"The LORD planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and he placed there man whom he formed." (Gn 2:9) Where is this garden? You are looking at it! The earth is a garden in space. It may not be the ideal garden any more but you and I live our short lives on this ball in space and die here reaching toward our destiny.

Science traces the beginning of the earth to that initial burst of intense energy about 13.8 billions years ago when God said: "Let there be light" (Gn 1:3) Over a period of vast cosmic time stars were born and died scattering the atomic structures that developed in them into the vastness of space. About 4.5 billions years ago some of this cosmic matter became part of a gravitational vortex which under the pressure of gravity fired up as the sun. The earth being smaller began to cool down to become the home of countless forms of life. Living entities emerged from the earth and slowly propagated over the face of the earth.

The problem which is vexing science, philosophy and theology is to explain the possibility of living entities emerging from the earth, that is, from non-living matter. It has been a long standing philosophical truth that life cannot come from the non-living matter. Evolutionists have observed that as matter becomes more complex, it also becomes more conscious (complexity-consciousness). So, does complexity give rise to consciousness or is consciousness the cause of complexity?

Science and philosophy have now arrived at the concept of "emergence" meaning that primitive life forms did emerge from matter but that the reality is greater than its material components, atoms, molecules, etc. What does this mean? "Stuart Kauffman [has] argued that living systems are ontologically based. Life cannot be explained in terms of physics because it obeys a new set of organizational principles. The biological anthropologist Terrence Deacon agrees that something genuinely new occurs with living systems: for the first time, natural systems base their future behavior on their recorded memory of the past. ... Deacon interprets DNA as a 'semiotic representation' of its environment. Organisms have actual purposes--surviving and reproducing the maximum number of viable offspring, for example -- and they engage in purposive action to attain this goal." (Web article/Emergence:Is it hypothesis, hype or history in the making?)

This monarch butterfly is an example of "emergence". It was once a lowly caterpillar feeding on milkweed. Then it underwent a tranformation into this beautiful butterly.

In theology, Karl Rahner speaks of "active self-transcendence" which means that evolutionary changes come from within the creature acting in union with the creative power of God. Creation cannot be regarded as an occasional intervention of God from without. God is present, immanent in all his creation enabling it to become more than it is even to the point when substantial changes take place. In other words, matter can become alive by participating in the power and design of God for his creation. (Encyclopedia of Theology, "The Concise Sacrament Mundi, The Seabury Press, NY, 1975, p. 479.)

Man the Microcosm