Theme 1 : Artwork 2

Reflection Title: 
Where Do We Come From?
Reflection Content: 

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? These three questions are at the heart of all ancient creation stories and are central to the explorations of modern science. These questions have animated cultures from the Haida Gwaii on the Pacific coast of Canada to the Neolithic settlement nine thousand years ago at Çatalhöyük, not far from Konya in Turkey. One of the great curiosities of creation stories—stories of where we come from, why we are, and where we are going—is that all three themes are contained within the first question: Where do we come from? 

Story Title: 
Image of God
Story Content: 

God said: Let us make humankind, in our image, according to our likeness! Let them have dominion overt the fish of the sea, the fowl of the heavens, animals, all the earth, and all crawling things that crawl about upon the earth!
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God did he create it, male and female he created them.
God blessed them,
God said to them:
Bear fruit and be many and fill the earth . . . !
. . . .
Now God saw all that he had made, and here: it was exceedingly good!
There was setting, there was dawning: the sixth day.
— Genesis 1:26–28a, 31

Contemporary Story Title: 
The Mind of God
Contemporary Story Content: 

Stephen Hawking is a world-leading theoretical physicist and cosmologist, receiving over a dozen honorary degrees. He currently resides as the Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. Stephen Hawking is also the author of A Brief History of Time (1988), an international bestseller. In his book, he plunges into the realms of black holes and the big bang to explore the origins of our universe. 

“Ever since the dawn of civilization, people have not been content to see events as unconnected and inexplicable. They have craved an understanding of the underlying order of the world. Today we still yearn to know why we are here and where we came from. Humanity’s deepest desire for knowledge is justification enough for our continuing quest. And our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in.
Did the universe have a beginning?  . . . . If we do discover a complete theory, it should be in time understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God.”

— Steven Hawking, (born 1942). A Brief History of Time.

Artwork Title: 
Gauguin’s Meditation
Artwork Content: 

In February 1898, Gauguin wrote a letter to his friend and fellow French painter, Daniel de Monfried describing his masterwork.


“I have decided before I die to paint a great picture, which is in my head, and all this month I have worked on it in a kind of unaccustomed frenzy. . . It’s true that I can’t judge it properly myself, but I still believe that in value this picture surpasses anything else I have done, and that I shall never produce a similar or a better one before I die. I have put all my energy into it, and a sad passion created by terrible circumstances. It is so sharp and uncorrected a vision that all the sins of the speed at which it was painted disappear, and life surges out of it. . . . I have completed a philosophical work on a theme comparable to that of the Gospel; I’m sure it’s good.”
— Maurice Malingue, ed. Paul Gauguin: Letters to His Wife and Friends.

Question Title: 
Is Origin Destiny?
Question Content: 

“We live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.”
—Walker Percy, (1916-1990)

Pilgrim’s Questions
Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Gauguin’s pressing questions. Do you see them in the top left corner? Gauguin traveled to Tahiti. Was it to escape these three questions? Did he meet them again on the beach of a paradise island? Have you met these questions? Have you traveled to escape them only to run square into them again? 

Three questions asked by you, asked of me, asked of us—these are the pilgrim’s three questions. 

Music Title: 
Music was made
Music Content: 

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
“I still haven't found what I'm looking for.” U2, The Joshua Tree, 1987. Track 2.


The Circle of Life
Composed by Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice, “Circle of Life” is a song from Disney’s 1994 animated film The Lion King. Opening Zulu vocals are by Lebo M, the English lyrics sung by Carmen Twillie.


And Am I Born to Die?
Sacred Harp music rose out of the American singing school movement of the eighteenth century. This movement used shape notes to teach a capella sight singing. The austere harmonies and punctuated phrasing of Sacred Harp music creates distinct musical cadences. The melody Idumea comes from the Sacred Harp tradition.   

Image Thumbnail: 
Image Summary: 

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? 1897–98. Paul Gauguin, 1848–1903. 

Story Audio: 
Contemporary Story Audio: 

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