“A human being is a part of the whole called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein
Ok, before I dive into this subject full-bore I want to offer up some basis for what I’m building certain assertions off of. One of those things will be the Hebrew word Shalom. The idea of Shalom is just as critical now as it was then. I’m also going to leverage a very pointed commandment from Christ himself during the course of his ministry found in Mark 12:30-31. To anyone reading this of a differing world view, I urge you to stick with me and hear what I have to say on the subject. I’m also going to briefly discuss some philosophical thought process stemming from Quantum Theory, more specifically to the idea of a prime observer and multiple unperceived dimensions that continually impact that which is. I’m also working from the doctrinal principles in the Westminster Catechism. First that “The Chief End of Man” is “To glorify God, and enjoy him forever”. Also the doctrine of the trinity, which states: “There are three persons in the Godhead; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory”. Finally sin, which is best defined by: “any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God”. Now to put this most simply since the 1st commandment is “You shall have no other God’s before me.” it’s safe to declare sin as anything that takes your focus and worship from God. Yes, the standard for perfection is that high.
Now lets begin.
A human being is a part of the whole called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
I agree completely with what is being said here, and it has a significant doctrinal relevance to it. Man is a part of something greater. A creature with a purpose, and these creature’s are intended to serve one another and to glorify him who created them. However, due to the fall , we are separated from God and unable to see that connection. More focused on ourselves, and what serves us better. Our own personal God, ourselves, which we place before our Creator everyday.
God is, in my view, the great observer from Quantum Mechanics. He is outside of time, he sees everything and is in control of all things. Scripture says he knows the end from the beginning, and I find peace in that. I also find peace in the belief that my position in space and time is known, and ordained for his purposes.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
In our own self worship, we build up an undeserved sense of self-importance, which further fragments us from others, and our God. I really enjoy the use of the word “prison” in this quote, as I think it’s a very appropriate word. We are trapped, unable to escape without help. However, that’s a deeper discussion in and of itself.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Now this is where the idea of Shalom to me is most clearly stated. Which in its simplest form means, harmony and peace. Sounds familiar right? Almost all world views and religions believe that this is an achievable standard. Given the trinity, I believe it is part of the natural design and order. I look at the trinity, in equal measure, glorifying one another in an endless dance. Christ, the son, commanded us to love one another (even our enemies). In a perfect world, one free of sin, I believe we would see that same role played out (or will after glorification). What use would I have to care for myself when the man next to me is doing so, and I in turn am focused on the one beside me. Not only would life be simpler, but we would be mimicking our creator, which I believe is one of the sincerest forms of worship.
We do live in a fallen world however. I do believe this is part of a greater plan that actually will bring about greater glory, and joy once its reached it’s completion.
One last thing I wanted to discuss before closing this post is that in quantum physics there is a theory that states there are multiple things that influence everything around us, but we are unable to perceive them because we aren’t aware of them. In other words, our perception is our reality, but that perception is not an absolute representation of the truth. Even in the midst of the perceived chaos around us, I believe in a sovereign God who is in control of all things. So I think it’s important that I state I believe there is harmony, but that we are in constant rebellion permitted by the will of God. I believe that harmony in the created universe is that testimony to him. Scripture states that God’s invisible qualities have been very clearly displayed in creation. However for those who are believers in God, we have been lead to belief by the Spirit, which is a very deliberate force in our universe. That those who are made aware of it no longer see the world as being merely a matter of chance, but of a like deliberate nature.
So how does this intellectual and theological meandering meet our everyday life? I believe it meets the same purpose of what the original quote sought to convey. For everyone, we need to stop and recognize that there is more than us in this universe and we should have a heart for them. Additionally, for the believer, that in serving others we serve and bring glory to the God who made us.