In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good.” – Genesis 1:1-3
I am certainly no scientist or math whiz, nor do I own any of those engineering or number-crunching analytical qualities. Truth be told, I’m not sure that I’m either left-brained or right-brained; maybe there’s also “no-brained”, and that’s where my sweet spot resides?
But I am genuinely intrigued with several big-ticket items even if I may be ill-equipped to understand them. I think the entire realm of brain-science, and consciousness, and how organisms achieve self-awareness is fascinating, plus I’m drawn to physics, specifically astrophysics and quantum physics.
- Astrophysics, of course, looks out from our world and wonders: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set in place…” (Psalm 8)
- Quantum physics examines the smallest objects and then looks even farther beyond the surface: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow…” (Matthew 6)
So, along with the psalmist – and Jesus too – I enjoy considering. I love to take photographs of the big picture, such as the sunrise from a mountaintop, the place where the beach meets the sky meets the ocean, or even a huge crowd at church; and I am also drawn to the small picture, close-ups of flowers or the intricacies of a delicate hummingbird.
Then, when I look at the poetic design of an open blossom and understand that what I see is just one more window into more exquisite detail, I find myself wondering, “Where are the boundaries and the limitations of creation (and of The Creator)?” And I see immediately that there are none, and that each layer is simply another wrapper inviting us to see beyond.
The layers peeled back, of elements, and molecules, and atoms; quarks, gluons, electrons, neutrinos; plus the forces that hold things together – and even light is carried by subatomic particles called photons.
Then layers peeled back again – of earth, planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, black holes, light years, the expanding universe and so much more.
- Light that bends.
- Time that does not move at a constant, incremental, predictable rate.
- Looking through telescopes at stars that may not exist any more.
- Principles of physics that do not necessarily hold up beyond our planet.
- Things we “know” that may or may not actually be.
- A God who holds all this together yet who is not subject to the “laws” of time, space, and reason we hang our hats on.
All of this fascinates me no end. Then I walk in the confines of our back garden and I come across an iris bloom that was not there yesterday and I am as blown away by wonder as I was when I first understood that by looking into the night sky I was looking into the past, sometimes thousands of years into history.
Once in a while this all causes me to fall to my knees. Not because I feel I have to attribute what I cannot understand to some god in a kind of intellectual Hail Mary, but because the more I do understand the more the beauty and the complexity and the simplicity and the scope and the fine detail and the limitless possibility inherent in all that I am constantly learning leads me into God’s embrace.
… and that’s likely enough for this day – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.