Re: The Universe Story

George Murphy (
Thu, 07 May 1998 19:47:54 -0400

John W. Burgeson wrote:
> There is a bookm THE UNIVERSE STORY, written by
> David Swime & Thomas Berry,
> published by harper about 1992.
> Does anyone know of a review on this book?
> I have a friend who is fascinated by it (lives
> in another country) -- he is a minister & not
> a scientist and has asked me to comment on
> it. So far I have not located a copy.

I haven't read this, though I have read some other material by
Swimme & by Berry. Swimme has a Ph.D. in physics but has never
published any research beyond that. (I did a literature search a
couple of years ago because I was going to be at a conference where I
knew these two would be cited as authorities.) He is Matthew Fox's
favorite physicist if that tells you anything, & is also described by
Thomas Berry (in the latter's _The Dream of the Earth_, p.67) as "one of
the foremost scientists of our time" along with F. Dyson, B. Lovell, &
I. Prigogine - which may not be Swimme's fault but certainly raises
questions about Berry's knowledge of the scientific community.
Berry is (I think) a Jesuit & a "deep ecologist". In the book
I noted above above he speaks of the "natural world as primary
revelation of the divine, as primary scripture, as the primary mode of
numinous presence" (p.105). He has also said something to the effect
that Christians ought to put the Bible on the shelf for 20 years & learn
from nature.
This shows what happens when natural theology gets out of hand -
or better yet, why the urge for natural theology should be reolutely
stifled. Maybe _The Universe Story_ is different, but I doubt it.

George L. Murphy