Sunday, 14 March 2010

Peering at Shadows aka Why Matter Doesn't Ultimately Matter

Take a look at this photo:

Have a look at the backdrop of the set - a bunch of upside down trees. A little surreal of course, but hey, we can run with that.

If someone came up to me and said: They aren't real trees, that's just a canvas and someone has used paint to render the illusion of trees, I would want to say: true they are't real trees, but that's not the point. The canvas is so painted to help us understand what is going on in the story - it provides the backdrop in front of which the main action takes place. The point is not so much what it is in itself, but rather the context that its creator made it to convey and its relationship to the rest of the stage and story.

Peer too hard at what the canvas is in and of itself and you miss the point entirely. Peering hard at the shadow I cast on the ground will tell you nothing of any real value about me.

In the end, peering at the universe from the scientific point of view, (the kind that has the human as the final authority) will tell you as much about the meaning of life as a canvas and the molecular structure of the paint on it can tell you about the meaning of the painting.

Unfortunately, in our quest to be our own gods, we have come to love information (amoral and impersonal) over wisdom (moral and relational), and so think that discovering encyclopedic amounts about the material canvas and paint is more important than looking at the painting and thus, whilst discovering much of value, have become ludicrously and ironically befuddled and fragmented in our thinking.

The universe is not a collection of things in themselves, but a multiplicity of relationships between things which form the glorious backdrop to the main action of history: the good news from God about his Son. And it is a symmetry (albeit pale one) of the world to come.

No comments: