A small group of philosophers and scientists sat around a table eating lunch at the University of Chicago faculty club. The conversation turned to miracles: Did miracles actually occur? How would a person recognize one? Suddenly, one of the philosophers rose. “Watch this,” he said, and he walked across the room and came back. "A miracle!” he announced, and gave a little bow.
Everyone laughed, but in fact everyone also agreed. We humans are miracles, miracles of intention, of thought, of invention. But so is that miniscule red spider that walks across the open page of my book as I lie reading in the park in summer; how can anything that small contain all the necessary organs and processes of life? So also is the leafless, snow-covered tree along the park pathway, holding life in its roots, ready to support growth when spring comes.
Returning to the philosopher, consider only the neurons involved in his stroll across the room. They produce electricity using sodium, potassium, and calcium ions. First the neurons maintain a slight voltage across their membranes, a positive charge on the inside and a negative one on the outside. Then a stimulus causes gated channels at one point along a neuron’s membrane to open and allow sodium ions to flow in, reversing the voltage. This causes the same thing to happen nearby on the membrane, and so on, so that this “action potential” passes down the length of the neuron. At the end of the neuron is a synapse where neurotransmitters carry the stimulus to other neurons, causing them either to fire or to refuse to fire. This is only the tiniest fraction of a fraction of what was involved in just that one stroll. And we haven’t even begun to speak of the mutual understanding of the import of his stroll, of his words—and most important, of his intention. Where does intention come from? How does it form?
Truly, life is a miracle made of miracles. Call the power behind it God, or call it the Spirit of the Universe, we are participating in Divinity.
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