Foundations: Cosmology and Wisdom
Stephen Hawking in his A Brief History of Time: From Big Bang to Black Holes(Hawking 1988) asks several questions as the theme of his opus. He asked, among other queries, from where did
the universe come and to where is it going? What happened before it was created and will it come to an end? In attempting
to answer these questions, Hawking describes modern scientific cosmology. Cosmology fundamentally posits a universe in process,
a universe with a beginning and a development of structure and life. The universe begins as a singularity: an object with
infinite density and curvature and zero diameter (Asimov 1975, 77). When the Big Bang occurred, this singularity began to expand. Astronomers can detect the
expansion of the universe, by the shift of the red wavelength in stellar spectra. Extrapolating backwards in time, astronomers
posit that all the matter of the universe was at one time in one place. The universe was a single point, a primeval atom or
cosmic egg. How long the egg existed we do not know, but some billions of years ago it exploded. "Out of the vast outward-
speeding fragments of the cosmic egg, the stars and galaxies formed eventually, and it is because of the still felt outward
force of the big bang that the universe is expanding even today (Asimov 1975, 78)." This sudden and cosmic (for the singularity was the cosmos!) explosion occurred approximately
five to 15 billion years ago. From it emerged space-time and the development of galaxies, stars, planets, and organic life.
We are all evolved from the infinitely dense stuff of the primordial singularity. We are all made of stardust. The rate of
expansion is slowing. Depending on the quantity of matter in the universe, the rate of expansion may become zero, the expansion
will stop and the universe will collapse. The universe may or may not then explode with a whole new set of physical laws.
If the amount of matter is below a certain limit, the universe expands forever and slowly cools and loses its energy resulting
in the heat death of the universe (Hawking 1988).
Cosmology recognizes through the Theories of Relativity that this in-process universe requires
that neither space nor time be absolute, but part and parcel of the evolving universe. Space and time are united in Relativity
into the space-time continuum. The universe is finite with built-in limits. One of its primary limits is the speed of light,
c, approximately 186,000 miles per hour, that no velocity can exceed. This fundamentally defines what a black hole
is: an object whose escape velocity exceeds c, so that not even light can escape. Absolutely nothing physical can
escape a black hole. The speed of the passage of time is relative. For example, time is slower close to a massive body, such
as a black hole. "[E]ach individual has his [sic!] own personal measure of time that depends on where he is and how he is
moving (Hawking 1988, 33)." We used to think space and time were unaffected by events, going on forever. But space
and time are dynamic: when a body moves or a force acts, the curvature of space-time is affected. Being around a strong force
slows your time down as seen by someone beyond the massive object.
But the universe is not only governed by Relativity. It is also governed by Quantum Mechanics.
Whereas Relativity is a theory of the very large, Quantum Mechanics is a theory of the very small. According to Quantum Mechanics
the universe is not entirely deterministic (Capra 1991; Hawking 1988). Subatomic particles no longer are conceived as having separate position and velocity, but as
having a state which is a combination of position and velocity. According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, a particle's
position and velocity both are not determinable. Determining one, leaves the other to chance. God does indeed play at dice.
Science cannot tell us what happened before the Big Bang, how the cosmic egg came into being,
nor what is happening outside of the universe.
Hubble's observations suggested that there was a time, called the big bang, when the
universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense. Under such conditions all the laws of science, and therefore all
ability to predict the future, would break down. If there were events earlier than this time, then they could not affect what
happens at the present time ... One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply
would not be defined ... One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterwards
in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it
was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he [sic!]
might have carried out his job! (Hawking 1988, 9)
The domain of science is the created universe. It can only view the cosmos from within the
cosmos. "...all scientific knowing is admittedly intracosmic knowing. It does not deal with the Beyond, with God (Peters 1989, 60)."
Science itself is described in terms of mathematics. The domain of mathematics is logic and
can theorize beyond the universe, although it is limited by the laws of logic. Mathematics therefore can extrapolated to some
extent a view of the cosmos from outside of the cosmos. Mathematically, space-time can be viewed as a four-dimensional entity
consisting of the three traditional dimensions of length, height, and breadth, and of the fourth dimension of time. Given
this view, then the cosmos is a hypersphere, where one pole is the original primordial singularity and the opposite pole is the teleodial
singular point (here the Big Crunch theory is assumed).
This "outside" view allows us to see the cosmos whole. It allows us to transcendently view space-time.
Eternity is out of time. It is from where or at when or by what we can see the whole of space-time. It exists beyond time;
in eternity we exist in some preter dimension beyond the four of space-time. From eternity we can see space-time as a 4-D
manifold with one axis (time) a vector, where we view past, present, and future, and the interaction of freewill and chance
Yet even the "outside" view cannot describe in what space-time exists, or from where it came.
These theories point beyond themselves. They describe the birth and growth, or start and development of space-time as an organic
whole. If we look only at scientific cosmology, we would view this as birth, development, and eventual death. But if we now
look to religion, in particular the Judeo-Christian notion of Wisdom, we can also postulate the "ether" in which space-time
exists, approach eternity, and see the progress of space-time not as birth, growth, and death, but as conception, development,
and birth. Science can describe the physical nature of space-time and in doing so point to the spiritual. It is for religion
to examine the physical and unfold the spiritual aspect of the cosmos.
Sophia is God's Wisdom, the divine origin of knowing and understanding, the interface of discernment
between God and creation ... "the 'delight' of the proud parent [God] in the offspring [Sophia] and her own playful 'delight'
in the world of humanity provide the intimate link between the creator and the created (Perdue 1994, 91)." Wisdom is not simply intellectual knowledge and understanding of facts, relationships,
and principles, but she is deep insight, intuition and discernment. Human insight is inherited from her (Prov. 2:6). Wisdom
is the radiation of God's eternal light permeating all things. "For wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her
pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory
of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror
of the working of God, and an image of his goodness (Wis 7:24-26, NRSV)." She is created firstborn before the cosmos. "Before the ages, in the beginning, he created
me, and for all the ages I shall not cease to be (Sir 24:9, NRSV) ." She is therefore distinct from God and created before space-time and exists outside of time;
she is eternal. She aided God in the creation thereafter and God delighted in her and she in the creation. "The Lord created
me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning
of the earth ... When he established the heavens, I was there ... I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily
his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race. (Prov 8:22-31,
NRSV)." and "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by
his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew (Prov. 3:19-20, NRSV)." Wisdom is fertile; she integrates the tree of knowledge and the tree of life into a divine
ordering of continuing creation "In [the] image of the divine architect, wisdom is the skill, plan, and knowledge God uses
to secure and order the cosmos (Perdue 1994, 83)". Unlike the Yahwist writer of Genesis who sees knowledge as forbidden and its gain the truncation
of life, Mother Wisdom sustains our life with knowledge, discernment, and insight.
She is divine knowledge and understanding and right-use of same. She is a teacher and a sage.
"For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright ...
(Prov. 2:6-7, NRSV)." and "Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom
is better than jewels (Prov. 8:10-11, NRSV)." Where on the divine side, Wisdom is God's means of Creation, or the human side, Wisdom is the
practical application of this discernment. She is open and playful; seeking order and rationality. Wisdom relates creation
to God's saving grace showing how God's divinity is reflected in creation; in this manner, she mediates God's revelation (von Rad 1962, 418ff). Through her, creation makes sense and is revealed as not arbitrary, but rational, contingent,
and knowable. Wisdom teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, i.e., to praise and respect the awesomeness
of God is the first step to discernment. By this, Wisdom offers us life and salvation here and now by helping us see God's
truth and justice. She is the "divine summons issued in and through creation, ..., and heard on the level of human experience
(Murphy 1990, 25)." God speaks through Wisdom. God alone knows where Wisdom is. We know Wisdom only through
God. She is distinct from the creation and only God knows the way to Wisdom and her location (Job 28:12-28) (Perdue 1994,186). The biblical texts tell us she is both created and distinct from creation. In the metaphor
of the space-time foetus in Sophia's womb, we resolve this apparent paradox: for Wisdom is distinct and prior to the creation
we can know, yet created herself.
Sophia is the consort of God. "She [Wisdom] enhances her noble birth by sharing God's life,
for the Master of All has always loved her. (Wis. 8:3, NJB)." Wisdom is the consort and lover of God. She is the Queen of Heaven who brings life, fertility,
and blessing to those who love her and follow her instruction. She is the instrument of creativity mediated between God and
creation. "Through God's love of Wisdom, life in the cosmos originated and continues (Perdue 1994,330)." And the gnostics recognizing the Trinity, saw Wisdom as the consort of Jesus. The Sophia
Jesu Christi says,
The Son of Man agreed with Sophia, his consort and revealed himself in a [great light]
as bisexual. His male nature is called 'the Saviour, the begetter of all things', but his female "Sophia, mother of all',
whom some call Pistis (Hennecke 1963,250).
That God has a consort in the creation is testified in the Hebrew scriptures. The Prophet Isaiah
records God's words, "For as a young man marries a young woman,/ so shall your builder marry you ... (Is 62:5a, NRSV)." Ezekiel 13, 16 and Jeremiah 3 present God's consort as an unfaithful wife, but Hosea proclaims
her forgiven and restored. But most significantly, the Song of Songs has been interpreted by Jewish scholars as an allegory
of the love of God for Israel, and by Christian scholars as Christ's love for the Church (Graves 1973,1). In our metaphor, the Song of Songs is interpreted as the love of Logos for Sophia.
Wisdom theology seeks to understand reality as a historical process that develops through a
dynamic relationship of humans and nature. God is active in creation: creation and creator, though distinct, are intertwined
and interactive. Wisdom shows us the order and pattern of God's creation. This order seeks justice, righteousness, and dharma.
Wisdom teaches us to discern God's active grace and sustenance in this order. Creation is continually unfolding towards God's
goals; experiencing creation is experiencing God (Murphy 1990, chap 8; Perdue 1994, chap 3). Within the nurture of Wisdom, space-time, i.e., the creation distinct from Sophia, develops,
not just happens, but proceeds on a definite vector towards God's Commonwealth. It is like a developing foetus floating in
the amniotic fluid of Sophia's womb.
The Logos is the uncreated will and creativity of God, preexistent prior to any creation. He
is generated from the godhead. Peters (Peters 1989, 75) distinguishes for us "generation" and "creation":
"Generation," coming from the root meaning to give birth, suggests that the begetter
produces out of its own essence an offspring that shares that same essence. But terms such as 'creating' or 'making' mean
that the creator produces something that is external, a creature of dissimilar nature. The patristic apologists applied the
term 'generation' to the perichoresis within the divine life of the Trinity, not to the creation without.
Sophia is of a different essence from God, whereas; the Word is of the same essence, a member
of the Trinity. Discernment may vary from cosmos to cosmos, whereas; divine creativity is essential to the godhead. Through
the Word, God creates, "Then God said, Let there be light and there was light (Gen. 1:3, NRSV) ." Logos is that of God that creates with intent. It must proceed any creation. Wisdom, too,
results from speaking the Word, "I [Wisdom] came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist
(Sir. 24:3, NRSV) ." The Logos is the divine creative principle or energy, "... so shall my word be that goes out
from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and succeed in the thing for which
I sent it (Is 55:11, NRSV) ." Wisdom, on the other hand, is the primeval world order and integrating process. The creative
energy of the Word and the integrating order of Wisdom are two aspects of the same unfolding of God's purpose. Ordering is
creative; creating is ordering. Both Logos and Wisdom are incarnated in the Christ. Through Christ, Word and Wisdom, creating
and ordering are the mutual background and foreground of the cosmos (Fox 1983).
The original creation out of nothing recurs within the kenotic transitions between becoming
and perishing of the continuing creation. Thus, Wisdom is not just "out there" beyond space-time. She also emerges from space-time,
distinctly, from within the concreascences as well. "[S]he is created with the faithful in the womb (Sir 1:14, NRSV) ." Creation is perpetually pregnant.
A fresh or transformed image may shatter existing meaning structures and lead to the
creation of a new world view. Creative imagination may subvert orthodox conventions in order to usher into existence a new
life-defining and life-orienting reality (Perdue 1994,51)
Sapiential imagination is especially at work in envisioning God, for the sages located
God at the center of their historical and linguistic world of space, time, and action. At the same time, God stands outside
this world and brings it into judgment. The wise believed that regardless of how compelling and meaningful their constructed
world may be, God is still a transcendent, often mysterious deity, whose freedom cannot be constrained by the boundaries of
a sapiential world view (Perdue 1994,55-56)
The biblical record and the natural record give these visions of scientific cosmology and Wisdom
form; sapiential imagination provides the creativity to develop the metaphor of space-time as a foetus in the womb of Sophia.
Paul tells us that "the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now (Rom. 8:22, NRSV)." The metaphor of Sophia as mother of space-time does not occur in the bible or tradition. Yet
the model of cosmic birth occurs at least twice in the New Testament. The birth of Jesus to Mary and the birth of the son
to the woman in Revelation 12. The woman in Revelation has been variously named as Mother Mary, as the cosmos, and as Wisdom.
She is the Queen of Heaven, the mother of the Messianic Community (Grimsrud 1987) as Wisdom is mother of the divine Commonwealth. Mary, of course, gives birth to the Christ.
A human woman gives birth to a son who is both fully human and fully divine. Interestingly, creation gives birth to the creator.
We will see later that if we take a fractal or holographic view of space-time, continuing creation out of the infinitesimal
becomings and perishings can lead us to the constant rebirthing of all of creation within creation. Divine immanence shines
through such continuous rebirth.
If we now look closer at eternity, we will see that eternity is nurturing and creating, where
in our metaphor eternal Sophia nurtures and God is primordial creator.
Eternal Life & Eternity Recovered.
When we consider eternity, we encounter notions of eternal life, immortality, everlastingness,
and forever. In this discussion, eternity is viewed as what is beyond and encapsulating time and space. Eternal life is then
life not constrained by space-time. Immortality, everlastingness, and forever on the other hand can be construed as life lived
for all time. Since time may very well have an ending and is certainly created, immortality is less than eternal life. An
immortal survives to the end of time, but then ceases. The cosmic egg is immortal by definition. But only by passing through
the Apocalypse of birth, does it become eternal.
Eternity is beyond the conceptualization of scientific cosmology. The picture of space-time
presented by cosmology gives us good reason to believe that there is something beyond and containing space-time. But we cannot
ascertain scientifically its nature or structure. This is a theological question. Cosmologists have theorized what is beyond
space-time, primarily in the notion of many space-time objects existing side-by side as alternate universes (Rucker 1984, 118ff). And we can theorize beyond this to envision space-time warps (Einstein-Rosen bridges)
that bridge these universes. In the metaphor of Sophia's womb and space-time as a cosmic foetus, we can image Sophia giving
birth multiple times, even to twins and triplets, to various alternate universes. In this notion, space-time is not so much
transformed into God's Commonwealth, as into one denizen in it.
Biblically, eternity is viewed through the mirror of eternal life and resurrection, i.e., spiritual
and bodily life after death or uninterrupted life. The Hebrew scriptures generally are not concerned with the afterlife. Only
in postexilic times does the notion emerge from the exposure to Persian doctrines. It is then a matter of resurrection of
the persecuted (Dan 12:1-1; 2 Mac 7). In the Wisdom of Solomon, Adam was originally deathless (Wis 2:23), but became subject
to death because of sin (Gen 2:17; 3:19). The Wisdom of Solomon considers immortality, not resurrection. In New Testament
times, the Sadduccees did not believe in immortality or resurrection, whereas the Pharisees did. But with the resurrection
of Jesus, eternal life became an essential part of our beliefs. Eternal life was a vindication of Jesus' ministry (Mk 14:62),
a new creation resulting from the erasure of sins and therefore of death (Rom 5:12-21), and an exaltation of heaven (Eph 4:6-8).
Jesus offers us eternal life now (Jn 5:24), not in some future time, free from sin (Jn 3:15; 4:14; 6:40,47). Though aspects
of eternal life are available now, full eternal life is a promise.
Eternal life is life in God's Commonwealth. As space-time evolves and develops it converges
upon the ability to exist freely in eternal life without the mediation of Sophia. We shall see later that the metaphor is
a fractal. Sophia is born of the creating out of nothing and within the continuing creation, creating out of nothing occurs
in each infinitesimal perishing-becoming and, hence, fractally, Sophia is born again and again and impregnated again and again.
Eternity is not only without, it is also within. Eternity is ubiquitous. Within space-time, we experience the promise of eternal
life, the anticipated birth into God's Commonwealth, as well as experiencing eternity in our concresences.
Space-time is not some machine propelled by mindless law and chance. It is a living, breathing
entity being nurtured and loved. The laws are designed by the Logos out of love. The quantum mechanical chances are Sophia's
and Logos' opportunities to care, guide, and teach space-time without violating the consistency of God's creation. The death
of space-time, whether in a big crunch or by heat death is no death itself, but merely the expelled placenta. For the essence,
the spirit and flesh will be transformed from space and time into the eternal Commonwealth. In the big crunch, the substance
is reabsorbed into Sophia, and she may conceive again. In the heat death, the placenta is expelled and remains in eternity.
But fundamentally, we can once again expand our vision to eternity. It is not limited to space-time. There is life after cosmic
death: life in God's New Jerusalem.
To understand eternity, Neville (Neville 1993) explores the nature of eternity in the context of the flow of past, present, and future time.
This aspect of eternity is the womb of Sophia. These tenses are together in eternity, whereas; temporally they are separate.
Within eternity, time as a whole in all of its tenses exists together simultaneously (although that temporal word has no context
in eternity). The present is the moment of becoming, where change and spontaneous creating takes place. The past is fixed
objectively in everlastingness. It is immutable. The future provides form to integrate potentiality of the past and present.
All the modes are of equal necessity. But each mode conditions the others. The present is constrained to the actual possibilities
opened by the past and the formal possibilities suggested by the future. The past is an integrated history whose context is
defined by the actualizations of previous presents and the structure of the future. The future is given the plurality of possibilities
opened by the past, but as the present becomes, the potentiality of the future is transmuted according to the possibility
being actuated. From these interactions, time's flow emerges: the present actualizes future possibilities and puts into the
past actuality. The past is added to, the future is changed, and the present becomes and perishes. Eternity, i.e., the womb
of Sophia, then is the togetherness of the temporal modes. Time flows within eternity; eternity is the context within which
time flows and within which the modes harmonize.
But Relativity has taught us that there is not just one flow of time. Two space-time events
that are simultaneous to me - occurring at the same instance of time from my point of view - may not occur at the same instance
of time from your point of view. The theories of Relativity lead to the relativity of simultaneity (Goldblatt 1987; Hawking 1988). According to relativity, nothing can travel faster than light and so we are not able to influence
each other instantaneously. I know you are there, because light has transmitted your image to me, and so there is some finite
time between your actuality and my interacting with it. Thus, my perception of you (and yours of me) is influenced by the
past, not the present. Nothing can influence you that has not been transmitted at or below the speed of light. In a very real
sense, in the Now, we are alone with God. We experience others only in a delayed fashioned - we are aware of their space-time
event only after it happens, not as it happens, and furthermore, my Now is separate and distinct from any other's Now, except
for God. God's Now overlaps all Nows. God's Now is the Grounding Now.
An individual in the past of two other individuals can influenced them both; they are connected
by a shared past of actual individuals. According to the Relativity of Simultaneity, this shared past can vary according to
our velocity. If two individuals are journeying at different velocities at the moment that they are simultaneous, they can
observe two events differently. For one observer they can appear as simultaneously occurring in the past; for the other, one
of the two events can appear in its past and the other in its present (simultaneous with it). This occurs because of the constancy
of the speed of light. For everyone at the same relative velocity, time passes at the same rate. If a moving individual is
moving relative at a speed close to the speed of light and two events are simultaneous for the at-rest individual, they are
not simultaneous for the moving individual journeying at a great velocity. Thus, time is not absolute, i.e., the time-interval
between two events is not independent of the motion of an observer and space is not absolute, i.e., the space interval (distance)
between points is not independent of the motion of an observer. So even if two events are simultaneous at rest, they are not
simultaneous in motion. We share a common past with all of those individuals that share our velocity, that are at rest with
respect to us. But that common past is unraveled when we interrelate with an individual that is moving relative to us.
A metaphor of driving an automobile helps to understand this complex flow of time. If you are
the driver cruising along the road, your essential present is marked by each infinitesimal instance of you piloting the automobile.
But as your past accumulates from these instances, it is fixed and you can never recover it. Your future is open, but shaped
by the fact that you are in a car moving along a certain road with exits and turns. Conditionally, the present is influenced
by where you have been and where you intent to go. Each exit passed constrains the present position. You can see the past
passing in the rearview mirror and that seeing influences the present decision. In a fashion you see in the past, for you
can see the road over which you have already past and the development of the past will be decided with the present intent.
The future is constrained by your present position on the road and the possible turns and exits you might take. The future
changes as each turn or exit is bypassed. The flow of the automobile is the flow of time. A car following you, passes through
your past and anticipates your present position. Each one of us is on a vehicle of present time within a different flow of
But if we can mystically transcend space-time, and enter the Grounding Now (then amniotic fluid in Sophia's womb), we can
experience true synchronous relationships. David Bohm and Karl Pribram study of the implicate order (Talbot 1991,41, 197,205) suggest that the implicate order is the Grounding Now is the amniotic fluid that
suffuses space-time. Like holographic film, any bit of the implicate order can reproduce the whole. Any given "object" exists
throughout the entirety of the implicate order. The object is enfolded. Space-time and the objects therein unfold into the
explicate order. An object moves through time in a continuous series of unfoldings and enfoldings. This is the flow of time
and is analogous to process' perishings and becomings. Enfolded in the amniotic implicate order, every bit contains the whole
and the whole contains every bit throughout distributively (non-locally) in a seamless holographic fabric of synchronocity
wherein lives Plato's pure and perfect forms. In the amniotic fluid live the mathematical creatures, such as pi,
phi, e that unfold into space-time.
Thus, the space-time foetus is developing as a whole. But like a fetus whose organs develop
at different rates, each individual in the space-time foetus has the potential to develop at a different rate. Space-time
develops within eternity as known in Sophia. Sophia provides the nurture of space-time in the amniotic fluid of the implicate
order, but is not spatial or temporal herself. In some mysterious dimension, God exists alone. In some other dimension, God
and Sophia alone exist; in this manner she is first born. In yet another dimension eternity has God, Sophia, and the foetus.
In another dimension, there exists all this plus the Commonwealth of God. God originates all of this as the creating out of
nothing. Pregnant nothingness births creation endlessly.
Creating Out of Nothing and Creating Continuously.
As the space-time foetus develops, the creation that was initiated at the big bang continues, evolving from star dust to
sentience. The foetus becomes more complex and more developed, evolving in fits and starts towards a mature baby with all
of its organs developed and working cooperatively. This is the continuing creation launched from the original singularity
and rationally arising from it. But is there still original creation out of nothing? Nothingness is ubiquitous throughout
reality, and new creation arises constantly. The space-time foetus is porous like a sponge. We are a society of process individuals
that perish and become infinitesimally (concrescence), perpetually unfolding and enfolding. Our being is the progress of these
individuals and we are fundamentally temporal beings. Our Now passes instantly; one's self is the chain of concrescence. "Actually,
each worm [trail] would be a tangle of threads, where a thread would correspond to the trail of an atom. Given the fact that
every atom in one's body is replaced every seven years or so, we can see that there is actually no single thread that goes
the whole length of one's life. A living individual is a persistent pattern rather than a particular collection of particles
(Rucker 1977, 58)." Thus, we are a tangle web of trails or traces through the fourth spatio-temporal dimension.
Each material object such as an electron has its own traces through space-time and physically perish to be replaced by others.
Therefore our bodies are societies of atoms moving through the fourth spatial-temporal dimension. These are not process individuals;
atoms are not concrescences. Rather atoms are themselves societies of subatomic particles, which are societies of sub-sub-atomic
particles ad infinitum until the infinitely subtended particle is a society of concrescences. These are infinitesimal and
pre-material. The ultimate constituents of matter and non-matter are process individuals. This is our 4-D trail. This dynamic
process of becoming - perishing is what we know as time. We are 4-D creatures. With this in mind, we can view space-time as
a 4-D object, where we are past, present, future simultaneously. These infinitesimal, timeless instants are the points where
we come face-to-face with the utterly other. Here we confront God's lure in it s purest form. At these points we are emptied
and available for God's original divine creation out of nothing.
Eternity is rooted in the endless self-emptying of God, the divine kenosis (Phil 2:6-11). Eternity
itself originates endlessly in God's kenosis. God is uncreated, prior to everything, beyond any superlative we can conceive;
God is inconceivable. God is the source of everything and sustains everything. If God should cease to exist, everything would
cease to exist. If everything ceased to exist, God, nonetheless, remains. But God is love. As God exists, so love exists.
And love yearns for the other. But God being full of God was not other. So God, like a bottle tipped over, emptied the divine
self of Godhead and became other, separate and distinct. Since God was all there was, to be other had to be nothing. The kenosis
of God resulted in nothing.
In particular, kenosis is the utterly other within us in the concrescing of perishing and becoming.
No matter how different something is from us, it too perishes and becomes; we have kenosis in common with the utterly different.
It is the Other that knits us into the cosmic fabric.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form
of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being
born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even
death on a cross. Therefore, God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name
of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ
is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:5- 11, NRSV).
The mathematical notion of the empty set, provides a rich and insightful metaphor for kenosis. When we empty ourselves of every concern, every trait, every idol, every bit of selfness, what
is left is the Other. In mathematical set theory, a set is a collection of things taken as a whole. The simplest, most fundamental
set is the set containing nothing, called the empty set. It is the whole that contains nothing. In the algebra of sets, a
subset of a given set is a set that contains some or all of the elements in a set. The empty set is a subset of every set;
it is in or a part of everything, even of itself (since a set is a subset of itself). It is the only subset that is a subset
of everything. The empty set is, therefore, ubiquitous. Since the empty set has no elements, it has no element in common with
any set. Therefore, the empty set is utterly other. It is dissimilar to any set. Thus, everything has nothing in common with
nothingness: though emptiness is within everything, we have nothing in common with it; it is utterly other. The empty set
in everything and everyone is a thread that knits all creation together into one cosmic community. It is the trace of the
incarnated Logos that holds the created universe together. "Because the Logos incarnate in Jesus was the Reason of God, it
was also possible to see the Logos as the very Structure of the universe ... The identification of the Creator-Logos in Jesus
as the foundation for the very structure of the universe and the belief that 'the Logos of God is in the whole universe' had
its basis in the even more fundamental identification of the Logos as the Agent of creation out of nothing ... (Calvin 1537)."
Characteristically, the empty set represents the utterly other in us that we share with those
that are different from us, even utterly different. In a similar vein, concrescence is our continuous emptying and encounter
with the utterly other. Reality is porous. The pores are the concrescences, the empty set ubiquitously present. Eternity as
the context of the togetherness of time's modes is also dynamic. Eternity is not the totality of everything and every time
that was, is, and will be for this implies a static time without passage. This notion views time as a spatial, predetermined
dimension. Rather eternity comprehends all past events and all future possibilities that may or may not be realized. If we
view God, then not as an individual, but as a process of creating out of nothing (i.e., creans ex nihilo), then God
adds complexity to a given event that revises the eternal comprehensive view. "The central divine reality, ..., is the creative
act of which the world is the terminus and that itself constitutes God as having the characteristic of being creator (Neville 1993,142)." God's character arises from the act of creation. Departing from process theology, God is
the process of creating out of nothing and in that fashion is within everything and every time, every actualization and every
potentiality (Neville 1993). God is the eternal creating out of nothing; this is the Ground of Being. God is not an individual
being, since a "deeper" creator would be needed to have created the "apartness". God is the creative act and its source, which
is nothingness. God's eternal life, then, has all the distinction of the temporal modes together within the divine life and
within the divine life every temporal mode has an eternal identity.
From this notion, emerges our metaphor's distinction of Sophia from God. God is utterly other,
but ubiquitous; God is creating out of nothing. Among God's creation is Sophia and space-time. Just as with the rest of creation,
Sophia is also developing, both in the creatio continua and in the creans ex nihilo. Sophia is not temporal,
but provides the womb for space-time. God is eternally creating out of nothing and is essentially creative; hence the Logos
is of the essence of God, while Sophia is of the essence resulting from God's creating. We are co-creators with God in the
continuing creation. Our scientific achievements are visible signs of our creative inheritance from the Logos. But only God
is the creating out of nothing. This is an utterly other process definitive of the divine.
Continuing and Renewed Life
Life is an integrated, organic whole. Our individual life and being is part of the life of space-time.
We can use Peters' (Peters 1989, 90-93) analogy of the heart and the human to see the relationship of ourselves to the space-
time foetus. In this analogy, Peters suggests that the heart's actions are predetermined once a human makes a decision as
to whether to eat apple pie or go out for a jog. The heart receives one or the other stimulus, and having received it, acts
accordingly. The heart cannot understand the free decision of the human. It only knows that it received a stimulus. Similarly,
Peters suggests that we can understand that the whole of creation has greater freedom than we do, but we cannot understand
what this freedom is and how the decisions are made. "Can we by analogy see ourselves as part of a still larger whole, the
whole of reality? Can we like the heart accept the fact that this more comprehensive whole enjoys a more comprehensive freedom
and governing power than we can understand? Can we affirm that through the macro-whole God acts to alter the course of historical
events but does not break the nexus? (Peters 1989, 92-93)" Our space-time foetus intrinsically yields this dialectic. We are part of the greater
whole of the foetus.
Life began when God spoke the Word and the primordial singularity exploded. God continues to
speak the Word sustaining the life and being of the foetus. Life began at the conception of space-time and each individual
life organically is part of that. Our individual conception, gestation, birth, growth, and death are meant to be integrated
into the cosmic life. We believe that a human fetus has freewill. Freewill is the potential ability to sin, i.e.,
to go against God's will. Humans as they develop increase in their ability to exercise freewill. A newborn baby has virtually
no such ability, but we would agree that he or she has the potential and as the child develops, will sin more and more. Believing
that life is continuous and that the fetus is already human, freewill is not instilled at the moment of birth, but is inherited
from conception. Though we have freewill, space-time has yet greater freewill that influences us, and God, in turn, has the
inconceivable, unconditional freewill above all of eternity.
We can choose to exercise our freewill either as a contributor to the development of the space-time
foetus and the ultimate birth of the Commonwealth of God, or we can choose to attempt to go a separate way. The latter is
sinning. And just as we can choose, the larger wholes encapsulating us, i.e., the powers and principalities, can choose likewise.
Our acts reverberate throughout the cosmos, since our life is integrated into the whole as the potential to touch upon all
God as the creating out of nothing is a process of love, relating us to each other and to creation.
In relationship, we are in covenant with this process which is God. Righteousness, justice, piety, faith, and calling are
ideals through which we exercise this ontological love. Yet because of freewill, we individuals, institutions, and nature
have from time to time broken this covenant. Thus, every moment is under eternal judgment as past, present, and future acts.
But viewing ourselves as part of a greater whole, we can transcend the temporality and spatiality of our being. We can touch
eternity. We can know Sophia. We can discern the wider reality of God's creation. We can realize that we have life eternal
now through the love and nurture of God's Wisdom and Word. For even in death, our being continues in the continuing development
of the foetus. Death is overcome. Salvation is not attainment of eternal life, which we already have, but is realizing the
eternalness of creation birthing the Commonwealth of God and living in that perspective. Resurrection is the victory of wholeness
of body and soul eternally. Living in heaven is living now eternally, which is done through Jesus Christ. In the eternal perspective
of God, every "organ" of the foetus is important. All of creation is a reflection of God's glory. Our life, therefore, no
matter how seemingly small, is meaningful and significant, part of the glory of God. We are participants in a cosmic development
directed towards the birth of God's Commonwealth in which we also will be born.
||Jn 1:1-3; Phil 2:6-11. |
||I use the term 'foetus' for the cosmic and mystical unity of space-time over and against the
more common 'fetus' for the conceived and yet-to-be-born individual. |
||Peters (pp59ff) expresses concern about developing theology around the notion that God started
the Big Bang. He is concerned that such an assumption potentially leads to deism: God got it started, but now the forces of
nature are sovereign. In our metaphor, God is constantly present and involved, both as the Logos and as the creating out of
nothing. Another pitfall, is that following modern cosmology leads us to an eschaton that is just dissipation. Again our metaphor
avoids this with its notion of pregnancy and subsequent birth. Most importantly, we must not be limited by the intracosmic
boundaries of science. Theology studies the Beyond and as we will see, this metaphor goes beyond space-time to the containing
Wisdom and ubiquitous nothingness. |
||Space-time is circumscribed by the limits of the speed of light, c. Time dilation,
the relativity of simultaneity, etc. all lead back to light as the harbinger of eternity. Below c is space-time,
above c is eternity. |
||I use the term creans ex nihilo instead of creatio ex nihilo to express the
notion that God is the act or process of creating out of nothing. Creation out of nothing is static and separates
the process from the result. Whereas, creating out of nothing connotes the dynamism and ubiquity of God as the One
who is creating out of nothing. |
||A hypersphere is a four dimensional "sphere". It is to a three dimensional sphere, as a sphere
is to a two dimensional circle. |
||Neville, Robert Cummings. 1993. Eternity and Time's Flow . NY: State University
of New York Press. |
||Rucker, Rudy. 1977.Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension . New York: Dover
Publications, Inc. |
||Rucker, Rudy. 1984. The Fourth Dimension: A Guided Tour of the Higher Universes
. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. |
||New Revised Standard Version Bible; ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. |
||The New Jerusalem Bible; ©1985, Darton, Longman & Todd, Lt. and Doubleday &
Company, Inc. |
||Einstein, Albert. 1961 Relativity: The Special and the General Theory; Authorized
Translation by Robert W. Lawerance. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc. |
||Peacocke, Arthur R. 1989. "Theology and Science Today." In Cosmos as Creation:
Theology and Science in Consonance, ed. Ted Peters. Nashville: Abingdon Press. |
||Peters, Ted. 1989. "Cosmos as Creation," In Cosmos as Creation: Theology and Science
in Consonance, ed. Ted Peters. Nashville: Abingdon Press. |
||Hawking, Stephen W. 1988. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes.
Toronto: Bantam Books. |
||Asimov, Isaac. 1975.The Collapsing Universe: The Story of Black Holes; New York:
Walker and Company. |
||Capra, Fritjof. 1991. The Tao of Physics; Third Edition, updated. Boston : Shambhala.
||Perdue, Leo G. 1994. Wisdom & Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature.
Nashville: Abingdon Press. |
|von Rad 1962
||von Rad, Gerhard. 1962. Old Testament Theology; Vol. 1: The Theology of Israel's
Historical Tradition. NY: Harper & Row, Publishers. |
||Murphy, Roland E. 1990. The Tree of Life; An Exploration of Biblical Wisdom Literature.
New York: Doubleday. |
||Fox, Matthew. 1983. Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality; Santa
Fe, NM: Bear & Company. |
||Grimsrud, Ted. 1987. Triumph of the Lamb. Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press.
||Goldblatt, Robert. 1987. Orthogonality and Spacetime Geometry. New York: Springer-Verlag.
||Calvin, John. 1537. Instruction in Faith (1537); Translated & Edited by Paul
T. Fuhrman. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. |
||Edgar Hennecke; New Testament Apocrypha; Volume One: Gospels and Related Writings; Edited
by Wilhelm Schneemelcher; English translation edited by R. McL. Wilson ©1959 by J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübinger; English
translation ©1963 Lutterworth Press. |
||Graves, Robert. The Song of Song: Text and Commentary. New York: Clarkson N. Potter,
||Talbot, Michael. The Holographic Universe. New York: Harper Perennial. |
Rev. John A. Mills is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ currently serving as
pastor at First Congregational Church of Closter, NJ. He is also a senior systems architect at Telcordia Technologies. His
interest is in the relationship of science and Christianity, particularly with regard to mathematics and cosmology. He has
taught a variety of classes on the subject of the relationship between religion and science to lay audiences in an effort
to raise up this very important topic to the general public.
SPACE TIME: SOPHIA'S FOETUS