The Beginning

Excerpted from Earth Tales

There once was a God who, being God, set out to make a world that was an expression of Himself. He made it beautiful, just as he was beautiful. He made it majestic, just as He was majestic. He made it vast and diverse and creative, just as He was vast and diverse and creative.

He made it highly complex and layered with meaning and understanding but also unfathomable in mystery, just as He was complex and highly intelligent but also unfathomable in wisdom and understanding.

And he placed within his world a thing called life: Growing and spreading and flowering and reaching skyward and outward; and swimming and crawling and flying and breathing and prancing and charging. Life, which was not the same thing as the matter life was made of, but the thing which matter now possessed: It was full of life, just as He was full of life.

And then he placed within the world something not only beautiful and majestic and full of life but also aware. It not only lived and breathed; it knew. In the world He placed consciousness, just as He was conscious.

For consciousness was not the matter in which consciousness could be found, nor was it even the life in which consciousness could be found, any more than a plant was conscious simply because it was alive. It was rather the thing which caused a thing not only to live but to know that it was living. It was a thing that caused it not only to be in the world but to know the world, in a way that God knew the world.

For the world might have been beautiful, but no atom or molecule or rock possessed the capacity to know that it was beautiful. The towering alpine forests might have been majestic, but the alpine trees themselves could see that they were majestic. A rainbow or sunset or great mountain meadow may have been breathtaking, but not to the rainbow or sunset or mountain meadow.

Nor even to the mouse or bear or buzzing insect in it. For a thing that merely lives and survives and responds to the world cannot see the beauty and majesty of the world, unless God Himself imparts to it the ability to see the world as God sees it. It cannot merely live in the world but must know of the world. It cannot merely be a part of creation, but must in some way be apart from creation. Just as the workmanship of a woodworker cannot be appreciated by the wood, but only the woodworker, or one like him. Or a computer software program cannot be appreciated by the code, but only by the software engineer, or those like him, who can see the thing that has been created from the outside.

And so this God imparted to the world a quality most like Himself yet: Consciousness. That what God created might be like Him, that they might see the beauty and majesty and profound wisdom and mystery of the world He created. And by this, they might see God Himself.

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