Academic journal article Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought

"In Christ All Things Hold Together": A Christian Perspective (Via Levinas and Shimony) on Quantum Entanglement

Academic journal article Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought

"In Christ All Things Hold Together": A Christian Perspective (Via Levinas and Shimony) on Quantum Entanglement

Article excerpt

Christians regard the universe as having divine import. In the gospel of John we read: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).' The word world, having more than one meaning, might be taken to denote human society, particularly since the passage seems to zero in on human believers. Who else, we might ask, could exercise faith unto everlasting life?

It is surprising, then, to learn that, in the biblical Greek, the word for world in this passage is kosmos, which, like its English derivative, generally denotes the harmonious, orderly arrangement of the universe. If the verse is read with this meaning in mind, the scope of God's loving mercy broadens to include all creation, not just humankind: God's salvific aim may be vastly larger than we often imagine it to be. This is not to diminish humankind's role in God's plan, but to enlarge it. Humans alone bear the Imago Dei commission, and that commission expands as it is resized to cosmic parameters.2

There are two interlaced threads here that need to be drawn apart and then allowed to re-entwine. The first, just introduced, addresses God's concern for the universe. Paul highlights the cosmic significance of Christ's saving work by insisting that Christ is the "image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth. . . . He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. . . . For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross" (Colossians 1:15-20).

The work of redemption, that is, is no less comprehensive than the work of creation. These two works are, in fact, different facets of the same foundational truth-God's all-embracing love.

Similar passages are scattered throughout the entire Bible, although in the Old Testament the emphasis tends to fall on nature's propensity to rejoice in the goodness and glory of creation. This is the second thread: the cosmos is alive, in some way, to the drama of creation and salvation being played out on its stage. Humans are not the sole beneficiaries of God's mercy, nor are they alone in being able to experience that mercy and to express thanksgiving. The Psalmist exhorts us to praise the Lord, but then adds that our praise will be blended with that of the angels and, further, with the adulation of many things that we would probably regard as unmindful of God and even lifeless:

Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars.

Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the heavens. . . .

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,

lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains, and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,

wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds. (Psalms 148:3-10)

Commenting on this passage, Jeanne Kay states: "In the Psalms, hills are girdled with joy, valleys shout for joy (65:13-14), floods clap their hands, the whole earth worships God and sings praises to His name (66:1-4; 89:6)."3

While alien to modern thought, this orientation comports with the biblical sensibility that "the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed . . . in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Romans 8:19-21). The universe is not just teleological, but also, in some way, feelingly mindful of its creator's divine purpose. This, at least, is what sacred writ suggests.

So, to take stock of the foregoing: God wishes to redeem the entire created order, not just humankind, and, what is more, that order has the capacity to rejoice in its creation and long for salvation. …

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