Complexity theory pioneer Stuart Kauffman, author of the fantastic At Home In The Universe, has a new book out called Reinventing The Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion. According to Kauffman, who is also a theoretical biologist, the universe is so beautifully complex, incredible, and full of wonder, that we might consider thinking of it as “God.” He summarizes his argument in the current New Scientist. From Kauffman’s essay:
…The unfolding of the universe – biotic, and perhaps abiotic too – appears to be partially beyond natural law. In its place is a ceaseless creativity, with no supernatural creator. If, as a result of this creativity, we cannot know what will happen, then reason, the Enlightenment’s highest human virtue, is an insufficient guide to living our lives. We must use reason, emotion, intuition, all that our evolution has brought us. But that means understanding our full humanity: we need Einstein and Shakespeare in the same room.
Shall we use the “God” word? We do not have to, yet it is still our most powerful invented symbol. Our sense of God has evolved from Yahweh in the desert some 4500 years ago, a jealous, law-giving warrior God, to the God of love that Jesus taught. How many versions have people worshipped in the past 100,000 years?
Yet what is more awesome: to believe that God created everything in six days, or to believe that the biosphere came into being on its own, with no creator, and partially lawlessly? I find the latter proposition so stunning, so worthy of awe and respect, that I am happy to accept this natural creativity in the universe as a reinvention of “God”.