St. Justin Martyr

Bigger and Bigger Emptiness

If science not only teaches us that atoms – in terms of mass – are more than 99% ’empty space’, and then, without missing a beat, goes on to assure us that a similar percentage of the entire universe is equally void, why then the constant insistence on how big the cosmos is, and how tiny the Earth? And anyway, what other cosmos is it being compared to, and is bigger always better? There must be, after all, more grown-up ways of measuring greatness. How about fecundity as a yardstick? Life in our little terrestrial world increases and multiplies by the hour, but to all appearances outer space would seem to be quite sterile, with endless stretches of emptiness punctuated only by mysterious fires destined one day to burn out. It is certainly vast – but almost entirely empty. Our Earth, in contrast, is quite small and compact, but filled to the brim with life and variety. Any serious attempt at fruitful multiplication beyond our blue orb seems doomed to involve multiplying something by zero. We all know what that yields: more and more emptiness, but hardly more and more being.

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