Scientifically, cosmology is the branch of astronomy that studies the general structure and evolution of the universe, but essentially, cosmology is a philosophical exploration of the origin, structure, elements, laws, and characteristics of the universe. From scientists like Carl Sagan to occultists such as Rudolf Steiner, individuals have used the natural sciences as well as metaphysics and spirituality to gain a better understanding of the origin and nature of the universe. The idea is that understanding the nature of the cosmos and the origin thereof, humanity can better understand its place in the cosmos and make evolutionary advancements in technology and personal/spiritual development by leaps and bounds. While there is truth to this theory from a scientific and materialistic perspective, there is truth to this theory from a spiritual and theological perspective as well.
Currently, the mainstream aspect of the Philosophy of Cosmology focuses on the branch of physics that merely examines the structure and evolution of the universe. Per
the Standard Model
of cosmology, the Big Bang holds true as the point of creation and from there came the expanding, cooling, and developing structures such as stars and galaxies. The philosophy of cosmology rose from the
that perplex cosmologists in their scientific studies such as:
In what sense, if any, is the universe fine-tuned?
How is the arrow of time related to the special state of the universe?
What part should unobservable realms play in cosmological models?
What is the role of infinity in cosmology?
Are space and time emergent or fundamental?
How do physical laws and causality apply to the universe as a whole?
Anthropic reasoning is used in attempts to answer the questions. The theory that an
(coined and proposed by Brandon Carter in Poland in 1973) supposes that humanity’s state as carbon-based creatures implies the nature of the universe has a correlative (observed-observer) relationship to humanity. There are multiple Anthropic Principle theories that explore this notion further and reinforce the concept of an “intelligent observer” having influence over the cosmos
The essential nature of the philosophy of cosmology requires the philosopher and cosmologist to dig deeper into the spiritual, metaphysical, and even religion considerations of the creation of the universe and the nature of the cosmos. From the Genesis story of creation in the Holy Bible to Krishna revealing the true nature of “himself”, reality, and the levels of consciousness in the universe in the Bhagavad Gita, spiritual and religious traditions from time immemorial have illustrated a cosmology that is in conformity with the anthropic principle – a sentient being or consciousness exerting influence over the universe and observing evolutionary progress.
What is interesting about linking spiritual and religious philosophies to scientific anthropic reasoning is the consistent theme of an observer-observed relationship. In Eastern spiritual and mystical circles, where the path to self-mastery is emphasized, students are taught to be “observers” to their own thoughts and events of everyday life. The Buddhist path emphasizes the spiritual and psychological act of detachment from material living to consciously transcend the perception of suffering and becoming merely an observer to one’s existence. In Western esoteric spirituality and occult sciences, the adage “As above, so below” is a common reminder that what takes place in the universe is reflected in humanity and life on earth. For example, just as a sentient being or consciousness creates, orchestrates, and observes the cosmos, so too does humanity create, orchestrate, and observe life on earth. This same “As above, so below” concept is reflected in the Bible, where God is the creator and observer of the universe, and man is a co-creator of sorts, chosen to be a steward and observer of all life on earth.
It seems that the nature of the cosmos cannot be fully understood without thorough understanding of the theological and spiritual teachings of human cultures. Although scientific cosmology seeks to comprehend the origin and nature of the universe through pure materialistic, scientific study and mathematical calculations fueled by left brain functions, the right-brain, philosophical and conceptual understanding of the nature of the universe is vital to compiling a complete view of the cosmos.