Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Monday, February 25, 2008

God is Too Small

I have been thinking about this possible debate with my colleague about science and creationism. I am certainly not interested in explaining the theory of evolution. I am interested in talking about the need for Christianity to expand its awareness.

A parishioner lent me an interesting book: The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan. This was edited by Ann Druyan. It is a publication of his 1985 Gifford Lectures.

I have been trying to say the same thing that Carl Sagan has been saying since I was in junior high. That is, Christian theology's God is too small. Here is an excerpt:

"Let me read a passage from Thomas Paine, from the Age of Reason. Paine was an Englishman who played a major role in both the American and French revolutions. "From whence," Paine asks--"From whence, then, could arise the solitary and strange conceit that the Almighty, who had millions of worlds equally dependent on his protection, should quit the care of all the rest, and come to die in our world because, they say, one man and one woman ate an apple? And, on the other hand, are we to suppose that every world in the boundless creation had an Eve, an apple, a serpent, and a redeemer?"

Paine is saying that we have a theology that is Earth-centered and involves a tiny piece of space, and when we step back, when we attain a broader cosmic perspective, some of it seems very small in scale.

And in fact a general problem with much of Western theology in my view is that the God portrayed is too small. It is a god of a tiny world and not a god of a galaxy, much less a universe. (p. 30)