Building on the work of Teilhard de Chardin, the New Cosmology integrates scientific facts and theories, including discoveries about the expanding universe and evolution, and proposes that creation is developing into greater complexity. But how are we to understand concepts like “original sin” and “redemption” if creation isn’t complete and humanity is still in process? How does one “retrofit” religious tradition and Scripture into this scenario? Is there room for the historical Jesus in the New Cosmology? While a ready concern for all Christians, this question has unique implications for women religious whose lives are centered on the person and mission of Jesus Christ. How is a Catholic sister to understand her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in light of a cosmology in which the need for redemption and the role of Jesus are significantly redefined?
The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God probes these questions and offers possible answers. Beginning with the experiences of women religious and their encounter with the New Cosmology or Universe Story, this book seeks to mediate among the various perspectives and proposes how informed and reflective engagement with science, tradition, and theology can bridge the generational divides and foster a spirituality that is both emergent and incarnational.
Access to online discussion and reflection questions is included.
Laurie Brink, OP, PhD, is a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa and professor of New Testament studies at Catholic Theological Union, in Chicago. She serves as an associate editor for The Bible Today and has authored numerous articles and books on Scripture, religious life, and spirituality. As a Dominican, she is keenly interested in promoting biblical literacy and has given presentations and workshops throughout the United States and in Australia, Bolivia, Jamaica, New Zealand, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Trinidad & Tobago.
"Religious life has been in flux since the close of the Second Vatican Council. What was once a static and fixed life has become an open system of emerging communities and ministries. Laurie Brink’s new book brings the heart of religious life into deep dialogue with the sciences in a scholarly and thoughtful way. By weaving together new life in God with new life in the universe, we can begin to appreciate the value of the Gospels with new depth and breadth. This is an important book, as religious communities diminish in size, yet expand with new possibilities of communal and intercommunal life. Framing religious life with a scientific worldview will not detract from the life but expand it in creative and novel ways. The Spirit who calls us into new life in God is breathing through a dynamic and vibrant universe; indeed, God is doing new things throughout the entire cosmos."
Ilia Delio, OSF, Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology, Villanova University
"In this challenging and hopeful volume Dominican theologian Laurie Brink, who has been involved in the formation of newer religious for some years, brings into conversation three topics that are in potentially creative tension among religious today: the diversities and potential complementarity among different cohorts/generations of religious; the diverse influence of the 'new cosmology' on these different cohorts; and her own hopeful vision of their mutual contribution to the emergence of the religious life of the future. Dr. Brink's impressive competence in the first two areas makes her constructive, but perhaps controversial suggestions about the future of the life in the third section, worthy of serious consideration."
Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, STD, Professor Emerita of New Testament and Spirituality, Santa Clara University
"In this readable and intellectually exciting synthesis of science and Christian faith, Laurie Brink shows how communities of religious women may fruitfully integrate the new scientific cosmic story into their spiritual lives. I hope, however, that many other Christian readers also may take this scientifically and theologically informed and inspiring work with them on their own religious journeys."
John Haught, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University
"Professor Brink’s book serves as a wonderful primer on the New Cosmology. She brings her considerable biblical exegetical tools to this project as she demonstrates that the New Cosmology does not leave the Bible behind. As every generation must, she rethinks formation, vows, and mission in terms of emerging science (cosmology, Quantum Mechanics, and evolution) as well as traditional theology. She adroitly examines the contribution of contemporary theologians such as Elizabeth Johnson, Ilia Delio, and Denis Edwards to the New Cosmology."
Garrett Galvin, OFM, President of the Franciscan School of Theology
"Laurie Brink's well researched and thoughtful book is a much-needed contribution to the conversation regarding the present and future of religious life in the twenty-first century. As a middleton who is also a newer vocation, now serving in elected leadership, I discovered pathways to deeper understanding of the experiences and ecclesiologies of my sisters of all generations. Brink deftly weaves scripture, theology and science to explore an intercultural, unitive, evolutionary, and integrative vision of wholeness for formation, vows, and mission in apostolic religious life."
Susan Francois, CSJP, Assistant Congregation Leader, Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace