There are mysteries that have puzzled the minds of all who take time to think about anything beyond the mundane and menial tasks of our day-to-day lives. The more we advance (or evolve) the more questions we answer and the smaller the enigmatic box of mysteries becomes. It has been human nature to perceive the concept of a divine being with attributes and emotions much like our own that governs our existence and the laws and order of the cosmos. We call this mystery of mysteries, this supreme entity – “God” and while we conceive a loftier and more immense being then ourselves, anything we do to define god with “authority” in essence puts a human box around that which is infinite, not human, and possibly completely unknowable. Thus, humanity has created a god in their own image and in a manner of their own understanding. This perception is limited to an individual’s own experiences and knowledge which is often influenced by mentors, parents, and time immemorial. Humanity has grappled with purpose and the enigmas of natural phenomena and while there is far more knowledge of biology, geology, and astronomy now than we had even a century ago, the mythical explanations of ancient times still influence society today. For example, it is an indisputable fact that the earth revolves around the sun, yet we still say sunrise and sunset. Some still say the “stars come out at night” when they are actually “out” all the time and it is only when we rotate away from the direct rays of our sun that the light from the others become visible.
There is an unfortunate debate that somehow science is atheistic and that scientists work against the belief in a god. This is unfortunate given the fact that it is science that enables us to see just how incredible it is to merely exist. Especially when one considers the incredible odds stacked against each one of us during the process of conception through gestation and eventually to our birth. The fight is one that has been going on for centuries and while many like to point to the scientists as being the culprits, history tells us a different story. Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, and Bruno are all men who had faith and through research uncovered scientific facts that went against the common beliefs and positions of the church. The church took the ignorant and intolerant position of branding these men heretics and in the case of Bruno – burning him at the stake for teaching facts. When human inquiry and discovery uncovers facts that go against the common beliefs then we must reconsider what we believe rather than reject the facts.
How humanity has grappled with the mystery of existence has evolved. Whether one relies on empirical evidence as their sole source of finding answers or not, it can really only satisfy the questions around the mere existence of physical things. We still have the epistemological enigmas that are the basis of going beyond empirical evidence and beyond physics (metaphysics). There was a time when man worshipped fire and then we began to understand it thereby stripping it of its divinity. The gods of ancient Greece and Rome were replaced by the invisible god of the Hebrews. Humanity has now ventured into space and found no celestial palace in the skies that would have been the destination of Elijah’s flaming chariot or an ascending Jesus.
So now what?
Are we to revert to the Platonist philosophy of a Prime Mover? Is existence random or is there perhaps a Pater Agnostos (unknown father)? Perhaps this is the mystery of the Ineffable Divine Name of the Jewish tradition. That even within a book claiming to tell “His” story, we are still incapable of knowing “His” name thus our conceptions are limited by our knowledge and our knowledge by our own experiences.
Perhaps to know God requires one to first know himself/herself, thus making the mystery personal.