"Once upon a time/space/energy/matter, at the beginning, in the primordial flaring forth, a celebration was unfurled...and so we dance and sing this day and every day the astounding diversity and our intimate communion with all of creation." Jane Blewett
Epic of Evolution - 21st century Bible
the new universal, great, cosmic story for everybody - the mythic narrative used to encapsulate the complete, verifiable chronicle of the process that is the Universe or the sacred unfolding of creation
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. It relates the growth of the cosmos, from the first moment of beginning to the present time. This narrative is based on the premise that the all of existence is best interpreted as a coherent, evolving, eternal process. It starts with the genesis of elements and forces, the galaxies, solar system and the Earth with its geologyIt continues with the condensation of Earth’s life sustaining features and the sprouting of life from inert protein molecules to form single celled creatures that survived to craft more complex animals. Some of those morphed into Homo sapiens - beings capable of rational thought, spirituality and the building of societies. Those societies, with their divisions of labor, catalyzed sophistication in all the fields of scholarship (physics, cosmology, geology, chemist, biology, psychology, sociobiology and theology). These enhanced wisdoms, in turn, now help edit the narrative. An evolving story plot now prods these dispersed disciplines towards a climax of a consilience of understanding and human enlightenment.
It is this relentless emergence of increased knowledge and complexity that necessitates higher orders of scientific interpretation and religious sophistication. It is an on going tale that in part answers the philosophical question of the meaning of life for some. - This makes this story contentious as it has acerbic connotations for fundamentalist religions that play out in the creation-evolution controversy. It also makes for a political dispute in the USA between those who espouse the teaching of a Bible-based creation myth and the advocates of the epic of evolution who insist only scientific facts be taught.
Some of these fact supporters now have developed their own theological rational for accepting an evolutionary chronicle as the words of God.
"Epic of evolution" is a term that, within recent years, has become the theme and title of a number of gatherings. It seems to have been first used by Harvard biologist Edward 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 meaningful story.” - Science & Spirit *(Wilson was not the first to use it but his usage due to his Pulitzer fame, did prompt its usage as the morphed phrase epic of evolution).
"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
Biologist Ursula Goodenough makes frequent use of the term and uses it to extrapolate from the concept of evolution to a guiding belief for mankind. She writes in Sacred Depths – "Emerging Religious Beliefs: 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". She continues – "Theologian Philip Hefner offers us a weaving metaphor. The tapestry maker first strings the warp, long strong fibers anchoring firmly to the loom, and then interweaves the welt, the pattern, the color, the art. The epic of evolution is our warp, destined to endure, commanding our universal gratitude, and reverence and commitment."