Cosmic Atoms, Spores of Gods

By Grace F. Knoche

Are we merely the rejected spores of gods, unfinished creations of higher life forms left to fend for ourselves without purpose or direction? Certainly the yearning to find meaning and reason for our being marks us as human and not animal. We have self-consciousness, which the animals and plants do not, yet we are seemingly unable or unwilling to live cooperatively with our own species, much less with all of nature, while the so-called lower kingdoms do so when not interfered with by us. In pride of power to create and destroy as we will, we have used our self-consciousness largely to manipulate and dominate nature as expedient, instead of seeking to understand her laws and work with them. As a result, we are not only reaping the effects of millennia of reckless folly and ambition, but we have disregarded the very help that is around us.

Still, grave as is our plight, it is not irremediable. We have but to seek seriously to work with nature, and she will respond generously; after all, is she not inspirer and protector of all her children? Never in the history of our humanhood have we been without higher guidance, despite the clouds of unknowing in which we have enveloped ourselves. There is a pattern to human life that has its origins in time and space beyond our reckoning, for we are the human phase of the gods' evolution. We are, in truth, spores of gods, thoughts cast off from their consciousness — not rejected or abandoned, but left free to grow purposefully and develop our own godlike possibilities.

The ancient Stoic conception of the Logos spermatikos, the seed-power or divine reason or plan behind every sperma or seed of life, is pertinent. From this originating Logos or Word come myriads of individual logoi spermatikoi, children seed-powers, each bearing within it the primal reason (logos) or fire of spirit. The Logos is One, but to fulfill the work of creation, of molding "gross matter into the things that are to be," there are countless minor logoi, indestructible seed-powers which

are, as it were, spirits or deities, spread throughout the universe, everywhere shaping, peopling, designing, multiplying; they are activities of fiery spirit working through tension in its highest development. But the seed-power of the universe [Logos spermatikos] comprehends in itself all the individual seed-powers [logoi spermatikoi]; they are begotten of it, and shall in the end return to it. Thus in the whole work of creation and re-absorption we see the work of one Zeus, one divine Word, one all-pervading spirit. — E. Vernon Arnold, Roman Stoicism, pp. 161-2

This idea of seeds of life appears also in a scientific context. In the early part of the 20th century Swedish physicist and chemist Svante Arrhenius resurrected an older theory — panspermia, literally "seeds everywhere" — which held that life on earth is the outcome of spores floating freely through interstellar space which somehow landed here and initiated biological life. In 1983 British astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle revitalized Arrhenius's theory by educing strong arguments, supported by physics and microbiology, in favor of the idea of microorganisms traveling in and from space to our planet. Hoyle wrote:

This sets the scene for the origin of life on the largest conceivable stage. The stage is not local, not restricted to our solar system nor even to our own galaxy, but truly cosmic. If an intelligence was involved in the origin of life, the intelligence was very big indeed, as I suspect is recognized by the religious instinct residing in all of us, the instinct that whispers in some remote region of our consciousness. Life is therefore a cosmological phenomenon, perhaps the most fundamental aspect of the Universe itself. — The Intelligent Universe, p. 161

And why not? There cannot be life without lives. Spores are seed-bearers of life in one form or another, and what is life if not consciousness, mind-stuff, monads, cosmic in origin, that ever seek to embody in some form of substance, ethereal or physical?

Indeed, the cosmos our scientists are scanning and measuring, in order to penetrate the elusive mystery of how and when and where the universe started, is a great deal more than it seems. What we see is only a small portion of the whole, which itself is but the body or external expression of a divinity, a living being of cosmic proportion, whose constitution enfolds all within it.

What can we know of the inner life of such a being? To comprehend the reaches of divine consciousness we must ourselves become cosmic in perception and experience. As the Apostle Paul aptly observed, "In it we live and move and have our being" — a mystic truth of physical as well as spiritual dimension enacted daily as we pursue our human life cycle of births and deaths within the cosmic process. We too are greater than we seem, with a destiny that is commensurate with our origin. Spores of our inner god, each of us in varying degree of awareness has his part to play in "shaping and peopling" and aiding in the well-being of the cosmic order.

We cannot know the universal pattern in fullness, but we can intuit glimpses of it through nature's trailmarks. That there is a design, a pattern to the cosmos in whose destiny we are vitally involved, we can be assured. However dark and confusing the present is, we can remember that every seed-logos, every god-spark, every cosmic atom or monad, has within its god-essence the pattern that it is to unfold and become. In the course of ages, if we fulfill the promise of our heritage, we humans are destined to become divinities like our cosmic parent, colleagues and helpers of the very gods whose children we are. The thought ennobles the most sacred yearnings of the soul.

(From Sunrise magazine, February/March 2001; copyright © 2001 Theosophical University Press)


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A knowledge of the path cannot be substituted for putting one foot in front of the other. — M. C. Richards