Where has the wonder gone? I’m not talking about wonder as a verb… A question… As in… “have you ever wondered about…” or “I wonder what…”.
I’m interested in rediscovering Wonder as a noun… of finding that fascination and feeling of overwhelming joy when one encounters something marvelous…. Something extraordinary; or beautiful; or just … Wonderful. As paraphrased from Arthur C Clarks 2001 Space Odyssey…
Something’s going to happen. Something wonderful.
In this context, wonder isn’t something we do. It’s not an action. It’s a state of being… an experience… an observation of a state of reality.
In a way, this distinction is similar to the one we find ourselves in when we consider the state of the “scientific” within the Christian and other faith traditions.
Why does a debate between creation and science exist?
The debate itself doesn’t make any sense to me because I think that science is a gift that helps us to experience wonder, and though that gift to experience God. It’s not about proving whether or not God exists. It’s about finding the wonder in our physical existence and understanding that our physical existence itself is of God.
Sometimes scientific minds make the mistake of thinking we’ve figured it out and therefore there is no reason to explore further. However, if we continue to dig and go deeper we uncover more mystery… More wonder. When we manage to internalize that experience, we transform and have the opportunity to experience God.
The English physicist Sir William Bragg once said…
Sometimes people ask if religion and science are opposed to one another. They are — in the same sense that the thumb and fingers of my hand are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.
What a brilliant analogy! Experiential paradox! It is only through the opposition that we can understand and grasp the wonder. It is only through the experience of pain and suffering that we can grasp the meaning of pleasure and joy. It is only through the experience of birth and the certainty of death that we can grasp and understand the wonder of our spiritual birth and timeless spiritual existence.
When I think about wonder, I begin to see that I frequently fall into the trap of thinking that God is a God of actions. That the concepts we attribute to him are concepts explained in language through the use of verbs.
God loves us… God forgives us…
Yet we struggle to accept this. We don’t understand how we can possibly be good enough for God to love us. We don’t understand how God can forgive us when we have done so much wrong in our lives and continue to do wrong despite good intentions. We struggle because we feel that if we fully accept God’s love and forgiveness… if we fully accept God’s grace… we will no longer have a reason for trying to live up to any type of standards. Why try if God will love us and forgive us no matter what?
The problem is that we are thinking of God’s love and forgiveness as actions that God does. And with an action that God would do, we assume that God must choose to either do it or not.
I think the mistake here is believing that God’s existence includes relating to us through the actions of loving and forgiving. Perhaps instead… God exists in a state of loving and forgiveness. God is love. God is forgiveness. He doesn’t chose to love us or forgive us. He simple is love and forgiveness, and because He wants relationship with us that relationship must exist in a state of love and forgiveness, because God exists in a state of love and forgiveness.
So, how do we manage to love God? Why do we need to do anything good, moral and right if God’s forgiveness is already there?
Again, as we ask these questions we slip into thinking about love and forgiveness as the relate to God, as actions rather than states of being. Perhaps what needs to happen, is that we need to experience transformation… to move from a place where we understand our love relationship with God as an action to a place where our love relationship with God is a state of being…. We move from a place where our faith relationship with God is no longer an action… we no longer act faithfully. Instead we are faithful. We transform our faith from action to state of being. We transform our love for God from the act of loving to living in a state of love.
In a similar way, we transform and stop trying to experience wonder within our existence. Instead we begin to live in wonder as a state of being.