Last night, I had finished everything on my computer and was getting in some last minute reading as I often do. Reading before turning the lights out is quite enjoyable. I am one of those people who likes to carry a book everywhere with me. However, as I was reading, I went over to a small hallway between my bathroom and bedroom and flipped the lightswitch for the hallway and something incredible happened.
The light came on.
Now some of you are reading this and thinking “Has he finally lost it?” (I assure all of you, I lost it a long time ago.) “Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen when you turn on a lightswitch?” Well, yes. Of course it is. However, how often have we stopped to be amazed that that is in fact what happens.
When I fly on a plane, I find it amazing that the pilot says that we are flying to X city and lo and behold, that is where we arrive. We do not arrive in a different city. We arrive in the city that he has spoken of. It may not be the same as the magic powder in the Potter books, but it is still the wonder.
You can come to me and talk to me about the light and say “Ah. I will tell you why that happens. When you flip the switch, electrons…..” Yes, yes yes. I’m sure it’s all interesting. However, even if I know how it works, that does not tell me something. It does not tell me the why. Why was the system made that way instead of another.
You can tell me that is what the electrons do, but I simply find it amazing that they do that. I am caught in the opposite side of Dostoevsky’s Underground Man. He was terrified by the fact that 2 + 2 = 4. I am utterly amazed by it. It is a shame that we do not live in a world where people walk down the street and constantly live in amazement that 2 + 2 = 4.
Why are these things such? As a Christian theist, I cannot believe the flow of electrons is an accident. I believe that God made it to work X way and not Y way for a reason. I believe God made sexual intercourse the way he did for a reason. I believe the heavenlies move the way they do for a reason.
However, if I keep asking “Why?” I will eventually have to come to the mind of God. There is something about it all that reflects his nature. This would mean that there is some glory in all that there is. If it is his and it reflects his nature, then insofar as it reflects his nature, it is glorious, and it does not depend on my agreeing with it or not.
This means that I should have wonder all around me. Even without looking at things outside of myself I can find wonder. I should walk around in amazement that I have these two things called legs that end in two things called feet and that they seem to motivate me everywhere that I go.
In the cartoon, Peter Pan, Peter Pan tells the kids that they can fly. When they ask “How?” he says, “It’s easy. You just….” Peter Pan cannot explain it. Who could? It would make just as much sense for me to try to tell you how to move your arms. I do it and I know I do it and I do it when I want to do it, but I could not dare tell you for a second how I do it.
Should that not hold me in awe? Should that not make me realize that the universe is far greater than I thought. I can attempt to explain it all, but such a small world it would be. It would be thinking that because I know all the hows of the universe, then that makes it less fascinating. With a mind behind the universe, that makes it more fascinating.
I have no quarrel with science then. Finding out how things work makes them more fascinating for it shows how complex they are. Let us suppose the scientists are right and find some theory of everything, that universal law that explains why everything does what it does. It should not decrease wonder. I would be amazed that God could sum it all up in one simple truth.
So why the title? Because I believe such is quite close to what would be called magic. Even if you could explain the way magic works in the stories, it would still be incredible that when you say “Hocus Pocus!” something happens. I find the belief that the plane can take me to the city as amazing as the idea that teleportation could take me there. In fact, I should find the fact that my own two feet can take me there amazing.
There is much concern these days in our world with the idea of magic. There are people who will ban the Potter books for instance and refuse to have anything to do with them. I pity such people. I have no problem with condemning the occult for it is the occult. I have a problem with condemning fantasy simply because it is fantasy.
I would much rather though meet the person who believes in magic than the one who does not. I would that we were steeped in paganism rather than materialism. With paganism, all we have to do is get people to abandon one god for the true God. With materialism, we have to get people to abandon no god for some God. However, the saddest part is that usually, there is a god and that is the god of self, and he is the hardest god most often to forsake.
It is a shame our world does not see the magic of what we have. It would hold us more in amazement everyday if we did. Tonight, some people will not sleep well wondering why their checkbook doesn’t seem to add up. I understand the concern and we should help people financially if we can. However, I will do my best to work not concerned with why a checkbook doesn’t add up, but with more amazement that 2 and 2 do to make 4.