The Miracle - The Modern Story of Creation
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Ernie Stokely, August 3, 2008

Preface and Disclaimer

Much of the material presented here is from Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry’s book, The Universe Story.(1) In places I have quoted or nearly quoted sentences from Swimme’s book without using quotation marks. Another Brian, Brian Greene, has written a book on string theory (2) that I found interesting but so complicated its contribution to my understanding of my world was increased only incrementally. There are a number of books on Einstein’s theories, but I have not included them in the references. A third book by Casare Emiliani (3), a text for a college undergraduate course, is an excellent reference for understanding the cosmology and geology of the developing earth. Finally, the story I will paraphrase as told by Swimme and Berry stirs the spirit and calls us out of self-centeredness. No writer has spoken to “creation spirituality” more powerfully than Matthew Fox (4).

Today,we speak of The Miracle, not “a” miracle, or the “greatest” miracle, but The Miracle".

Our Heritage

Let us begin with a story from our own heritage. Try for a moment to shut out all that you know, all that is around you. Take yourself back to a time and a place where there is no science, no mathematics, no technology other than bronze implements, a time when even writing is in its infancy.

Imagine yourself 3,000 years ago, sitting around a campfire somewhere in what is now southern Israel. The heavens above blaze with stars and constellations, all with names and stories attached to them. Have you seen the skies out West on a cold, clear winter night? The heavens around our campfire are even brighter, and the Milky Way, our own galaxy, seems so near one could almost reach up and pluck the stars right out of the sky.

All eyes in the circle around the campfire turn to the elder, who is about to once again recite the story we already know by heart. We all nod as he tells the old story once again.

Creation“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a mighty wind swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness Night. And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day.” The story goes on. The elder continues the story that chronicles the creation of life on earth, and the creation of man and woman. [1]

We all look to the bright night sky and are at the same time puzzled, yet comforted, by this story of how everything, including us, came to be. We have memorized this story since we were young children and were allowed to sit around the fire with the adults.

It was about 500 years later that this story was recorded as written history by an unknown writer and passed by way of the Hebrew tradition to become the creation myth for the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions. There are so many creation myths, each different for the different human cultures. Common creation motifs include the fractionation of the things of the world from a primordial chaos; the separation of the mother and father gods; land emerging from an infinite and timeless ocean; and creation out of nothing.