You've laughed and cried. And you may even fall in love and grow old with someone, only to be ripped apart in the end by death and disease. The universe leaves you dead or grieving with a hole in you as big as infinity.
Are we part of a depraved cosmic joke, the product of a vast and ruthless universe?
Through the eyes of science, you're a speck of junk spinning around the core of the Milky Way galaxy, which itself is whirling through the unfathomable blackness of space. It's all in the equations, you know. Nothing to get philosophical about. Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg summed it up best:
The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little bit above the level of a farce and gives it some of the grace of a tragedy.
Can life really be reduced to the laws of physics? Or are we -- as all the great spiritual leaders of the world have intuited -- part of something higher, which is more noble and triumphant?
The latter is hard for us to rationally comprehend, since we've had more years of scientific indoctrination than monks get in monasteries. In Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land," Jubal said we're prisoners of our early indoctrinations, "for it is hard, very nearly impossible, to shake off one's earliest training." We've been taught since grade school that life is an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics, and that the Universe is a dreary play of billiard balls.
True, science has brought us countless insights that have transformed our lives. It's amazingly good at figuring out how the parts work. The clock has been taken apart, and we can accurately count the number of teeth in each wheel and gear. We know Mars rotates in 24 hours, 37 minutes and 23 seconds. What alludes us is the big picture, which unfortunately encompasses all the bottom-line issues: What is the nature of this thing we call reality?
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From The Urantia Book:
2:1.4 The Father constantly and unfailingly meets the need of the differential of demand for himself as it changes from time to time in various sections of his master universe. The great God knows and understands himself; he is infinitely self-conscious of all his primal attributes of perfection. God is not a cosmic accident; neither is he a universe experimenter. (underline by ed.) The Universe Sovereigns may engage in adventure; the Constellation Fathers may experiment; the system heads may practice; but the Universal Father sees the end from the beginning, and his divine plan and eternal purpose actually embrace and comprehend all the experiments and all the adventures of all his subordinates in every world, system, and constellation in every universe of his vast domains.
189:1.3 Mankind is slow to perceive that, in all that is personal, matter is the skeleton of morontia, and that both are the reflected shadow of enduring spirit reality. How long before you will regard time as the moving image of eternity and space as the fleeting shadow of Paradise realities?