Paul Gauguin’s largest work, and probably his masterpiece, shows a group of Tahitian’s against a green-blue background of forest. It’s title “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” sums up the questions that have been asked by all peoples from the dawn of time. Where do we come from? What is this universe in which we reside? Has it always been here or was it created? And if it was created then what is the nature of the Creator? What was there before the moment of Creation? What is the nature of this Creator? Why did the Creator act? Is the Creator separate and distinct from Creation? Or are the Creator and Creation one? What was in the mind of the Creator before all existence?
These questions have been posed throughout the ages by philosophers, mystics and the world’s religions. Cultures have their myths, images, stories, theologies and metaphors as answers. In our modern world we also look to science for answers since it claims to have a story about the origin of the cosmos – the theory of the Big Bang – as well as a story about the ultimate nature of matter, the origin of life and maybe even the nature of consciousness. The answers of history, and of science, are at first sight quite diverse yet they all have one thing in common – the human origins of the storyteller. Even those who claim direct knowledge though revelation, illumination or mystical experience must of necessity express these insights in human language and human oriented imagery.