“This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.” This old trope from conservative Christian hymnody reflects the ancient notion that this world is transitory and fleeting, that there is some other dimension of life from which we emerged and from which we are cut off. Einstein himself held a similar conviction, noting that ultimately there is a “mystery” at the bottom of life and that this “mystery” is ultimately “impenetrable.” The New Testament noted that at best “we see through a glass darkly” and that we “hold this treasure in earthen vessels.”
This “other dimension” is often in our culture thought of as “heaven.” But I remember when growing up I took it too literally and thought of it as some place far off but nevertheless “out there.” However, if it is “out there” then it is present in time and space. Paul Tillich and other theologians have posed the notion of God and “out there” as being “Wholly Other”, believing that a chasm separates us from “out there” and thus, from our Source. And only faith can bridge that gap but it requires a faith which is willing to face that “impenetrable” chasm. Someone once noted that when we’re taking a far journey it is often necessary to lose sight of the shore for a moment.