We are already one

From the Center for Action and Contemplation this past week:

There was no place in the universe that was separate from the originating power of the universe. Each thing of the universe had its very roots in this realm. —Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry [1]

Believe it or not, a Roman Catholic priest first proposed the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. In 1927, Georges Lemaître, a Belgian priest, astronomer, and physics professor, suggested that the expanding universe might be traced back to a single point of origin, a singularity

Delio, a scientist, explain the implications for this cosmology—our story of the universe:

Every human person desires to love and to be loved, to belong to another, because we come from another. We are born social and relational. We yearn to belong, to be part of a larger whole that includes not only friends and family but neighbors, community, trees, flowers, sun, Earth, stars. We are born of nature and are part of nature; that is, we are born into a web of life and are part of a web of life. We cannot know what this means, however, without seeing ourselves within the story of the Big Bang universe. Human life must be traced back to the time when life was deeply one, a Singularity, whereby the intensity of mass-energy exploded into consciousness. Deep in our DNA we belong to the stars, the trees, and the galaxies.

Deep within we long for unity because, at the most fundamental level, we are already one. We belong to one another because we have the same source of love; the love that flows through the trees is the same love that flows through my being. . . . We are deeply connected in this flow of love, beginning on the level of nature where we are the closest of kin because the Earth is our mother. [3]

We began as one and our goal is oneness. Studying evolution, the French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) found that increased complexity and increased consciousness surprisingly lead to greater unity at a much higher level—which we would call love. Unity is not the same as uniformity! With increased complexity, there is actually greater diversity and a greater enjoyment of that very diversity, which is the fruit of love. As Teilhard said, “Everything that rises must converge.” [4] We are in the midst of that convergence today—and seemingly at an accelerated pace—both in terms of good and resistance to the good.

[1] Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic EraA Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos (Harper One: 1994), 17.
[2] Ilia Delio, Creation as the Body of God (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010). No longer available.
[3] Ilia Delio, The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love (Orbis Books: 2013), 179-180. Emphasis mine.
[4] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man (Image Books: 1964), 186.

**

During the Middle Ages, when most Christian theology was developed, the universe was thought to be centered around humans and the Earth. Scientists saw the universe as anthropocentric, unchanging, mechanistic, orderly, predictable, and hierarchical. Christians viewed God, the “Prime Mover,” in much the same way, with the same static and predictable characteristics—omnipotent and omniscient, but not really loving. God was “out there” somewhere, separate from us and the universe. The unique and central message of the Christian religion—incarnation—was not really taken seriously by most Christians. In fact, our whole salvation plan was largely about getting away from this earth!

Today, we know that the universe is old, large, dynamic, and interconnected. It is about 13.7 billion years old, and some scientists think it could still exist for 100 trillion years. The universe has been expanding since its birth. Our home planet, Earth, far from being the center of the universe, revolves around the Sun, a medium-sized star near the edge of a medium-sized galaxy, the Milky Way, which contains about 200 billion stars. The Milky Way is about 100,000 light years in diameter. Furthermore, it is one of 100 billion galaxies in the universe. We do not appear to be the center of anything. And yet, by faith we trust that we are.

Delio writes:

We’re reaching a fork in the road; two paths are diverging on planet Earth, and the one we choose will make all the difference for the life of the planet. Shall we continue our medieval religious practices in a medieval paradigm and mechanistic culture and undergo extinction? Or shall we wake up to this dynamic, evolutionary universe and the rise of consciousness toward an integral wholeness? [4]

We are called to make the paradigm shift to a new cosmology

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