"There are more things in heaven and earth, noble Stephen, than are dreamt of in your philosophy," Hamlet might say to our famed physicist.
Now, as Stephen Hawking lobs his megaton opinion into the "war of the worldviews" (to borrow John Lennox's phrase from God's Undertaker), Lord Sacks, the U.K.'s Chief Rabbi, warns us that an even icier winter of discontent is fast approaching. In a riposte to Hawking's assertion that it is unnecessary to "invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going," he warns that the mutual hostility between religion and science is one of "the curses of our age" and is equally damaging to both. He also said in The Times, "Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation."
Perhaps there's a more "spiritually scientific" way to interpret the seminal assertion of Genesis 1:1, one that honours the sacred nature of the texts while utilising science's contribution to our current knowledge. Could this embrace the polarisation and comfort the hurt generated by the antagonists in science and religion? If the most intelligent, wise and sensitive communities on earth cannot find peace, who can?
I believe the Bible tells us there is an ultimate truth within us all. And science and religion are just two of many ways the human soul evolves in consciousness to know this truth. Perhaps we are meant to "struggle with God" (not against him) as our partner in strengthening and testing our spirit. I know I've been struggling for decades to find the inner connection with God that was obscured back in the day of Adam and Eve. As I open myself to new and deeper experiences, I am finding deeper meaning in the ancient scripture.
So is it a war of the word views we are actually dealing with?
Genesis 1:1 states, " In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The key word here is "created." What does "created" really mean? And what does "the heaven and the earth" really mean? What was it that God is supposed to have "created"?
What does "created" really mean?
An architect designs a building. A builder manifests it out of matter. Two distinct processes. Who created it? Does it matter? If we were to find the Mona Lisa on a deserted planet, would science demand it came about by chance, without a designer? Are we to believe that random paint pots landing on a canvass would ever produce such a work of art?
Symbolically, Genesis 1 tells of the conception, the creation of the essence of all life (The Tree of Life). Genesis 2 tells of the manifestation, through evolution of the essence into form. Two distinct processes. Symbolically, religion and science are both embraced in the beginning.
Those of us who choose to believe in a deity are free to do so, as are those who don't. God doesn't seem to care. However, when I moved from atheism to "openness," my life began magically to transform.
Because Genesis tells us that God made us in his image, it's hardly surprising that the process of "creation" outlined in Genesis is an exact blueprint of the process of creation we humans employ every time we move successfully from creative idea through to producing an end result -- from essence into form.
Did God create everything, or are we creating it now?
What was it that God "created"?
The traditional, religious interpretation is that "the heaven and the earth" means the universe as we now perceive it. This, we are led to believe, is what God created in six days. This view also implies the existence of a man-in-the-sky concept of God that is somehow external to us mortals.
If you really scrutinise and challenge Genesis, it is saying something far, far greater than this. The implications are so awesome, it's no wonder they are beyond belief. It's no wonder that when masters come to remind us of this, they are murdered and their messages twisted into a travesty to fit the limitations of our egos.
What I believe "heaven and earth" to be is the image of God that we are made in. "Heaven and earth" is a symbolic way of saying "everything." In the beginning God conceived everything as an essence, outside time and space -- in the eternal present. He projected his energy into a mirror image of himself -- and the Bible called it the soul of Adam. The six so-called "days" are the building blocks of his plan. His purpose was simply to experience all the possibilities (planned and random) that man-as-God-incarnate could come up with in manifesting his creative essence -- the energy source that sustains us all.
Of course, the external "God concept" of religion did not cause the universe to happen -- man-as-God-incarnate is the cause of everything. That's what's too huge for our egos to handle.
At some point in our spiritual evolution we existed in full awareness of this mind-bogglingly awesome possibility -- the so-called Garden of Eden. Then our consciousness became contaminated. We forgot who we really are and what power we have. We were tricked into using our creative power against ourselves and each other. We were fooled into believing we know better than God what should or should not be so. We became convinced we know right from wrong and have the authority to impose our point of view on others at any cost. We became utterly obsessed with the delusion that matter exists "out there" in the cosmos and in the quanta.
Science and religion are both doing their best to find meaning in the mysteries, but in very different ways with very different criteria for truth.
The combatants of science and religion will no doubt continue to play hardball with their opinions till they get sick and tired of being sick and tired -- or the financing runs out. The only way to win that game is not to play. The peacemakers can focus on fulfilling our life's purpose.
Mine is simply to enjoy and share the abundance of spirit that is in unlimited, unfailing supply.
Feel free to join me with comments, questions, etc.
Click here to explore my work-in-progress, Original Heresy: The Light Behind the Shadows in the Bible. This goes far more deeply into biblical symbology than space here allows, so do please let me know how it grabs you.