Sunday, 29 March 2009

On Creation

Whenever I have an opportunity to observe the night sky, with all its heavenly bodies, I am overcome with complete awe and wonderment. At such time one cannot deny the inescapable presence of its Creator. Who else could have created such unimaginable magnificence?

Several years ago I came across the book ‘Radical Amazement’ by Judy Cannato spiritual director at St. Joseph’s Centre near Cleveland, Ohio. This brilliant & gifted author is able to translate difficult scientific terms, about the origins of the universe, by fusing together, science and spirituality, in a truly radically amazing way. The accompanying contemplation exercises in Cannato's book will greatly enhance anyone's understanding and role in our ever expanding universe.

Here follow some excerpts from her book:

Science tell us the universe came into being in a flaming cosmic explosion that gave birth to space and time. All matter that has ever existed – was formed in a single spectacular cosmic event or the ‘Big Bang’ estimated to have taken place some 13.7 billion years ago.

The timing of all this birthing is nothing short of miraculous. If the unfolding had been a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of one percent faster, the cosmic material would have been flung too far apart for anything significant to happen. If, however, the unfolding had been a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of one percent slower, the universe would have collapsed in upon itself.

Ten thousand years after the Big Bang most of the energy in the universe was in the form of radiation. For the next three hundred thousand years the universe continued to expand and cool until the amount of energy in the form of radiation and the amount of energy in the form of matter were about equal. This made possible the next major development. Three hundred million years after the Big Bang the first stars and galaxies emerged, forming clusters as the universe continued to expand.

The next phase of the unfolding of the universe was extraordinarily turbulent. Great galactic collisions took place, setting off cosmic explosions of gas. Some galaxies survived, while others did not. Some continued to create stars, while others did not. It was in these first stars that the primary elements were formed: carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, copper, silver, silicon, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, and iron—all the elements that are components of life today.

The flaring forth continued. Stars aged, then died in great supernova explosions. A supernova is the death eruption of a star, which happens in a dazzling cloud of light, followed by a gradual fading. We know from seeing images from the Hubble Space Telescope just how brilliant these supernovas are—radiating more light than an entire galaxy of stars. The birth of our own solar system—Sun, Earth, our neighbor planets and planetoids—came as the result of a supernova explosion that occurred about five billion years ago.

What a beginning! What a miracle that we are here, both as a species and as persons. Since all the matter that now exists was formed in that initial bursting forth of life, we must each be formed out of the primordial dust that became stars. Our true moment of birth cannot be measured in decades. We are 13.7 billion years old! We carry within us the very energy that fashioned the stars. We carry within us the evolution of the elements, eons of development that resulted in who we are today. We carry within us the fire that flared forth into life. As Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine monk, (d. 2009) put it,

The explosion of matter in the universe billions years ago is present to all of us. Each one of us is part of the effect of that one original explosion such that, in our unconscious, we are linked up with the very beginning of the universe and with the matter of the universe from the earliest stages of its formation. In that sense the universe is within us.

Energy in the form of matter has been developing, re­arranging, reconstituting, evolving, growing, transcending since the beginning of space-time itself. Think of this: In its latent potential, the embodied person that you are at this very moment—all the constituents that would eventually come together into the person that is you—was present in the Big Bang.

We believe not only that God initiated the creation event, but that divine presence flows in and through the experience of ongoing creation.

Evolution, rather than degrading or diminishing humanity, asserts that we are part of a magnificent whole that consists of a vast web of relationships, an organic and cosmic body that evokes pure wonder.

Over the last four billion years, life on Earth has developed from primordial cells that did not even have a nucleus into Homo Sapiens. The water in your body contains primordial hydrogen formed in the first seconds of the Big Bang. The carbon atoms that form you came together as a result of the explosion of a supernova. The concentration of salt in your body matches the concentration of salt in the ancient seas. Your cells are direct descendants of unicellular organisms that developed billions of years ago. You have a reptilian brain and are able to walk courtesy of vertebra that developed 510 million years ago. You see because chlorophyll molecules mutated so that, like plant leaves, your eyes can capture the light from the Sun. And in your mother's womb your tiny body repeated the whole process of multicellular life on Earth, beginning as a single cell and then developing greater and greater complexity. It is nothing short of spectacular! What a cause for celebration!

This radical amazement did not escape our ancient biblical authors:

God existed before the universe. God exists totally apart from the universe, and yet can be everywhere within it. (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16-17)

Time has a beginning. God's existence precedes time. (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2)

Jesus Christ created the universe. He has no beginning and was not created. (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17)

God created the universe from that which cannot be detected with the five senses. (Hebrews 11:3)

After His resurrection Jesus could pass through walls in His physical body, an evidence of His extra-dimensionality. (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:26-28)

God is very near, yet we cannot see Him, a further evidence of His extra-dimensionality. (Exodus 33:20; Deuteronomy 30:11-14; John 6:46)

God designed the universe in such a way that it would support human beings. (Genesis 1, 2; Nehemiah 9:6; Job 38; Psalm 8:3; Isaiah 45:18)

For some more truly amazing facts, please paste the following u-tube video on your server's web page

A Gallup Poll on the eve of Darwin's Feb. 12, 2009 birthday showed that only four in 10 Americans accept the theory of evolution, while 25 percent reject it - and 36 percent have no opinion either way.

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