LARSON: Finding time and space for Christmas

I’m not a big Bill O’Reilly fan, but I do get a kick out of his nun stories. Probably because I have so many of my own.

I remember in third grade how every now and then Sister, with ruler in hand, would randomly single out a couple of students and ask, “If the communists came to town and said they were going to burn all the Catholics at the stake, would you admit you were Catholic?” If they didn’t say “Yes, Sister” within a few seconds, well, we all know what would happen.

I was so thankful Sister never made her way to my desk. Unlike math, which always produced a provable answer, abstract religious teachings were sometime too hard for my little eight-year-old brain to absorb, even thought Sister did provide some good “hands-on” illustrations.

Some made perfect sense to me. For example, when the priest served Communion, Sister said he filled the chalice with wine, which represented God and added one drop of water to symbolize every human being who ever lived, past present and future. Even if the proportions of wine and water weren’t measurable and couldn’t be proven mathematically, it still gave me an image of God’s greatness and I liked that.

Other concepts weren’t quite so clear, like during Advent when Sister put out an empty manger and a pile of straw. For four weeks, every time we did what in todays’ vernacular would be a random act of kindness, we could place a straw in the manger to help make the bed softer for Baby Jesus when he was born. Nice idea, but I couldn’t grasp how anything we did today could affect something that had happened 2000 years ago. And why did it count only during Advent?

But several years ago I read “Beyond the Cosmos” by Hugh Ross, a Christian astrophysicist who uses modern science to blend physics with faith to make all things (well, almost) plausible.

Citing Einstein’s theory of relativity and the subsequent works of scientists like Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose regarding string theories, particle physics and the Space-Time Theorem, Ross uses concrete examples and detailed drawings to convincingly illustrate that “God must be operating in a minimum of eleven dimensions of time and space.” So in God’s time, all things are possible.

I don’t think I would have understood any of this had I tried to read it in the third grade, but Ross did the math that proves multiple dimensions which helped me – at least a little - with those time and space issues.

If you have questions about the complexities of the cosmos, visit Ross’s web site at www.reasons.org . And if my suggestion helps clear up any questions you might have had about time and space, please let me know so I can place a straw in that manger. And it doesn’t even have to be during Advent.

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. E-mail her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.