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Time, Infinity, and God

Like you, I came into this world without a clue to how the world works. It’s a progressive puzzle that never gets completed. I’ve come to the conclusion that we weren’t given all the pieces to the puzzle. Or maybe we humans weren’t given the brain power to complete the puzzle? We all learn a few essential facts: You can’t look directly at the sun or you’ll go blind, and if you jump off something high enough you will die. The majority of us learn that if you board the wrong bus or train it doesn’t do any good to run down the aisle in the opposite direction. We learn useful things like this as we go.

There are other things that are helpful to know. Take knot tying as an example. I know how to tie my shoes with a Bow knot and my tie with a Windsor knot. Square knots and Half Hitches come in handy. I’ve forgotten how to tie a Sheep Shank, the Bowline and dozens of other knots I learned as a scout.

Moving on I give you math, which in my day was called arithmetic. I’ve forgotten nearly all the algebraic equations I learned. I’ve forgotten how to get the circumference of a circle by using pi. I could go on and on with examples of how much I’ve forgotten about geography, geology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, philosophy, and basic grammar. Like most humans that come and go in their search of how the world works there are a lot of things we learn that aren’t that essential. But we’re curious creatures and we want answers to the important questions.

Nothing is certain in a world full of uncertainties, but when I leave this world I’m confident there are questions that will never be answered by googling Google. The answers to these questions may never be answered. Not even by minds as powerful as those of Aristotle, Copernicus, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein.

Time, Infinity and God are three examples of unanswerable questions.

Time, for example, is as slippery as the Slip Knot I learned in scouts. Sometimes it passes at the incredible speed of light and at other times lasts as long as infinity’s cousin, eternity.

Like millions of other mere mortals, I bought Stephen Hawking’s book: “A Brief History of Time.” Like millions of other mortals who bought the book, I skipped over the parts that explained quantum physics and general relativity. 200 pages later I closed the book without understanding a thing about time, with the exception of the time I lost reading the book. I was left only with the strong hunch that time is connected to relativity, and if I were wheelchair bound and a genius like Hawking I might have more time to think about. I know deep down in my soul that time is relative to how late you are to work, or even the distance you are from a bathroom when you have to pee. So distance might also be part of that algebraic equation I’ve forgotten connected to time. It’s every bit as complicated and frustrating as a Double Fisherman’s Knot when you think about it.

I know I’ve traveled 78 times around the sun and its taken 78 years. The total distance I’ve traveled is 92 million miles times 78 which is a lot of air miles. I’ve barely noticed all that traveling because distance and time are relative according to those physicists that study these mysteries. If there had been “signposts” every thousand miles or so I would have appreciated how fast and how far I was traveling. I do know the time it takes to drive across Kansas seems longer than it actually is which might be the mysterious unknown factor in that algebraic equation I’ve forgotten.

Now Infinity is also in that can of worms of inexplicable conundrums, otherwise questions that Google has been asked but never answered. It’s one of the big three conundrums, Time, Infinity and God. Thinking about infinity is one of those big questions that can give you a migraine. The little loopy figure-eight infinity symbol is no help at all. I get finite! My bedroom is ten by fourteen feet wide with walls as boundaries. It’s even got a roof and a floor. It’s finite! Arkansas has lines on a map that separate it from six other states and I can visualize that. A universe without sides, a floor, or a roof I don’t get! Unbounded! Infinite! Limitless! I don’t get that. There’s nothing inside the 1500 cubic centimeters of my thick skull that can comprehend that. Even Albert Einstein’s brain, where neurons lit up like a lightning storm, couldn’t comprehend it. He said “two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity.” I agree about humans, and I could give you some first hand examples of my own lack of common sense, but Einstein was avoiding the big wormy question, because not even he could explain infinity, so he made a joke.

I am going to avoid thinking about big unanswerable questions for awhile because my head is not equipped for this level of thinking. It’s beginning to ache. I’m going to add an Advil to my coffee, go out on the back deck and listen to the birds sing, and watch the invisible wind riffle through the leaves, and watch the clouds being pushed by the invisible winds, and not think too much about the infinite universe that extends above and beyond the clouds.

As for where is God in this infinite universe? I will lean back in the deck chair and take a sip of coffee. Listening to the surround sound of nature and feeling the warmth of the sun as it emerges from behind a cloud, I will ask myself. Where is he not?

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