The Stars Within My Reach

Emily Dickinson says she never saw a moor, never saw the sea. I have seen the sea, and walked its boundary, late at night, counting the infinite stars.

The mathematician believes the universe is organized around, controlled by, and can be described by, numbers, and that understanding the universe is only a matter of discovering the correct equations. The mathematician is convinced that mathematics is the bedrock of the universe, that human minds discovered mathematics and teased out its secrets one number, one equation, at a time. A contrarian would say that mathematics was invented, not discovered, by the mind of man. A hunter-gatherer with no concept of abstract mathematics knew the difference between four apples and five apples.

Mathematics cannot fully describe a living organism, and the universe is a sentient, and therefore living, organism, though sentient and alive in a manner we can never know or understand. The center of our visible universe is wherever you are standing. Earth is at the center of a large bubble filled with light, with the radius of this light filled bubble defined by the speed of the expanding universe. When the velocity of expansion, as measured from Earth, equals the speed of light, we have reached the outer boundary of our vision. Our visible universe is simply one of an infinite number of universes. The visible universe of an observer standing in the middle of the Andromeda Galaxy is only slightly different from our visible universe, but it is not identical. To someone standing in the middle of any one of the infinite number of light filled bubbles we call universes that is beyond our limited vision, that observer’s universe is filled with stars and galaxies that are to us unseen and unknown. Does this prove the existence of God? Probably not, not of itself, but it doesn’t disprove the existence of God either. But it does suggest that the sentient and living universe is God, and we and everything in it a part of God. For were we not told, as children, that God always was and always will be? And what, in all the universe, fits that description if not the always was and always will be universe?

I stood one night upon a beach
The low tide surf quite still
And found the stars just out of reach
And so sought out a hill
I stood and waited for the dark
Upon the myrtled slope
While in the distance sang a lark
Fulfilling every hope
That on this dark and moonless night
I’d reach and touch the stars
And in my ecstasy take flight
And tread the sands of Mars
But I was young and full of dreams
Much later would I learn
That life was more than at first seems
And all must wait its turn
Perhaps the ancients had it right
Believing stars divine
And staring deep into the night
Should God vouchsafe a sign
But we look not for portents lest
They change our point of view
The words are now In God We Jest
The old gives way to new
But still at night I lie abed
And walk that silent beach
And know at last God is not dead
With stars within my reach

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