Well, I guess this is “brother-in-law” day today at oneClimbs! I owe this post to Brad who emailed this to me a few hours ago, and I also posted The Enchiridion by Epictetus from my other brother-in-law.
I’ve seen the older version of this “Scale of the Universe” presentation and the new one is even better. I think it is awesome because it illustrates just how large or small we are depending on what perspective you are coming from.
I think that it is also interesting to note that this spectrum of size has a beginning and an end. I guess we assume that there must be a “smallest” particle and there must be a point to where to have the largest thing; but why do we assume this? Perhaps eternity isn’t just a linear thing as we usually suppose, but maybe things are eternal on scale as well. Is eternity something that exists in all directions?
Maybe there is something to this. In another article I was comparing the human body (a microcosmos) to the universe (a macrocosmos) and noting the similarities.
[In observing a photo of thousands of galaxies], I wonder if that is how a field of atoms would look like if you were able to see such a sight up close with your naked eye. Trillions of electrons orbiting nuclei through the vast cosmos of your body; each like a miniature solar system or galaxy with a vast (comparatively speaking) sea of nothing in between; the same nothing that fills the void of space. But we know each of these systems were not ‘big banged’ into existence; every birth of a child is the intentional organization of a whole new microcosmos, a literal universe of atomic particles on a smaller scale. (Link)
It gets more interesting when you understand another truth, that our bodies are constituted of individual intelligences separate from our own. Though we don’t know very much about these “intelligences” we do know some things. God has said that our bodies are of the dust, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19)
In Helaman 12:7, man is condemned for being less than the dust of the earth, “O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth”. It is furthermore stated, that “the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.” (Helaman 12:8).
The only way this comparison could be made is if free will and obedience were in play. You cannot compare something intelligent to something that is not. Comparing a man to a rock isn’t fair if the rock is just dead matter. Dust moves at the command of God, and I don’t think that this means he is using “supernatural” power to move things. That’s not how he works.
In the Genesis account of the creation, God is creating by speaking to things. Why speak if you can just force things to obey your will? The answer is revealed in Abraham 4:18 where it states that “…the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.”
Everything is based on agency. D&C 93:30 states that “All intelligence is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” So here we have a class of beings that are perhaps “smaller” than man if we consider that we are made of a practically innumerable host of intelligences.
Looking into the other direction we know of at least one being larger than that of man: the earth.
According to the Book of Moses we have an account of Enoch hearing the voice of the earth cry out.
And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth? Wilt thou not bless the children of Noah? (Moses 7:48-49)
The earth is made up of not only the intelligences of the “dust” but also another class of intelligences: mankind. It could be that perhaps this idea that the earth “speaks” is just allegorical, but you have to note the similarities between the path of salvation for man and the earth.
The earth was created of the dust, just like man. The earth fell from glory, just like man and was baptized in the flood and will be baptized by fire in the second coming of Christ and become a Celestial Kingdom. The earth seems to have a life cycle of its own and thinking further, this makes one wonder if the universe itself is also a living thing.
What it life? What is intelligence? How vast is the atonement and how could a single intelligence atone for it all. These are big questions that I hope we find answers to one day.