2.3.   What Remains for a Theology in the Universe?


Astrophysics and space exploration brought the following insights that cannot be overlooked by Christian theology that wants to be valid in our time:

*       The realization of the dynamic nature of all cosmic structures

*       The finding of planets in other solar systems and the resulting expectation of intelligent life at some other places in the universe

*       The realization of the complete vanishing of all structures of the universe within approximately assessable time



What is consequently expected is not a primarily anthropocentric theology, explaining our own lives, but also a theology commensurate with the observation of Creation – including the grandiose, vast, and evolving universe with its billions of galaxies and with natural evolution in the biological sphere – and commensurate with the knowledge of the finiteness of all structures of the universe.


What does remain, and what does not as generally valid, “cosmic” theology?


Regarding the creating God and existence:


-        Primarily remains a vision of a grandiose, totally abstract, “transcendental” essence as the source of Creation, beyond all understanding.  The seeing of this cosmic origin as “transcendental” corresponds to a “religious faith in God”.  In this view of Creation lies an acknowledgment of the everywhere valid order provided by the finely tuned laws, constants, and principles of nature, the remaining degrees of freedom in random events and in uncertainty, the evolutionary dynamics of the world and its future fading in total dissolution of all cosmic structures.

-        But a plan, “guiding hand”, or development toward an ultimate goal cannot be recognized in the evolution of Creation – only forward-going dynamic evolution – often by combinatorial development – in accordance with the respective initial and boundary conditions at any point and at any time.  Thus, it is not the end but the respective starting point that determines evolution.

-        Such development occurred too often in a direction that appears un-understandable and even cruel to us (see the periods of stagnation, the developments that failed, the natural catastrophes, diseases, parasites, predators, and the rise and fall of civilizations). [1] A “guiding hand” would have to be seen responsible not only for all that happened – positive or negative – but also for all that was not prevented, was left un-done, or was contradictory.


Regarding “soul”:


-        The concept of a functioning “soul” removed from the brain, biochemistry, and a source of energy is a contradiction to the findings of science regarding the functioning of nature within Creation.

-        The recognized dynamic character and limited duration of existence of our specific solar system and of the whole universe does not allow the expectation of a static storage of whatever “souls” for an unlimited length of time.



Regarding sin, judgment, and redemption:


-        The recognition of the general “sinfulness” of all highly developed beings in the universe, and especially the central emphasis on such sinfulness as found in the terrestrial Christian faith, cannot be supported in a universal faith. [2]

-        The belief in a last judgment by God – presupposing an eternal existence of “souls” in a next world – is neither tenable in a cosmic view of the character of the universe – nor in terms of modern and scientific concepts of personality, behavior, and suitable treatment of criminality. [3]

-        The concept of God as a “vengeful” judge – in lieu of His interference for the healing change of character of the inadequate individual (see a preceding footnote and the prior discussion regarding the human personality) – is un-probable.

-        A theological construction of the image of God as being encased between strict commitment to the laws on one side (but acceptance of a substitute for punishment) and mercy (in return for faith) on the other side – such that forgiveness of guilt would not have been possible without the sacrificial death of Christ, but is now assured in the faith in Christ – is not defendable.

-        The assumption that all highly developed beings in the universe that are not Christians should remain excluded from God’s mercy – even if they were morally “good” to whatever degree – is not defensible (and demands already on Earth renewed theological clarification in our pluralistically global society).

-        The acceptance of the possibility of substitution of punishment of a guilty individual by the punishment of another individual (Christ) is not defensible.  The acceptance of sacrifices of innocent individuals for the appeasement of an emotionally “enraged God” cannot be expected among highly developed cosmic civilizations.



Regarding Christ:


-        The concept of the “only son of God” is too anthropomorphic in view of the elevated, abstract, and transcendental concept of the founding spirit of Creation, of “X”, of “God” that results from the observation of the origin, evolution, expected fading, and ultimate dissolution of the vast universe through all the billions of years.

-        The painful death of the “son of God” once in all civilizations of the universe, always again and again as those are formed in astronomic space and time, cannot be expected.

-        The special position of Earth as the only place with “sinful” living beings and also the only place in the universe that had to be and was redeemed by Christ, is equally unlikely.

-        What remains is a vision of Christ as one who recognized and revealed human moral potential and the moral direction for all individuals and the human society to follow in the course of evolution.  With his teaching and with his perseverance to his death, Christ brought us a mental liberation from giving in to our weaknesses, misguided laws, and inappropriate structures of society – and encouragement that can permit us to pursue a different path toward higher values.


Regarding the still active, personal God:


-        A God that continues acting and interfering in the evolution of Creation cannot be confirmed or perceived by the sciences – neither in the inanimate physical universe, nor in biological evolution (“Intelligent Design Theory”) with its ubiquitous adversarial relationships and cruelty.

-        The belief in a still active God would have to make God also responsible for all the suffering, evil, and uselessness in the world.

-        The ample suffering, evil, and uselessness in the world would let the expectation of a God one can personally appeal to, but who all too often does not help in this world, be understandable only in connection with the belief in a compensating after-life, which, as shown above, must be excluded.

-        Consequently, mankind cannot maintain the reliance on helping, fate-averting forces from the outside.  Mankind is better advised in assuming the responsibility and taking the initiative to make this a better world to live in – also for your neighbor – in following Christ’s moral teaching.


Regarding mans Place in the world:


-        In the view of the originating force and of Creation also lies a view of the human beings at their place in this universe.  Consequently, all human being must accept their limitations.  But the human beings can also recognize their unique opportunities for personal development and growth, for responsible contributing action and service, and for joyfully celebrating the beauty of Creation. 

-        If the emotional dimension was made possible to us humans (and, possibly, also to some other beings and civilizations in cosmic space) for love, joy, and perception of beauty, then this can lead to further understanding of Creation (and, thereby, the creating original force, “God”), and support further development of our lives.  There may even be somewhere in cosmic space other dimensions beyond those.



What Remains?


What remains for us humans is an orientation toward the transcendental power at the foundation of our Creation and the admiration of its grandiosity, in order to accept our own station and our own fate.  In this “faith in God”, the human mind can find peace and strength to act.


Resulting from an understanding of how the evolving universe was created to function, the humans are left with the task for personal development and for the development of civilization, hopefully toward a better concept of our own existence and our human society, but at least for mitigation of the multitude of diverse suffering in this world.


What remains for us humans is the personal responsibility for what happens on Earth within the limits of the possible.  What must remain is the responsibility for personal initiative and effort of the higher beings in the universe not only for the improvement of their own conditions of life, but especially also for help to others, society, and the environment.


In spite of all the suffering, there still remains the possibility for joy – in spite of all the evil still remains the possibility of warm resonance with other beings – in giving and receiving.


The human beings and other higher cosmic beings are the only phenomena of existence that participate in the universe through their own observation and personally responsible action.  Therein lies their special significance and a fulfilling meaning for their lives.


There is only limited time allocated to us and our civilizations.  We better do what we can do, now!


Christ showed us the moral path to fulfillment of our lives for the “pleasure of God”, the Creator.



[1]  In other words, one cannot confirm the faith in a plan or goal of Creation, especially not in direction toward mankind and its values, since the emptiness and inhospitable wildness of Creation, as well as the great time intervals between steps of evolution and repeated exterminations let humans and other intelligent beings in the universe, appear as rather accidental, fragile, transient phenomena at respectively few, temporarily suitable spots in the universe. 

     Thereby, the greatest miracle of Creation can be seen in the principle of combinatorial development of existence, with the appearance of ever new phenomena with their own new dimensions of significance – from the physical construction of materials and celestial structures to life, mental awareness, and the personally responsible spirit and values of humans and possibly other still higher beings in the universe. 

     On the other hand, the long periods of stagnation, the ample uselessness and great suffering, and the ample destruction of valuable phenomena, individuals or civilizations leading up to the ultimate vanishing of the whole universe can be seen as the greatest enigma. 

[2]  In a cosmic view, one cannot support the view that God has afflicted all highly developed beings in evolutionary development with “original sin” and has let them originate worthy of condemnation, such that they can be redeemed only thanks to the substitute sacrifice of God’s “only” son that will take place on every civilized celestial body in the universe once (because, without this sacrifice there would be no redemption in accordance with our theology).  Such cruel sacrifice would have to take place many millions of time, distributed over the age of the universe, as cosmic civilizations appear. 

     But the assumption of a special position of Earth as the only sinful or the only redeemed place in the universe is not supportable either.

[3]  Criminal behavior is usually based on naturally given characteristics or environmental influences that one treats with re-education, change of cultural environment, therapy, or isolation of the permanently irresponsible ones.  In a few cases, punishment may be intended to accomplish deterrence from repetition or imitation by others.  This works only if deterrence is imminent, pervasive, and visible.  Therefore, harsh judgment by God and execution of punishment in a “next world” thousands of years later cannot be understood – and has had little effect on criminals in this world. 

     What remains is the hope of unfortunate humans of this world in their often burdensome life for a better world to come.