Friday, November 14, 2008


I had posted the following essay the day Obama was elected president. I was so disappointed by the results that I removed it, unable to appreciate its beauty and creativity. I suspected that some of you were equally distracted.

Although this is a lengthy post, it's quite worth the read.

"Genesis for the Third Millennium"

There was God. And God was All-That-Was. God's Love overflowed and God said: "Let Other be. And let it have the capacity to become what it might be--and let it explore its potentialities."

And there was Other in God, a field of energy, vibrating energy but no matter, space, time, or form. Obeying its given laws and with one intensely hot surge of energy--a hot Big Bang--this Other exploded as the universe from a point twelve or so billion years ago in our time, thereby making space.

Vibrating fundamental particle appeared, expanded, and expanded and cooled into clouds of gas, bathed in radiant light. Still the universe went on expanding and condensing into swirling whirlpools of matter and light--a billion galaxies.

Five billion years ago, one star in our galaxy--our Sun--attracted round it matter as planets. One of them was our Earth. On Earth, the assembly of atoms and the temperature became just right to allow water and solid rock to form. Continents and mountains grew and in some wet crevice, or pool, or deep in the sea, just over three billion years ago, some molecules became large and complex enough to make copies of themselves and so the first specks of life.

Life multiplied in the seas, diversifying and becoming more and more complex. Five hundred million years ago, creatures with solid skeletons, the vertebrates, appeared. On land, green plants changed the atmosphere by making oxygen. Then 300 million years ago, certain fish learned to crawl from the sea and live on the edge of land, breathing that oxygen from the air.

Now life burst into many forms--reptiles and mammals (and dinosaurs) on land, flying reptiles and birds in the air. Over millions of years, the mammals began to develop complex brains that enabled them to learn. Among these were creatures who lived in trees. From these our first ancestors derived and then--only 40,000 years ago--the first men and women appeared. They began to know about themselves and what they were doing--they were not only conscious, but also self-conscious. The first word, the first laugh was heard. The first paintings were made. The first sense of destiny beyond--with the first signs of hope, for they buried their dead with ritual. The first prayers were made to the One who made All-That-Is and All-That-Is-Becoming. The first experiences of goodness, beauty, and truth but also of their opposites, for human beings were now free.

The late Anglican priest, Arthur Peacocke, wrote this brilliant essay in which he recounted the story of Creation in modern-day phraseology. Dr. Peacocke was a devout Christian who also happened to be a man of science, and who saw no conflicts with his Christian faith and his scientific beliefs. Because he was both a scientist and a Christian, Dr. Peacocke would often torment to no end famed atheist Richard Dawkins with his writings.

Using the most up-to-date scientific data available to him at the time, Dr. Peacocke recapitulates the story of Creation as it is found in the book of Genesis, but with language that references modern-day scientific understanding of the universe. Some of you who have problems with evolution, or who prefer the archaic literature of the original book of Genesis are going to have some difficulty opening up to this type of presentation. But before you formulate a derogatory opinion about Reverend Peacocke, let me state unequivocally that the above essay is NOT an exercise in new-age spirituality. It it guided by sound theology based on verifiable scientific data, and reasonable scientific theory. This is not the kind of stuff you're going to hear Oprah talk about intelligently.

As I stated previously, the essay is both brilliant and beautiful.


Melody K said...

Thanks, Tom. I am going to save this quote. I am schizo enough to both believe in evolution, and love the archaic language of Genesis. To me, one doesn't contradict the other.

Tom in Vegas said...


I don't think you're "schizo" for believing in evolution, and embracing Christianity.

The Jesuits that man the Vatican Observatory, not to mention the countless numbers of believing scientists, can't all be deranged.

Katie Alender said...

Tom, I saw this post on your RSS feed a while back, but it was gone when I tried to click on it. Sorry you thought it was underappreciated.

I think it's absolutely lovely. When I first started reading, I thought it was one of those psychobabble modernizations that tend to ruin the true spirit of wonderful metaphors... but then I quickly realized how beautiful this was.

Thanks for reposting!

Tracy said...

Tom, it is wonderful.. thank you for sharing:)