The Universe Story

Cover of The Universe Story

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The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era–A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos by Brian Swimme & Thomas Berry, Harper San Francisco, 1992.

From the big bang to the present and into the next millennium, The Universe Story unites science and the humanities in a dramatic exploration of the unfolding of the universe, humanity’s evolving place in the cosmos, and the boundless possibilities for our future.

Mathematical cosmologist, Brian Swimme and historian of cultures, Thomas Berry present an outstanding vision of our place  in the cosmos. In Universalist Radha-Krishnaism, I say,

Scientific explanations of the universe like the big bang theories and evolution constitute reasonable scientific models and explanations of how creation came about. . . . They also engage in creating a sort of myth that appeals to the modern imagination and world view. . . . Religious interpretation adds meaning to science, and science adds grounding in twenty-first century cosmology to religion. (102)

Although I had not read The Universe Story when I wrote that, it certainly fills the bill on all counts. I did not write much in my book about the nature of the universe we inhabit, since I prefer to leave such matters to those who are better qualified to write on that subject. I can now refer my readers to The Universe Story for a fuller understanding of a cosmology which is extremely compatible with Universalist Radha-Krishnaism.

I hope these few brief excerpts which follow will inspire you to read the whole book.

Earth seems to be a reality that is developing with the simple aim of celebrating the joy of existence. (3)

Fifteen billion years ago, in a great flash, the universe flared forth into being. In each drop of existence a primordial energy blazed with an intensity never to be equaled again. (7)

This future will be worked out in the tensions between those committed to the Technozoic, a future of increased exploitation of Earth as resource, all for the benefit of humans, and those committed to the Ecozoic, a new mode of human-Earth relations, one where the well-being of the entire Earth community is the primary concern. (14-15)

The birth of the universe was not an event in time. Time begins simultaneously with the birth of existence. The realm or power that rings forth the universe is not itself an event in time, nor a position in space, but is rather the very matrix out of which the conditions arise that enable temporal events to occur in space. Though the originating power gave birth to the universe fifteen billion years ago, this realm of power is not simply located there at that point of time, but is rather a condition of every moment of the universe, past, present, and to come. (17)

The universe is a coherent whole, a seamless multileveled creative event. The graceful expansion of the original body is the life blood of all future bodies in the universe. (18)

Always and everywhere, it is the universe that holds all things topgether and is the primary activating power in every activity. . . . the universe is not a thing, but a mode of being of everything. (27)

To tell the full story of a single particle we must tell the story of the universe, for each particle is in some way intimately present to every other particle in the universe. (29)

Just as the universe story has never before been told in this manner, so too the senses of meaning, even the sense of the sacred, that this story carries with it is something new both in its modality and in its order of magnitude. . . . The important thing to appreciate is that the story as told here is not the story of a mechanistic, essentially meaningless universe but the story of a universe that has from the beginning has its mysterious self-organizing power that, if experienced in any serious manner, must evoke an even greater sense of awe . . . Nor is it the case that this story suppresses the other stories that have over the millennia guided and energized the human venture. It is rather a case of providing a more comprehensive context in which all these earlier stories discover in themselves a new validity and a more expansive role. (238)

This book is far from dull scientific reading, but rather an exciting adventure which we are caught up in.


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