I reflected on this crisis of belief. One of the reasons for thinking people is the increasing realisation of the sheer size and diversity of the Universe. As JBS Haldane once said, “the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”
I was reading the latest article in National Geographic magazine on the extraordinary discovery of some 700 planets in other solar systems over the last decade. The article compared finding these tiny distant objects to like looking for a firefly in a fireworks display. Astronomers now reckon that there may be a billion planets like ours out there. The article ended with a quote from the Spanish philosopher Miguel De Unamuno. The mysteries of the religious visionaries of old arose from an “intolerable disparity between the hugeness of their desire and the smallness of reality.”
Now the reality of the Universe is infinitely greater than our own imagination. Where does that leave the incarnation? How can the God that created the Universe of a billion planets like ours be the God that arrived in a manger in Palestine two-thousand years ago? This was the problem of the mismatch of belief that I was referring to at Market Rasen the day before.