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- Christian Cosmology Thomas Berry
1. Christian Cosmology , Thomas Berry
Our modern cosmology is associated with the observational sciences, whereby we have come to understand our universe in terms of evolutionary unfolding over the vast periods of time and through the vast extend of space. Presently, Christians are not thinking or acting within this accepted story of the universe. Yet outside this story we can do very little in making the Christian vision visible…..
…What needs to be recognized is that the New Story of the universe represents the greatest change in human thought and consciousness since the rise of the Neolithic Period. This it is not only a difficulty for Christians, it is a difficulty for human consciousness throughout the Earth community…. (CF, chapter 4, page 26-27)
The new paradigm for the understanding of reality and of value can be defined in the following manner:
- First: the new paradigm sees the universe as a sequence of irreversible transformations begun some 13.7 billion years ago.
- Second: the evolutionary process of the universe has from the beginning a psychic-spiritual as well as a material physical aspect. There is no moment of transition from the material to the psychic or the spiritual.
- Third: Earth has a privileged role as a planet where on life is born wit all those special characteristics we find in Earth’s living forms. The unity of the Earth process is especially clear…Whatever happens to any member effects every other member of the community. Here we can see how precious Earth us as the one living planet that we know,how profoundly it reveals mysteries of the divine, how carefully it should be tended, how great an evil it is to damage is basic life systems, to ruin its beauty, to plunder its resources. For these things t o be done by Christians or without significant Christian protest is a scandal of the primary order of magnitude.
- Fourth: the human is by definition that being in whom the universe reflects on and celebrates itself in conscious self-awareness. The human is a mode of being of the universe entire as well as a distinctive being in it.
- Fifth:….the ultimate created value cannot be found in any one part of the universe, but in the collective whole…We need to avoid that extreme anthropocentrism that would make the human in itself so absolutely norm of value that we fail to recognize that the larger concern must be for the universe that includes the human, but is a greater value than the human.
- Sixth: the universe itself can be understood as the primary revelation of the divine.St. Paul tells us in Rom. 1 that from the beginning of the world “we came to know the invisible nature” of God through “the things that have been made”…
- Seventh: biblical revelation, the incarnation, redemption, and the shaping of the Christian community – all these have taken place within the larger cosmological and historical context.
….The period of creation has not been closed; it is still in progress. We still are in the sixth day of creation. In and through ourselves the world is coming into being. One of the main characteristics of creation given by the New Story is the genetic relatedness of every being in the universe with every other being in the universe. Every living being is cousin to every other being….(CF, chapter 4, Page 29, 34
- CF: The Christian Future and the Fate of the Earth, Thomas Berry ISBN 978-1-57075-851-5