The world was once so big, the sun so large in a large sky; the son of David wrote “The dead know not any thing” at a time when the wide, unbounded, untamed world was all we could see and the only universe we knew, and to be dead was to be removed from everything. It was only after a much later revelation that a man who was not a king would write “We are confident, and prefer to be absent from the body and present with God.”

In the age since, the world shrank further and further, until near the end we occupied it with our bodies but hardly lived in it at all, and the hills and oceans became only pictures in our minds. Finally, at the very end, it shriveled completely and disappeared in a fizzle, like a match going out. What a surprise, then, that the last work was not to lead us into a brand new world, but to make this one big again.