Saturday, July 01, 2017

Scientific Pantheism and the God of the Physicists

For the theist the large categories of being are God followed by Creation. God is eternal, while Creation began in time and is ontologically separate from God. Creation includes life in all its wonderful and myriad forms. Humans are a special category of life, bearing the imago Dei (Genesis 1:26-27) and uniquely able to worship God and contemplate the meaning of existence. God is transcendent, existing now, existing before the universe and existing forever. God is the "Alpha and Omega ... which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8 KJV). At the same time, the God of the Bible is personal and immanent in Creation and human affairs. For the scientific naturalist there is no personal God, so the most significant category of being is the cosmos—or, for some, the multiverse. As humans are part of the cosmos and its history, the cosmos for theists is not "Wholly Other" with respect to humans, to borrow the famous language of the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his book, The Idea of the Holy (1917).

But what about the scientific naturalist, for whom the Cosmos is the supreme entity or being? Sometimes language used by scientific naturalists suggests that the cosmos has a certain numinous quality, at least at the metaphorical level, but perhaps occasionally at a much deeper level. This is the case, for example, when Carl Sagan begins his 1980 book and documentary television series Cosmos with the powerful words, "The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be" (p. 4). Sagan continues:

No comments: