Click to enlarge

The recent release of the James Webb telescope photos prompted me to Ponder the Universe. For more background, click here.

Sure, most of us can fathom our location in our own city, state, country, and even planet Earth with the help of a globe or international travel. We probably can remember the order of planets in our own solar system from high school science. We’ve heard about “The Big Bang” that presumably started it all.

But these new pictorial images (not only distant stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy, but also distant galaxies and time periods) stretch my mind. What map is large enough to even see a “You are here” dot for the planet we live on.

All of this prompts me to think of how creation started and who is the Creator?

  • My Christian tradition wraps it all around God the creator, Jesus a human person that history verifies existed, and a general concept of an enduring Spirit.
  • Expanding this to other faith traditions still carries the idea of some form of spiritual essence that transcends human lives and pulls us beyond ourselves to contemplate the meaning of life.
  • Even agnostics or atheists must wonder how the universe started? Are there other universes? What caused the Big Bang? Is there really a God?

These are some of the faith and science questions that enter my mind as I gaze at the many colored dots on the Webb telescope photos. With greater awareness of the expansiveness of the universe, what does that imply for a person of faith about the nature of “God.” It’s all pretty overwhelming to contemplate.

My current thinking is that “God” is a word we humans use to describe the indescribable origin of life – human, animal, extraterrestrial, whatever. Is there “life” of some kind after human death? I don’t know. I can’t prove it, but I’d like to believe there is. In the absence of any proof to the contrary, it helps give meaning to my life to believe that there might be some form of consciousness after death, some connection with those still living. And, if we define “God” as a creative energy force grounded in love, then “God” can take many forms and be described through different stories in different times and cultures. It’s not necessary for to me to know which is the right, the best, the only description of God.

Having spent my life as a Christian, what I know about Jesus shows me a way to live that makes sense. Christianity puts flesh on my spiritual journey through the person of Jesus – and brings it down to Earth. It is a way to live focused on a deep, sacrificial love. It is not the only WAY, but it is the WAY given to me.

Other spiritual paths point to a similar reality grounded in love even though given different names and background stories. Hmmm, it’s a lot to think about.
How do you think the universe came to be? What gives meaning to your life?