Philip Sherrard

Human Image:
World Image

The Death and Resurrection
of Sacred Cosmology

It is now only too evident that the revolutionary changes in mental outlook that took place in western Christendom some three or four centuries ago, and that produced the modern scientific movement, are the major cause of the ecological crisis in which the world finds itself today. Yet the terrifying consequences of the practical exploitation of modern science are usually attributed not to modern science as such — and still less to the mental picture of the universe which it presupposes — but simply to its misapplication and abuse. We are even told, with a naïvety that is as inconsequential as it is typical, that modern science must be good because what is true cannot be evil, and since modern science works, or produces results, it must be true.

This book attacks such misconceptions head-on, and at the deepest level. By setting the modern scientific picture of the universe and man's place in it against the background of pre-Christian and Christian cosmology and anthropology, the author shows unambiguously how our acceptance of this picture has literally enslaved us to a vast collective lie whose ramification in the major spheres of our thought and action cannot but vandalize and desecrate both ourselves and the world we live in. The thesis is presented with clarity, eschewing sensationalism and appealing to the disciplined intelligence and its capacity for coherent discourse. The last and perhaps most challenging chapter formulates a cosmological vision in the personalized terms of the sacred mythology of the Christian tradition.

'Sherrard's basic argument is that the ecological crisis is first of all a crisis not of the environment but of our own consciousness. It is a crisis rooted in the way we think. The way we see ourselves will determine the way we see the world and the image we have of the world will affect how we see ourselves. . . . What makes Sherrard's analysis uniquely powerful is the way he supports his thesis with a rigorous and uncompromising critique of the paradigm of modern science and its doctrinal corollary, the notion of evolution, coupled with a penetrating analysis of the two epistemologies that follow from the two world-views: knowledge through sense data supported by mathematics versus participatory knowledge in body, soul and spirit. . . . Every pastor, preacher or theologian responsible for shaping or teaching a Christian world-view should read this book. Beyond this, it deserves the widest possible distribution since its message is too universally important to be restricted to specialists.'

Vincent Rossi in Epiphany.

'For anyone who takes seriously his/her self and the world, and the salvation of both in Christ, this book is both compulsory and compelling reading. But be warned: it is the kind of book that exacts a radical response. Either you warm to it or else you don't. If you are lukewarm, it is not readily digestible. This in itself may be a sign of the truth that it speaks.'

John Chryssavgis in Sorbornost.

This book is a reprint of the 1992 Golgonooza Press edition.

  • 188 pages, 23.3 x 14.3 cm, sewn pages, 2004

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