The Miracle - The Modern Story of Creation - The Ecozoic Era
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The Miracle - The Modern Story of Creation
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The New “Ecozoic” Age

Coal ashSince the beginning of human civilization, which was extremely recent in geological terms (only about 3,500 years ago), the impact of homo sapiens on our planet has been stunning. Hundreds of millions of years have elapsed during the evolution of the world we know today … the plants, animals, and the land and waterscape of our modern earth. Yet, in this scant 3,500 years, forests have been consumed, water and the air polluted[7], and now the climate is being modified with uncertain future consequences. Modern man has not understood the 21st century creation story. We have lived as if the earth were an inexhaustible resource to be consumed without end. Man does not see himself as an integrated and connected creature to all of the other animals and ecological systems on the planet. In the developed societies our technologies, the fruits of our large cerebral cortex, have focused on the production of material goods, instruments for higher and higher levels of consumption, and devices and systems for human pleasure and comfort. We find less developed societies emulating the more prosperous ones, exacerbating the damage to the planet. Our planet and its environment have paid the price. On the other hand, our social systems, still young and developing, reflect the greed of our species and the immaturity of our ability to design Iraqi Boysustainable social structures or even for our tribes to live together in harmony. In many ways these systems are broken, reflecting our near-sighted desire for power, material goods, comfort, and our primitive paranoia and fear of those outside our tribe[8]. As a species, we have yet to respond to the call for a more comprehensive understanding of our place in the order of the universe and a more thoughtful design for our population growth and our life styles.

Perhaps our large brain will grasp the real understanding of how to live fully and joyfully during our brief dance on earth, and that there are social systems less destructive than the ones we have now that can protect and even enhance this beautiful earth that has been placed in our trust. Or, perhaps it will not. Perhaps as our species passes into the darkness of the evolutionary process, as it sooner or later must, we will realize that we ourselves have hastened our own demise. Or, perhaps we will not. (3)

For me, the modern 21st century creation story I have shared today is far more powerful and awe-inspiring than the ancient myth I grew up knowing. It grounds me with the experience that I belong to the earth and to its ongoing evolution. It reminds me that evolution did not happen at some point in the past, but rather that evolution is happening now. It tells me that I am connected to all that is, all that is past, and all that is to come. I am connected to all of the integrated systems of the earth … the air, the water, the plants, and the animals. It pulls me out of my day-to-day existence … my worry about my health, my worries about my garden and my stock portfolio … to remind me that I am an integral part of life on this earth, a mammal with a large brain that gives me advantage over the other animals of the planet. Yet, I am sharply reminded that I came from the earth and the oceans, that the substance of my body will return there, and that in the meantime I have a responsibility to care for the part of the evolving universe I have been gifted to experience.

The creation and on-going evolution of the universe, the experience of my very existence, my awareness of being, is The Miracle. There can be no greater miracle.

In the words of my good friend, Phillip Huckaby, in his writing, Miracles or No?,

“Finally, I see miracles in another sense. I say this not for the sake of argument, but because it is my deepest held conviction, and I live by it. The fact that anything exists is a miracle. I don’t think we realize what it means that there is something instead of nothing. I am alive. I exist. You are alive. You exist. What an incredible reality! What a wonderful mystery! What a gift beyond explanation!”

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References:

  1. “The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era: A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos,” Brain Swimme and Thomas Berry, Harper, NY, NY, 1992.
  1. “The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory,” Brian R. Greene, ISBN 0-393-05858-1, 2003.
  1. “Planet Earth: Cosmology, Geology, and the Evolution of Life and Environment,” Cesare Emiliani, ISBN 0-521-40123-2, Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1992.
  1. “Original Blessing,” Matthew Fox, ISBN 1-58542-067-0, Penguin Putnam, New York, 1983.
  1. Genomic factoids:
  • There are 3.2 billion “base pairs” in the human genome, yet there are over 4,000 known diseases that are caused by an error in a single base pair.
  • Housed along each chromosome is a selection of genes. The human genome contains about 20 000-25 000 genes, as do most mammals.
  • Plants have 40,000-50,000 genes, mice also have about 20,000 genes; in the nematode (C. elegans), the number is around 19 000; in yeast (S. cerevisiae) there are approximately 6,000 genes; and the microbe responsible for tuberculosis has around 4,000.
  • 97% of the human genome does not code for a protein and we are just now beginning the process of understanding the function of this part of the genome.
  • Between humans, our DNA differs by only 0.2 per cent, or 1 in 500 bases (letters). (This takes into account that human cells have two copies of the genome.)
  • Human DNA is 99.1 per cent identical to chimpanzees.
  1. Cosmic factoids:

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, a modest galaxy as galaxies go, is over 100,000 light years across. (Note 1-9-2009 Very recently releases data suggest that our Milky Way is in fact a large galaxy rather than a more modest one as was previously thought). That is the distance light would travel going at 186,000 miles per second in 100,000 years! In our galaxy, the Milky Way, there are estimated to be over 400 billion stars. Yet, there are 125 billion galaxies in the observable universe. This means there are over 5,000 billion billion estimated stars in the observable universe, more stars than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on the entire planet Earth!

3.   Restoring damage from the last 100 years

Brian Swimme has remarked that if we stopped our current damage to the ecosystem with its rapid extinction of species, it would take another 10 million years for the earth to replenish and evolve new species to replace those lost in the last 100 years. (see the interview with Brian Swimme at: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5414889156623608171



[3] Early picture of the Milky Way galaxy seen from the side: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way

[8] Picture of wounded boy from Iraqi War at Web site: http://www.chris-floyd.com/war/