Saturday, August 18, 2012

You, Cosmos and God

This is a simple but quite effective logical analyser for our view of the world. I am indebted to emeritus professor Tuomo Mannermaa for this figure that breaks through most philosophical and religious systems illuminating their fundamental structure.

Shema Yisrael, the Jewish prayer and confession of faith, is taken from Deuteronomy 6:4. It is very short and very deep, indeed.

 שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד
Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one

The oneness of God is such an important concept in Jewish theology and piety that any teaching that threatens to break it is rejected outright.

With the oneness of God comes the oneness of everything for there is nothing beyond God. In the physical world we can take an example of the oneness of the cosmos as expressed in the Big Bang theory - everything originates and is thus part in that point of origins. (New ideas about multiverse of course challenge the view of a single universe with single point of origins).

We tend to see the space as something distant and far away, something that is not one but myriads of spatial objects and forces, particles and beams. However, modern Astronomy has brought this all together. Today we know that while we are indeed made of dust as the Bible tells us but also that the earthly dust is produced in heavenly factories that make it with super-massive blasts that can be seen across the universe. We are made, as Carl Sagan said it, of star dust and thus part of the oneness of the Cosmos.

The oneness can be expressed also in religious terms within the Judeo-Christian tradition (also followed in Islam).
If ... then
If you understand through faith that God has created you 
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

Then you understand through faith that God has created absolutely everything but is not Himself created
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

If you believe that God knows you personally by the name that has been given to you in the covenant - even though you are one of seven billion humans living today on planet Earth
But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine."
Isaiah 43:1

Then you understand through faith that God calls every star in the Cosmos by name
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Psalm 147:4

If you trust in our Heavenly Father who according to His Son has counted every single hair on your head
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Matthew 10:30

Then you understand through faith that not a single particle or string moves in the Cosmos without God knowing it
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
Matthew 10:29

So your personal faith reflected in you daily prayers and actions in life in this world is one with the Cosmos. There is great oneness as expressed, for example, the fusion of two hydrogen atoms into a single helium atom in the core of the Sun. This has a number of consequences to us living upon planet Earth, doesn't it!

We have a habit of calling it "our Sun" but it is, in fact, as the Son of God says, His Sun setting for us quite an ethical and moral challenge:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Jesus of Nazareth
Matthew 5:43-48
Quoted Bible verses are from the New International Version NIV

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