And have the bright immensities received our risen Lord,
Where light-years frame the Pleiades and point Orion's sword?
Do flaming suns his footsteps trace through corridors sublime,
The Lord of interstellar space and Conqueror of time?
- Howard Robbins, The Hymnal (1932)
The first big branching off in notions of the Almighty arises between Creators believed to be actively engaged every moment in the direction of human life, and Creators who, instead, set our universe to spinning eons ago according to impersonal, immutable natural laws, and now simply stand by and watch the human folly unfold under those laws.
Aristotle subscribed to the latter vision, reasoning that, in a universe where everything else has been in constant flux since the beginning of Time, "There must be an immortal, unchanging being ultimately responsible for all wholeness and orderliness in the sensible world."
During the Enlightenment, a school of rationalist, free-thinking Deists (such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, in America) picked up on this vision of a Prime Mover, an ur-kickstarter of all existence, which unfolds before us mechanically like an infinitely intricate Rube Goldberg apparatus. This is God as big bang, His outspreading reality as dispassionately cold and un-comforting as deep space. In its favour, this model at least would seem - would it not? - to ascribe to our universe some grand, underlying purpose that's valid, even as we observe the Lord of Interstellar Space doling out windfalls, misfortunes, and deaths on what looks like a sloppily randomized basis.
TITLE - "Prime Mover"
WHERE - Mud-splattered glass door, Port Moody, British Columbia (2017)