The mystery of time, space and GodPosted in Blog, Christianity
When Rev. Michael Rogers moved earlier this year he told me that he needed to get rid of many books as there wouldn’t be room for them in his new home. So I decided to pop round to the Pip and Jim’s vicarage to see if there were any which interested me.
‘Don’t come home with more than five books,’ my wife Sheila pleaded with me as I set off, ‘we haven’t room for any more books!’ Well, I have to confess that I came back with twenty-three fascinating books, large and small. One of the small ones is a Fontana paperback by Hywel Lewis Our Experience of God. I have just finished reading it during a late holiday break.
In the course of Lewis’s opening chapter, headed ‘Religion and Belief’, he talks about something which has always intrigued me – but he puts the issue with more clarity than I have seen it expressed before. He points out that it is impossible to think of a furthest point of space because ‘wherever we place it there could always be something beyond that’. In saying this he is not daunted by theories of relativity and receding constellations. He insists that ‘space as we all of us find it in experience is something to which no limit is conceivable’. The notion of space going on ad infinitum is bewildering.
The same is true of time: there is ‘something quite fundamentally bewildering about the notions of either a first moment of time or of time that has always been going on’. It is a ‘another aspect of the irreducible but positive mystery in which the world as we find it is somehow rooted’.
With this sense of mystery as one of his starting points, Hywel Lewis goes on to discuss how we may experience God and has chapters devoted to ‘Religion and Transcendence’, ‘Instruments of Worship’, ‘Art and Religion’ as well as the role of symbolism, how we may view miracles, prayer and morality. There is much in the book to interest both those who lead worship and all Christians in their journeys of faith. It is not always an easy read and you need to give yourself time to grasp the points the author is making. The book first came out in paperback in 1970 and now may be difficult to get hold of. So I am willing to lend it the first comer – but I shall certainly want it back!