Darwin and Hubble: The New Matrix

Two facts form the context for everything we are, think and do. One is that the universe is really big. Pictures from Hubble are totally incredible, showing stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies connected by wisps of cosmic dust. A latest estimate puts the total of stars at more than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of our planet. Inasmuch as the universe is expanding, and accelerating in its expansion, there will come a time when the outer limit will be receding faster than its light can reach us, and we will never know that it even exists.

The second fact is that the universe, including our galaxy, our solar system, our planet, and us, are continually changing. We are evolving. What we once were, we are no longer, and what we are now, we will not be forever. Homo sapiens is not a static entity. We have evolved from earlier species of primates, and we will evolve into new species. It’s as simple as that, assuming that we don’t destroy the planet in the process. We are a changing species on a changing planet in an infinite universe in infinite time. This is the beginning point for thinking about ourselves and, if we choose, for thinking about god.

So far, we have not had any visitors from other planets, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, only that they have yet to arrive. Maybe there aren’t any others out there, but the time is approaching when sapiens will travel out. Some are already talking about moving to Mars.

If you think that the human colonization of space is far-fetched, consider, for example, how we have evolved from the earliest homo who lived about two million years ago. Projecting two million years into the future, what will we have become? There is natural evolution, changes occurring as we seek to survive, but now we also are actively affecting our own evolution. CRSPR technology has made possible designer babies, splicing a gene here and there to create the desired characteristics. Far into the future not only will we be different from what we are today, but we will likely come in contemporaneous different models, various new species, including perhaps a species that can survive timeless space travel. This complexity was true of our ancestors as well. Evolutionary connectedness was more of a web than a straight line, with sapiens and Neanderthal, for example, living for a while at the same time.

The evolution of infinite spacetime and everything in it, underscores the folly of anthropocentrism and absolutism. Beginning with the first, sapiens are not the measure of all matter. From a secular point of view, the atheist must realize that we are transitioning from one manifestation into another, and another, ad infinitum. From a Christian point of view, the believer must additionally realize that theological statements must be tempered by the facts. A time will come when Jesus of Nazareth, homo sapiens par excellence, will no longer relate to the species we will have become. Christians must also realize that although they confess that the eternal Word became sapiens in Jesus, there is no rationale for denying that that same Word did and will become some type of flesh at other times and other places. From Neanderthal to ET, across the universe of time and space, if we choose to believe in god, we must be open to possibilities that transcend our limited perceptions.

Just as anthropocentrism is untenable, so also is absolutism. No species across the extent of the universe can claim that they alone have access to abiding truth. Visions of truth are not monocular. This is not to belittle the search for truth on a limited scale. Atheists will continue to analyze humanity. Christians will continue to talk about Christian stuff. Jews, Jewish issues. And so on. But no one can assert that they alone have the key that unlocks the secrets. In fact, quite the opposite. Every person and every group, and, may we add, every species, incorporates some distortion in their view of reality and stands in need of correction from others. It may be that love and compassion are indeed universal, but the path to it is manifold. Once we all realize that, then peace and happiness become possible. And it all begins with a touch of cosmic humility.

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