The Materialist and the Rubber Ball

 by Johnny Carlton

Copyright 2012 Johnny Giesbrecht

Johnny Carlton is a writer of suspense thrillers available as e-books at

Materialists believe that “. . . physical matter is the only reality . . .” according to one definition of materialism in my Webster.  Therefore materialists do not believe in God, for God is a Spirit, as opposed to being part of the physical universe.  For the same reason they don’t believe in life after death.  They see the physical body die and refuse to believe that there can be any non-physical life left after that.  So their stand is:  if something can’t be experienced on a physical level, it doesn’t exist.

This is a shortsighted-narrow attitude, and anyone of this school of thought should be asked if he does not believe that a child’s rubber ball has a center—a point within the ball that is an equal distance from every point of the outer surface, as well as being a point from which all directions lead outward and none lead inward.  If a point is chosen and it is found that one can move inward from that point, or within that point, then it is obviously not the center.

We all know—materialists as well as the rest of us—what is meant by the center of something.  Then let the materialist proclaim that the center of a ball is physical—if to him all reality is physical.  But for a thing to be physical it must be made of some material, and if it is made of some material it must have a size and a shape; for material by its very definition has mass, and it is quite impossible to conceive of mass without allowing that mass to have size and shape.

What, then, is the shape of the abstract center of the ball?  Our first thought might be that it is spherical, like the ball, but a closer look reveals that if we are imagining the center to be spherical, we are not really imagining the center at all, but, rather, we are imagining a little ball inside of a big one.  Even though all outside points of the little interior ball are of equal distance from the surface of the surrounding big ball, the little ball does not constitute the true center of the big ball.  Certainly not, for it is only the center of the little ball that is also the center of the big ball.  Therefore you can go on imagining balls within balls forever, always smaller and smaller, and you will have come no closer to putting a size and a shape on the ball’s center than you were at the start.  This is simply because a true center has no size and no shape.  And if it has no size and no shape it is not physical.  And if it is not physical then either it doesn’t exist, or materialists are wrong who say that all reality is physical.

Does it exist?  If we say that a ball doesn’t have a center, then we must ask what it does have in its place.  For if we imagine straight lines leading directly inward from all over the surface of the ball, we would suppose that if we imagined them to meet somewhere, that somewhere would be the center and as such would constitute a legitimate part of reality.

It is interesting that although we cannot define the true center of a ball in physical terms no matter how hard we try, we can all—if we possess normal human faculties—easily comprehend the obvious reality of a ball’s abstract center.  We are told that animals cannot do this, and, although no animal has likely ever been seriously asked about the matter, I’m somehow inclined to agree.  But let that remain a mystery for now.

A bigger mystery is how any human mind, knowing and agreeing to the fact that the abstract, non-physical center of a ball is a reality to be reckoned with, can at the same time proclaim that his philosophy of life allows existence only of the physical.

And what of thought?  What of memory?  What of love?  What size and shape are they?

No one has ever seen love nor measured it with a yardstick, or weighed it, or tried to split it in an atom splitter to release its energy.  But it is the most powerful force in the universe.

The Holy Bible teaches that one day in the future the physical things will be destroyed.  Those of us who have fully accepted that there is a reality behind the physical, much greater than the physical, and have allowed ourselves to be put in tune with that reality through the love and power of Jesus, can read 2nd Peter, Chapter 3, verses 10 to 13, in the New Testament of the Bible, believe it, and, in spite of believing it, be at peace.

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