Over the past several decades it’s become possible to compile the findings of physicists, geologists, biologists, paleoanthropologists, and historians into a grand mega-narrative that is being called “Big History“. Big History is truly big. It starts with the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, and describes the subsequent history of the entire visible, and invisible, universe. It then takes a more local focus and tells the story of the formation of our sun and its planets, and then narrates the evolution of life on earth, and finally the rise of human civilizations and the development of the methods and technology that make the study of “Big History” possible.
It’s an awe-inspiring story, but as with all good stories, we want it to mean something. We want it to have a moral, and we wonder if it has an Author who created it for some purpose (many people are sure it doesn’t, but many more are sure that is does).
I think of these disagreements about Big History as Big Theology. If you suspect that the use of that term indicates a theistic bias on my part, you would be right. I do believe it is important to take the arguments of theology seriously, but also that it is critical to question, very skeptically, what the word “theology” could even mean, and if it could mean anything at all.