Why God Smiles — a short story

Posted on 2014 June 12


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If God is Love, then He must be smiling. All the time. No matter what fate befalls you, no matter what distress, God’s benevolent smile beams down upon you. If you are happy, God is smiling. At death’s door? Enraged by the caprices of God’s universe? Regardless, his sunlike radiance pours its warmth onto you. And always with a smile.

Scientists, in recent times, have come up with an astonishing theory about how the universe began — with a bang, so to speak, when an infinitesimally small and unlikely gravitational disturbance caused a fluctuation in one reality that then exploded into existence as a new and separate universe. Strange as it sounds, this is the theory on which most cosmologists agree.

Is this how God created our universe? Did He wave His hand, stirring the quantum foam, and poof! our realm burst into existence? Or was the First Cause slightly more … mundane?

Imagine, if you will, a college physics student in some alternate reality, hurriedly shutting down classroom lab equipment at day’s end, his tentacles absently adjusting settings and flipping switches, his beak clamped around his best writing implement (the one he left at school last week and nearly lost; holding it in his mouth, he reasons, is the surest way to hang onto it while closing up shop), his mind already on the hot date he has planned for tonight. 

In his rush to escape the lab and get a head start on the weekend’s tryst, he manages to transfer pen to pocket but omits to shut off the gravity machine.

Now, these gravitational devices aren’t the finest ones on the market, and their field generators are a bit unstable, but the physics department prefers them because they’re easy to operate and the data output is clear and straightforward. Unfortunately, they lack the safety circuits that shut off the machines automatically after a few minutes of idleness. None of this is on the mind of our romance-besotted student, who nearly smashes a tentacle in a doorjamb in his hurry to escape into the night, a grin of anticipation spreading over his scaly features.

All weekend the neglected machine quietly pumps out gravitons, warping the field around it, stressing the microscopic crystal lattices of its lab table but otherwise causing no real harm. 

Nevertheless, it happens: a sub-atomic quantum instability erupts within the gravity machine’s field for the tiniest fraction of a fraction of a second. And it just happens to be enough to cause a bubble of reality to erupt, ninety degrees from everything else in the room, and form its own universe. The new realm instantly balloons into titanic size, and it continues to expand for billions of years, evolving into this very moment when you read these words and ponder.

On Monday the professor arrives early to tidy up the lab class, and of course he notices one student’s gravity machine still humming away. With a sigh of exasperation he switches it off. “Careless as always,” he mutters.

Our own universe may last a trillion years. But, owing to the relative variations of space-time in different realities, the entire history of our cosmos is contained within the single fraction of a second in that physics lab where it all began.

And, in turn, the only moment in that classroom that our own reality can access is the one nanosecond wherein our universe was born, lived, and died — the same shining moment in which our Creator, the distracted college student, happens to be stepping through the lab doorway, the bracing anticipation of the upcoming night of romance frozen forever on his visage, like the motionless yearning of lovers on a Grecian urn.

And upon His face, for all time in our universe, shines the radiance of an everlasting smile of love.