Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Opus

We spend a lot of time talking about "the Creation," something that took place 13.7 billion years ago. An infinitely small, infinitely hot seed of energy blazes into existence, apparently ex nihilo. And we invoke this exceptional event as proof of God. The Uncaused Cause, and all that.

This has always seemed to me rather pointless. For one thing, if I wanted proof of the existence of God I wouldn't base it on any scientific theory, especially one as speculative as the Big Bang. Theories have a way of being superseded. Maybe the universe will turn out to be Steady State after all. Maybe the Big Bang is cyclic. Who knows what we'll believe a hundred years from now?

And why does the Uncaused Cause have to be a person, which -- face it -- is most people's idea of God? Sounds like the ultimate idolatry to me. Divest the Uncaused Cause of human trappings and you have a God that is exactly equivalent to "I don't know," so why bother? Call it X, if you wish. The Church of X.

Hitching God to the Big Bang is a fool's errand. "Creation is here and now," wrote Henry Beston in The Outermost House, his account of a year spent on the Nauset dunes of Cape Cod. "So near is man to the creative pageant, so much a part is he of the endless and incredible experiment, that any glimpse he may have will be but the revelation of a moment, a solitary note heard in a symphony thundering through...time."

Let others go looking for God in the singularities and presumed gaps. I'll sit here on the porch and watch Argiope argentata spin her web, listening as best I can to the creative symphony of the here and now.