Fortunately, like never before in history, this generation has at its disposal new and wonderful evidence from science, confirming the presence and power of what many of us would call a Very Insistent Love at the heart of all creation. Richard Rohr, Center for Action and Contemplation daily blog, 10/22/17, https://cac.org/sign-up/
My ministry has been all about love. God is love. The great commandment to love God, neighbour, and self is a central teaching of Christianity. Vince raised a significant question: Is there a place for a personal, interventionist God in evolutionary thinking? I suddenly realized that I hadn’t mentioned love when talking about the foundation of the universe.
I have on my shelf 29 books about love. Recent books! What is going on here? What is going on here is my continuing quest to understand love as the dynamic, creative power of the universe that is also the motivating force of my personal life. Steve McIntosh, in his book, Evolution’s Purpose, calls it the evolutionary impulse. I want to not only know more about this force, I want to live love and understand more about why I don’t.
In his October 24, 2017 CAC blog, Richard Rohr says, “Anybody who has paid any attention to their inner life or read any history books surely recognizes that life and love are always cumulative, diffusive, and expanding. Perhaps it is this change that we fear. For some reason, we seem to think that admitting such love dynamism, and in fact cooperating with it (see Romans 8:28) is going to compromise our eternal, unchanging notion of God. It’s just the opposite, I think. If our God is both incarnate and implanted, both Christ and Holy Spirit, then an unfolding inner dynamism in all creation is not only certain, but also moving in a positive direction with a divine goal that is always set before us.” I cite this blog because it represents an evolutionary perspective on the trinity (God as infinite, intimate and inner) and love being the directing force of evolution.
Ken Wilber, in his EnlightenNext article, issue 47, p 48, says more vehemently, “There is no way in hell that the universe went from atoms to Shakespeare out of random stabs. This is an extraordinarily driven process.”
Physical science disciplines do not use the word love. Brian Swimm says scientists began learning about the physical universe to discover more about how God creates, and have ended up actually studying the processes that gave birth to the universe. I believe science is talking about the power of love when it says there is an intimate connection between all things in the universe. This connective energy draws us together, holds us together, and guides our interactions in such a way that new life emerges. Emergence, not survival of the fittest, is the goal of evolution. The universe is held together by gravitational interaction. In my opinion, a fancy word for love.
In EnlightenNext, issue 47, Swimm makes three points: 1) The universe is not a place, it is a story about an irreversible sequence of emergent events. 2) Love or ‘homeostasis’ is the way the universe holds its new creation together. 3) Things don’t just come and go, they build on each other and new possibilities emerge.
Steve McIntosh’s book, Evolution’s Purpose is all about how evolution is a movement toward the beautiful, the true and the good, a thesis which is grounded in scientific evidence.
In the trinity, intimacy is a key connector. Without this “personal” connection there would be no sharing of knowledge or experience – no way to learn and grow. I have always been a fan of God as Creator (infinite). I am a big picture person. Details I struggle with. When I pray it is to God in the infinite perspective. But every so often this was not enough for me, and God did not feel real. Then I realized that my picture of the infinite God was not comprehensive enough. I need a God with all the aspects of the trinity to give me a fuller experience and richer understanding of life and my place in it. I need a God with skin on. I need a personal connection. The scientific trinity consists of three characteristics that define the nature of the universe: differentiation, communion and subjectivity. Life could not exist without all three. Not only is the entire universe made of the same stuff, it is connected (in communion) in an intimate interaction that can be measured and predicted. And yet it evolves toward emergent moments when something different, more complex and useful emerges. The unity in this diversity is transformed into a reality that is a surprise. Love is like that.
This past week a friend gave me Willie Nelson’s latest CD called, God’s Problem Child. One cut on the album is called, It Gets Easier. When I heard it I got tears in my eyes because it brought me intimately into a connection with my life and the question I currently ask myself, “What is retirement about for me?”
It gets easier, as we get older
It gets easier to say, “not today”
And it gets easier, as we get older
To say, “go away, not today”
I don’t have to do
One damn thing
That I don’t want to do
Except for missing you
And that won’t go away
I like the freedom of choosing what I want to do each day. But that last refrain, “Except for missing you, And that won’t go away”, made me aware that there is still a yearning (evolutionary impulse) in my heart that is calling me to a deeper engagement with my life, the life of my planet and the universe – to a deeper experience and expression of love. This is the way I hear the personal Power of the Universe call my name. I still don’t have the specific answer to what I am missing, but I know there is one. And that is enough for me.