As one approach to discussing the interaction of science with religious beliefs and eventually with Ignatian spirituality, I will present the current scientific understanding of the universe and the evolution of life within it. The universe is 13.8 billion years old and it contains about 100 billion galaxies each of which contains on the average 200 billion stars of an immense variety. As these stars live and die they provide the chemicals necessary for the evolution of life. We came to be in this universe. We are born of stardust!
Our religious faith leads us to ask a further question. Did we come about by chance or by necessity? There is a third element here that is very important. It is what we might call the “fertility” of the universe. In this light I am going to present in broad strokes what I think is some of the best of our modern scientific understanding of the universe and of the evolution of life.
Did God do it? In my attempt to answer this question I will then reflect on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s spirituality of “finding God in all things.” Furthermore, as contemplatives in action and born of the stuff of the universe, we are co-creators with God in the future of the universe.