How big is your infinite?

A Christian Science perspective: Recent news of the possibility of scientists' discovery of the subatomic particle Higgs boson, also known as the 'God particle,' evokes fresh thought about what makes up our world.

One Father’s Day I wrote my dad a poem. I wanted to express how much he had opened the breadth of my awareness and my appreciation for life. But I wasn’t quite sure how to capture it.

Then I remembered a question posed once by a Sunday School teacher: “How big is your infinite?” she had asked. This provocative question became the entrée to my poem of appreciation for the person who had taught me to fish, to appreciate other cultures, and to travel – locally and abroad – with a sense of wonder.

Even more than that, though, he taught me to actively explore my questions about the reality of life itself by turning to the spiritual.

“Turning to the spiritual” has different meanings for different people. No doubt, however, our various meanings always start with a Higher Power. Perhaps we could even say the Father-Mother of the infinite, whom I was taught to call God.

“God is Love,” wrote the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, echoing the biblical declaration. “More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 6).

Thinking about the infinitude of a Higher Power, or divine Love, we may be enticed to revisit what we’ve learned about our universe. Over the last few years alone, new discoveries have been made that have expanded our knowledge about the vastness of life beyond our original concepts.

For example, a NASA photograph of the Tadpole Galaxy shows the result of two galaxies colliding. Around the newly formed mega galaxy, including its newly formed “tail,” are thousands of what appear to be stars. It was pointed out to me that each “star” is actually another galaxy. And each galaxy, like our own Milky Way, has roughly 100 billion stars. What awe such a realization can inspire!

Very recently, the tentative discovery of the Higgs boson represents a potential milestone in the exploration of nature. The discovery of this highly sought-after particle in the world of physics, also known as the “God particle,” would uncover the mechanism that gives mass to the fundamental particles that serve as the building blocks for the physical universe.

With continuing advances in technology, scientists and ardent celestial observers are constantly searching for an even larger picture of the observable cosmos. Such exploration has been a natural inclination of man throughout all time. It is also an opportunity to grasp in some measure infinite Mind, God, and His divine creation, including man. As the Bible poetically poses, ”Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” (Job 11:7).

Turning to the spiritual, we can indeed expand our concept of the infinite. And expanding our definition of infinity can increase our access to ideas and possibilities, both for ourselves and for our world. It can redefine our concept of time, minimizing the grip of false urgency about things of little importance. It can shift our sense of place, distance, and even identity. It can crystallize our priorities by reorienting us to activities of greater substance in the larger scheme of things. It can even enable us to help others grasp a bigger, more hopeful picture of life. Above all, expanding our view of the infinite can acquaint us more closely with divine Love, the intelligence of the universe.

The Old Testament prophets and certainly the Galilean Prophet, Christ Jesus, as well as the Persian poet Rumi, all wrote of their felt connection to the Divine; rock-solid even without the advances of technology and science. How heartening to know that we, too, have access to God, divine Life, and the spiritual goodness He imparts. “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee,” promises Job (22:21).

It’s a worthy question to ask ourselves and our children: How big is your infinite?

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