To exist for us always.
To trouble us always."
---Par Lagerkvist, The Sibyl.
interesting is the mystery.
The need for mystery is greater
"Perhaps there is
something in the epistemological
makeup of man that makes him
On a planet where the sun never set and a beautiful long-lived rainbow hung (as though forever) in a misty sky, a man dreamed. "How I wish I could discover the secret of the rainbow's beauty," he thought. Then one day the man decided to give up his mundane existence and dedicate his life to searching for the source of the arc that so mesmerized him. He set off in the direction of the rainbow. Day after day he marched. He never tired of studying the rainbow--its luminance, how one color dissolved into another, its graceful curve. On some days, the rainbow seemed brighter and larger in the sky, and his spirits rose and his feet flew across the rolling landscape. On other days, however, he nearly despaired as the rainbow seemed to recede into the distance. Yet he trekked on, determined to discover the mystery of the rainbow's transcendent beauty.
As years passed, and the man continued his quest for the source of the rainbow, many people he met on his journey ridiculed him. They urged him to abandon his search.
Nearing the end of the man's life, a thing happened that had never happened: a rare cloud moved across the blue sky until it blocked the endless sun. The man watched--first in disbelief, then in understanding--as the rainbow he had chased for so many years disappeared before his eyes. He realized for the first time that he would never reach his rainbow. The rainbow, he understood finally, existed only as a pattern of light on his retina--as real as a mirage.
Most men, learning that a life-long quest would end without its goal being achieved, might be bitter. Not this man. The search for the rainbow had given meaning to his life. The rainbow had filled his time with wonder. Grateful, the man named the rainbow "God." He bowed deeply when the lone cloud moved past the sun and the glorious pattern of light reappeared in a startled sky.
--My response (over two decades ago) to an assignment in a course in Christian Theology, taught by Jack Clark, to write a short essay on my personal concept of God.