The Epic of Evolution is the mythic-like narrative used to encapsulate the complete, verifiable, chronicle of the process that is the Universe. Or put another way - the sacred unfolding of creation. It is the tale of why we are, as we are.
History is the chronological record of significant events. The Epic is the history of the emergence of humanity. It is the story of the Universe becoming conscious here on our Earth. That is more than a very significant event. It’s the biggest story of all. If you are someone who believes God did it. that's OK, the Epic merely tells how he did it.
The quotes that follow should give you a feel for what it is all about. They are from esteemed educators and writers. Most of them are authorities in their professions.
"Epic of evolution" is a term that, within the past few years, has become the theme and title of a number of gatherings. It seems to have been first used by Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson in 1978.* "The evolutionary epic," Wilson wrote in his book On Human Nature, "is probably the best myth we will ever have." Myth as falsehood was not the usage intended by Wilson in this statement. Rather, myth as a grand narrative that provides a people with a placement in time—a meaningful placement that celebrates extraordinary moments of a shared heritage.
"The epic of evolution is science translated into a meaningful story". - Connie Barlow, The Epic of Evolution.
“The epic of evolution not only unifies the natural and social sciences; it bridges science and religion, fact and value, and it smoothly blends the scientifically objective with the culturally relative. The epic also addresses humanity’s most pressing questions. If as a species we are to understand and solve our common problems, if we are to guide our story’s unfolding, we need to understand, in the deep and human way that only story can convey, both our evolutionary past and our future options. We need the epic”. - Russell Merle Genet
*Note: Wilson was not the first to use it but due to his Pulitzer fame, it prompted its usage as the morphed phrase 'epic of evolution'.The first reference to the term is found in Chambers's Encyclopedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge, 1892, ("In Goethe’s epic of evolution") page 481. Goethe used this phrase, at least three decades before Darwin wrote Origins of Species !
"A single tale of such holy and mysterious content as to capture the soul – scientific in its data, mythic in its form". - Jane Blewer, National Catholic Reporter
"epic of evolution" as the sacred unfolding of creation...." - Sarah McFarland Taylor - Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology
"I shall argue in the pages ahead that Darwin has gifted us with an account of life whose depth, beauty and pathos - when seen in the contest of the larger cosmic Epic of Evolution — exposes us afresh to the raw reality of the sacred and to a resoundingly meaningful universe ... theologically interpreted, therefore, the Epic of Evolution is the story of the world's struggle – not always successful or linearly progressive — towards an expansive freedom in the pressure of self-giving grace ... We can root our moral life in the cosmic Epic of Evolution in a manner that goes much deeper than that suggested by sociobiologists" - John F. Haught, God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution
"One can only speak of creation as a process because of the evidence of what often is called the 'epic of evolution': the whole sequence, as unveiled by a gamut of the sciences, from the origins of the universe to the 'hot big bang' to the arrival of homo sapiens on planet earth" - Arthur Peacocke, in John Polkinghorne's, The Work of Love: Creation as Kenosis
"The Epic of Evolution is our warp, destined to endure, commanding our universal gratitude and reverence and commitment... The Epic of Evolution is such a story, beautifully suited to anchor our search for planetary consensus, telling us of our nature, our place, our context. Moreover, responses to this story—what we are calling religious naturalism —can yield deep and abiding spiritual experiences. And then, after that, we need other stories as well, human-centered stories, a mythos that embodies our ideals and our passions". - Ursula Goodenough, The Sacred Depths of Nature
"The Epic of Evolution is the 14 billion year narrative of cosmic, planetary, life, and cultural evolution—told in sacred ways. Not only does it bridge mainstream science and a diversity of religious traditions; if skillfully told, it makes the science story memorable and deeply meaningful, while enriching one's religious faith or secular outlook". - "The Epic of Evolution" in the 2004 Taylor's Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature
"The true evolutionary epic, retold as poetry, is as intrinsically ennobling as any religious epic". - Edward O. Wilson http://epicofevolution.com/resources.html
"The theologian could rewrite the Epic of Evolution by expanding on the story told by the scientist. The theologian could declare that this evolutionary story has had a plot all along. When God created the world in the beginning, according to this option, God placed a potential into creation which now through evolution is becoming actualized". - Evolution Vs. Creationism: An Introduction, page 235
"This epic of evolution covers far more than the story of the evolution of biological life. It is the evolving tale of the creativity, complexity, and emergence of new and novel phenomena that comprises all that is today". - Epic of Evolution Information [http://epicofevolution.info/theepic.html]
"We can root our morality in the epic of evolution in a manner that goes much deeper than that suggested by sociobiologists". - John F. Haught, God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution
"When the responses elicited by the Epic of Evolution are gathered together several religious principles emerge that I can believe, serve as a framework for a global Ethos". - Ursula Goodenough, The Sacred Depths of Nature
Unsourced "By the phrases "Epic of Evolution" or "Story of the Universe" or simply "New Story", I mean to indicate our contemporary account of how 15 billion years of Universe evolution, 5 billion years of Earth evolution and 3 million years of human evolution has led to our present condition of life within the Earth Community. This comprehensive narrative can be considered a single complex idea (…) We do not have a fixed Epic of evolution that we can announce with any final truth. We have rather a profound grasp of some central moments of the Epic". - Brian Swimme
"Epic of evolution like its synonymous terms, "cosmic evolution" and "the universe story," encompasses what Eric Chaisson has labeled "the broadest view of the biggest picture." This epic tells the sprawling story of the evolution of the cosmos, from the first moment of creation to the present state of the universe. It is the attempt to construct a unified and comprehensive narrative of systematic development throughout the history of the universe, including the origins and the diverse organization of matter, life, and consciousness. The epic of evolution is premised on the insight that the universe as a whole is best understood as a single unfolding event, beginning with the big bang". - Loyal Rue
"If the evolutionary epic can reverse humanity’s war against Nature, we should judge it as the greatest of myths". - John Davis
"find the epic of evolution, from the "Hot Big Bang" to Homo sapiens, an illumination of how the Creator God is and has been creating". - Arthur Peacocke, Biochemist and Priest
"the epic is a fantastic myth that happens to be true of the material Universe". - Ursula Goodenough
"The Epic is also very close to a set of scientific accounts that are based on careful research and which represent a consensus among many scientists [...] The Epic, after all, is a dynamic story, not a static once-and-for-all narrative myth". - Philip Hefner
"The goal of the Epic of Evolution is to inspire grateful service to the enduring promise of life on the planet". - Loyal Rue
"the problem with most of the Universal Story is that it is not metaphoric. It is literally true. It is history". - Bill Bruehl
"The scientific narrative is a fascinating understanding of how the universe, the earth, life, and humans work. The epic of evolution is the same facts but understood as Story – that is, as capable of providing a cultural and personal context in which we can live meaningfully (if we so choose)". - Larry Edwards
"We do have something of a story here, a true story, that we can work with religiously should we elect to do so". - Ursula Goodenough
"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved". - Charles Darwin
(Webmaster Note - The material here on the quotes is copied from the Wikipedia article I created)