I enjoy thinking about God. I like thinking about how we think about God, which is a composite of who we imagine God would be if there really is an overarching divine entity that somehow unifies the cosmos and is greater than the sum of its parts.

It is an awesome stretch to consider what God might be if there is a God.

Most of those who think about God come down on one side or the other: There definitely is a God. There absolutely is not a God. I come down in the creative ferment of the middle. There might be a God — or there might not be. The truth is, I don’t know.

What I do know is that the believers for and those against don’t know either. So we all have that in common. But many don’t seem to know that they don’t know — or don’t want to admit it.

Occupying the fertile in-between is far more interesting. To seriously consider the possibility that there is an actual God, unlike anything we can imagine, is an awesome proposition, which fills me with wonder. To seriously consider, on the other hand, the very real possibility that there is no God is equally awe-inspiring, almost as hard to wrap my limited brain around the many marvels of the cosmos — its mind-blowing immensity, its expanding edge, the possibility that this is just one of many universes, and all the mind-bending discoveries still to come from the fertile well-spring of science.

Meanwhile, back here on the mother planet in the infinitesimal impermanence of my own existence, I find life to be richly full of meaning, whether there is a God or not. There is so much about life and living that we don’t know, haven’t explored, myriad mysteries yet to unlock and unravel.

All of that beauty, all of that meaning and wondering about the more that might be, does not prove there is a God and does not prove there isn’t. Nonetheless, I enjoy contemplating the subject, preferably away from the human-made urban landscape under an open sky where clouds mass and move, or under a night sky filled with stars, dwarfing my self-importance.

In those moments, I can see why humanity, at this stage of our evolution, inclines toward God. Consider weather, especially now in its angry backlash against human interference, which takes on the aspect of an angry Old Testament deity, intent on punishing us for our foolish, shortsighted, planet-damaging arrogance.

Our inclination to personify that which is greater than us, however, though humbling in a healthy way, proves nothing. But I’m not seeking proof. I’m looking to explore and enjoy my not-knowing.

God is great, says Islam, but God might also be small — smaller than atomic particles, hiding in the space between matter and non-matter. We don’t know. We will never know (in this life).

Science says, yes we will, eventually. Give us time. That driven determination is wonderful to behold. I look forward to the next discovery and envy those who will hear about so many more after I depart — and perhaps continue on in some other form of “living.” Who knows? None of us.

Many of us need to believe, and believing has its benefits, but it is not the same as knowing. No one can prove there is a God and no one can disprove it. Believe as much as you can, but have the humility, and honesty, to admit that what unites us all is not knowing, which is liberating.  

It’s easy to feel a “presence” in the cloud pilgrimage across a vast, open summer sky. I felt it last week while pushing my granddaughter in a stroller through a park in a new subdivision amid Plainfield’s cornfields. I call it “virtual God,” a comforting, wishful presence that makes me feel less alone in the cosmos, more at home.

Such approximations of God are manifestations of a deep longing for God, though not everyone feels it.

Some experience the silence of God as a dead zone, an absence. They make a case for cleansing life of wishing-well Gods, seeing life more clearly by banishing God from their vocabulary, rinsing unnecessary illusions down our brain drain.

Native Americans, however, felt a presence in the apparent absence, calling God the “Great Silence.”

I sympathize with both sides of the God equation.

Our old ways of thinking of God (or not God) need to evolve, informed by science yet not consumed by it. Old religion was able to bring us this far. A new spiritual journey, however, lies ahead.

It’s fascinating. But not to everyone. When I confessed my enthusiasm for wondering to a friend some years back, he said, “I don’t see the point.”

The point is the tantalizing allure of possibility. We are hard-wired to wonder. I find it exhilarating.

Some faiths are more tolerant of not knowing. They embrace the profound mystery of it all.

Those who insist on a firm answer, yay or nay, are missing out on all the fun.

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