Early last year I entitled a post “The Law of Attraction: The Universe vs. Jah.” A couple of recent experiences sent my thoughts along those lines again, so I thought I’d resurrect the topic.
I read a lovely story last week. It was skillfully written, thought-provoking, and had depth. The writer is seeking publication, and I expect he or she (I’m not sure which it is in the case) will succeed, because all the right stuff is there. But one thing gave me pause: in this tale, “the universe” causes two characters’ paths to cross in a poignant, meaningful way, to the benefit of both and their families as well.
The concept is not new. Most people don’t consider it the least bit “out there.” Even church-goers might nod approvingly, mentally substituting “God” for “the universe,” find it a heartwarming piece of spiritual inspiration.
It’s makes no sense, though, to consider the terms interchangeable. God is the Creator; the universe is His creation (check out Romans 1:25 for more on that thought). God is alive and loves us intimately; the universe is inanimate and has no more capacity to care about us than gravity. God knows and sees all, and draws people to Himself in order to lead them into truth; the universe has all the awareness and compassion of a water molecule.
This in no way exhausts the differences, but I’m going to get off this road and follow that “lead them into the truth” trail for a moment.
I recently had an online conversation with a fellow writer about how there’s such a thin line between myth and reality. The discussion began when he observed that sometimes a scientific theory sparks people’s imaginations and gives birth to lofty speculation. It can even evolve into a cult or belief system. But when the theory is disproved by a preponderance of evidence, the philosophy built upon it remains, despite proof that its basic premise is false. (If you’re thinking creation v. evolution here, so am I; but that wasn’t the issue that sparked this discussion.)
I commented that this is one reason why, though I write science fiction and enjoy a well-crafted fantasy, I’m careful to make sure the stories I write direct people to truth. In his reply, he said: “There are, without a doubt, still pockets of people out there today that believe in bizarre truths spawned by fiction and we should all take that as a caution.”
Did you catch that? …bizarre truths spawned by fiction? How can a truth come from fiction? I don’t see how it can. Is “truth” merely a commonly held belief, whether or not it’s a demonstrable fact? Wouldn’t that render the word wholly meaningless? If a doctrine’s built upon a falsehood, that teaching cannot be truth, no matter how widely accepted it may be.
But the writer may well have misspoken. Perhaps he didn’t intend to word his statement the way he did. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.
This brings us to another thought: the most dangerous lies are those based on, or that contain a significant element of, truth. Such is the myth of “the wise universe.” If a white shirt is sparklingly, brilliantly clean everywhere except for one little stain, it’s not a clean shirt. If the stain can’t be removed, I must either throw it out or tear it up to use as cleaning rags.
There’s too much here to examine in a blog post, but these are the things I’m musing on today.