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Opinion

Commentary: How big is God? my grandson asks. Bigger than any answer

A Bible sits open on an altar.
“Yes, Virginia, there is a God, and he’s fully capable of lifting the heaviest of rocks. The universe, after all, is rock-after-rock-after-rock and God created it with a word, not a tower crane. From beyond time and space, he commanded everything into existence.”
(Courtesy of La Jolla United Methodist Church)

“How big is God?” my 6-year-old grandson, Judah, wanted to know the other day.

Hmm, well …

Perhaps the size of a Frigidaire? Or Greenland? Or the Pleiades star cluster? A myriad of metaphors and images come to mind.

I know this: Judah has asked the eternal — for some, “infernal” — question that all grandparents worth their salt must face with supreme confidence. It’s not easy.

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“Can God create a rock that he himself cannot lift? Hahahaha.”

How cheeky!

That sagacious bit came not from Judah but my smart aleck of a brother-in-law as I was crafting a response. My faux bro was trying to trip me up in front of my only grandchild, who still thinks me smart.

Focus, Jimmy, focus.

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Yes, Virginia, there is a God, and he’s fully capable of lifting the heaviest of rocks. The universe, after all, is rock-after-rock-after-rock and God created it with a word, not a tower crane. From beyond time and space, he commanded everything into existence.

How’s that work? He’s God, I’m not.

He’s light years ahead of what a billion Einsteins — fueled by an insatiable appetite for Starbucks — could fabricate over a dozen evolutionary periods. He who thinks he can outwit the one who exploded the universe from a tiny speck of pencil lead is delusional.

But back to 6-year-old Judah’s guileless inquiry: How big is God? Vast? Humongous? Gargantuan?

Try infinite for starters.

How can an average human being like me accurately depict what’s impossible for the most brilliant of geniuses to conceive?

I can’t. Words are insufficient.

And so, I begin at the fountainhead of all things: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

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Those words, written by the ancients, introduce us to the first book of the Bible, Genesis. They derive from beyond the veil, before time began, and they command our respect.

God’s fingerprints are all over his cosmos. Thankfully, he is the God of details: your details and mine. Details keep galaxies spinning, planets orbiting and tides ebbing and flowing. And gravity — who knows why? — works every time.

All hairs on our heads are accounted for, so the Scriptures say.

Christian apologist C. S. Lewis once said that even the particles of dust in the rings of Saturn are known to the mind of God. I submit that we’re of far greater value than a ring-full of dust.

Lewis wrote that God knows “the curve of every wave and the flight of every insect.”

Awesome. Me? I regularly misplace my car keys.

We’re compelled to conclude that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” by the composer of “the music of the spheres.”

That grand designer knows us as Vivaldi knew his “Gloria.” God’s symphony is the soundless roar of a billion quasars, and the magnificent pulsing of the human heart.

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A theory that’s gathered widespread attention in recent years — perhaps because it’s so logical — is the “Fine-Tuned Argument for the Existence of God.” Here it is in a nutshell: the universe must be balanced to the nth degree in order for carbon-based life to exist.

Fundamental constants and forces have to be accurate within unbelievably precise tolerances in order for galaxies to exist, let alone to harbor life. Accidents can’t get it done.

So, why were we lucky enough to have every constant — by chance — rigged in our favor? Every one. Who’s behind that?

The answer, I think, is clear.

Jim Carnett lives in Costa Mesa.

How to get published: Email us at john.canalis@latimes.com. All correspondence must include full name, hometown and phone number (for verification purposes). The Pilot reserves the right to edit all submissions for clarity and length.

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