What is living cosmology?
Question: "What is living cosmology?"
Answer: A cosmology is simply a story that explains how the universe came to be and our place in it. Most people are familiar with at least two well-known cosmologies regarding the origin and destiny of the universe and our place in it. Living cosmology attempts to blend aspects of the two major cosmologies.
The first is a creation cosmology as revealed in the Bible (Genesis 1–2). God created the universe and created people in His image to have a relationship with Him. History is moving to a final climax that He has ordained. Everything has purpose and meaning because God gives it purpose and meaning. Even in cultures that do not have (or believe) the Genesis account, a supernatural explanation to the origin of the world is still apparent.
The second is a scientific cosmology. This is a view based on materialism—that is, matter (material) is all that exists. The universe and everything in it arose completely by chance. There is no Creator behind it, and there is no purpose or end point in view. Most evolutionists believe that eventually the sun will burn out and Earth will become uninhabitable. Human life will cease to exist, and it will be as if we never existed in the first place. This viewpoint is stated by Bertrand Russell in his book A Free Man’s Worship: “Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins.”
As evident in Russell’s quote, the evolutionary cosmology, when taken to its logical conclusion, leaves very little that can validate a meaningful life and is really quite bleak. As a result, this cosmology is unlivable, and evolutionists are constantly trying to “sneak” meaning and purpose into their cosmology.
Living cosmology attempts to blend the facts of science with the mystical explanations of origins that are popular the world over. This cosmology is “living” because it is constantly developing, taking in new scientific information as well as new information from the imagination of man. In effect, living cosmology is an attempt to blend the scientific and the supernatural into a kind of scientific mysticism. It was made popular most recently in a book and film called Journey of the Universe. In this work, Brian Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker see the universe itself almost as a living organism—something like a living cell. The universe “does” things and grows and develops. The universe is quasi-personal (and one might also add quasi-godlike). The authors believe in the evolutionary process without God as Creator; however, they do say that creativity is inherent in the universe and that it is filled with “self-organizing dynamics.” As a result, hydrogen (the most basic element, seen as the building block of everything else) “has transformed itself” into mountains and the music of Bach. “The greatest poetry is powered by the sun.” The poet is simply changing the energy of the sun into a new form. Living cosmology seeks to take the evolutionary world without God and infuse it with purpose, wonder, mystery, and beauty. Instead of insisting that creative expressions are simply biological/evolutionary constructs that humans have developed as aids to survival, living cosmology insists that these are real qualities that exist as part of the universe. In short, the personification of the universe has filled the void that should be filled by a personal God.
This attempt to infuse life with meaning is not new. For years, evolutionists have recognized how bleak their materialistic worldview is and have sought to fill it with meaning, but the source of the meaning is always something other than God. Bertrand Russell thought meaning was found in making authentic choices and in helping other people. Carl Sagan, in his work Cosmos (both the book and the PBS mini-series), always referred to the Cosmos with a capital C and spoke of it almost as if it is God.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) also tried to infuse evolutionary science with purpose and dignity. Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit priest who was also a philosopher, paleontologist, and geologist. Outside of his philosophical works, he may be best known for his part in the discovery of Peking Man and his probable involvement in the Piltdown Man hoax. He seems to have uncritically accepted evolutionary thinking, including the idea that the earth is the result of a complete accident. However, he believed that, at some point, God inserted Himself into the evolutionary process, and evolution is proceeding forward and upward until the power of love itself will be harnessed and all the universe will be united in an Omega Point. Although this philosophy seems somewhat more religious, for Teilhard de Chardin, evolution seemed to be more important than God.
We were made to worship, and if we refuse to worship the Creator, we will inevitably worship that which is created. The “old style” evolutionist might have been said to worship man (either himself as an individual or the human race), while the new style, living cosmology evolutionist worships the magnificent, creative universe. According to living cosmology, instead of the universe merely having the “appearance of design,” as Richard Dawkins says, the universe actually has been designed—by the creative powers within the universe itself.
Recommended Resource: Battle for the Beginning: Creation, Evolution, and the Bible by John MacArthur
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What is living cosmology?