Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Forget Jesus? Life, death and meaning in the cosmos

This picture and quote from Lawrence Krauss is taken from the Pantheism group on Facebook. I wouldn't pretend to fully understand Pantheism (ancient or modern) but in general it is an attempt to see nature as in some sense sacred and understand ourselves as connected to the rest of existence.

The above quote is nothing new; Carl Sagan was saying this sort of thing ages ago. Life depends on death (like it or not), be it of stars recycling the very material in our bodies (above quote), or the process of evolution (apologies to my Christian friends who don't believe in it) or at the very least making room for species and individuals alive now.

In this sense we can see we are connected to the rest of reality. Of course, the writer of Genesis 1 could also see that, all animals are living creatures (nephesh), with animals and humans created on the same day. There are of course multiple threads about creation running through the Old Testament; both humans as being simply a part of creation (Psalm 104) and humans as being God's image and priests serving in the creation-temple. One doesn't need to be an atheist or a pantheist.

Of course the aside of Krauss that we can "forget Jesus" is not derived from his science at all, and is representative of the new atheism. One can hold both that death and change is a part of the natural fabric of reality (even if it is to be in some sense overcome eschatologically) and that Jesus' death is significant for human existence and cosmologically - it is just that science cannot inform the later and Krauss oversteps the mark.

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