342. A Puzzle-Box Universe

Okay, look, I’m not proposing that we start a new religion here, unless you subscribe to the understanding of the word “religion” in the traditional sense, in which it means “worldview” or “a way of making sense of life, the universe, and everything”, then yes, I am. Otherwise, no, I’m not.

(and if you’re already confused, I suggest you wander off to some other parts of the internet which may be more entertaining and less provocative)

I think… a fundamental piece of the all-encompassing question we call “the meaning of life” is to discover something. Anything. Whether it’s that apples fall from trees because of gravity, or that humans are all liars, or that sizzling bacon is simultaneously proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy but is also a gigantic troll, I believe we’re all put here to figure something out about this world that we’re living in.

(to whoever discovered sizzling bacon: GOD BLESS YOU)

Earlier today, as I was writing a story titled Sufficiently Advanced Science, on a whim, I wrote this sentence:

…the world was God’s great puzzle for mankind to solve…

And it has been going round and round in my head all day since.

I scarce think that a God who created humankind with innate curiosity would also give us all the answers we’ll ever need. I also think that the world would be a much, much better place is we – as experts and teachers and parents and pastors – would admit that there are just some things in this world that we don’t understand, rather than try to cram circumstantial evidence into our narrow understanding of the universe through stretching and bending rhetoric.

What often troubles me are people who give the pretension of having all the answers, whether they be atheists or Christians. I can’t name any other group, because the aforementioned two are, by far and large, the majority among the voices calling for my attention day after day. On one side, there are Christians who insist that we’re getting disappointed because we’re just not reading the Bible correctly; and on the other, there are atheists who insist that God either does not exist, is dead, or is a total dick, evidenced by the numerous and long-lasting sufferings of mankind.

(if I had a dollar for every time someone told me “you need to read it in context”, in reference to a scripture, I’d be at least rich enough to not have to work for a couple of years. Oh, and please, do not tell me that human suffering is the consequence of man’s sins and that God is in absolute control in the same breath. It does not work that way)

Here’s what I believe: there’s a world out there – an entire universe – that is created by intelligent design. Let’s call the author God. And I believe God has put us all here to discover this world that he’s created, to live and breathe and take in all its beauty, to search and to explore and to discover all there is to discover. This universe is so large – even ever-expanding – that, in the words of Sir Elton John, “there’s more to see than can ever be seen; more to do, than can ever be done”.

And we each have but one responsibility, which is to discover the things we have been put here to discover. To craft and polish and perfect our piece of the jigsaw puzzle that will fit into the bigger picture.

There will be some who will tell you that their piece of the puzzle is all there is, and they will be lying. There will be some who fail to discover what they have to, and end up with a flawed, or unrefined, puzzle piece that does not fit. There will be some who will tell you that your piece of the puzzle is wrong. They may be right, or they may be wrong.

Here’s what I also believe: like any riddler, excited to see us figure out the answer, God gives us clues. Again, there will be some who misread the clues. There will be some who will perverse it. There will be some who will tell you the clues are fake. There will be some who will make up fake clues.

How do we do this? Where do we go from here? How do we know if we got our piece of the puzzle right?

It’s not a satisfying answer, but I think we’ll never know. Not until we’re dead and dust. Not until the end, when the final puzzle piece is put into place, and everything comes into order. This is what I think.

Some believe that the universe will end in a great collapse, or in a great tearing-apart. Not me. It’s probably wishful thinking, just like everything written above, but here’s what I think:

At the end of the life, the universe, and everything, there will be completion.

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