Poet and potter M. C. Richards has commented on what happens when science and religion, which went their separate ways three centuries ago, split apart.
There is palpable disunion [she writes.] This split obstructs the poetic consciousness; it is a characteristic malady of our society… The inner soul withdraws, goes underground, splits off from the part that keeps walking around. Vitality ebbs. Psychic disturbance is acute. Suicide may be attempted.
If this naming of our cultural malady rings true, then imagine what might happen when science and spirituality come together again. The possibility, in fact, constitutes some good and empowering news of our time. Science today has given us a new cosmic story about our origins. It is a sacred story, one that fills us with awe on hearing it. Now that has been buttressed by the Webb Telescope which will be teaching us much more of the story of universe, earth, and ourselves–filling out the details attempted in Genesis 1. And considering John 1 as a template.
I attempted years ago to tell the story in my fashion. It is a story of gifts; we come from a lineage of cosmic gift giving.
In the beginning was the gift,
And the gift was with God and the gift was God.
And the gift came and set its tent among us,
first in the form of a fireball
that burned unabated for 750,000 years
and cooked in its immensely hot oven
hadrons and leptons.
These gifts found a modicum of stability,
enough to give birth to the first atomic creatures,
hydrogen and helium.
A billion years of stewing and stirring
and the gifts of hydrogen and helium
birthed galaxies—spinning, whirling, alive galaxies
created trillions of stars,
lights in the heavens and cosmic furnaces
that made more gifts
through violent explosions of vast supernovas
burning abright with the glow
of more than a billion stars.
Gifts upon gifts birthing gifts, gifts exploding,
gifts imploding, gifts of light, gifts of darkness
Cosmic gifts and subatomic gifts.
All drifting and swirling, being born and dying,
in some vast secret of a plan.
Which was also a gift.
One of these supernova gifts exploded in a special manner
sending a unique gift to the universe,
which later-coming creatures would one day call
Its biosphere was also a gift,
wrapping it with beauty and dignity and just the right
protection from sun’s radiation
and from the cosmic cold.
And eternal night.
To be continued.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts from the Peoples of the Earth, pp. 1-3.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “The Big Bang and expansion of the universe.” NASA.gov infographic.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree with M.C. Richards and her description of the malady that occurred when science and religion, psyche and cosmos split? What hope ensues when religion/spirituality and science come together again?
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.