I feel my heart beating and hear my lungs breathing.
I wonder: where did I come from?
I could say I was born in Louisiana, but I lived most of my life in and around Cincinnati, so when someone asks, I tell them I’m from Cincinnati. But that’s not really what I’m asking.
Where did I come from? My life, I mean.
My heart has been beating for 63.5 years. What started it? My lungs have been breathing, maybe not as hard as they are right now, but for just as long. What started this? My thoughts? My questions? Not just these specific thoughts and questions, but the existence of any thoughts and questions.
Where did they come from?
I begin looking around at my neighborhood and the streets of Cincinnati. Where did they come from? I suppose one answer is that a bunch of Germans, a bunch of Catholics, and a bunch of folks from eastern Kentucky decided to build a city here. (I realize that’s a major generalization, but I’m trying to keep this short.)
But where did they come from? And what was here before they came to town?
I suppose there were some Native American folks here. Some wildlife of some kind. A river.
But where did they come from?
I don’t know all the details, but I think science tells us that the animals and people probably evolved from fish. The river was probably formed by the ice age. Ok. That’s what all the evidence seems to indicate. But still: where did the fish come from? What caused the ice age?
Where did the ice itself come from? Well, it’s frozen water.
Ok, but where did the water come from?
Well, I know that a molecule of water is comprised of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. So I suppose that if you can somehow combine two parts hydrogen with one part oxygen you would get water.
I think this might be harder than it sounds. I don’t really know if it can even be done. I saw Matt Damon do it in The Martian, but I don’t know if that’s science, or just science fiction. Either way it begs the question:
Where did the hydrogen and oxygen come from?
Where did anything come from?
I occupy a few cubic feet of space. What was in that space before me? Air? Probably. Before that?
Or maybe harder yet…
What was here before there was a here here? Where did this few cubic feet of space come from? Was this space always here? The truth is, this space wasn’t always here because it’s moving. The whole planet moves around the sun. In fact, the entire universe is in constant motion, so the actual few cubic feet that I occupy is never stationary. So, what occupied that space before I got there, and what is there when I leave?
More than that, where did the motion come from? What started it? A big explosion of unimaginable power?
But, where did the explosion come from? What caused it?
An enormous compression of all the matter in the universe into an indescribably monstrous black hole until it could no longer take the pressure and caused an energy release of cosmic proportions?
I just made that up. I know that smart scientific minds can explain it better than I can, but I still have a question:
Where did the matter come from?
Well, it’s been here for billions of years of time…maybe even billions of billions…
Ok. But that still doesn’t answer the question.
Where did it come from?
Where did any of this come from?
Was it always here? Always? For eternity? No beginning and no end? Seriously?
I really don’t know how atheists do it. I think most atheists look at belief in the existence of God, and Christianity specifically, as so much fairy-tale make-believe. The thing is, if I’m honest, I have to admit I can see their point. It does sound that way to me sometimes.
Until I start asking the questions.
Where did the thoughts, the ability to think, a sense of good and bad, right and wrong, DNA, an atom, the energy that holds the atom together, the solar system, the universe, movement, time, love, eternity, the ability to even think of the concept of eternity…where did any of this come from?
I love science. Scientists can analyze and describe what is. And the more they do, the more amazing it all becomes. But scientists can only theorize about where it all came from.
And then there’s the big question…
Science can’t even touch that one.
Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about while I was out for a run.