3. Approaching the “Christ” from the Universe

Instead of starting from Jesus to reach the Christ, we start from the Universe:

We tend to have difficulty with our image of Christ because, typically, we approach the problem from the bottom up, i.e. from our vantage point. Thus we tend to start our reflection with human beings, and with Jesus in particular.

What if we tried to imagine the issue from “top down,” and look at the question from the perspective of Creation. The real question we need to be asking is: “What might God be trying to do in expressing Godself in and through this Universe?” This is the “Really Big Picture.” (If scientists can live with a “Really Big Picture,” so can we!) We are all more or less familiar with the New Science version of the “Universe Story:” a 13.7 billion year evolutionary story. It starts from a “singularity,” a single point containing all matter and energy and laws. This pinpoint of incredible heat and density will eventually produce our familiar world. In general, it yields the universe we see today, always evolving through attraction, connection, complexity and eventually consciousness. And we can only guess what the next stages of evolution might be like… (if the accelerating rate of change says anything, it says we haven’t a clue of where this Universe might look like in the distant future.)

By the laws of science themselves, science cannot go beyond what experimental evidence can confirm. Our Christian faith, however, to the extent that it does not violate any of the legitimate tenets of science, can offer plausible understandings of the “Even Bigger Picture.” Our Picture involves a Divine dimension. So hang on to that prospect for a moment. We need yet to unpack another piece to this complex puzzle: evolution.


If you have not worked your way through the earlier meditations on the Cosmos, this might be a good time: spend some time becoming familiar with the “New Story” of the Universe. (Brian Swimme’s work is not a bad place to start.) Then, holding the image of this vast, expanding, complex universe in mind, ask the question “What is this Universe for?” “What purpose might God have in mind by creating such a Universe?”

If you have worked through the earlier meditations, how does this new material fit in with your own conclusions and observations? What is helpful or not so helpful?