God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. – 1 John 4:16
Memories of this verse and its importance to Christianity came to mind some years ago when reading a New York Times book review of Why Does the World Exist, by Jim Holt. According to the book review this fundamental question has not received the attention that one would expect. “We find no one haunted by the specter of non-being until Gottrried Wilhelm Leibniz, who wrote in 1714, ‘The first question which we have a right to ask will be, ‘why is there something rather than nothing.’ “
The author of the book recounts his interviews with several philosophers and cosmologists, as well as novelist John Updike. The numerous theories, from multiple parallel universes to the “puzzling nature of nothingness” did not provide any compelling answer.
Later, I discovered Hungarian author and Auschwitz survivor, Imre Kertes, and read Fatelessness, his account of life in a Nazi death camp. The concluding lines of his speech at the Nobel Prize banquet has become an inspiration for me whenever I need something uplifting:
And if you now ask me what still keeps me here on this earth, what keeps me alive, I then I would answer without any hesitation – love.
Those words have helped me to deal with the question of why the world exists. I believe it is not necessary to answer the question as long as love is paramount in our existence.
Dear Lord, May the love that envelopes us during Lent abound in our world throughout eternity. Amen