10. ~SOUNDINGS~: PART 2 – The Effects | 10th Essay – Environments
by Frank L. Jordan III
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In order to better grasp a theatrical production,
it is necessary to know its setting.
In order to more fully understand our existence on Earth,
it is a good thing to delve into the roots
of the environment.
How did this planet come to be?
And why are we here, of all places?
It goes something like this …
When the universe was young,
planets and moons, comets and asteroids
were randomly formed within countless galaxies.
Planets spun off of stars, gases condensed over time,
oceans receded over lands—
for those planets capable of having oceans.
The point is it was a random process.
No invisible finger guided the planets to where they were,
processes described by the laws
of gravity and physics did.
Now, many of these planets found themselves
in orbits that were conducive to life.
A major component of this conduciveness is temperature.
If a planet or moon sustained temperatures
between the approximate freezing
and boiling points of water,
then the birth and development of life was possible.
Possible, that is, if certain crucial elements
were found there in substantial amounts—
elements like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen,
The truth that life needs
this relatively narrow temperature window
to originate and thrive,
and that life is made of certain elements
and their chemical compounds,
and consumes some of these
and a few others in the forms
of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats—
these truths are part and parcel
of the reality of life itself,
and are indispensably essential
for the possibility of life as we know it
to exist at all.
This window must be what it is.
And where these conditions for life
are found in the universe,
the yearnings of the elements and their compounds
are met and nurtured by God, the Source of life.
It’s like a cavern found deep in a mountain,
where there are small holes all over the surface
of that mountain,
allowing tiny beams of light into the cavern.
Only under these beams of light
will green plants sprout and grow.
So it is with celestial bodies that have acquired,
however randomly, the conditions for life.
But once life has originated
and begun the process of evolution—
through the power and guidance of Pure Love—
then the creative act of empowering
non-living molecules into becoming living ones
no longer occurs.
This is why within our current world
of simple and complex organisms,
nowhere is the transformation of the inorganic
into the organic to be witnessed.
Those elemental yearnings within the material world
have already been fulfilled in our planet’s deep past.
Now the desires themselves have become more complex,
and will not revert back to the ancient desire
to simply become living.
Even though life can emerge
on countless planets and moons in our universe
whenever certain conditions for life are met,
this does not mean that life will appear
exactly the same—
or be in the same stage of development—
as life on Earth, at any given time.
If it exists, life elsewhere probably does follow
the same guidelines of formation as it does here on Earth—
in the forms of plants and animals,
of microscopic and non-microscopic life.
And the same processes of respiration, digestion, sleep,
reproduction, evolution, and ecology probably do apply
to potential life elsewhere in the universe.
But this does not mean that the histories
of all planets and moons are the same,
that the histories of the living beings
on each planet or moon are the same.
For just as the unique planetary history of our Earth
has affected life on this planet
in a particular way over time,
so have the unique histories
of other habitable planets and moons
affected life (assuming there is life) elsewhere
in particular ways over time.
And the arena in which this process has occurred,
is occurring, and will occur is the environment
of a particular place.
But how exactly is environment defined
in the present context?
An environment is the sum total of all the objects,
organic and/or inorganic—
whether material, mental, spiritual,
or any combination of these—
found within a particular place.
The limits of an environment are defined
by the limits put on the term place.
We tend to refer to our ecological system on Earth,
the biosphere, as the environment.
And when considering how it can best
be nurtured and maintained,
we human beings tend to set ourselves apart
from the environment, to visualize it more clearly—
like deliberately leaving the trees
to view the forest.
But in actuality we are not only a significant part
of this planet’s environment,
human beings are at the pinnacle
of the significance of Earth’s ecology.
One of the reasons for this is because we humans,
as extremely sensitive life forms,
are most deeply affected by the realities
we encounter within our environment.
This is not to say that other life forms on Earth
are not deeply affected by the realities
they encounter within their environment.
They are—some nearly as much as us we are.
But here on Earth, human beings have the capacity
to experience life more deeply,
communicate life more articulately,
understand life more fully,
suffer the accidents and evils of life
desire sex in life and relish its happening
hunger and thirst for,
not only food and drink,
but a more genuine experience of living—
and with more yearning.
And this experience of living is crowned
by our relationship with God,
with all that he, all that she is.
For it is the coursing of God’s love
within our hearts and minds and bodies
that gives us the ultimate fulfillment
during our existence here and now.
Our yearning, our fulfillment is surpassed only
by God’s yearning for us, fulfillment in us.
For God is the true Lover of lovers!
We are but disciples of his love, of her desire.
And when God’s love permeates an environment,
that environment is changed, transformed.
Deserts become lush, promised lands.
Cracked river beds are filled to overflowing.
But there are times when these kinds of things
are obviously not happening, aren’t there?
There are times when other factors burst into our lives
and affect our environment in hurtful, destructive ways.
Accidents and diseases, catastrophes and crises—
all can fill our lives with pain and confusion,
causing us to demand, “God, where are you now?
How could you, my Protector, let this happen?!”
Good questions that deserve good answers.
It’s so important to comprehend where God stands
in relationship to the realities that affect
our environment in hurtful ways,
for it’s only through such a comprehension
that we can become truly free
to fully know and love our kind and loving God.
That’s why it’s so important to understand that God
does not directly cause pain to occur to any person—
unless it’s the emotional pain that someone experiences
when that person has unjustly caused
or is unjustly causing harm to themselves or others,
has lost or is losing the valued company of another,
has lost or is losing the possession or use
of a thing contributing to their own well-being,
has lost or is losing the care or service
of another who has been contributing
to that person’s well-being.
This means that the vast majority of hurtful events
that we encounter in this world
are not caused to happen by God,
who is Pure Love,
but much of the emotional suffering
in connection with such events is.
For you see, the pain that God does cause to happen
is more accurately associated with realizations
and feelings of remorse and grief—
for remorse is evidence of the loss of innocence,
and grief is evidence of the loss
of that which is truly loved,
which is the loss of love itself.
The qualities of innocence and love in this world
are particularly valued by our righteous, loving God,
and when we experience their loss
we can and often do experience pain
that is directly willed by Pure Love.
For the pains of remorse and grief
can be like hooks dug deep in our tender hearts,
attached to the lifelines of God’s care,
pulling us closer and closer to our Source
of mercy and comfort.
This especially includes the grief we can experience
as we leave behind outmoded characteristics
of ourselves—those lifestyles and habits
that may have served us well in the past,
but are no longer appropriate for us now,
or in the future.
However, apart from all of these kinds of suffering,
it’s hard to perceive God directly causing hurtful events—
unless one considers the vanquishing
of an infectious disease through God’s healing power
a hurtful event for the disease.
But this falls under the umbrella of a lower life form,
in this case microscopic,
unjustly harming a higher life form,
and thus reaping its just deserts—
that is, when such healing occurs,
which at present seems to be a rare
and sporadic event.
This brings us to the point that,
although God doesn’t cause many
of life’s tragic events to happen,
it appears that he doesn’t intervene very often
in stopping them from happening either.
A closer look at some of these events,
and where God stands in relation to them,
may throw some light on just why.
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