Sr Ilia is a scientist and a theologian committed to reinterpreting the Christian story in the light of the new science. Expertly and clearly she took us through the history of science showing us how most of us operate in a mechanistic world that no longer exists. Past understandings of God as the Great Designer creating an ordered world in which everyone and everything has its place doesn't fit our present understanding of evolution and quantum physics. Now we need a language which takes seriously God as a dynamic force at the heart of life, calling all the natural world, including human beings, into a future of infinite possibilities. It's rather mind blowing to think that our DNA goes right back to the origins of life, that the hydrogen in our bodies is that released at the moment of the Big Bang, that we contain within us the whole of evolution. To be human is rather wonderful but the new science puts us firmly in our place. We may be the highpoint of creation but we are intimately connected with the universe and are able to influence it for good or for ill. Language about God as Creator, Father. Lord or whatever seems so inadequate and it's easy to understand why some scientists, taking this language literally, reject any notion of God.
All of this demands new language and new ways of thinking about God, new ways of interpreting traditional theology. But I'm also struck by the intuitions of religion which are supported by the new science. Take the Trinity for example. The Christian world celebrates Trinity Sunday today. The idea of three persons in one God is perhaps the most misunderstood doctrine of Christianity and separates it from its sibling religions of Islam and Judaism. It's hard not to think of it as three Gods which it's not. What the Trinity says to me is that interrelationship, communion, love is at the heart of God. And this is imaged in the interrelatedness of all creation, of the dance of life in which we all participate. This insight of interbeing is also found in Hinduism with its image of Siva Nataraja and in Buddhism which teaches the connectedness of all things. Similarly with eternal life. No matter what descriptions are used for life after death, whether it be Paradise, heaven or nirvana the intuition that life goes on is confirmed by our knowledge that mass and energy never die but are transformed in ways we can't imagine. And prayer too. It makes sense at a human level in a world where a butterfly's wing can affect the atmosphere at the other end of the world. if this is true at a physical level it must also be true at a psychological and spiritual level. From the reality of morphogenetic fields we know what we do affects the world around us, another insight of religion.
Yes all things are connected even religion and science, so often seen to be in conflict. Science has much to teach religion about the world in which it lives and religion has much to learn about how to express its deepest intuitions in a meaningful and life-giving way.