At the latter end of this summer, when I was wandering a bit, the question of existence was laid in my mind. I wondered about the origin of all things, and I compared the two simplified explanations of the existence of the universe, and when I say universe, I mean all that exists in every dimension of every point in space and time and dimension: if it exists in some form in some way in some “where” I am including it in my definition of universe.
The first explanation is that the universe has always existed and is essentially uncreated. The very matter that you are made of has simply always been. It is eternal. The second explanation is that everything that exists exists because of the first mover, a something or someone that all that exists (except for itself) depends on. Now I am neither a philosopher, a physicist, or a theologian, but I am intelligent, and I have concluded that neither of these two explanations are fully satisfactory in answering the question of existence. And the reason is that they are two sides of the same coin: that there is some “thing” that has always existed, that has no beginning and will probably have no end. The only difference is what that substance of that “thing” is. In one, it is matter, and in the other it is something that we call spirit, but that is undetectable by any scientific means. In either case, eternity prior to this moment is impossible, at least when we think of it in terms of time. There is no possible way that an infinite amount of time could have occurred before now because you would never be able to arrive at the present moment because there are a never-ending number of moments prior to this one that you’d have to come to first, but you would never be able to get to ANY of those moments either because there are also a never-ending number of moments prior to each and every one of them. So how could something, whether matter or spirit, have always existed?
So an eternity that pre-exists this one makes no sense. But a timeline with a beginning also makes just as little sense because it simply begs the question, “what was there the moment before the first moment?” Well, there was nothing. So where did the first moment come from? How did any of this get here? The first mover. Ok, well how did this mover start to move? What within in the mover changed and decided that it was “time” to create “time” and all the other things that exist? Now drawing from Christian theology, which believes that the first mover (God) is unchanging, how could God start moving? Wouldn’t moving be a part of the essence of what God is? Wouldn’t God always have been moving?
To me it makes absolutely no sense that anything, whether matter or spirit could have existed forever before this moment. But it makes just as little sense that there could be a beginning to anything because there had to be something before that to make it begin. So it seems that existence itself is impossible. It makes no sense whatsoever that any of this should exist: me, you, earth, the solar system, our galaxy, time, space, or even God.
And yet, here we are. I know I exist. And I know I am not God. I did not create my existence. Someone else did, and the progression of causes must have a first uncaused cause, and tbecause that does not make sense in all that mankind can perceive, the first cause must be beyond reason, above comprehension. It must live or exist in some realm incomprehensible to any created thing, a “place” that is not subject to the rules of beginnings and ends or the complexities of eternity.
And that is what ultimately lead me back to the altar at the end of the summer. There is something so much more vast out “there” beyond our comprehension that has caused everything we can perceive or even imagine, and that in our infinitesimal experiences we call love, this something must love us beyond our ability to comprehend in order to even allow us to exist. And of course a love that powerful would probably not be able to create without deeply desiring to reveal itself. And so I’m lead back to Christ, the most probable of all supposed revelations. And if I’m lead back to Christ I can’t help but be lead back to the Catholic Church. And when you consider what the Sacraments are, what they really are, your mind should be freaking blown! Sorry, but seriously. The God that did all of this, presents himself under a tiny piece of bread and then you take him into yourself. The bigger-than-the-universe chooses to reside in you. When you receive absolution, the mercy and love which caused every star to shine and every last subatomic particle to come into existence is poured fully into your soul!
How are we able to live through, and survive, such an incredible event?! It’s absolutely mind-numbing to consider the significance of any of this. How could we refuse, in any capacity to cooperate with God when we consider all of this? How can our hearts not burn with intensity and zeal? How can we desire any stupid material object? How could we consider harming another soul?
How could our thoughts turn onto anything but God?