Resting in the logic beyond logic.
This week some of the first photographs from the James Webb deep space telescope will be released. These might well prove to be awesome, a word which modern usage has diminished. It once was used to describe one’s encounter with the terrifying beauty of God in which it was so awesome and fear=inducing, one’s very bone marrow sloshed around like a storm-tossed sea.
We truly have lost the sense of the awesome. One of the consequences of this loss is that our vision is very limited. This lack of vision applies to our understanding of God’s omniscience.
Einstein’s General Theory of Gravity postulates that there is a geometry of space and time that is already determined from the Big Bang to the End.
But as the old infomercials used to say, “Wait, there’s more.” Astronomers have known for some time that what we see of the universe and what we understand of its physics cannot account for well over eighty percent of the universe itself, the invisible mass and invisible energy that has its effects upon what is seen. “Dark mass” and “dark energy” are the names given to this mass and energy, “dark” because they are unseen and not understood. We know both are there, but we don’t know what they are and how they work. Both are beyond all we know of physics and mathematics.
But what we do know is mind-boggling, to use an old cliché. Several years ago, an educational movie entitled “Powers of Ten” moved ever-upwards through powers of ten into the big picture of our universe, then ever-downward in powers of ten into the minute picture of our universe. It was a stunning up and down excursion. But this only includes what is known. How dark energy and dark mass fit into these powers, which it does, is just elusive and might well always be.
Hubris makes us believe that we can understand the mind of God. We also believe that the universe is logical, at least in the way we understand logic, thus its Creator must be logical, too. But over the years we’ve discovered what I call the Uber Logic behind much of contemporary science’s discoveries, or a logic in which the universe works in a way that transcends our traditional logical conceptions. One of the logical precepts that no longer seems to hold is that when something is A, it cannot be B. The reality that there are greater and lesser infinities in mathematics defies our traditional logic. That galaxies are moving apart far faster than they should be according to the prediction of physics is another. And that a particle can be in two places simultaneously is also another. There are many more realities that transcend our logic; all these testifying to the knowledge and power of a God who we think we can understand, but who always seems to say, “Wait, there’s more.”
God’s mercy itself transcends our logic. We could not invent a God who brings His enemies into the fold through the ignominious death of His sinless Son on a Cross. A God who loved fallen and sinful humanity so much that He would allow His Son, who revealed His Father’s justice and love perfectly, but was unjustly crucified, to take on our sin so that His Son could become our sin and we could become His Son’s righteousness. And, defying our human logic, this omniscient God knew you and me even before we were born but still nonetheless loved us. The love of an omniscient God is even more difficult to understand logically than understanding how dark mass and dark energy work. Dark matter and dark energy are truly awesome concepts. But their awesomeness is nothing compared to the awesomeness of God’s grace.