Archive for July 12th, 2010

A picture of the Universe

Posted on July 12, 2010. Filed under: Culture, Musings, Philosophy, Science, Spirituality |

Space news doesn’t make it into the bigtime news very often. There has to be a shuttle launch or a major issue with the International Space Station to make headlines. So this photo of the aftermath of the big bang (you’d think that’d be pretty bit news!) sort of slipped through the cracks. Here is the photo, and here a newsclip with one of my favorite physicists commenting on it.

I think the photo is astounding; perhaps even consciousness changing. Something that disturbs me, though, is in Dr. Kaku’s commentary. He declares “This is the fireball that created the Universe (emphasis mine)...Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 1 ‘In the beginning’…” I’m not sure why he brings the bible into it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all about integrating science and spirituality; I’ll get to that in a minute. I’m just wondering if Dr. Kaku and other scientists like him really equate the event known as “the big bang” with the first chapter of Genesis (from the Judeo-Christian scriptures).

Much as I respect some traditional religious teachings, I have never, really, been able to wrap my mind around a religious theory which claims a finite date on the calendar as its start. As in: The world was bad and sinful, and then “the special person” was born, and changed everything, and nothing that came before was any good, and you must embrace this new thing which is now true forever. This doesn’t fly for me, but neither does scientific theory stating that “The Universe” “began” at a certain moment in linear time. Besides the obvious (and a bit testy) question: “What happened before the big bang?” (or, conversely, “What happened before ‘The Word’, or ‘The Way’ from Genesis) the concept of a finite beginning is simply incomprehensible to me.

You can probably guess the primary linear-beginning religion I’m thinking of, but there are others. I’ve stated before on this blog that I’m a Universalist; that doesn’t mean I believe every single thing that each religion teaches, but that all are of equal value. I’ve found life enhancing wisdom in many sacred texts, particularly those of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism (in alphabetical, not priority order).  I’ve studied all these in classes and/or groups, and have lived the teachings as well.

I’ve lately been exploring an even newer, yet ancient, philosophical structure which promises to integrate scientific understanding with mystical wisdom; something I’ve sought for some time.

So, is this picture, amazing though it is, a stop-action photo of a real event in linear time? Or, more likely to me, a moment; a point in the ever-changing landscape of our inquiry?

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