Best-selling author Brian Grogan SJ has published a new book entitled Creation Walk: The Amazing Story of a Small Blue Planet » with Messenger Publications. Combining science and scripture, it reveals the divine orchestration of the creation story in a dramatic, fresh and appealing way and can be used for personal or group reflection. It may also be used as a guide to the Creation Walk experience at Knock, County Mayo, in the West of Ireland.
Part one of three offers a brief background to the new story of creation which has emerged over the past century with the discovery of the expanding universe.
Referring to finding God in creation, Fr Grogan states:
“We humans, though late arrivals on Planet Earth, are destroying it. We must undergo a painful conversion and learn to live in harmony and communion with all the species that preceded us and made our world so beautiful.
Through us the universe can celebrate itself in a unique mode of conscious self-awareness. Our story is numinous, sacred and revelatory. It is both our personal and our community story because it took nothing less than the collaboration of the universe to bring humans into being!”
Part two succinctly takes the reader through thirty stages of the development of the cosmos and of our earth from the big bang to the present day.
This includes the birth of the cosmos 13.8 billion years ago, the emergence of the sun and earth 4.6 billion years ago and plants and animals 460,000,000 years ago. Fr Grogan documents five mass extinctions of species that have already taken place, mostly connected to rapid climate change. Regarding the stark reality of our current situation, he states:
“Between five and ten million years are needed for nature to renew earth with new species. This means that 200,000 generations of humankind must pass before we recover the biodiversity we are currently destroying.”
On the emergence of Homo Sapiens 200,000 years ago, he writes:
“The universe is not ours to control and possess: like the early dwellers on earth we must emerge from the caves and forests of our tribal mentalities to share with others the vast world around us. The new cosmology provides common ground for us to live in harmony with one another and with all other species.”
Regarding the new creation in Christ 2,000 years ago, Fr Grogan notes:
“We discover that we were chosen out before the Creation Walk ever began, and invited to live through love in the divine presence. More than a set of beliefs, Christian faith is interpersonal and brings us into a network of divine relationships.”
He discusses Irish Christianity, the Anthropocene Era from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution around 1750 and the current crisis. He states:
“We have indeed vast creativity and know-how, but because we lack the vision of what humankind is meant to be, we don’t manage them well.”
In an account of our small blue planet from 50 years ago, Fr Grogan offers an astronaut’s description of seeing earth from space and how his relationship with it and all its forms of life has been changed from such a perspective. It speaks of a reverence that comes with a commitment to change how we live.
Part three applies the wisdom of these understandings with quotations from the Bible and Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment Laudato Si’. Fr Grogan asks, “What hope for a small blue planet?” He writes:
“We can think of hope as divine energy given to sustain us even in the most unpromising situations. Because hope is from God and focused on God it has an indestructible quality that carries us beyond failure, frustration and dead ends. We badly need such hope.”
He stresses that our hope ought to inspire us to do all we can in concrete actions.
Referring to divine power at work, he states:
“People of all faiths and none are joining hands in the common cause, and this meets God’s underlying desire, that we all may be one in universal harmony (Jn 17:11).”
Fr Grogan points to the cosmos already being divinised. He writes:
“Jesus’ Incarnation reaches down into the furthest depths of our material world and transfigures them. While we are indeed made of dust – though we now know it is stardust! – our deepest reality is that we are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27).”
He prays for ‘the restoration of all things’ (Acts 3:21).
Brian Grogan SJ is a former President of Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin, and is Emeritus Associate Professor of Spirituality. A best-selling author, he has also written God, You’re Breaking My Heart, Finding God in a Leaf and I am Infinitely Loved, all available from Messenger Publications.
Creation Walk: The Amazing Story of a Small Blue Planet » is published in Ireland and the UK by Messenger Publications. Priced at €9.95/£8.95.