Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Big Bang (by Judy)

We use the phrase "a childlike wonder," meaning looking upon something with amazement as a child does, and seeing a magic that defies rational explanation. Children often have an appreciation that some things are a mystery, a puzzle, and they do not have the picture on the lid of the box to help put the pieces together. Implicit in this sense of wonder is the recognition of something or someone greater, an ineffable one.

But what about the child who loves rational thinking and logical explanations; who loves a grand plan with a clear beginning? I have such a grandson. He is five years old, and his favorite scientist, though he may not know him by name, is Georges Lemaitre. That is because, according to Wikipedia, Curious Georges proposed the Big Bang Theory to explain the origin of everything. This theory says that in the beginning there was an intensely hot mass which birthed the universe, and that it is still expanding today.

This theory satisfies most questions in the fertile brain of my favorite five year old boy. It offers him a sense of order which leaves no room for the inscrutability associated with God. In fact, when I tried to broach the question of who created that hot mass, he plugged his ears and called "911, 911" from the safety of his inner tube in the swimming pool where we were floating.

Fortunately this boy has a wonderful teacher who can go where Grammie can't. She knows this young trickster who adores humor in all forms, and especially the surprise ending in jokes. She asked him -

Question: What did one god say to another god?

Answer: Do you believe in people?

I see many beautiful things in this story. A wildly bright, inquisitive, thoughtful grandson. An amazing teacher who encourages him to allow room in his mind for things he doesn't understand. And a line from Wikipedia: "Without any evidence associated with the earliest instant of the expansion, the Big Bang theory cannot and does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition; rather, it describes and explains the general evolution of the Universe since that instant." (italics Wikipedia) Grammie's logical answer to that conundrum may still eventually win the day!

1 comment:

  1. "It offers him a sense of order which leaves no room for the inscrutability associated with God." There is food for thought, whether you are 5 or 105!

    In Matthew 18:3-4 Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." This child is on his way to a greater knowledge than he can right now imagine!