Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made… (Romans 1:20, NIV)
I often think of what we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell as gateways to understanding God if we choose to be mindful of the real world teeming with life (versus the virtual world that often presents a counterfeit reality) and allow ourselves to follow the lead to the Source.
Painters see the works of the Artist of artists in light and shade, color and contrast; in the width, depth, and breadth of a landscape or a single slice of time captured in still life.
Musicians hear the music of the Composer of composers in tone, tempo, and timbre; sound and silence.
Chefs relish the sweet and savory abundance of the Gourmet of gourmets.
Anybody with skin on can feel the rough and smooth, raw and polished textures fashioned by the Sculptor of sculptors.
And anybody with a sense of smell knows both perfume and pungence formulated by the Scent Designer of scent designers…
St. Paul finished the verse atop by writing, “…so that people are without excuse [for not knowing God].”
I would say also that by ignoring the Source (of sources) of the delights, inspirations–and warnings–our senses provide for us we might as well be living full time in a virtual world replete with delights and inspirations of its own but often for the purpose of manipulating us according to what “it” wants us to think, believe, and do. Especially, how and what to buy and/or buy into.
Which leads to the next topic.
Concerning the virtual world, there is also a lot to be said, especially these days as Artificial Intelligence (AI) attempts to seduce us inside its macro and micro machines loaded with highly addictive bells and whistles in order to mine our energy and our product preferences. Although, of course, technology also has its beneficial side.
To the shadowy side, however, which is receiving more and needed attention as time goes on, many people compare the end game of the brave new world of technology where geeks would be gods to the 1999 so-called “cyberpunk sub-genre of sci-fi” film The Matrix that depicts…
…a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside a simulated reality […] created by intelligent machines to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source. When computer programmer Thomas Anderson, under the hacker alias “Neo“, uncovers the truth, he “is drawn into a rebellion* against the machines” along with other people who have been freed from the Matrix. (Wikipedia, emphasis mine, read on.)
*Because as in all phases of what people invent to entrap and exploit each other, there are always rebels of one kind or another. That’s the part of real intelligence that has yet to be replicated by the artificial.
It’s likely also feared by the programmers because a rebellious AI might well be anathema, a new brand of (tech) terrorist, you might say.
Because with regular beings, as in human, we pretty much know what manner of psychopathy wreaks havoc; whereas with machines, there’s no telling how–and to what kind of entity–“they” might morph and turn machine against man–unless someone can figure out how to pull the plug.
Or until some hungry weasel munches on a bit of tasty cable and crunches a billion-dollar portal-busting machine such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland to a halt thus bringing eons of human invention to a literal stand-still at the very door of the room with a hoped-for view of the Moment Of Creation.
But one thing is sure: it’s baked into human beings to wonder about and seek to better understand (for one reason or another) what we all know innately and through our senses aided by curiosity and intelligence, i.e., what is out there–as in where did all this sight, sound, taste, texture, and smell come from to begin with?
Or, to the nanosphere, what’s in there whirring and sparking, adding and multiplying, set in motion at conception to power the warm, wet machine-with-skin-on and its billions of bits designed to work together in such remarkable sync.
For even more examples that whet our curiosity and intelligence, whence came the metal and math they’ve been using to cypher CERN?
And for those with a sense of humor, whence came the weasel?
Or, for that matter, the sense of humor?
For surely there is more to know both outside and in, both malevolent and benevolent.
But even if AI for all its power and potential does go rogue there is an even greater force and source of awareness and power.
Which leads me to my final topic: the “deepest state” of awareness, the real “deep state,” if you will, in which there is no “shadow of turning,” no counterfeit (as is often the danger when worshipping at the altar of AI or any other man-made construct) but where the prize at the end of the search shines: truth.
And not for just a select, privileged few, but for anybody who chooses eyes to see and ears to hear…the prize that is the Mystery of mysteries above and beyond, within and without our limited dimension and that is knowable to all who do not forsake the quest or settle for less.
Magnum Mysterium (A Meditation)
Imagine, if you will, the real God of real beings, He Who formed the deep from the depthless, stretched out height and width from the measureless, set time from the timeless.
The Power source of power sources.
For the genesis of all power is some greater power.*
Has to be.
Even the most brilliant atheists at CERN know this–and keep looking.
And to the discussion this all leads to–the genesis, alpha and omega, inspiration, hope, and comfort in a world gone wild, I invite you to fix your curiosity, imagination, heart, and soul on what follows.
Allow yourself a few minutes away from the clamoring fray and in some place of quiet to hear, see, taste, touch, and savor the length, depth, and breadth of this:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.[…]
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. (John 1:1-5, 9-18, NIV)
And not just that one time in a manger, but for all time and in all dimensions… (Here is more on this “true light that gives light to everyone”.)
If we don’t cave to the bells and whistles, trinkets and idols, greed and contention of counterfeit, man-made gods, that is.
For isn’t the truth that mankind incessantly seeks in myriad ways the truth of redemption, which is the theme of the passage, from the shadows both real and virtual, flesh and spirit, that prompt confusion, chaos, and calamity; dysfunction, despair, and destruction?
At the deepest level, isn’t what we really hunger and thirst for solace in the existential storm? Lasting hope, joy, peace, and love?
Jesus Christ, the Great Mystery revealed, He Who made answers possible, left us for a little while (to come back soon) with these parting words:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
In other words,
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
May I invite you, in your own quest today, to be filled, calmed–and satisfied–in Him.
And to just
for a little while
*For more on this see Genesis.