When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, what is man that you are mindful of him, human beings that you care for them? – Psalm 8
Recently I have been exploring astronomy and the vastness of our universe with its distances measured at the speed of light, we humans being very tiny specks living on a tiny speck circling a small star that spins among some two hundred billion other stars and at least that many planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone, which is spinning through vast space among billions of other expanding galaxies. None of this was known before our time but for the help of Edwin Hubble, and the Big Bang, which aligns with a Beginning as in Genesis, rather than the Greek idea of an everlasting universe. From that perspective all our questions seem rather petty, don’t they, including and especially theological speculations.
On the other hand, we stand here as giants above an expansive microcosm. So it seems there is some personal responsibility in our position woven betwixt the two, and part of both, on our delightful life-filled little planet which we have been given to enjoy as caretakers. Given the ongoing follies and tragedies of human life on our Earth, it would seem that we are here to make a positive contribution to that condition. After years of seeking a way to contribute and influence that for the better, I probably would not have found among the existing options any real antidote for la condition humain other than temporary relief in perhaps a career in medicine or comedy, had it not been for a certain Encounter with Heaven in Salvador Brazil in 1977. That surprising Encounter convinced me that there might indeed be a way through the festering swamp, a balm of healing available to all humanity, and so I set out to help make that invisible realm visible with the tools I have been granted as an artist.
But as a Jew it seems that the effort is no less a challenge than Don Quixote’s on his trusty steed taking on the world in ancient armor. For two millennia we Jews have recoiled at the name of Yeshua of Nazareth, and done everything to defend ourselves against his message, creating armor to protect ourselves against the encroachment of a foreign religion that would corrupt our central message that our God YHVH is one, and no other. Building a bridge over such a chasm therefore is no small task, and the wounds we as Jews have received in his name since his advent has not made it any easier.
But along with Quixote we “dream the impossible dream” as it was planted here in Jerusalem, with prayer and help from above, in spite of our weaknesses and human foibles, we march forth to the sound of “the trumpet that shall never call retreat.”
If that equation is true, which most believe it to be, then all we know and see and experience in this material universe, including ourselves, is the descendent of pure Energy. What then, pray tell, are the inherent properties within blind Energy that would cause it to descend to become Matter? And for that matter, what would be the cause that Matter would be driven to become a human brain, eye, ear, not to mention the lowly caterpillar cum butterfly, and the soaring condor? Could it be that as behind Matter lies Energy, so behind Energy lies the Cause of Causes: Intelligence and Wisdom? But as for those who strut in certainty that they are able to seal the Creator of the vastly immense universe into their theological sardine can, I suggest they consider these words from Isaiah the prophet: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith YHVH. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” I believe Him. In our youth of our generation we hadn’t a clue just how high the Heavens are above the Earth, until modern astronomy and the Hubble telescope has revealed their stunning immensity, humbling us all.