How a Train Can Help You Understand Creation

There are certain aspects of our faith that can be difficult to wrap our minds around. For concepts that are difficult to understand, we often use stories or analogies to help illustrate certain mysteries. Even Jesus used parables, a type of analogy, to share the mysteries of God with His disciples.

Recently on The Patrick Madrid Show Patrick used the imagery of a train to help explain how God created the universe, yet is not a created being Himself. A listener called in whose granddaughter was struggling with this concept, and so Patrick offered a more concrete example of how we can better understand this mystery.

Patrick acknowledged, “I have a difficult time trying to imaging what eternity looks like. I can’t visualize it because there’s nothing that we can point to in our experience and say, ‘Well, it’s like that.’ So we do the best we can to try to understand it.”

“Here’s how I might approach it. You can use the analogy of a train,” he suggested. “So ask her if she can tell you why the caboose, the very last car on the train, why is the caboose moving? And then she’ll say, well, because the car in front of it, that it’s hooked up to, is pulling it.”

“Now, that car that is hooked up to the caboose, that’s pulling the caboose, why is that car moving? Because that car is hooked up to the car in front of it. And that car is pulling it and the caboose.  So then just keep asking her, you know, two or three more times.”

Now that you have a visual in your mind of a line of train cars pulling each other along a track, Patrick asked, “Well, what about the very front of all this line of train cars? What do you think is at the very front of all of that? And if she’s seen trains, she’s going to say an engine. Now, what is making the engine move? All of those train cars are moving because each one in front of it is pulling it, but here we have at the very front of the train the engine that’s pulling all the ones behind it. But what is pulling the engine? And she’s going to say nothing.”

Patrick explained, “So your point here is that train engine is kind of like God in the sense that it doesn’t need anything or anyone to move the train engine, or to create the train engine. So try to get her to see that none of those cars could move if it weren’t for the engine at the very front, that doesn’t need anything to pull it. It has its own power, it has its own locomotion. It can pull itself and everything behind it, and it doesn’t need anything to pull it. That’s kind of like God, in the sense that nobody created God. Nobody could create God because God has existed from all eternity.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

The Patrick Madrid Show airs weekdays from 9:00 – noon Eastern/6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.