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To Infinity and Beyond!

My twenty-one-year-old son happened to be passing through the kitchen the other night. That’s where the food is. He’s not a man of many words and despite my effort to constantly strike up conversation, much to his chagrin, he moves in and out of the shadows of our home as he applies himself to online college work and a part time job. As he was on the prowl for some grub, I was watching the beginning of a Netflix series having something to do with the universe and the potential for life on other planets. To be honest, when I selected the show, I thought it was a sci-fi drama series since it had the word “aliens” in the title. After I realized it was a poke at suggesting there were other planets outside our solar system that could possibly have life as complex, if not more complex as life on earth, I was about to flip it off…I mean turn the channel.

As my son was waiting for his bagel to toast which he will eat any time of day with cream cheese and tabasco, he asked, “Do you believe there is life on other planets?” I’m sure he only wanted a “yes” or “no” answer but of course, being the astrophysicist wannabe but never will be, I proceeded to give my opinion over the course of the 3 minutes remaining on the toaster.

We have a spa in our back yard (is it a “spa,” “hot tub,” “jacuzzi”? I don’t know). But we have had one since we moved here 15 years ago and I love it. I most often jump in at night after a long day and it is so relaxing. Stepping into the 104-degree water, especially on a cold night (once in a while on a cold morning too) I literally get a brief high as my capillaries open up and blood flows to the brain making me go, “ahhhhhhh.” You know what I mean? But what I enjoy most at night sitting in the “thing” with the jets off so I can sit in silence is staring into the night sky with the vast array of stars before me and wondering about the universe. Three things always stand out to me. First, how darn big the universe is beyond my comprehension. Second, what lies beyond the edge of the universe? Third, how did something come from nothing?

All roads lead to Rome, right? At least that’s what the Romans thought. These questions above lead me to faith. Something this amazing cannot come from nothing without either an intelligent force, or a “supreme being” behind it all. I’ve been told by an astrophysicist that most scientists who study the universe are theists. They cannot explain how something comes from nothing or more specifically how the “big bang” was initiated. Not all, but many have to conclude there is an unexplainable intelligent design beyond the universe…not a thing but some kind of being. That is about the extent of what many scientists are willing to comment on about the origin of the universe because it is far too uncomfortable for scientists to delve into the world of dimensions beyond our own dimension as a possibility for God to exist.

As I sit here at Christmas time next to our beautifully decorated tree along with its lights aglow as the sun comes up, I can’t help but think how our whole planet including every unique enumerable living plant and animal displays a vast array of spectacular beauty. A marvelous work that only a Master could create. His masterpiece is us. Humans who have the fingerprint of God planted within their souls meant to display and exercise this virtue we call love. The beauty of this kind of love is that we are free agents to exercise the attributes of love or we can withhold it. We are also free to commit acts which are quite the opposite of love.

It says in the bible that anyone who comes to God must first believe He exists. Duh! Right? My nighttime spa setting is one of many places that I call church. A little house of worship. The stars are the sermon. The offering is my heart and soul open to God and my thoughts related to Him. Granted, there isn’t the crowd of churchgoers alongside me but let’s face it, most churchgoers are expected to sit in a chair or a pew and pay no attention to humans next to them except for the “let’s stand and say hi to the person next to you” for 3 minutes. Then there is the often awkward leaving the “service” negotiating your way through people most of whom you do not know or consider friends. Sometimes solitude worship is the best kind. Would you agree? Can you relate?

My son asked, “Do you think there is life on other planets?” No, I don’t believe there is a single living thing in our universe except for what lives on earth. As much time and money which will spent looking for life on other planets in the end nothing will be found. Not a shred of evidence that life exists anywhere in the universe except right here. The universe is all for us and “all” is no small thing. Does God exist? You may not have a spa, but you have sat under the stars and wondered about the same things, haven’t you? Wonderous things.

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