The New Cosmic Story

Over the past two centuries scientists have learned that the universe is a story still being told. New scientific awareness of the long cosmic preamble to human history has inspired attempts recently to connect the relatively short span of our own existence to the longer epic of the universe. These efforts, known as Big History, try to tell the story of everything that has taken place in the past, including what was going on in the universe long before Homo sapiens arrived.

Big History scholars deflate the human story by placing it against the backdrop of the universe’s spatial and temporal immensity. This is a useful point of view, but not the only one. The universe, after all, includes subjects, hidden centers of experience whose significance cannot be measured by science or captured by purely historical reporting. What is needed, I believe, is a narrative that tells the whole cosmic story, inside as well as outside. Startlingly absent from Big History so far, for example, is a sense of how religion fits into the cosmic story. My forthcoming book, The New Cosmic Story: Inside Our Awakening Universe, is an attempt to address this omission. In it I argue that we cannot expect to understand well what is going on in cosmic history apart from a careful examination of what goes on in the interior striving of life that reaches the zenith of its intensity in humanity’s spiritual adventures.

From the start, the cosmic story has carried with it, at least faintly, a scientifically inaccessible lining of what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) calls “insideness.” The cosmos is in fact a story of emerging interiority. In the case of humans, this cosmic awakening has become palpably manifest in our many passions, our sense of freedom, ethical aspiration, and aesthetic sensitivity—but especially in our religious longing for meaning and truth. The story of the universe, I argue, is no less about emerging subjectivity than about the movement of atoms, molecules, cells, and social groups. With the relatively recent arrival of distinctly religious experience in cosmic history, the universe is awakening to horizons previously unknown. If Big History were to include in its survey the totality of cosmic history, it would have to find a way to connect the outer sequence of physical events to the drama of awakening going on inside. In a special way, it would have to ask what religion tells us about the universe out of which it has recently come to birth.

IThe New Cosmic Story by John F Haughtn my new book I reflect on the cosmic meaning of religion as well as on the religious meaning of the cosmos. I argue that the virtual elimination of subjectivity from the cosmos by modern and contemporary thought renders most contemporary versions of Big History intolerably thin. From the perspective of physics the cosmos may look like a process of heat exchanges and energy transformations, but if we look deep inside we shall see that the universe has given rise, at least on Earth, to beings eager to understand where they came from, where they are going, and what they should be doing with their lives. Indeed, in the coming of religion the whole cosmos is now awakening worshipfully to the reality of a rightness that abides forever.

 

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About the Magazine

New Creation is the Center for Christogenesis online magazine dedicated to deepening our awareness of God, Cosmos, and Humanity in a scientific age.

Ω Vision and Ω Spirit cover questions of the theology and spirituality of the Center for Christogenesis worldview. Other areas include our What is God Today? video series, the Visio Divina image gallery, a Resources section with videos and PowerPoints, and the latest from Ilia Delio.

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What is God Today? is an Center for Christogenesis video series featuring interviews with Ilia Delio on the meaning of the divine in the 21st century and what God is doing in our midst. Watch the Series

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A love letter to Ilia and Peirre Teilhard de Chardin Dear Ilia, I am so grateful to have found your books, your website, the Omega community and you, the prophet. Of course none of this was accidental. It all started with a car accident on my 21st birthday in 1968. I was driving alone at night, back to my job as a junior housemistress in a rural boarding school in Australia. Only my knee was badly injured in the accident but when I regained consciousness in the ambulance, I was aware of a terrible pain in my chest (bruising from the impact against the steering wheel before seat belts) as I struggled to breathe, it crossed my mind that I might be dying. I remember clearly thinking ‘what did the nuns teach us to do when one is dying?’. I was feeling pretty panicky by now and said the ‘Our Father’ as I was praying I relaxed with great relief because I knew from that moment (since never waived in my whole body conviction), that I actually, after all that teenage angst and doubt , did believe in God and more importantly that he/she believed in me. It was the greatest birthday gift I could have wished for . However it took about 15 years of ‘unfolding’’ to recognise the giftedness of this experience. The freedom of discovering that “faith” is not a noun but a verb of growing and becoming has given me licence to come and go, explore here and there, on and off. From Liberation theology, to the feminist project, sojouning with protestant friends and projects in social justice and ecological activism to Francis’ Laudato Si, the testament in scripture and finally home to the cosmic Christ and Teilhard de Chardin. Recently I get quite giddy, or ‘tipsy’, in awe and wonder at evolutionary creation and sometimes can cry at the privilege of being part of it. When I see an ant, busy about its business, or a weed struggling between the paving stones, I say to them,’even to be one of you would have been a great gig in this universe!, but to be chosen to be human through chance and natural selection, at this time of internet and DNA, to live in this country of security and more than my needs, to be a woman, a mother, grandmother and to have reached this consciousness of ’ unbearable wholeness’ and all that that means takes my breath away, like a car crash! Just one question. I don’t believe in “supernatural” any more. Is that heresy? The more I read about evolutionary biology and ponder on its implications for an evolutionary chistology, the more it seems to me that from the sub atomic to the cosmic scale, natural creativity, interconnectivity, communication networks, diversity, regeneration: have it all in hand. Thus the concept of ’super-nature’ is a tautology. I hope humanity can redeem itself, so that homo sapiens can continue to evolve into communities of healing and peace, but if not, then the infinite impulse will mourn the suffering and loss, but life is’ immortal and love is eternal’ (Bede Jarret) Resurrection goes on in the now, on the cusp of creating the future. Many thanks for your website. People like me need your company and inspiration. Patricia
Patricia Devlin
Monasterevin, co.Kildare.Ireland, AK
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