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.

Matthew Fox speaks on “Science and Spirituality: Together Again.” Science and Nonduality

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.

The story of creation, as told by science. BBC Earth

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.

An exploration of the interdependence between Earth’s systems of minerals, water, air, and life. AgiEducation

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
their home.
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?

Recommended Reading

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.

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12 thoughts on “A New and Sacred Creation Story from Science”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, I will address our Queries for Contemplation, but after I praise you for your poetic rendition of a creation story that is based on gift giving I could see using it in worship as a litany, like reciting the Apostles Creed or the Nicaean Creed. It would bring awe and wonder just in the reading of it. You ask us, “Do you agree with M.C. Richards and her description of the malady that occurred when science and religion, psyche and cosmos split?” Yes, and she spells it out in these words: “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.” Then you ask us, “What hope ensues when religion/spirituality and science come together again?” You write: “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.” Well, it certainly fills me with awe on hearing it! So, I have a hard time understanding why others don’t see this as the amazing gift that it is and always has been!

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      Understanding why others don’t see it, Richard, is puzzling for sure, dumbfounding even, but not a mystery if you know where to look for the answer. But few people look there anymore, mainly because it doesn’t please their sensory palette, or tickle their pleasure-seeking ears, or addictive need to be constantly told how good they are. Fifty years of studying and working with the multiple first, second and third line densities, denials and a myriad of human maneuvers to be impervious to truth at all levels has taught me that. The greatest truths and highest calling in life are spiritual. As the greatest prize, it comes with the greatest resistances of all to overcome. That’s my experience, and also that of Jesus, if you bother to read his assessments, and those of others in Scripture. Then again, that may be too negative for those preferring a softer gospel, and a diluted perspective of its views on the chronically blind and deaf condition that besets the whole of mankind.

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    Jeanette Metler

    First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the whole team that was apart of creating today’s DM… which is so very rich in blessings, in so many ways. As to the query questions, I do agree with the statements of M.C. Richards and Mathews expansion on these, regarding the description of the malady of humanities consciousness that occurred when science and religion split and the effects of this on the human psyche and our cosmic soul sense of self.

    What hope ensues when religion/spirituality and science come together again? Mathew has given us a glimpse into this hope… which he passionately expressed so beautifully in the video clip included in today’s DM. His message communicated in this manner is absolutely awesome!
    I am so grateful that the DM team has shared this with all of us… as this has deepened my understanding of the four pathways of Creation Spirituality, which has set ablaze, the spirit of the mystic and the prophet within my own soul sense of self. Today’s DM, for me personally, was like drinking from a sacred chalice, filled with new wine… the robust fragrance, releasing the scent of the Cosmic Christ… the taste of which… is sweet nectar… quenching the thirst within my soul. What a blessing this has been, to sit at this table of communion!

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    martina nicholson

    Dear Matthew and all,
    M.C. was a great woman and person, and potter. Her hands made more pots, out of clay, and she kept being a poet, like the gifts in your lovely poem about the universe– the words poured out from her, in good poems, which were like good fruit from a good tree. SO what she describes is the threat to us, but she herself avoided the cosmic gulf, the rendering of wholeness. Science and art and faith must be hand-in-glove, as we BE. We BE humans, doing whatever we do, we need to keep integrating the mind, the heart, the soul. I loved MCs voice, and heard it clearly. I loved Teilhard’s voice and heard it clearly, and it kept me from falling into one of the forks in the road. The road is ONE. The road is constantly a mirage of splitting and forks, but one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, it stays whole. We are the glue, the matrix, the wholeness, the pectin in the fruit with which we make jam. Love to you, and thank you for the beauty and fullness of your reflections. Martina

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    The origin of the split between science and religion is often attributed to the time, 500 years ago, when Galileo could prove via his telescope that the earth revolved around the sun, not the reverse. He was deemed heretical by the papacy and jailed until he recanted. And as the story goes, science and scientists then had to “split” and go underground, as the censoring Church was then all powerful. In reality, the initial and perhaps greatest opposition to Galileo’s astronomical (telescopic) discoveries came from scientists themselves. The papacy merely put the nail in Galileo’s discovery coffin. So much for telescopes as primary contributors to unitive consciousness. The real culprit here and elsewhere is the altogether human resistance to whole making, holistic thinking, and perception. That is, in separation consciousness, the natural human tendency to split and divide the perceptual field into parts, rendering it unable to see in wholes — separating God from self, from nature, the cosmos and the entire created order. Though Creation Spirituality folk don’t like to hear this, the inclination toward separation consciousness is compelling evidence for the Genesis account of the Fall, and the beginning of the redemption story to find flawed humanity’s way back to same in spiritual awakening and unitive consciousness. Because religion has disqualified itself as a viable unifying resource, science has taken the primary lead in providing evidence for the unified field of creation, especially in quantum physics. But there still exists two “split” cosmologies, scientific and religious, that have yet to be joined. As to origins, there cannot be two cosmologies, only one. A nation can’t have two presidents, or a horse two heads. The world awaits a unified synthesis — a cosmotheology, something Matthew’s work and today’s DM speaks to. But it has not and will not come from traditional academic, scientific or theological communities that persist in (cloistered) separation consciousness, trapped in the narrowness of their own disciplinary and sectarian silos. No, it will take a powerful gift of Christ-consciousness to accomplish same, from one who can connect and reconcile all the dots, and can effectively identify the common universal element that joins and “fills all things,” traditionally known as “God.” Spirituality is the physics humanity doesn’t yet know. And physics is the spirituality that humanity doesn’t yet see. This gifted innovator will be a modern day John the Baptist, the anointed but unpopular forerunner paving the way for He who is to come. And he will expand the definition of Christ to organic and cosmic proportions. Matthew’s work is but one key, integral finger anticipating the advent of same in human flesh and consciousness.

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      There are many already, Joe, who are doing the non-dual-thinking work of uniting science and religion, the material and the spiritual, contemplation and action. There are many bringing back Christ-consciousness, deep ecumenism, and an understanding of that all of life has been originally blessed. Among them are Richard Rohr, Jim Finley, John Phillip Newell, Mary Oliver, Matthew himself, and many others to whom Matthew has introduced us. I don’t think we need to wait for one more person to show the way.

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    Matthew and staff, beautiful DM and congratulations! I especially liked Matthew’s video talk on “Science and Spirituality: Together Again”! It was a passionate and prophetic talk on Creation Spirituality. Thank you again Matthew for your life’s work of reviving humanity’s mystical traditions and reminding us of its spiritual importance in restoring our living sacred compassionate relationships within ourselves, with one another, with Mother Earth and all Her creatures/blessings, within our spiritual multidimensions (ancestors, spirit guides & angels), and with-in our multiverse co-Creation~evolving Cosmos… the Diverse Loving Oneness of our Beloved Cosmic Christ Consciousness….

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    Matthew, what a beautiful poem. I look forward to the rest. I love the image of God setting God’s tent among us from the very beginning of the universe. And somehow, the poem and the accompanying videos make me think about how so much of humankind today lives unconnected with our vast universe and all its wonder. They are like cardboard cutouts or paper dolls pasted on top of a garden. They don’t actually live in the garden. I’m not even sure they know it is there. The disconnect is quite astonishing.

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      Oddly, those who come to mind as I see these cardboard cutouts walking on the Earth, but not a part of the Earth, all the politicians I’ve seen in the news lately come to mind, the heads of corporations and such. But I cannot exclude myself. Most of the time, I am not aware at all that I am a part of the Earth, a part in fact of the universe. I am made of the same “stuff” as everything else. Today, I choose to remember to walk in the universe, as a part of the newly borning stars, as a member of the planet in the same way that the rivers and sunlight and fish and elk are a part of the universe. One among many.

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    I find this a most refreshing example of trying, with our limited understanding, to make some good sense of Creation. Thanks

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