WHAT IS METAPHYSICAL COSMOLOGY?
Metaphysical Cosmology is an area of philosophy that deals with our place in the universe and the nature of reality beyond its physicality, including understanding and explaining why everything came to be. Metaphysics seeks answers beyond measurable matter, energy, space, and time and explores the mysteries and meanings of all that exists. It can include speculation about what type of god might exist. In metaphysics, it often involves questions of how a god operates and how a god might have created the universe. ~ World Book
While what we think of as the first scientific cosmology was created by the Greeks more than 2000 years ago, metaphysical cosmology began before the dawn of history when early man looked at the night sky and began to ask, “What is it all about?”
The first `cosmologists'' were the ancient tribal story tellers who told creation myths in which one or more deities made the universe out of sheer will, or out of their own body parts, or of the carcass of some god they defeated. These “creators” could be legendary human like founders of the tribes or the spirits of animals that were a part of their lives. Interestingly, though most of the early peoples had no contact other far off peoples the story tellers of quite different cultures often produced similar creation myths. Over time myths about the creation and the structure of the universe were incorporated as essential parts of religious traditions.
The second [function of mythology] is a cosmological dimension deals with the image of the world that is the focus of science. This function shows the shape of the universe, but in such a way that the mystery still comes through. The cosmology should correspond to the actual experience, knowledge, and mentality of the culture. This interpretive function changes radically over time. It presents a map or picture of the order of the cosmos and our relationship to it.
~ Joseph Campbell “The Four Functions of Myth” ~
These creation myths are hardly scientific theories in the sense that they have almost no support from observation and in that they predict very few things outside of the fact that there is a world and if creationism, as its proponents claim does belongs under the cosmology banner, it should be in the metaphysical cosmology tent.
Undoubtedly, creationists will not to agree with assignment to the metaphysical cosmology tent. Their position is that the Bible is the world of God and its depiction of the creation of the Universe is above heathen creation stories. The Iroquois mythology of the Earth being created on the back of a turtle is, in the creationist view, nothing but pagan mythological non-sense, while their story of an invisible man in the sky creating the universe in 7 days 10,000 years ago is not mythology. Their position speaks for itself and as for creationism’s place in the cosmological debate; it has been already been allotted more time than its argument should be given by intelligent people.
Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them that the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.
~ George Carlin ~
Of course, this is not a one of a kind situation. From very early times people have claimed they had direct contact with the gods and were given exclusive and unquestionable revelations about the structure of the whole universe and how it was created and some of these prophets were believed by very large groups of people, even up to the modern scientific era. These prophets and their revelations about the creation and structure of the universe were incorporated as foundations of religious traditions throughout the world and these mythologies became drastically different, depending on the way the philosophical thinking developed and on the “revelations” of these great prophets. These “religious differences” and the zeal of their followers in proselytizing their faith have ended up causing more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of the creation they claim exclusive and unquestionable knowledge of.
~ Fritjof Capra ~
There are religions though that are not so biased either from the spiritual or scientific perspective and have in the quest for understanding of the ultimate reality, the existence of life and this universe, have found parallels in belief between the two communities. The view of the world (ultimate reality) given by modern physics and that given by the mystics adherents of Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist cosmologies are very similar, the differences between the two being more a matter of outlook rather than outcome. Scientists want to understand the ultimate reality and explain it through equations and models, while the mystics want to understand it through meditation and personal awareness and are not concerned with explaining it.
The philosophy of these mystics of metaphysical cosmology harkens back to the time of the shamans of the early primitive tribal societies. The role of the shaman in primitive society was to align themselves with the forces of Nature and of Spirit that man could neither understand, nor control from the perspective of his fragile reality in the material world. The shaman lived astride two worlds; the world of perceived reality and the world of intuitive reality. The shaman achieved this duality of existence by venturing into what is called the "shamanic state of consciousness" or the "shamanic ecstasy" and it is during these cosmic journeys that they will travel to other spiritual realms, encountering the people, animals and spirits that inhabit the mystical realms in which they might discover the true Nature of the Universe.
The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things that now lie hidden. A single life time, even though entirely devoted to research, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject. . . . And so this knowledge will be unfolded through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them. . . . Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced. Our universe is a sorry little affair unless it has in it something for every age to investigate . . . . Nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all.
Part 1: COSMOLOGY
Part 2: PHYSICAL COSMOLOGY