Sunday, January 3, 2010

we breathe their breath, our breath they breathe

When I was a child for a time I was blessed to live in the Big Sky country of eastern Montana. They call it the big sky because there are unending miles of rolling hills of grassy plains with few trees and even fewer communities to break the view. From horizon to horizon to horizon to horizon the skies reach the Earth without interruption to the human eye.

On a clear night a young boy can climb a small hill in this vast openness, lie upon the grass and gaze upon the stars. It is always bright whether the moon is out or not, so immeasurable are the stars that light the night.

Laying in the soft breeze and staring into the sky in such a place is not like a normal view of the night sky we are all familiar with, where the stars are like pin lights shining thought a black velvet cloth. No this is far different, as different as youth is from maturity. Looking into the sky at that place at that time is not to see the night filled with stars but rather to see the depths of the universe. Spiraling outward from the grassy hill is infinity, stars upon stars upon ever more stars as deep as the eye can perceive even beyond the imagination of a child.

“Where does it end?” “Is there a wall?’ “What is on the other side?” Are there more stars there or is it just black emptiness on the other side?” “Who built the wall?” “There is no wall!” “So where does it end?” “Where does it start?” “Awe!”

Only twice in adulthood have I even come close to experiencing the heavens as I did in the Big Sky, one moonless night in the Everglades and once in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing however came close to the first time I stared into infinity and gasped with joy that I should see and feel such a thing. In that night in that place I knew there was a God, not because of the infinite Universe, but because I, a small child, could experience it and feel it and be a part of it. Touching infinity as it touched me.

And that is the key, I and all peoples that have ever been or ever will be are a part of the Universe, not apart from it. I am not an intruder upon the landscape of creation I am a part of it.

I recently posted a video by Sherwood Idso about carbon dioxide called the Breath of Life. In the video he uses his very breath to fertilize plant growth. Carbon Dioxide to plant life is as oxygen is to animal life. The symmetry of creation, the perfection of God, if you will, is that we breathe their breath, our breath they breathe.

This is no small matter either for the participants, which amounts to all of life on Earth, or for ones view of the world. It comes down to a fundamental outlook which is wrought with irony, is man(kind) part of creation or an intruder upon it? The ironies are these:

On the one side are those who do not believe in God, (no judgment here, I believe, belief is a gift from God) are most likely to view mankind as an intruder yet believe strongly in natural selection. In other words those who believe in what amounts to survival of the fittest are most likely to condemn mankind for practicing it.

On the other side you have those who believe in God and most likely believe that God has put all creatures and life forms here for our use now arguing that man is not apart from nature but a part of it.

This of course is a generalization, there are people who believe in God and believe also that we are destroying his creation through our actions a somewhat slap at God’s omnipotence in my opinion. There are also those who do not believe in God and do not believe that man is a destructive force in the scheme of things.

There is a simple truth in all this. If there is a God then the end is of His/Her choosing so whether we view ourselves as a part or apart from creation is really irrelevant, His will be done. If on the other hand there is no God the process of natural selection will determine the outcome.

The only other possibility defies both views, that man can determine the outcome apart from either God in which case why worship God? Or the evolution of natural selection is relevant to everything except man, in which case why have the theory? Either way the conclusion is the same -we are Gods.

And that is what is so ironic about the current debate on “climate change”. The idea that some think that certain among us have evolved to a point where they know the outcome apart from either God or the laws of nature. Yet these same people do not seem to understand the simplicity less alond the divinity of we breathe their breath, our breath they breathe.