Nancy Ellen Abrams, author and philosopher of science, recently faced a personal dilemma. A lifelong atheist, she began to embrace the idea of a higher power during her participation in a recovery community. Out of this intellectual ferment came the idea of an “emergent” God based on a leading philosophy of modern physics and consistent with what is known scientifically about the Universe.
On Saturday afternoon, September 17, Nancy spoke about her revelations in an Orcas Currents lecture “A God That Could Be Real” — the title of her recent book on this topic. This lecture was at Orcas Island Community Church, at 4 p.m.
Abrams is coauthor with her husband Joel R. Primack, a highly regarded cosmologist, of The View from the Center of the Universe and The New Universe and the Human Future. Together with him, she taught a popular course on “Cosmology and Culture” at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has written articles on these topics and appeared on national radio and TV programs.
In her book, which includes a Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Abrams writes, “God persists and always will because it’s a fundamental characteristic of the connection between ourselves and the Universe.” She argues that God emerges in the world through our collective aspirations — and that we have a moral responsibility to improve this world for ourselves and future inhabitants. She focuses on climate change and environmental degradation, which can be countered by our thoughts and actions.
Embedded in these ideas is a “planetary morality” that emerges from a deep understanding of the Universe based on recent advances in cosmology. Among these are the omnipresence of invisible forms of matter and energy that make up the great majority of everything there is.