To me, the abstract is not merely a mirror as to that of the concrete and the physical, but a whole universe unto itself, populated by its own rules and its own complexities. And of all of the changes I’ve noticed in the past few years, my increasing (relative) comfort with the abstract most surprises me. The physical world may have its limitless depths of mystery, with ever system harbouring subsystems, ever smaller clockwork embedded in the clockwork, but in the abstract, this limitless depth exists more as a room for the expansion. An abstract theory does not have to consider the merciless downwards pursuit of reductionism, but is a correct entity in its own right. The specification or generalization of the theory allows us to traverse up and down the layers between the interactions of indivisible particles, to the indivisibility of the interconnected universe.
Not that I disagree with a reductionist approach to the understanding of the physical universe. In the sciences, it has given us a degree of expression for how much a beautiful part of the universe we are, and how small a part that truly is. Reductionism has brought us a few crucial steps closer to God in that respect, even if it seems to move her further away, or reduce her to the monstrous computer of particle movements and ill-defined space.
In the abstract, I see a realm for God unassailed. I can accept that this is not a God of love whose hands are actively shaping the physical, but it leaves space for a God of beauty, even if her hands are not red with the clay of creation.
Throughout Lent, I have been meditating on the nature of my relationship with the divine, and it has truly been an experience, even if a semi-public one. I would like to acknowledge everything that the readers have done in encouraging to collect and share these thoughts. I hope that everyone’s Lenten resolutions have provoked as much reflection for themselves as mine has for me. Thank you.