Tramping along the Blue Ridge
Mountains, I find the strangest thoughts cross my path, and in one case, it was
about a fork in the trail.
One thought went all the way back
to high school. I was annoying my catechism teacher with, "Can God make a world
where he can't know its future?" This was of course a trick question to leave
God either no longer omnipotent or no longer all knowing. I forget how Brother
Paul wiggled out of that, but my next flashback was to a quantum mechanics
class studying physics a few years later at UCLA.
Turned out a Martin Heisenberg
fellow came up with a clear, mathematical answer with his
Uncertainty Principle. A blackboard full of Greek graffiti
proved that it was impossible to predict exactly which orbit an electron would
fall into. Not that we couldn't predict it but that no one and nothing could
predict it. This wasn't an opinion but a scientific law as solid as Newton's
had been for the big stuff like planets.
An electron here or there doesn't
matter for most things. Newton's laws govern much of what happens in a
snowstorm, for example, but not the path of an individual snowflake. So much is
going on that a single electron can decide if a snowflake will zig or zag on
its way down, and that one snowflake landing in the wrong spot could be the
tipping point for the avalanche that wipes out a village. Key is that no one
and nothing can exactly predict that avalanche.
There you have it. Heisenberg gave
a factual, scientific answer to my high school inquiry. Not only could God make
a world where he can't know its future, but the facts show that he did make
such a world. God no longer knows everything, only what can be
If no one can predict an individual
snowflake, no one can predict the electrical path of an individual neuron, an
even more uncertain path.
So it was that my forest trail
diverged, with both paths looking good. As I walked up to the fork, I didn't
know which way I would go, but what was more fascinating, neither did God. I
had free will. I was not following the preordained footsteps of my
But of course, why would God make a
world where he knew everything that would happen? Where's the fun in
So he made a world where it's
amusing to watch his lab rats. The question then evolved into, "What would make
me worth watching for the Big Guy?"
Religions are quick to pitch
scripts, and indeed I'd rather be watched loving my neighbor than hating him.
But God must be interested in more than just mules on a path, even a righteous
If he built this world to surprise
him, wouldn't it befit us to have adventures, to discover miracles, to love
deeply, to pursue inspirational ideas, and to experience wonder?
We've got to entertain him given
that he has the ultimate blaster to change channels.