When God became Pregnant
By Guy Dauncey
First Published in Common Ground Magazine, March 2004
In the world that I live in, spiritual reality is just as solid and real as physical reality.
This means that I take it as fact that there are angels; that healing energy works; that prayer works; that the spirit leaves the body after death; and that there are realms of existence and reality that far surpass our earthly understanding.
I also love nature, and the slow careful process of observation and experimentation with which scientists unravel the secrets of nature, and the whole incredible universe we live in. It may be full of pain, but it is also full of beauty and grandeur.
I experience no contradiction between these two different ways of seeing and believing. They coexist quite happily in my mind. I frame the physical world in the language and understanding of science, and I frame the spiritual world in the language of poetry. Step by step, however long it takes, I know that the one will catch up with the other. It was only yesterday that most humans thought the Earth was flat, the heavens were fixed, and “Here be monsters”. Today, we can measure the cosmic radiation that was released in the original Big Bang, when (poetically speaking) God become pregnant, 13 billion years ago.
This means that one day, in my book, science will be able to describe the structure of angels, and the geography of heaven. One day, we will understand the ecology of spirit, and the relationship between the living and the dead. Physicists from UBC will sit down with shamans from the University of the Amazon, to discuss the behaviour of psycho-quarks.
There is nothing new in this way of thinking; nor has my brain become addled or spiced with drugs. Here’s Plutarch, writing in the year 75 AD: "The soul of man... is a portion or a copy of the soul of the Universe and is joined together on principles and in proportions corresponding to those which govern the Universe." And Hippocrates, writing 500 years earlier: "There is one common flow, one common breathing; all things are in sympathy."
We must keep things in proportion. The universe is 13 billion years old; our Earth is 4 billion years old; we humans are a mere 100,000 years old, in our current genetic form. The ancient Greeks started thinking scientifically 2,500 years ago, and it was only 500 years ago that Bruno and Copernicus picked up the tools of science again, after years of superstition and confusion.
Now cast your mind 10,000 years ahead. If we can get through this current period of chaos and disorder, where we are threatened by the dire combination of technological prowess, ecological ignorance and personal, corporate and national hubris, we will emerge into a mature global civilization. Once we arrive there, I see no reason why we should not be here in 10,000 years, or a million years. Our moments today will be like a tiny sparkle of ancient history, when people lived in an age stretched between the brilliance of the future and the wretchedness of the past. We are still such cosmic innocents. The entire sum of our knowledge is still only a colourful variation of ignorance, masquerading as ingenuity because we like to believe it so.
Science will continue to advance, penetrating ever deeper into the mysteries of life. There will come a day, in maybe five years, maybe fifty, when a scientist will reach into the place where spirit and matter co-exist and pull out a theory which can survive the rigors of a refutable experiment. It will be as shocking to our orthodoxies as Galileo’s theories were 400 years ago, and Einstein’s were 100 years ago.
I really hope this breakthrough comes sooner, rather than later. Right now, science tells us that everything is material; that there are no realms of spirit; that evolution is a purely random process of genetic mutation; and that there are no things such as mystery, purpose, beauty or progress, except as cultural artifacts, invented to shield us from the pain of living in a meaningless universe.
When that unnamed scientist reaches into the realm of spirit, he or she may discover that evolution, far from being a meaningless cosmic meandering, may be a psycho-genetic co-evolution of matter and spirit. Spirit, seeking something always greater and more unified, and matter, providing it with the means to do so. And he or she may discover that when God became pregnant, 13 billion years ago, it was not just with matter, but with hope.
“We are stardust,
making our way
back to the Garden”
- Joni Mitchell
Guy Dauncey is the author of Earthfuture: Stories from a Sustainable World (New Society Publishers, 1999) and other titles. He lives in Victoria. www.earthfuture.com