What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

The Sun is our father in heaven.

March 21, 2008, 5:00 PM

The Sun is our father in heaven.


Our father, who art in heaven;
our mother, the earth:
we are your children...


All life in our biosphere begins as energy from the Sun, a monstrous seething mass of fusion blasting the earth, yet coddling the planet within her embrace as she barrels through space. In comparison the earth is like a marble that is trapped close within the Sun's influence following the sun in her endless journey through time and space. The planet resists the angry buffeting of the Sun's blast furnace with our magnetic field and atmosphere. Approximately 100 watts per square foot of energy bathes the planet's surface. At the equator in midday that can rise to 1100 watts. Enough energy reaches us in one day to supply all human needs for a year. (And if humanity is so clever how come we cannot drink life directly from the sun?)


Essentially there is two kinds of life on earth. First, the green things which use chlorophyll and carbon dioxide to capture and convert sunlight into (food) carbon chains of sugars. Secondly, all other life is akin to parasites that consume the green things, or the animals that eat those that consume the green things, or those that eat the leftovers. So the quickening that stirs life comes directly from the sun, either by soaking it up directly, or by eating life. There is nothing else. And this is the first thing you need to comprehend if you are to comprehend god.


(Of course that is over-simplified. There is rare life that derives chemical energy from deep sea vents, but we could also argue that, since the planet is a leftover from the creation of the sun, and that the earth's core is molten because of its proximity to and interaction with the sun, thus deep sea life indirectly derives from the sun.)


So to review, plants convert the Sun's energy into food from which all other life forms draw their life energy:
--a bug eats plant material; absorbs a little energy and poops the rest out.
--beetle eats that poop; absorbs a little energy and poops the rest out.
--worm eats that poop; absorbs a little energy and poops the rest out.
--bird eats worm; absorbs a little energy and poops the rest out.
--cat eats that bird; absorbs a little energy and poops the rest out.
--bacteria eats that poop; absorbs a little energy and poops the rest out.
--worm eats that poop; absorbs a little energy and poops the rest out.
And on and on it goes, the same energy is constantly recycled throughout the system. A little of the Sun's energy is released at each step as heat and life. The greater is defecated and feeds life down the chain. The leftovers are buried in time and become crude oil, or stored sunlight and carbon

So this is our first great understanding: that all life's energy comes from the Sun. We are completely surrounded by the life-energy of the sun. Now further: energy gives rise to life and sustains it; energy is necessary for life; can energy be life, or the wellspring of life? Can we not see this immense overwhelming mass of energy as the source of life on this planet? Can the Sun be the father of this creation?


The Sun is our father in heaven and the earth is our mother. Life exists because of this relationship. The giver of life on this planet is the Sun, with the kind of life that exists governed by this relationship. You may have theories about the origins of life, but until you incorporate this god-sized energy source that blasts and buffets the earth with god-sized amounts of energy into your theory, you are failing to see the forest for the trees. The Sun is not incidental.

After all, quantum physics reveals that we are not so much made from matter, as we are of energy. And if consciousness is the defining element of human life, then can not we see the sun as not only the source of the energy that gives us life, but possibly the source of consciousness? Can the sun be a god, the father of this creation? Mystics and prophets describe god and her angels as beings of light and fire; of being so bright that one cannot look at them; of pillars of fire and burning bushes; and of returning to the source of light upon death. Near-death 'Hell' experiences are often described as being isolated from the light and being cast out into the void of deep space.

If we can understand life provided by the Sun then it would follow that, like illustrated in a Dr. Who episode, the sun is alive; that life and consciousness may flow from the sun. If we are to allow our scientific knowledge of the universe to intrude into our spirituality, then this may be the first lesson in understanding god with our twenty first century minds

If there are any gods that we can point to, as in saying that god is over there or here, or if there is a nearby physically manifested god that can be held responsible for this creation, that should be the Sun. Sure, one can speak of many imaginary gods, or gods that exist because of your faith, but in this twenty first century scientific world we need a god that measures our understanding rather than insulting our knowledge with obsolete Bronze Age fantasizes.


The Sun is our father in he...

Newsletter: Share: