Science tells us how our universe came into being. This is a pretty well established scientific fact. What is unknown is what happened before the Big Bang. Scientists posit various theories to answer this question, but, so far, the safest answer is “we don’t know.” Into this unknown step Evangelical Christians holding their inspired, inerrant, and infallible Bibles high, saying GOD DID IT! These followers of Jesus provide no evidence for this claim outside of failed philosophical arguments and quotations from the Christian Bible.
Recently, an Evangelical writer (whom I don’t have a link for) stated that the most important issue facing all of us is finding a satisfactory explanation for the beginning of the universe. I thought, at the time, really? I mean, really? I don’t know about you, but I rarely, if ever, think about the beginning of the universe. It’s just not on my radar. In fact, I simply don’t care.
My mind is filled with thoughts of Polly, our children, and their families, and how I am going to live out the last days of my life. I worry about our finances and how we are going to live after Polly retires in 2023. My declining health is never far from my mind. Just today, I had another extensive blood test done. My doctor and I are in the weeds now, looking for an explanation for some troubling symptoms I have. I will have the results in a few days. If everything is “normal,” then what? It is evident that I am not “normal,” so what is causing these symptoms?
When I am feeling up to it, my thoughts turn to my writing, politics, and sports. When I can get out of the house — which is not often, typically once or twice a week — I ask Polly to take me for a drive. Anywhere, it matters not. After my blood draw this afternoon, Polly took me for a ride northeast out of Bryan to West Unity, south to Lockport, over to Stryker where our youngest daughter lives, through Evansport, and then home. Not one time did my mind turn to the beginning of the universe. I thought about the church I pastored in West Unity and the furniture store which is closing there, owned by a former church member. As we drove through Evansport, I thought about the feral cats that used to roam the streets in droves. They are all gone, now. What happened to them? Polly and I chattered back and forth about the weather and the corn that stood in fields, ready to be harvested. It’s deer season in Ohio. Deer are running for their lives, hoping to not end up in a hunter’s freezer. We came upon a herd of deer along a gravel road south of West Unity, not far from where our oldest children once worked picking eggs. We stopped and watched them for a bit. As we neared Ney, we talked about painted houses, new homes, and junk-filled properties. Just two old people talking about nothing, but talking about everything, a ritual played out countless times over the past forty-six years.
Polly pulled into our driveway, turning the car around so she will be able to pull out on the highway in front of our home and go to work an hour later. Polly and Bethany quickly went into the house. There was Polly’s weak bladder to address, and sirloin steak to fry, complete with steamed broccoli. I stayed behind, sitting in the car with the door partially opened, breathing in the crisp, cold winter air. I pondered my existence, wondering how many more winter days lie ahead for me. Not one thought entered my mind about the beginning of the universe or the end of my existence.
I choose to embrace the present. I have no time (or energy) to think about philosophical or existential questions. I am not criticizing people who do, but I am at a place in life where all that matters to me is the here and now, not finding a satisfactory explanation for the beginning of the universe.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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