Einstein’s God: a universe fit for life

At the end of chapter 1 of Eintein’s God by Krista Tippett, Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, says the following on pp. 35-36,

“For me the crucial thing is that the universe is not only beautiful and harmonious and ingeniously put together, it is also fit for life. And physicists have traditionally ignored life … Through science and mathematics, we can, so to speak, glimpse the mind of God … And I think that this suggests, to me anyway, that life and mind are not just trivial extras. They’re not just an embellishment on the grand scheme of things; they’re a fundamental part of the nature of the universe … And the question is, what are we to make of that?”

I found Davies’ comments very interesting. When he looks at the universe, he sees beauty. But he also sees purpose. The universe exists to give rise to life and consciousness: life is a fundamental part of the nature of the universe. I don’t know where Davies stands on the atheist-believer spectrum, but I do think that his statement is as far as science and human reason can go in explaining why we’re here.

Myth and religion give meaning. I don’t need to believe that God created the Earth in a literal week of 6 24-hour periods of time to believe that God did the creating. But I’ve thrown off the fundamentalist yolk of literalism. I now view the story of Genesis 1 as just that, a symbolic narrative, a myth in the best sense of an allegory that is profoundly true and not necessarily literally true.

For me, there is no longer a conflict between science and faith. As Stephen Jay Gould is famous for writing, these are two areas of truth, but they are non-overlapping magisteria.

To listen to some uncut audio interviews with Paul Davies (and Freeman Dyson), you can visit the SOF page here >>

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