When doing Lectio Divina (Phil 2:5) a while back, some thoughts that came to mind when I thought about Christ emptying himself to become human, I thought about these other strange inconsistencies in my view of reality. Trying to seek God, at the core of what it means to be a Lay Cistercian, means living with what does not make sense. I can live with this because I consider it a mystery of faith, even though I don’t quite understand it, it is believable.
PROBLEM ONE: One such difficulty I have is why God, who exists in unapproachable light and is pure energy, pure love, pure thought, and pure service, needs to even create any matter and time, much less sentient beings such as Adam and Eve. There is only one reason why God would do this. Read John 3:16. Love is energy. Love is a nature. Love is the Spiritual Universe. Love is.
PROBLEM TWO: Why do humans have reason? Even though I think humans have reason for a reason, it is strange to look out on the landscape of my life and see how human reason can be used for good and also for evil. From the very beginning of the Book of Genesis, our chronicle of human behavior, there is dysfunction. Adam and Eve want to be God. Caine kills Abel. The tower of Bable. Humans do not know how to use reason (choice). Reason does not insure that we won’t choose something bad for us. That there is sin means we do choose what is not good for us even though we have seen the marvels of the works of God in our world.
PROBLEM THREE: Where is everyone? The famous line from Enrico Fermi, called the Fermi Paradox, asks the question of why can’t we find evidence of human life, any life, in our universe. Some answered this question by telling us why we can’t find human life anywhere, such as the Drake Equation, Dr. Frank Drake’s calculation to estimate the probablilty of life in the universe. See https://www.space.com/25219-drake-equation.html What I find interesting is the purposeful squewing of the answer to this question in favor of the “there must be life out there, we just haven’t found it yet” arguement. What if the opposite is true? What if there is no life out there? Impossible? I actually think that there may be life out there, but I am open to thinking that there is no other reasoning civilizations in the universe. The assumptions you get when you think there is no other sentient life out there is frightening. If you look at the question of why we have reason, the assumptions are that a mind, someone rational, created us for a reason and that we are here on earth for a reason. Where you get the answer to these questions depends on human reason but also faith, faith in the words of Jesus on why we are here on earth. Human reason must look at reality and make a decision on what is reasonable and what needs additional knowledge to make it real. The notion of mystery is a way to say that I don’t know why but it seems reasonable, given the reasons Jesus gave us for why we are here and how to live forever. For some it is a stumbling block, for other it is folly. For those who believe, there is no answer necessary; for those without faith, no answer is possible, Read John 1:1.
PROBLEM FOUR: We are not meant for space travel. Compounding the problem where is everyone is the issue of space travel. The thinking these days is that we need to travel to other worlds when this one runs out of fuel (more likely water). The problem is we did not evolve in space but in the context of gravity. Space is not our natural environment. Wonder if we are not meant to travel in space? Wonder if we are designed to live for seventy or eighty years and then die? Wonder if earth is just a platform, a boot camp for humans, a training camp for those to prepare to live Forever? This goes to the purpose of why we are here. You have reason to discover this. You are here to discover how to live forever. You have to discover how to do this, among all the false ways, prophets (profits) and false ideologies.
PROBLEM FIVE: How does all reality fit together? Depends. It depends on what you mean by the purpose of life, what your purpose in life is, what reality looks like to you, what you think about the meaning of love, and how you deal with your death. Reality fits together in the most macro of ways (three universes of physical, mental and spiritual). We are not talking about a theory of everything (Quantum theory and the Standard Model of relativity as one theory). That won’t work for me because science doesn’t deal with all of reality, just what can be seen and measured. Part of what it means to live in the physical and mental universes is to seek what is real and discover meaning. Part of what is means to live in the physical, mental and spiritual universes is to seek God. As a Lay Cistercian, I have some of the tools to discover God, actually the word uncovers God might also be appropriate. Each day, something new happens to link all of reality together.
PROBLEM SIX: The Change in Spiritual Polarity. Every so often (measured in geologic time) the poles of the earth reverse.
It happens. There are consequences. In one of my Lectio Divina (Phil 2:5) sessions, I thought about how these natural phenomena, pole reversal, plate techtonics, subduction zones, play a part in the way we live where we find ourselves. I also thought about Problem Five (above) and how physical, mental and spiritual universes are inter-related, although we don’t yet have the intelligence nor the tools to see how they all fit together.
As a Lay Cistercian, I believe I have had spiritual pole reversals. Impossible? Think about it. I have changed the way I look at life. I have changed what is important in life. I have survived cardiac arrest (2007) and leukemia (CLL type) (2014). These are personal pole resersals because I switched priorities. There is a much deeper spiritual pole that went on as a result of the Resurrection Enigma, the title of one of my manuscripts. It is an enigma because it does not make sense, logically and with what we know of human love. Read Philippians 2:5-12. With the Resurrection of Christ, the poles of the Spiritual Universe reversed with consequences. These consequences are documented in Scripture (John 11:25-27, I Corinthians 15:12-28). It is impossible to approach God directly by any human. It would fry our neurons and disintegrate our cellular integrity. This is pure energy we are talking about, something we can only see as through a foggy glass. Look at the window below and reflect on the spiritual pole reversal of the Resurrection and what that means before and after.
The Resurrection allowed humans to be in the presence of God without destroying out nature. We do that through Christ, our mediator, our advocate before the Father, one who can approach unapproachable light to give the Father glory through, with, and in Christ, in unity of the Holy Spirit. Read John 17 for the purpose for which Christ became human. Adam and Eve tried to related to God as divine and paid the price. We are able to related to God because Jesus has said we are adopted sons and daughters of the Father and heirs of the kingdom. God makes living in his presence possible, just as he became man for our salavaion and overshadowed Mary with his grace (energy).
One of the consequences of spiritual pole reserval is this. Things are not as they used to be. Physical and mental universe characteristics do not change, nor do the Laws of Nature and Science. What did change is that living in the spiritual universe is subject to the three rules of that universe. They are:
You choose the Center or purpose of your life. One of the challenges you have in the seventy or so years you have on earth is determining what your center is. Your center is who you are and hope to be. Only you can choose your center.
You live in a universe with the sign of contradiction is default. With spiritual pole reversal come the rule of opposities. What was up is now down. It is the sign of contradiction. Everything about Christ goes contrary to what the world thinks. This is a constant theme from the time of the Apostles to now. Examples: God becomes human; Mary is overshadowed by the Holy Spirit; the virgin shall conceive a bear a son; greater love than this no one has than to give his life for another; to lead you must serve; the first shall be last. You get the point. Everything in the spiritual universe is the opposite of what the world teaches us as meaningful.
Your center will eventually corrupt without you sustaining it. We live with the effects of Original Sin, even as we are absolved from death. The Resurrection freed us from death but we still must work for our salvation. We do that by loving others as Christ loved us. Read Matthew 25:31-46. We need food for the journey (Eucharist) and the ability to make all things new (Penance and Forgiveness). We need to have mercy on others as we wish to have God treat us. Just as Adam and Eve, we must work as though everything depended upon us and pray as though everything depends on God’s mercy.
So, what does all of this mean? For me, it means science only answers a part of reality, but a critically important part. Science is good. Spirituality, expecially one that has the authority from Christ, contradicts the meaning of the world, but his contradiction is reasonable (faith informed by reason). To discover what it means to be fully human, what we humans were destined to become, we need not only the physical and mental universes, but the completion by the spiritual universe.
Praise be the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who was, who is, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. Cistercian Doxology.