A big bang presence

A friend of mine forwarded me a commentary by Bishop John Shelby Spong (a retired bishop from the Episcopal Church) on Stephen Hawkings’ new book, The Grand Design. Note to readers: I can’t copy the entire commentary here, but it is available at Bishop Spong’s Web site at http://www.johnshelbyspong.com/publicsite/index.aspx for a fee. To receive his commentaries weekly will cost you about $40.00 a year.

Bishop Spong writes that “Hawking’s conclusion is that one does not need the God hypothesis to explain the origin of the universe.” That, of course, sent the Vatican and fundamentalists into a tizzy. I find any arguments about who created what and when or was it all just a freak accident highly amusing. Really. What if someone was just sort of mixing stuff up in a test tube just to see what would happen? What if we are fragmented organisms that resulted from that older-than-dirt (literally) big bang party we threw a bazillion years ago? I struggle with the big bang theory only because if that condensed ball of energy was all that existed, what did it exist in?

Stephen Hawking, even with his exceptional brilliance and insight, is still a limited human being just like the rest of us who is examining the evidence left behind by that little pop in the universe a long time ago. He still has only limited conjecture because he wasn’t there when it happened. Breaking news: NO ONE WAS THERE WHEN IT HAPPENED. At least, no one was there as we are now. We were probably all locked up inside that tiny flaming atomic particle screaming for more space and Gatorade, and our frenzy was so great that eventually we became critical mass and exploded into a gazillion particles and in between us was the space we craved.

And now we’ve spent the last 15,000 or so years trying to explain it. Uh-oh. We made a mess. What did we do? Wait. It’s not our fault. Let’s blame someone else. I know, let’s blame it on something that was totally out of our control . . . like . . . like . . . a supernatural being who is all powerful . . . so powerful that none of us could control, um, him. Yeah. That’s good. Make him a man. Men are always stirring up trouble anyway.

Bishop Spong argues that Hawking’s book that “the idea of God as a supernatural being who started the universe, and who from time to time has intervened in miraculous ways in the affairs of the universe in general or of this world in particular, is no longer viable.” What Spong is arguing against is not that God does not exist, but rather the definition of literal theism: belief in a deity (an immortal being) who is in charge of everything. Hold on to your wobbly beliefs because here comes my punch line:

Read the title of this blog: Eternal Presence. We are all immortal. We have been and always will be a presence in the universe. We are in charge of everything we do.

Sounds a little bit like we are God, doesn’t it?

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass


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11 Responses to “A big bang presence”

  1. jeffstroud Says:


    Great post! Mr Hawkings, and Rev Spong are in the tug a war game of who’s right and who’s wrong… no one wins or maybe they both do, there are not wrongs or rights, there are just ideas, visions, observations, etc.

    The fact that we average people can have these books and blogs at our beck and call, that we can research, create informed thoughts and opinions is a Blessing beyond belief…

    The God in my Honors the God in you!

    I am Love, Jeff

  2. Barbara Kass Says:

    Hi, Jeff! I am currently reading Ann Drake’s book “Healing of the Soul” which is about her integration of shamanism with psychotherapy. She talks about how this electical network of communication we have set up is so fundamental to bringing us together as one, while at the same time practicing what psychologists call “constructionism” where we honor the unique perspective of people without judging it or calling it abnormal. Hawking and Spong are having different perspectives on the same experience.

  3. jeffstroud Says:


    Thank you for reference to the Healing of the Soul by Ann Drake! I will see if I can get it from the library… I have believed in the integration of shamanism with psychotherapy for some time now, I just had not found many who did as well!

    I am Love, Jeff

  4. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    There is a Divine presence in all…..Sometimes I wonder if it is all a big story conjured up 15000 years ago….Did I say that????


    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Someone said it, Kim . . . sounded like you . . . looked like you . . . hmmm. Yes, someone made up the stories, but remember they have been translated ooodles of times since then so who knows what the original story was? The only thing I know for sure is that we are all in this together.

  5. sandiwhite Says:

    Barbara, you never fail to knock my thoughts clean out of the Ball Park when you wind up and let go of something like this. As you say, not many of us remember being there, of course, it’s all hearsay until somebody comes up with concrete proof. I suppose it is with the kindest of mercies that we have been wired not to remember every blessed thing that has happened in this interval, I have enough trouble keeping up with my calendar from month to month. But I have enjoyed the topic, Mr. Hawkings just has so much more time and energy to spend on the subject, it should keep him busy for a good while to come.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Sandi — I will probably get the book and read it. I am sure it is based on the idea that the atomic particle (cousin to a dangling participle?) just sort of went belly-up on its own accord. We don’t know (no one knows) whether or not the big bang and creation of the universe wasn’t orchestrated by a larger power. Someone was probably poking at it, saying “I wonder what this button does?” and the next thing you know . . .

    • sandiwhite Says:

      Makes all the sense in the World to me…

  6. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:


  7. holessence Says:

    Barbara – I’m a day late, but this was SO-WELL-WORTH the wait! And I nearly snorted hot tea out my nose with laughter from your comment, “Make him a man. Men are always stirring up trouble anyway.”

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