When the universe was just 10-34 of a second or so old — that is, a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second in age — it experienced an incredible burst of expansion known as inflation, in which space itself expanded faster than the speed of light. During this period, the universe doubled in size at least 90 times, going from subatomic-sized to golf-ball-sized almost instantaneously. After inflation, the growth of the universe continued, but at a slower rate. As space expanded, the universe cooled and matter formed. One second after the Big Bang, the universe was filled with neutrons, protons, electrons, anti-electrons, photons and neutrinos.*
So, let’s review. In effect, we start with nothing. According to scientific theory, not even light exists at this point. From that ‘nothing’, an unimaginably hot, dense point somehow emerges. In an instant, energy explodes from it. In scientific animations I’ve seen of this event, this is always depicted as a tremendous explosion of light. (No matter at this point, right? Pure energy only.) As this energy slows and cools, matter manifests.
I recently began participating in an online Bible study on the Book of Genesis. Even though I’ve read the Bible through a couple of times, I’ve never participated in an actual study of it until recently. This time, the opening lines of Genesis really struck me:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Huh, said I to myself. Interesting how this corresponds to the scientific origin theory. Then I read on.
6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so.
Only after contemplating this for a bit, in an attempt to digest exactly what was being communicated, did I connect this detail with rudiments learned in fourth grade: our atmosphere, the air we breathe, behaves as and shares the same characteristics as liquid. Buoyancy, currents, temperature, flow, density, pressure, etc. are all properties inherent in both. Isn’t that intriguiging?
Now I’m scratching my head and wondering how Moses, who (according to tradition) recorded these words some three to four thousand years ago, would/could know anything about the scientific properties of air or water. Even a few hundred years ago, we had no way of identifying aspects of our natural world such as these.
Is it mere coincidence? Are Moses’ words simple analogies and I’m the one drawing the parallel, making them mean something more to me because of my Christian perspective? I don’t know. Could be. Someone with a different origin story may find similar parallels. But again, aren’t stories such as these handed down through the centuries – or across millennia, for that matter? Can there be more to it than superstition and myth?
Articles abound where researchers claim humans are genetically predisposed – neurologically wired – for belief in the spiritual. Although there are always individuals who are the exception, universally across this globe, every civilization/society (including those of antiquity) has developed some form of religion.
Evolution teaches that our biology, our physiology, and behaviors develop directly as a consequence of promoting survival. What evolutionary benefit is gained from our belief in (a) power(s) greater than ourselves? How is that linked to human survival?
Yes, shared belief links persons to societal groups, and groups collectively thrive to a far greater extent than individuals. But why is spiritual belief preprogrammed in us? Wouldn’t simple instinct common in many animals (think: packs, herds, flocks, etc.) serve the same purpose? Doesn’t it make you wonder?
When I write, I hope I incite curiosity and deeper examination of belief as well as human behavior. I’m grateful for this opportunity to explore aspects of it, and to share my curiosity with you.
Wishing you and yours a profoundly happy and blessed holiday season.
*Excerpted from Space.com