Signs from God
I spent my free time this morning re-reading the comments to my last few posts along with that excellent How to Find God guide over at Chez Joel. This afternoon I went to run errands and decided to take the long way home to have some more time to think. As I drove around the scenic rolling hills of the beautiful outskirts of the city I pondered the question of signs. Where is my big sign from God?, I wondered. If he's so all-powerful and wants us to believe in him and can do whatever he wants, why doesn't he just give me one big sign and get this over with?
That brought me to a question that turned out to be a pivotal realization for me: What would I even accept as a sign from God? Here are some options I came up with, along with their likely effectiveness:
- Lightning striking right in front of me right now. This would certainly be compelling. And for the next day or two I might be certain that it was the sign I was waiting for. But after a few weeks I could easily write it off as coincidence, just a freak act of nature.
- A big sign on the side of the road saying, "Hi, Jennifer, it's me God. I exist!" Nah. I'd write it off as a prank, meant either for me or someone else.
- The sky opening up and a chorus of angels appearing (or something else totally surreal). Ironically, I'd probably be most likely to write this off. I'd eventually rationalize it as a dream or hallucination.
So I set out to define some parameters of what it would take for something to fall into the Sign From God category. And my thinking went something like this:
It'd have to be something big. BIIIIIG. Like not-of-this-earth big. Something like, I don't know, the cosmos. Something with seemingly infinite complexity, one of those things where the more you explore it the more you realize how much you don't know. Sort of like the physics behind the universe. And I feel like beauty would be involved as well. Probably beauty of a level that makes your jaw drop in wonder, like mine did that time I saw the NASA photo of the Orion molecular cloud that's a few light-years wide. And, finally, it would probably be best if it worked within some sort of system that I'm familiar with. Per the angels in the sky example above, if it were too surreal I think I'd write it off as hallucination.
After pondering this for a while I started to think: maybe God overshot the mark. I could sort of see him thinking, "OK, I give you people quasars and galaxies and comets and shooting stars and supernovae and planets and stars all for your amusement (and you haven't even discovered a fraction of the cool stuff that's out there) and you use this as proof that I DON'T exist?"
Maybe I'm living in the midst of one big, massive sign that I just can't see.