Workshop Series: Revelation in an Emerging Universe: Faith, Science, and Pastoral Ministry

If someone were to ask, “where is God?” Could you respond? Would you raise your finger in the air and point to the sky? Or would you turn the finger on yourself and claim that your heart is the seat of the divine? Or perhaps as a third alternative, would you simply argue that God is everywhere? Regardless of your answer, the point is a crucial one: The question of “Where is God?” reminds us of the need for some kind of model or symbolic representation of how God and the world are related to one another.
Since the late medieval period, the chief task of the systematic theologian has been to describe such a relationship in a way that is intellectually coherent and biblically consistent. This task is also vitally important for the contemporary religious preacher, teacher, or leader whose spiritual content very often conditions the meaningfulness of the life of its recipients.

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Lutheran theologian and Pastor Ted Peters explains: “Implicit in the sentences, metaphors, images, and allusions the preacher [or spiritual leader] employs in one’s sermon or message is a description of a single comprehensive reality in which both the listener and God are components. This is as important as it is inescapable. The verbal pictures of the world the preacher [or spiritual leader] draws are the primary vehicle for evoking a sense of meaning, of belonging, of orientation, of welcome, of acceptance.” Indeed, the pastoral minister is charged with the immense responsibility to paint a picture of God that does not conflict with what we know of the world.

In the same spirit, this course has been designed to assist those in positions of pastoral ministry who wish to deepen their integration of science and spirituality. It will provide a succinct and introductory overview of the new universe story that has emerged courtesy of evolution and quantum physics, as well as discuss how such a story offers new horizons for a greater synthesis with our ancient Jewish and Christian stories. We will explore, in other words, how our current scientific understanding of the natural world might contribute to meaningful reflection on the active and dynamic presence of God in our lives and the lives of those we serve. With this aim in mind, we will address such questions as: What is the role of scripture in relation to contemporary science? How might the descriptions of contemporary science furnish us with new metaphors that more nearly capture the spirit of the biblical authors? What exactly is God in an emerging universe? Does evolution have a purpose? What are the interfaith implications of this renewed God-world relationship?

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  1. Joe Masterleo on June 25, 2023 at 6:37 am

    This integral shift must involve a radical change from seeing God more exclusively as a person or being, to seeing God more as being itself, a conscious non-local energy field that creates, sustains, maintains, and manifests as all things everywhere from what appears as empty space. That is, a universal ‘being field’ or ambience in which all things consist, connect, and cohere along virtual lines from the quantum vacuum. There is only one cosmic energy, and one icon (vehicle) it manifests through organically at all scales that satisfies that definition, explains the entirety of creation as incarnation, and Jesus as the face of the franchise that is compatible with science and Scripture.

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