In my last post I argued that the real story of our world ‘has the ring of truth. It is the beautiful, tragic, terrible story of creation, fall, redemption and transformation.’ So, to begin at the beginning, the first words of the Bible are these: ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’ Wow. The universe is not here by chance; our world is not an accident but was designed, made, fashioned, by God himself. To answer the question raised by Jodie Foster the film ‘Contact‘: are we alone in the universe? Emphatically no. We are not alone. We are guests.
I think many (all?) people instinctively know this. We find ourselves not just intrigued but thankful when we see a newborn child. And we find ourselves reaching beyond our experiences, yearning for something extra. I don’t know about you but even in the most enjoyable moments of family life; or when I am mesmerised by a sunset or a breaking wave; there is a small pang of loss, a realisation that this is fragile and passing. A sort of homesickness for a place I have never seen. And I think we all (unless we have trained ourselves to think in a very unnatural way) think and feel and act as if our lives have meaning – a meaning that goes beyond our immediate relationships and economic situation. If we are mere animals, we are not very good at it.
Could it be that our instinctive reactions to the beauty of the world and our feeling that our lives have meaning are not the cruel tricks of a meaningless, accidental universe but actually a whisper of truth? Maybe, as CS Lewis argued, ‘If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.’ Or at least for a better one. That’s what I will discuss in my next post.