If modern cosmology does not provide new theological insight into questions of origins or bigness, one can discover anew the lessons of old.
New cosmological discoveries remind us of the wonder we ought to have before creation. Unlike our ancestors, who saw the stars above them every night, many city-dwellers, surrounded by artificial lights 24 hours a day, have been cut off from the heavens. Half the world’s population is now urbanized, and the fraction is growing. Ironically, despite our great scientific knowledge, we may be regressing in our aesthetic experience of the night sky, for we rarely see it. A connection with the heavens was important to the psalmist and to other biblical authors. We could also look to St. Ignatius Loyola, who during one period derived his greatest spiritual consolation from contemplating the stars.
We can today reclaim an aesthetic appreciation for the cosmos, but we have to be more intentional than our forebears, who needed only to wander outside after dark. The beautiful images and fascinating discoveries that come from modern observatories are an excellent aid. As Christians, we ought to welcome astronomical research.
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© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.
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