I just finished reading the book Radical Amazementby Judy Cannato. She talks about the origin of the universe in terms of the “Big Bang Theory” and “Evolution.” She seeks to develop a Christian Spirituality from the science of what God has created. Here, I wish to offer a few highlights to ponder.
In my article, “Catholic Teaching and the Question of Evolution,” I discuss the Church’s position on evolution referring to the writings and speeches of Pope Benedict XVI. While “Evolution” and “Big Bang” are expressed solely in terms of science, properly understood, they do not have to be in conflict with Catholic Teaching. While these theories explain “the how” of creation they do not require one to be an atheist. In fact, when you look at “Big Bang” and “Evolution” the “radical amazement” of it can point us to the awesome mystery that is God.
In chapter 7, Cannato discusses”morphogenic fields” and chapter 8 presents the topic of “holons.” Through her discussion of “morphogenic fields” she discusses how everything in the universe is interrelated. What one “thing” in the universe does has an effect on the whole universe. “Holons” present that a “thing” can be both a whole thing in and of itself and at the same time, be part of something bigger. For instance, I am an individual person all by myself. I am a “whole person” but as a “whole person” I am also part of a family and a community. My family and community and parish are not dependent on me for existence but they are a larger “whole” that would be different without me.
From the theory of “holons” Cannato speaks of self-preservation, self-adaption, self-transcendence, and self dissolution. We are called to live our live in a way that is good for all (self-adaption) while taking care of our own needs (self-preservation). We are called to look beyond ourselves (self-transcendence) and yet recognize that we are not infinite (self-dissolution).
Like the supernova (chapter ten), we are called to give of ourselves so that new things can come forward. Then, in chapter 11, she discusses the concepts of “dark matter” and “dark energy.” They cannot be see or measured but their effects are known. What is seen is the effect of “dark matter” and “dark energy.” What they are and how they effect the rest of the universe is a mystery. This “mystery” of “dark energy” and “dark matter” is not the same as God but it does point us to the Mystery that is God. All creation points to the creator who is our God.
But God is not just an “intelligent designer” who creates and then walks away. God is God. God is creator and redeemer. How do you see the presence of God in the universe that he has created?
For Further Reading
Judy Cannato, Radical Amazement: Contemplative Lessons From Black Holes, Supernovas, And Other Wonders of the Universe. Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books. 2006.