Saturday, February 12, 2011
Although Christopher was given something many of us may never be blessed with, he had the choice to interpret his dream as just a dream. He could have chosen to ignore the feelings that stirred within him and could have just rolled over and fallen back to sleep. Had he done so, he never would have known any different. But the consequence of listening to the voice of inspiration was life changing, not just for him but for everyone who knew him and for everyone who would benefit from his work.
Our experiences may not be as spectacular, however if we look closely at whatever may occur each day of our lives, we will be able to see the hand of God; shaping, molding, trying, strengthening, uplifting, and preparing. Our lives are but a beginning to a universe of possibilities - we have the choice to believe it or not.
Despite the efforts of Christopher to keep the AG7 prototype under the radar of the media, somehow they caught wind of it just the same. The details of it were still confidential, but nearly every scientific journal had run articles about the breakthrough with great expectations. This new prototype was more difficult to build than the previous version. The algorithm for AG6 was simple compared to this new revision. The circuit design and the processor microcode was so complicated that they had to hire consultants from outside MIT to complete it. And although they could not test the entire prototype until it was fully assembled, every component test passed based on the proposed AG formula. “If” the calculations were correct, each AG7 module would be able to create an anti-gravitational field bubble that would be able to surround and support any object within 3 meters. The AG7 prototype was comprised of a single AG module measuring 1 meter square by 25 cm high and weighed a mere 28 kg (62 lbs). The cost of this single module totaled nearly $1.2 million dollars, but Christopher and the team were estimating that it could be mass produced for under $15,000 each. Power consumption was still a problem. There was no small portable power source to sustain an AG bubble for more than a few milliseconds. In the lab, they would be using a 220 volt 3-phase 12 amp power source – not something you could just pick up and put in the trunk of your car.
Only 19 weeks had gone by since the team began work, and Christopher estimated that AG7 would be completed within 2 weeks – a full 3 weeks earlier than the original estimate. The entire team had been working overtime so they could take a well deserved vacation during the Christmas holiday. The unveiling was set for December 15th, but Christopher wanted to begin testing 1 week prior to iron out any problems. He had given the team a strict charge to not discuss the pre-test period with anyone. The last thing they needed if things needed adjustments was to have the press breathing down their necks. It was bad enough that the Dean was checking on the status multiple times every day.
Today was final assembly. Dr. Timothy Kirk, one of the brilliant minds behind the circuit design and who had been involved in the last three prototypes, was working with Christopher on the sensor array. “Chris,” he said, “I'm very surprised you've already set an unveiling date before we've even run preliminary tests. You're taking a pretty significant risk if this thing doesn't get off the ground.” He smiled, “Pun intended.”
“I've just got a feeling about this.” answered Christopher. “I'm 100% confident in the calculations and we've been very careful with all other details during production.”
Timothy didn't look convinced. “We have met all specifications, but what makes you so sure that the modulation calculations will achieve a sustainable AG field? I'll hand it to you and Warren, it is brilliant, but if you were off by just a microsecond in the modulation delay - or if the gravity constant you derived is incorrect, we won't see the load lightened by even a milligram.”
Christopher looked up at Timothy. “You are correct, but I've heard every argument over the last few weeks – putting so much at stake on an unproven formula. But once we've had a successful test, we'll talk about the method behind all this madness.”
Timothy just shook his head. He had seen his share of failures over the years and he had never seen a prototype work the first time, especially with calculations that were unproven. It was impossible to even run a simulation on this process since the field of anti-gravity was still largely a mystery. “If this thing works right out of the box,” he said, “I'll be hanging on your every word. It will be nothing short of a miracle.” He grinned, then said under his breath, “If we believed in that sort of thing.”
Christopher just smiled.
Assembly had been completed the night before – very late and only a small number of the team was there when the last connection was soldered and the last screw driven. Christopher decided that he wanted the entire team there when they tried the prototype for the first time. They deserved to be there – and he wanted to begin any necessary adjustments right away to be ready for the press demonstration in 10 days. Everyone arrived at the lab on time.
As Christopher looked around the room, he was moved by what he saw. Here were assembled some of the brightest people he had worked with in his long career. It was truly a pleasure to be associated with each one of them.
Since his dream, Christopher had been a little different. A little more patient, a little less haughty, and a little more jovial. Everyone had noticed it. At first they thought it was just temporary, but it had been weeks now so they had resigned to the fact that Christopher's condition appeared to be permanent. The little secret between Christopher and Warren was bursting at the seams and Christopher was going crazy with the anticipation of letting it out – but they had to wait until AG7 was announced. He knew that the ramifications would be dire – perhaps even devastating, but he was willing to handle whatever may evolve. He even pictured the headlines, “Mad Scientist” or “Brilliant Idiot”.
Since his dream, he had been using Sunday's to attend churches in the area, trying to locate the church that Jesus had referred to. He mentally listed the attributes that had been mentioned. 1) Structure similar to the original church established by Jesus. 2) Stress the importance of faith, repentance, baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. 3) It must somehow help with the work in the spirit world. 4) It must teach the real purpose of life – to be able to become like the Father and Jesus Christ.
So far he was unable to find one that met all criterion. He had learned so much however by attending each church and had become acquainted with many good people. When he began asking questions with regard to the search criteria, some were critical and emphasized that despite some minor differences, all churches would lead to heaven if you confessed Jesus. Others just smiled and wished him luck with a pat on the back. But nobody had given him any further clues as to what this church may be. He began to think it may only be in a foreign land, but was not discouraged. Once this project was over and he retired, he would spend his entire life searching if necessary.
Although he had his dream memorized, he read through it often, wanting to keep the feelings alive. He never wanted that experience to fade. When he closed his eyes he could still picture Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind, stretching out his hands for Christopher to touch. Then feeling those strong but gentle arms around him. How he longed to return to that lovely place – but he knew his life was not yet completed, and he remembered the charge given him by Jesus with regard to his church: “Please find it.” He was excited to talk with someone about his experience; someone who could relate to this knowledge that he now treasured more than anything else he had learned in his lifetime. It truly was “good news”.
He was still scanning the room. How many of these good people before him would be able to accept his experience as real? Or would they think he had had one too many accidents with the nuclear accelerator? He dearly wanted them all to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ so he could speak freely with them about it with no criticism or judgment about his sanity. But he knew this was too much to ask. He tried to put himself in their place. How would he react to someone, even someone who he greatly respected, that began talking about God and the spirit world. He smiled at the thought.
He then became sober and said, “I have a deep appreciation for each one of you.” He looked into their faces one by one. “Your dedication has exceeded all expectations. As you know, this will be my last prototype - succeed for fail. Many of you I have worked with for a good number of years, and you have become my family. I know that over the years I have not been the most pleasant person to work with.”
Some smiled in agreement but said nothing.
“I want to ask for your forgiveness. I want you to know that I greatly regret any disrespect I have demonstrated by my behavior. Nobody deserves the treatment some of you have received at my hand. I want you to know that I have been trying to overcome some of those faults. If any of you are ever caught in the same trap as I had found myself in, I hope you will recognize it and make the appropriate corrections. Some of you have skills and knowledge held by a very small percentage of humankind. With the knowledge we have, it is too easy to feel self-important. Too easy to despise or look down on others. Too easy to bask in the notoriety, fame, and great respect shown by others. Appreciate this respect and admiration, but never inhale.”
Some of them laughed.
“Always keep in mind that everyone has their purpose and we could not do our job if everyone else didn't do theirs. We all need each other. Not just everyone in this room today, but everyone you come in contact with and everyone you don't.”
Christopher paused for a few moments. He could feel emotion welling up inside of him, but suppressed it as best as he could. Despite his efforts he knew his eyes were moistening and he noticed that some had seen it, and to his surprise he noticed others eyes were doing the same.
This was too much, so he had to break the emotional tension before he prematurely spilled the beans. “In the words of the immortal Bill & Ted, 'Be excellent to each other'.” This was so out of character for Christopher that everyone didn't know how to react. After a few awkward moments of silence someone began to chuckle and soon everyone was laughing and came up to Christopher and shook his hand.
Christopher shook hands with each of his staff, then said, “Let's give this thing a crank shall we?”
The news of AG7's unveiling had spread like wildfire. AG6 generated great interest in the scientific community, but the excitement now was unprecedented. Although no private testing results were known, the speculation that everyone around the country would be likely to see true anti-gravity today brought in the media like MIT had ever seen. The Dean had limited the number of reporters that could attend the demonstration, but had allowed all networks who wanted to carry the event, to get the feed from attending camera crews.
AG7 was on the stage in the main auditorium. The room was full of scientists from around the world, who either wanted to see it work and rejoice in the ramifications it would have on the world, or who wanted to prove that any successful demonstration was rigged.
Sitting on the stage was a large scale that had a digital readout large enough so the entire audience could see it. Nothing was currently on the scale so it read 0.0000. Beside it was AG7 which was the size of a typical pallet found in any warehouse. Attached to its sides were a series of white dome-shaped nodes that looked similar to motion detection units. A single large electrical cable connected AG7 to a simple desk with a laptop. Beside AG7 was a shrink-wrapped pallet of books with a small forklift under it.
Christopher entered the stage and approached the podium. It took a moment for the audience to settle, but when it did, there was no sound. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he said with a slight bow of his head, “today we are all here to witness a momentous event in the history of mankind. Ever since Sir Isaac Newton defined gravity for us, using the Latin 'gravitas' meaning 'weight', mankind has been trying to figure out how to counteract the natural law. Even before then man watched birds fly in the sky and wondered if humans could ever participate, and have tried to remove man's gravitas from the equation. Science fiction writers have fantasized about ships that defy gravity as they take off with no need of massive propulsion or thrust. I'm certain the thoughts of piano movers have delved into the realm of weightless objects.”
The audience laughed.
“But today, by the great gift of God, we will see the law of gravity defeated.”
The audience went silent. Many looked at one another to be sure they heard what they thought they heard. Did Dr. Christopher Jenkins just attribute God to this scientific discovery?
Christopher smiled and continued, “Yes, you heard right. We've been blessed with the knowledge that you will see demonstrated here today. Just as other men and women throughout history have been given treasures of knowledge beyond their own brilliance, I claim no less. Even Sir Isaac Newton said, 'Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.'  But this is for a later discussion.”
Dr. Timothy Kirk recalled his discussion with Christopher during the assembly of AG7 and suddenly everything made sense. How he knew even before the formula was tested that it would work. Christopher was either telling the truth or he was completely out of his mind. Even though Dr. Kirk never believed in the existence of God, he was always open to the idea if there was ever a reason to believe. He shook his head as he watched Christopher walk toward the laptop.
As Christopher approached the desk he said, “We have asked an independent auditor to verify the accuracy of the scale.” Christopher motioned to his right.
Two people entered the stage with a cart full of cylinders. The team spent the next two minutes verifying the weights of the various objects on the scale, then approached the podium and announced their credentials and certified that the scale was calibrated properly.
Christopher then asked two members of his team to place AG7 onto the scale. They entered the stage and lifted the device onto the scales. Everyone noticed the weight of AG7 alone was 28.1227 kg (62 lbs).
Christopher then said, “Please load the pallet of books onto AG7.”
As the crew were approaching the forklift, Christopher took a moment to look over the audience. He recognized many of them, and he felt a small pain knowing that he would be leaving his position soon and that he would no longer be working side by side with this scientific community that had been a major part of his entire life. These were good men and women who for the most part used their skills and abilities to further the knowledge of mankind. As he continued to sweep his eyes across the people in attendance he noticed that when some saw him looking at them, that they looked away. “I will have to get used to that.” he thought. “Already the rejection begins for my admitted belief in God.” Suddenly his gaze fell upon a man in the very back of the auditorium that made his heart jump. How was this possible? How could he be here? The man looked at him warmly and smiled. Christopher felt the love radiating from him and immediately felt an overflowing gratitude for the gift that this man had given him. He felt unworthy, but was willing to give him the rest of his life in showing that gratitude. Christopher bowed his head slightly and smiled to let Jesus know his appreciation. Jesus nodded back.
Someone tapped Christopher on the shoulder. “We are ready Dr. Jenkins.” It was Warren. Warren squeezed his arm warmly and nodded.
The digital readout on the scale read 141.9744 kg (313 lbs). The audience was silent.
Christopher said, “I want to thank my entire team for their dedication. Please come out here.”
The audience began clapping as fourteen more people entered the stage and stood behind the desk where Christopher and Warren were standing.
“Thank you.” said Christopher as he turned to face his team. “Thank you.” he said again as he looked at each one of them. They all held his gaze.
As the clapping subsided, Christopher reached down to the mouse and positioned the cursor on the over-sized button that said, “Engage”. He smiled as he thought of the programmer who wrote the user interface. This reference to Captain Picard's famous saying brought home the gravity of the situation. He smiled at his own silent pun. He clicked the mouse. It was almost like a vacuum had sucked all air out of the room. In the perfect stillness, and almost as if in slow motion, Christopher turned to the scale. The large numbers read 0.0000.
 Tiner, J.H. (1975). Isaac Newton: Inventor, Scientist and Teacher. Milford, Michigan, U.S.: Mott Media. ISBN 0915134950. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton
Christopher immediately awoke from his dream. His whole body was tingling with elation. He laid there a moment thinking about what he had just dreamed. It seemed so real. He reviewed in his mind everything from the moment he arrived at the borders of the city until the time he returned to the same spot. He remembered what someone had told him about dreams and sudden bursts of inspiration – to write it down while it was fresh in his mind. He got out of bed and noticed that he had only been asleep for well under an hour. He walked into his office and turned on the desk lamp and sat down. He turned on his computer and began to type. The story of his dream came to his mind clearly. Page after page he wrote until he felt like he had captured everything in great detail. He finally sat back and took a deep breath as he looked at the story before him. Immediately the details began to fade from his mind as though it was just a dream.
He then remembered clearly the last few words uttered by Jesus about the final gift – knowledge about his AG project. He opened his briefcase and took out the pages of notes that he had been accumulating over the years. He turned through the pages, not knowing what he was looking for and not having anything new come to his mind. He had reviewed over these notes hundreds of times before, looking for something that he had overlooked, but the time he spent seemed to be in vain. Then the thought came to his mind – “pray”. He didn't know what to think about that. He didn't believe in God. This was just a dream wasn't it – it didn't really happened did it? He glanced at his computer and scrolled through the story he had just written. As he read, the feelings he experienced during the dream came back to him in a flood of emotion. “What is happening to me?” he thought. He sat for a long while, contemplating his life. Thinking about what his life would be like if his dream were real – what changes he would have to make. Could he do it?
Then the thought came clearly again into his mind, “pray”. He didn't ignore it this time. He slipped off his chair and went to his knees. His body complained as his aging knees met the hardwood floor, but the feeling to pray was so overwhelming he ignored any discomfort. Once on the floor he realized that he didn't know how to pray. He had only known memorized prayers as a young boy – but which one was appropriate for this situation? He closed his eyes and pictured Jesus and the final embrace and the gratitude he felt. He began to pray, thanking God for the experience he had been given this night. Once again the feeling of gratitude was overwhelming and he began to sob. Tears fell onto his chair as the dream once again became clear in his mind. He asked about the final gift that Jesus had promised to give him – and suddenly in his mind came a number. He didn't quite know what this number meant, but he immediately wrote it down in his notes. It was a very long number with a repeating pattern. Still not knowing what it meant he labeled it as “Prayer” in his notes. He fell back to his knees and expressed his gratitude to God once more. He stayed on his knees for several minutes as thoughts raced through his head. He suddenly felt exhausted and went back to his bed and quickly fell asleep.
Christopher awoke to a dog barking next door. “That annoying little dog” he thought as he turned over in bed. His mind suddenly cleared and he sat up quickly. He must have slept through his alarm as the sun had already risen. Then he remembered it was Sunday – he didn't have to work today. He usually did anyway, but it wasn't expected. He slipped out of bed, thinking about a strange dream that he had last night, but he couldn't remember anything about it - only that he had dreamed something unsettling.
He got out of bed and went into the bathroom to get ready. After showering and brushing his teeth, we went into his office to read his email and finish the article on nuclear physics. He sat down in front of his computer and saw a document still open on the screen. He couldn't remember this document so he scrolled to the top and began to read. The story surprised him – it was definitely his writing style but the content seemed unfamiliar. It spoke of a dream where he saw a holy city filled with spirits and spoke with Jesus Christ. “This must be a joke,” he thought to himself, “I would never write such a thing. I don't believe a word of this.” He was about to delete the file, but for some reason he couldn't do it. So he dragged the file into a “Personal” folder and began to read his email.
After breakfast he felt like taking a walk. The day was already warm and humid, but he would walk slowly to relax his mind – then maybe he'd go into work and see if he could make some progress before everyone showed up on Monday morning. As he strolled along the river and saw people walking their dogs, and parents playing with their children in the grassy strip along the river, he began to think about the story he had found on his computer that morning. Walking by the river made him think about the fountain that was described in the story, and the rivers of water running in all directions throughout the city. “Living Waters,” he thought to himself, “a very interesting metaphor. Carrying life to everything downstream.” He glanced over the river to the buildings of the University in the distance, he thought of the buildings in the story and how the city had been clean and bright. This was indeed a contrast to the buildings he saw before him. They were well maintained, but certainly not like those he had read about this morning. Then he noticed the people around him and started to think about what type of people they were – about their interests and their beliefs. “What am I doing?” he said aloud. He looked forward to see someone give an odd glance in passing. He had never thought about people this way. Why would he care about what they did in their personal lives, let alone their beliefs? He quickened his pace, eager to get back to work and take his mind off of this new line of thinking.
It was early afternoon by the time Christopher approached the lab door. He entered in the 6 digit access code, but the red light flashed, indicating that the code was incorrect. This was not like him to get the code wrong. Although it was automatically changed each Saturday night, he always knew the next code in the sequence. He tried it again – red light. Frustrated, he set his briefcase down on the floor and opened it. The door code followed a complicated algorithm that he developed himself and programmed into the security system. It has never failed him before. He pulled out a piece of paper that looked like it was full of numbers with no spaces or formatting of any kind. With his eyes he located the spot where this week's new code began. The code he had entered was correct – but that number didn't work. He tried last week's code and it turned green and the magnetic latch clicked open. “Stupid security system,” he muttered under his breath, as he replaced the door code sheet back in his briefcase. He started to shut it but noticed that his lab notes were not in the proper place. He pulled out the notebook and noticed that the marker was in a different spot than he remembered. He open the book and quickly noticed the long number labeled with the word “Prayer”. He was immediately furious that someone had been in his notes, but a close examination revealed that it was indeed his writing. He shook his head to clear it, then placed the notebook back in his briefcase and closed it.
He entered the lab and set his briefcase down on the desk. Unlike many of his colleagues, he was very organized and neat. His desk had only a few pieces of paper neatly stacked. He looked over at the white wall. After a few minutes of staring at the board the number written in his notebook came to mind. He removed the notebook from his briefcase and turned to the marked page. This must have been written recently he thought – since I would certainly have noticed this before. “Prayer.” he said, staring at the number. “What on earth could that mean?”
He heard the door latch click and looked up. The door opened quickly and Warren stepped through, out of breath. “Christopher! I've been looking for you but you didn't answer your phone at home and your cell just goes to voice mail.”
“Warren, you never work on Sunday – what could possibly be so important?” asked Christopher, frustrated at the interruption, but not quite an angry as he thought he would be..
“Look, I know you think God is non-sense but I need to tell you something.” replied Warren.
“Hmmm,” said Christopher, and thinking “here we go.”
Warren rushed on. “I had the strangest dream last night about the project. I saw the formula as clearly as I see it now, but with a few slight modifications.”
Christopher was more than skeptical about this. “A dream.” he said with obvious sarcasm.
Warren grabbed a red marker and quickly walked over the board and began to make modifications to the formula.
Christopher looked at the changes critically, wanting to bring Warren back down to earth at the first opportunity. But the changes actually made sense. Through the years they had experimented with the vibration of the ferrite particles to create the AG field. The frequency of the vibrations as well as the modulation frequency had been attempted with hundreds of variations - with no success. But this new formula introduced the concept of not only the modulation of the frequency but also the time between frequency adjustments as a variable.
Warren completed the changes and stepped back from the board. “It all makes sense except...”
“The variable 'g'.” finished Christopher. “There is no definition for 'g'.”
“That's the kicker,” confirmed Warren. “I saw this formula but there was no definition for g. It must be a constant, but without it, the formula cannot be applied.”
They both stared at the board for what must have been over 10 minutes, neither saying a word.
Without thinking, Christopher glanced down at the notebook and looked at the number he had supposedly written. He spoke casually, “Try this.”
Warren was pulled out of his thoughts and looked at Christopher. “What?” he asked.
Christopher said, “Write this.”
Warren, used to the terseness of Christopher's methods, walked back to the board with pen in hand ready to write.”
Christopher said, “g=.36891244792620533689124479262053”
After Warren was finished writing, he walked back a few steps and looked at the board, then looked back at Christopher. “Where did you come up with that?”
Christopher didn't know how to answer. He certainly didn't want to expose that fact that he had no idea where this number came from, and what was written next to it. He'd never hear the end of it from Warren. He paused for a moment, collecting his thoughts. Suddenly, a voice, almost audible, came into his head, like he was recalling a memory, “There is no room for pride in my kingdom Christopher.” This made Christopher jump in his seat.
Warren looked a little shocked at first, but then burst out in laughter. “What was that all about?” he asked. Quite pleased that Christopher, this man who was always in control, seemed almost human for a moment.
When Christopher didn't smile, Warren stopped laughing. After a few moments of silence, he asked, “Are you alright Christopher?”
As he looked up at Warren, he said, “I think so, but I have no idea what just happened.”
The look of concern on Christopher's face put Warren into counselor mode. “What did just happen?”
Christopher looked from Warren to the notebook, then back to Warren. “Look at this.” he finally said as he pointed to the number.
Warren walked over to Christopher's desk and looked at the notes. Beside the word “Prayer” was the number he had just written on the board. Now it was his turn to look between Christopher and the notebook several times. He knew Christopher would never even think about the word “Prayer” let alone ever write it in his book. “Prayer is for the feeble minded” he had heard Christopher say on occasion. Warren finally spoke, “I'm not sure what I'm looking at here. Where did that number come from and why is... is... that word by it?”
“Truthfully, I don't know. I just noticed it a few minutes ago when I got to the lab. It is written in my own handwriting, but I don't recall writing it.”
“Have you been feeling OK?” asked Warren. “I noticed that jump a minute ago, like you were shocked or something.”
Christopher was silent for a moment, then said, “I'm feeling fine, but there have been some strange things happening lately.”
Warren just looked at Christopher, ready to listen.
Christopher explained about the document on his computer this morning and what it contained. Then about discovering the number in the notebook because the door code had not changed yet. Finally, he said he heard, or rather “felt” a voice and what it had said.
Warren wanted to laugh in triumph, but held his emotions. “You know Christopher, it sounds like God is trying to tell you something.” He immediately thought he had gone too far. Nobody brought up God when talking to Christopher without getting a lecture. But there was no response for a long while.
Finally Christopher spoke. “I uh...” He paused. “I think you may be right.”
If there was anything Warren wasn't expecting, it was this. His mouth moved, but nothing came out.
Christopher let out a short laugh, “This morning, I actually felt concern for the people in the park by the river.”
Warren smiled, relieved that the tension had been broken.
“It's strange Warren, the more I think about that story on my computer, the more familiar it feels to me. I can't quite explain it.”
Warren didn't want to push the issue so he looked away and back at the formula on the board. A sudden rush of excitement washed over him. “If Christopher really did get that number in answer to a prayer, this could indeed be the answer we've been searching for.” he thought.
Both Warren and Christopher were staring at the board. Then they both looked at each other. Warren, a young 34 year old physicist with his entire career ahead of him, and Christopher, a 62 year old veteran of physics nearing the end of his career – and they both looked like 8 year olds who just got a secret decoder ring in a box of cracker jacks.
Knowing that it would take at least 6 months of programming and circuit design to build a prototype based on this new formula, they decided that nothing more could be done today. But they agreed to begin the new process first thing Monday morning.
The moment Christopher arrived back at his apartment, he went immediately to his computer and printed out the story he had discovered that morning. Even though he hadn't eaten all day, hunger had left him. He just wanted to sit down in the den and read this story over and over. It didn't take long for him to recall everything that had occurred the night before. The dream, typing it into his computer, praying for help, and receiving the number in his mind. His heart swelled within him as he marveled at the change that had come over him these last 24 hours. He smiled when he thought about Warren and the look on his face. He dropped to his knees and began to thank God for His tender mercies.
After his prayer, he called his sister Paige.
The next morning was pandemonium. Christopher had asked the Dean to arrange for his classes to be taught by another professor so he could concentrate on the AG7 prototype. Although the Dean wondered why Christopher had such high confidence in this version of the prototype, he wanted to give him the time requested. After all, Christopher was solely responsible for the great reputation of the physics department here for the last 30 years – and had brought in millions in funding. And if AG7 was the true solution – MIT and his department would be at the top of the game for several years to come.
At the staff meeting Christopher revealed the new formula. Credit was given to Warren for the formula and Christopher for the gravity (g) constant. They both winked at one another, knowing that the credit really went to God, but if they told everyone now how this formula was derived, they knew absolutely that funding would be pulled and the project would be put into different hands. This would be a delicate matter. But once the prototype worked, and they knew it would, proper credit would be given.
Christopher didn't want to leave. He loved this place where everyone was honest, kind, considerate, loving. There was no pride, no pretension, no secret ambitions. It was an idyllic society. But he knew that the time was drawing close for him to go back. His heart gained courage as he thought about it. His work on earth was not done – his life was not complete. He had gained a knowledge greater than any degree could give him. He felt he had a clear understanding of life and what it was all about.
They left the assembly hall and Jesus led him to another part of the city.
“I have two great gifts for you before you leave Christopher. You thought a moment ago that you had a clear understanding of life – and indeed you have gained a greater understanding. But the purpose of life has not been shared with you yet.”
Christopher now remembered that Jesus had mentioned on several occasions that the reason why we were all created was not yet revealed to him. That he was not ready yet for the responsibility of that knowledge. What could give him more insight about life than what he was already given? Was he ready? He glanced at Jesus, who as predicted, looked down at him and nodded.
Jesus looked around at the beauty surrounding them. The city that shone brightly – clean and pure. The people with their joyous smiles and countenances. After a few moments he spoke. “What is all this for? What is the point of creating worlds without number? Why are billions of spirits created, given lives full of experiences that include hardships, only to die? Why, even after death, does teaching and learning continue?”
Christopher attempted to answer, “The answers to these questions differ greatly among the religions of the world. Some say that in the end we will be put in a state where we will be the most happy – yet there is no further information about what that will be like. Some say we will be angels, neither male or female, who will worship you by playing harps and singing. Some say we'll know our families, others say we will not. I'm not sure what to believe. After seeing this city though and the priorities that people have, I feel like there is a greater purpose that I have not heard of as yet.”
Jesus said, “There is a gift available to all mankind. A gift that surpasses all understanding. One so marvelous that it is being rejected by nearly all religions as blasphemy.”
Christopher looked at Jesus, not able to understand what he was referring to. He could imagine that being given great mansions as he has seen here would be a great gift, but nobody would reject that as blasphemy.
Jesus looked at Christopher and continued. “There was a great king whose vast kingdom stretched to far off lands. The kingdom was rich with forests, fields, flocks, herds, and all manner of grains. The people were wealthy. The king was good and kind and his subjects seemed to be willing to do anything for him. One day the king sent a proclamation throughout the land that he would be allotting parts of his kingdom to all who were willing to set aside their current endeavors and come to him. He wanted all to learn what he knew, to have what he had – in a sense to become like him. The messengers were eager to take this great proclamation to the people.
But the reaction of the people was unexpected. Some were attracted by the lure of wealth and power but were not willing to set aside their lives of luxury and endure the long learning process, so they went about their lives. Many felt that the messengers were deceiving them because the king was so powerful and great that it would be disrespectful for anyone to presume they could be like him. Out of respect, they would not ask the king themselves - so their part of the gift went unclaimed.
Very few people accepted the gift and left everything to go to the king. Some had intentions that were not pure and were not willing to be like the king in every way, so they were rejected and cast out. Those who were willing to obey and cast aside their old ways were richly rewarded for their efforts. Each became heir to the kingdom and was allowed to build kingdoms of their own.”
Christopher pondered on this for a few moments, wanting to be sure he understood what he thought he heard. Of course the king in the story was God, meaning the Father and Jesus. The messengers were those who were teaching. Not just the teachers here in the spirit world, but teachers on earth, trying to help the people understand what God has in store for them. But what did he have in store for them? That they could become like God? That couldn't be right – there could be only one God. But in the story, the king was still the king – the others would still be subject to him and would always be in his debt, yet they could be kings as well. But he certainly could understand why many on earth would not accept this gift and feel that it was blasphemy to even think that such a thing was possible.
Christopher looked at Jesus who was already looking a him. “If I understand correctly, the gift you are referring to is to become like you. To have your knowledge. To have your power. To be an heir to your kingdom.”
“Yes.” Jesus answered. “This is the purpose of life Christopher. Spirits are created as the offspring of the Father, literal children of God. They are sent to earth to gain experiences, to learn, to grow, to become strong. To learn to be good, kind, forgiving, patient, peacemakers, and to judge righteously, to desire to be good. To become like me as much as possible. Those who do this are the valiant ones you see around you. They have my image in their countenance. These will be taught in all things to become like me and become joint heirs with me to all the Father has. They will be given the power to create their own kingdoms. This is the definition of Eternal Life.”
Christopher stared speechless at Jesus. He believed what Jesus had said but the reality of it was difficult to comprehend. To learn to create... worlds, universes. Indeed there could be no greater gift that God could give to his children than the knowledge and power to become like him.
They walked together in silence until Christopher was at the same place where he first appeared. It seemed like days ago, but yet he knew it had just been a few moments. Christopher reflected back on the time spent with Jesus. The truths he had learned. He recalled how proud he was when he first arrived at this spot. When Jesus first said that he could learn things here that would stretch his mind and expand his understanding, he was more than skeptical. Instead, he figured he would be the one to teach this man. He shuddered to think that he almost walked out. What he had seen and heard had changed his life, had given everything greater meaning than he thought possible. He thought his life was fulfilling – and it was, but this added a dimension that he didn't even know existed. Or at least he never let it exist before. There were plenty of colleagues who tried to get him to understand, but he wouldn't let them. Life wasn't going to be easy with this new knowledge he had gained, but he would be faithful to it. He would!
Jesus broke the long silence as they stood there looking over the bustling city – busy with the work of God. “I have one more gift for you Christopher. With this gift you will be given great power and you will be tempted to misuse it. Remain faithful. Always remember the things you have learned here. Remember me and keep my commandments and you will always have my spirit with you.”
Christopher looked at Jesus, again overwhelmed by emotion at the love he felt from Jesus.
Jesus continued, “You will be given the knowledge you seek to complete the project you have been working on these many years.”
A flood of gratitude washed over Christopher. He had tried to remain optimistic over the years with this project, but it seemed as though failure was imminent. Now words could not express his gratitude, so he remained silent – still looking into Jesus' eyes.
“Serve me well Christopher, and return with honor.”
For the last time, they embraced and the tears flowed freely.
Christopher was again amazed at the vastness of the city before him. He could not get over the beauty of this place. The vivid colors of the flowers and plant life scattered throughout the parks and gardens. The buildings, beautifully white and clean. The streets shone as if they were made of gold. And the people were all dressed simply and neatly. “If only a city could look this nice on earth – everyone would want to live here.” he thought to himself. But then again, some people would look at these surroundings and think it was too sterile – too bland – not enough variety – and the people were all too much alike. He shook his head at the thought. Then he remembered all those people outside the city. They didn't feel comfortable here and didn't want to do anything about it. Oh, what they are missing!
They approached a building that reminded Christopher of a larger Lincoln memorial. Tall stately columns with a large open porch surrounding the building. He couldn't get used to the fact that weather was not a consideration with the architecture here. There was no need for rain gutters, storm drains, or even doors for that matter, although these buildings did have doors – he supposed just for privacy or for sound control. But there were no locks on the door handles. Where everyone is trustworthy and there were no children to wander where they shouldn't, what would be the point? This thought made him look around even more attentively. He had not seen a single child during this entire time. Where were they? He looked at Jesus as they were walking up the steps of the building.
Jesus looked down at him and said, “Spirits are mature. Regardless of the age of the mortal body at death, the spirits are mature and all appear to be the same age. What is age anyway, but a factor of time spent in a mortal frame. Time as you know it does not apply here. Not long ago you were concerned about taking too much time here and what was going on in your mortal life. But you will go back at the around the same time you left to come here.”
Christopher's mind was reeling about time and space and its relative nature. He wondered where “here” was? He knew it was the spirit world, but where in space was it?
“Are you ready for the answer to that question?” asked Jesus.
Christopher looked at him, realizing that for the last few minutes that conversation seemed one-way. Christopher only thought, and Jesus spoke. Looking about him he noticed that some people were standing and looking at one another – like they were engaged in conversation but they were not speaking. Others were speaking normally.
Jesus smiled, “One question at a time.”
Christopher also smiled and nodded. There was so much to learn about – it was like a whole new world. Then he smiled again at the irony.
Jesus spoke. “The spirit world is not in a far off place, or 'up there' as some assume. It is on earth.”
This took Christopher by surprise. His mind began to doubt what Jesus was telling him, but those doubts left as quickly as they came. Now he just wanted to better understand rather than argue.
Jesus continued, “Everything you see around you is matter, even all spirits that reside here are matter, but it is not a type of matter you are familiar with. And because time and space are different here, we can be on the earth and occupy the same physical space, but yet not interfere with one another.”
“Like another dimension.” stated Christopher.
“In a manner of speaking.” answered Jesus.
“I had read of people who have 'near death experiences' and some have described that spirits are among us here on earth, but I had always attributed those experiences as delusional. But it is true!” exclaimed Christopher.
Jesus continued, “The separation between the two worlds is oftentimes called the veil. Depending on the worthiness or purity of a person, this veil can become very thin and communication between the two is possible. There are times when worthy spirits are allowed to comfort those who are discouraged or in despair. And there are those who are assigned to watch over and protect someone on earth. But there are strict laws that govern interaction between the two worlds. If there were angels visiting everyone on earth, there would be no need for faith. People must believe and have faith of their own free will or the purpose of life would be thwarted.”
Jesus and Christopher approached a large door. As it opened, Christopher saw a vast meeting hall – room for tens of thousands of people. At the head of the room, slightly elevated above the rest of the level of the room were three seats that were facing the rest of the seats.
“I wanted to show you this meeting hall. Within these walls is where the most valiant spirits are taught, and preparations are made for the great second coming. These grand conferences are taking place more frequently as the time is growing short and there is much that needs to be done to prepare the earth.”
Christopher marveled at the grandeur of the hall, and imagined it filled with those who have lived faithfully – who have served so diligently, some at the peril of their own lives. “They truly gave up their lives on earth so they could gain eternal life.” he thought. “And here is where they meet as a council with Jesus himself to get counsel and receive assignments.” Then he noticed the other chairs at the head of the hall, and wondered who else may sit by Jesus' side during these conferences. Would it be Adam, or Abraham, or Moses?
Jesus looked at Christopher and answered his unspoken question, “Those seats are for the Father, me, and the Holy Ghost - the Godhead.”
Christopher tore his gaze away from the three seats and looked at Jesus in bewilderment. “But I have been led to believe that you and the Father are one – the same being – or at least the same entity.”
“We are one God - one in purpose and united in all things – I am in the Father and the Father in me, but we are two separate beings. I have been seen at the right hand of the Father, and the Father has spoken on occasion to testify of this.”
Christopher was shocked – yet for some reason it rang true and seemed perfectly logical. He had always wondered about the relationship between the Father and the Son, but couldn't understand how they could be one. However there was no Christian religion of the day that taught otherwise – so he figured it must just remain a mystery – something that could not be understood. “God's ways are not our ways,” he had been told as a youth. “We are not meant to understand all things.” But he had seen plenty during his visit here to help him understand that logic does prevail. Some things cannot be understood but only because of the finiteness of our minds. Time and space cannot be fully understood. The complex process of creation cannot be comprehended. How Jesus was able to break the bonds of sin for all mankind, was beyond all understanding – however he understood enough to be able to use that atonement to change his life and become a better person. But the nature of God and Jesus had always eluded him. He had read that man was created in the image of God – this required that God had an image or form. It all made sense to him now.
Jesus explained, “Throughout the history of the world, men seem to gravitate toward gods with different purposes or agendas. A god of the sea and a god of the sky. Some gods who were good and some who were evil. These gods have come about because of man’s need to explain why things work the way they do, and a way for them to feel like they are in control by trying to appease one god or another depending on the situation.”
“During my mortal ministry, I made it clear that although the Father and I are separate beings, we are united - one God. What one of us would do, the other would do in the same situation. We don’t debate or argue about things, we are one. Does that make sense?”
Christopher nodded. “In the New Testament, you made reference that the husband and wife should be one, in the same way. And in your intercessory prayer you said in reference to those who believe, ‘That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us’.”
Jesus nodded in agreement. “But I am concerned that the misunderstanding of our nature goes beyond our oneness. Popular teachings claim that the Father and I are not physical at all but merely an influence or feeling. I am resurrected. I have an immortal and perfected body of flesh and bone, as does the Father, and man was created in our image. You can see me and touch me – I am real and I still carry the scars in my hands, wrists, feet and side as a testimony of what I have done for all mankind.”
Christopher looked at Jesus' hands as he held them out. He reached out and felt the scars and his whole person was filled with love for this person standing in front of him – love for his willingness to give his life that Christopher might have a chance to return to him. A chance to live in this beautiful place someday, and even be destined for greater things. His eyes filled with tears and for the second time Jesus opened his arms to him and they embraced. “Thank you,” he said through his tears.
“I love you Christopher. Thank you for surrendering your pride. Thank you for being willing to drink deeply of the Living Waters that I offer to all.”
 John 17:21