Our Relationship with the Universe

Thomas Berry on our relationship with the universe.

We bear the universe in our beings as the universe bears us in its being. The two have a total presence to each other and to the deeper mystery out of which both the universe and ourselves have emerged. (DE, chapter 10.page 132)

A new intimacy with the universe has begun within the context of our scientific tradition. …Scientists suddenly have become aware of the magic quality of the earth and of the universe entire…The physicist Brian Swimme tells us, “The universe shivers with wonder in the depths of the human ” From the tiniest fragment of matter to the grand sweep of the galactic systems, we have a new clarity through our empirical modes of knowing…..We experience an identity with the entire cosmic order within our own beings….(DE chapter 3, page 16)

We know more about the universe than any people ever knew. We have more command over the functioning of the earth than any people ever had. Yet we are less intimate with the universe than peoples of previous time……Only through understanding the universe can we understand ourselves or our proper role in the great community of existence. All human occupations and professions must themselves be expressions of the universe and its mode of functioning.  (/ET,chapter 10, page 113-114)

We seem not to appreciate the dazzling wonder or the sacred dimension that finds expression in the universe itself, a universe that emerged into being by a creativity beyond anything we can imagine, a world that assumed its present form by an unpredictable self organizing power…..Even when we penetrate so deeply into the reality of the physical and the biological orders, even when we understand clearly that human story and the universe story are a single story, we somehow fail in our ability to tell the story in a way that would provide a comprehensive meaning for our human way of being….(ET,chapter 10, page 117)

…A universe that comes into being by a primordial flaring forth giving rise to an irreversible sequence of transformation episodes. These episodes move in the larger arc of their sequences, from lesser to greater complexity of structure and functioning and from lesser to greater consciousness. This unfolding sequence is self-emergent, self-sustaining, self-educating, self- governing, self-healing and self-fulfilling.

From this source must come all the emergence, all nourishment, all education, all governance, all healing, all fulfilment.

Humans, in this earlier period of cultural development, experienced themselves as owning nothing, as receiving existence itself and life and consciousness as an unmerited gift from the universe, as having exuberant delight and unending gratitude as their first obligation. It was a personal universe, a world of intimacy and beauty. A universe where every mode of being lived by a shared existence with all other modes of being. No being had meaning or reality or fulfillment apart from the great community of life. (ET, chapter 10, page 117)


  • Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry ISBN 0-87156-622-2
  • The Christian Future and the Fate of the Earth Thomas Berry, ISBN 978-1-57075-851
  • Kosmologi Kristen Thomas Berry, 9 789799 447920


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