Adam Pryor


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Christianity | Philosophy of Science | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Astrobiology is changing how we understand meaningful human existence. As astrobiologically aware human beings, we must confront our deepened anxiety arising in the face of our own contingency—realizing how deeply tethered we are to the moments this pale blue dot exists in the universe. At the same time, our astrobiological awareness is opening a horizon to the exciting possibility of understanding our humanity in relation not only to a planet burgeoning with life, but a cosmos pregnant with living-possibilities.

Touching upon both these issues, this work provides an approach to astrobiological humanities: helping figure expressive modes by which human beings process the experience of their belonging in and to our widening view of the cosmos. It is an effort to imagine how an individuals’ meaningful existence persists when we are planetary creatures situated in deep time—inextricably conditioned by the non-separable relationality of living systems and habitable environments.

Providing a series of specific examples drawn from astrobiology, doctrinal reflection on the imago Dei, and reflections on the Anthropocene, this book suggests an alternative approach to framing how human beings meaningfully are in the world and belong to it. It claims the Earth is not only a living planet but an artful one, taking seriously geological history and the significance of the geological agency of homo sapiens. Consequently, it suggests that the imago Deibe reframed in terms of planetarity: to be the imago Dei is to be a planetary system that opens up new possibilities for the flourishing of all creation by fostering technobiogeochemical cycles not subject to runaway, positive feedback. Such an account ensures the imago Dei is not something any one of us possesses, but that it is a symbol for what we live-into together as a species in intra-action with the wider habitable environment.



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