The Language of God

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The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project: I mostly agree with his position. He says, “Science reveals that the universe, our own planet, and life itself are engaged in an evolutionary process.” (p 45) I would add that our knowledge of God-dess and even God-dess are evolving. Everything is in process according to process theology and Universalist Radha-Krishnaism.

“An effort to understand the origins and workings of the cosmos has characterized nearly all religions throughout history…” (p 57) Religion seeks to make sense of life. Ancient religions used the knowledge of the day to describe the nature of the cosmos and its relation to us. Such descriptions of the origins of creation, life and humans fall under the heading of myth. These myths tend to show a God-dess imposed order which eliminates the sense of chaos. We are assured we are not alone, but are connected to a loving beneficent God-dess who will insure things work out well in the end.

“Scientists are constantly reaching into new arenas, investigating the natural world in new ways, digging deeper into territory where understanding is incomplete.” (p 58) I believe this scientific attitude of discovery should be applied to the spiritual quest. We should not simply settle for truths of the past, but ever seek to discover new truth thus expanding human understanding. God-dess is not static but dynamic. In an ever changing world, we need ever fresh ways to approach God-dess.

“Perhaps most profoundly, our concept of the origin of the universe has undergone a fundamental change over the course of the past seventy-five years, on the basis of both theory and experiment.” (p 60) Should not spiritual seekers adjust their understanding of cosmology, creation, and origins to the facts as they are known today rather than resolutely defending outdated ideas from thousands of years ago? Is it possible we know things our predecessors did not?

“The consequences of the Big Bang Theory for theology are profound. For faith traditions that describe the universe as having been created by God from nothingness (ex nihilo), this is an electrifying out come.” (p 66) Science has its limits. This is where religion steps in. Science cannot tell us the cause of the Big Bang, what happened before it or what exists outside this universe. Science in no way negates the existence of God-dess, the Cause of All Causes, The Ground of Being pervading and sustaining the entire creation as well as transcending it.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God-dess, and the Word was God-dess.” John 1:1 “In the beginning.” In the beginning of what? In the beginning of the creation of the material universe. In the beginning of time. In the beginning of space. Before the beginning of creation, there was no time or space. There was just eternity, without beginning or end, just the eternal now. There was something at the beginning. What was that something? It was the logos, it was the Word, it was God-dess. BANG! The Big Bang! OM! My God-dess, what’s going on here? What’s with all this racket? I believe it is the event horizon exploding from the primal singularity.

Of course, no one can adequately explain the beginning of creation. No one was there—not scientists or religionists. Yet persons want to know how creation began. Where does all this stuff, including ourselves, come from? There are many versions from science and religion, each trying its best to explain the unexplainable. People want to know. Yet, it is unknowable. Give us your best shot. Give us something to hold on to.

Humans want to know where we come from, what is our purpose, why are we here. Various religious traditions tried answering this question for millennia in numerous ways according to the understanding of the persons addressed in particular times and circumstances. Therefore, we have diverse religious interpretations of the creation story. Many of these interpretations are allegorical, and many are based on the best scientific understandings of the day.

To teach these mythological stories as scientific fact equal to the cosmology of the twenty-first century is absurd just as twenty-first century cosmology will seem absurd in the thirty-first century. While myths are “true” on a spiritual level, they are not scientific truth. The ancients who wrote these stories had completely different goals in mind when writing them than do modern scientific thinkers. They were not concerned with facts as much as meaning. What is the spiritual meaning of creation? That is what they were trying to address, and these mythological explanations are “true” from a spiritual, ontological perspective although they are not objectively factual.

I enjoy reading the scientists’ explanations of the universe and believe the Big Bang and evolution to be valid, truthful scientific explanations of how creation came about. Both the scientific and mythological explanations can be “true” at the same time. They deal with creation on different levels of reality or understanding. One is to be taught in science classes and one in religion and theology classes.

While science and religion are separate endeavors, their cross pollination can produce wonderful results. Religious interpretation can add meaning to science, and science can add grounding in twenty-first century cosmology to religion. The two do not have to be at war with one another. They are complementary. When both views are held simultaneously, a fuller understanding of multidimensional reality is attained.

Collins says, “The Big Bang cries out for a divine explanation. It forces the conclusion that nature had a defined beginning. I cannot see how nature could have created itself. Only a supernatural force that is outside of space and time could have done that.” (p 67) That supernatural force is God-dess.

“This general conclusion is referred to as the Anthropic Principle: the idea that our universe is uniquely tuned to give rise to humans.” (p 74) This conclusion supports the idea that we are created in the image of God-dess for the purpose of establishing a loving relationship. The universe is God-dess’ play.

Collins continues, “Clearly, the scientific worldview is not entirely sufficient to answer all of the interesting questions about the origin of the universe, and there is nothing inherently in conflict between the idea of a creator God and what science has revealed. In fact, the God hypothesis solves some deeply troubling questions about what came before the Big Bang, and why the universe seems to be so exquisitely tuned for us to be here.” (pp 80-81) There is purpose to life. We are not just an accident of evolution, but rather the result of the unfolding of a grand cosmic plan set in motion by God-dess fourteen billion years ago.

“If God created the universe, and the laws that govern it, and if He endowed human beings with intellectual abilities to discern its workings, would He want us to disregard those abilities? Would He be diminished or threatened by what we are discovering about His creation?” (p 153) I don’t think so. The schism between science and religion is artificial. We should use all of our God-dess given gifts for the glorification of God-dess and to better understand his-her workings along with advancing our consciousness and material well-being.

“Now it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show a vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.” (p 157) I am embarrassed by religious fundamentalists either Christian or Hindu and do my best to distance myself from such willful ignorance. No wonder atheism is so popular today when religion is most often portrayed from a fundamentalist perspective. Who can believe such unbelievable rubbish?

“If God is outside nature, then science can neither prove nor disprove His existence. Atheism itself must therefore be considered a form of blind faith, in that it adopts a belief system that cannot be defended on the basis of pure reason.” (p 165) God-dess’ existence cannot be proved or disproved by religion either. It ultimately comes down to faith. Faith need not be blind, however. It can be reinforced by reason and experience.

“Science cannot be used to justify discounting the great monotheistic religions of the world, which rest upon centuries of history, moral philosophy, and the powerful evidence provided by human altruism. It is the height of scientific hubris to claim otherwise.” (p 169) If a scientist can be humble enough to admit the limits of science, religionists should also be humble enough to admit the limits of religion.

“The intention of the Bible was (and is) to reveal the nature of God to humankind. Would it have served God’s purposes thirty-four hundred years ago to lecture to His people about radioactive decay, geologic strata and DNA?” (p 175) The same may be said of the Vedic literature. The scriptures are contextual and must be reinterpreted for each new context.

“Can faith in a loving God be built on a foundation of lies about nature?” (p 176) The scripture writers wrote to the best of their knowledge and ability at the time. They were not trying to deceive anyone. If we persist in presenting the old stories as scientific truth in the face of new evidence to the contrary, ignoring or denying conclusive scientific proof to preserve “the authority of scripture,” we do a disservice to scripture, science and truth. This hurts religion more than science.

“I found this elegant evidence of the relatedness of all living things an occasion of awe, and came to see this as the master plan of the same Almighty who caused the universe to come into being and set its physical parameters just precisely right to allow the creation of stars, planets, heavy elements, and life itself. Without knowing its name at the time, I settled comfortably into a synthesis generally referred to as ‘theistic evolution,’ a position I find enormously satisfying to this day.” (p 199) I also find this satisfying. I would change “Almighty” to God-dess and call it “panentheistic evolution.”

Collins “proposes God as the answer to questions science was never intended to address, such as ‘How did the universe get here?’ ‘What is the meaning of life?’ ‘What happens to us after we die?’” (p 204) In this way, we need to distinguish the limits of both science and religion and not confuse their different worldviews.

“I do not believe that the God who created all the universe, and who communes with His people through prayer and spiritual insight, would expect us to deny the obvious truths of the natural world that science has revealed to us, in order to prove our love for Him.” (p 210) I agree. Yet, many followers of fundamentalist sects are asked to do just that and believe the unbelievable. It is time for a rational approach to spirituality, which I call Universalist Radha-Krishnaism.

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