Many people have observed that the "new cosmology" seems to have an affinity to, or at least room for, a religious understanding of reality. Why is this so, and what does it mean for contemporary spirituality? In this book Paul Brockleman argues that the new scientific cosmology also functions as a religious creation story, or "cosmogony". Traditional creation mythologies, he says, are stories which make available to a particular culture a vision of an ultimately meaningful sacred reality; they show precisely how all of creation (including ourselves) emerges from and is situated within that reality. This understanding can provide the basis for a comprehensive guide to living. Although quite different from earlier creation myths, says Brockleman, the new cosmology is indeed an evolutionary story spanning over twelve to fifteen billion years. This evolutionary story directly parallels the nature, characteristics, and stages involved in the traditional stories: It is an all-inclusive and deep vision of all creation which, like the earlier myths, reveals both a sense of what reality is all about and what the human role and destiny is within it.
It stirs feelings of reverence and wonder as well as a sense of gratitude that we are part of the cosmic drama. And it teaches us to be more humble in the face of such an immense reality. Whether and how it is possible to recover a living sense of ultimate Mystery in view of the alleged demystification of the universe by modern science is the great challenge to religion in our time. Paul Brockleman shows that a profound sense of wonder and awe is inseparable from our new understanding of our universe - of its great age, its immensity, and its astonishing complexity. He concludes that this understanding can and will lead to actual transformation in people's lives - changes not only in how they see life, but how they live out their lives in the light of that vision.
"Posing big questions about ultimate reality, Brockelman's nondenominational approach widens this work's appeal to philosophically minded readers."--Booklist