Every human person at some point asks the question, “Why are we here?” In this first video of our series, “Basic Christianity”, we will begin to look more deeply at this question.
The discussion of “First Cause” is found best stated by Thomas Aquinas in 1274 AD, in his “Summa Theologiea”, Question 2, Article 3
I bought a big plastic play kitchen for my daughters as a gift, and I remember being rather frustrated that it didn’t come with instructions on how to put it together. I remember muddling about, thinking I had it all put together right, only to realize I had made a mistake and had to start all over.
The universe is like that, there is no book of instructions, no guide we are handed the day we burst into the light to see our mother’s face. Because of this, most if not all of us at some point ask the question, “What am I supposed to do with this life I have?”
This “First Question” is actually bigger that, and it’s the question that philosophers, religious leaders, scientists and curious children have been asking since we uttered our first words as a human species.
When we talk about the universe, we usually show a picture of the stars, awed by the beauty and majesty of the universe. But why not just show a rock? The fact that a rock exists is magical enough. Personally, I like to use a picture of a goat. I know, this seems silly, but follow me a moment.
Imagine you are in your home, and you are cleaning up your room. You’ve tidied up a bit, just made your bed, and stand back to look at the quality of your handiwork. Then, tired from all this exertion, you go to your kitchen to grab a glass of water. Going back into your bedroom, you are shocked to find, standing on your bed, a goat. A real, live goat, just sitting there staring at you with a mouth full of grass, drooling over your formerly nice and neat bed.
What is the first question you would ask?
“Where did the goat come from!”
You would not walk into your room and be unsurprised. You would look to see if it crawled in a window, or if someone had pulled some prank on you, but you would NOT assume it just popped out of thin air, that it came from nothing. Everything we know of was caused by something else. Our house is there because someone built it, our furniture we chose and moved it in. Everything in the universe was caused by something else, trees grow from seeds, planets form from interstellar gas, everything comes from something.
The whole universe too, had to come from somewhere. The universe is like that goat, and it needs an explanation. Perhaps you believe it came from the “Big Bang”, but what started that?
You see, we are never surprised when we look at our bed and find nothing there. We understand nothing. Nothing does, well, nothing, it just is. It is when there IS something that we find ourselves shocked. And the universe is shocking. I know, we were born into it, and we are really used to it, like a fish in water, so most of the time we don’t find it surprising at all, but we should.
It would make much more sense if there was nothing. No universe, no god, no rules, no anything. Nothing makes perfect sense.
But something, anything, requires a bit of explaining. And there are many different explanations we have come up with. But I’ll save that for next time.