and thus to affect their destiny. This point looks reasonable ifnwe think about whales, bears, and other animals with whomnit is easy to identify. But it leads to deep absurdities. Whynshould such theorists draw the line at living organisms? Are,nthey not guilty of vitalist chauvinism, in not giving equalnrights to crystals, clumps of amorphous matter, atoms,nphotons?nOne of the fundamental principles of nature is hierarchy:nthe food chain, the neural delegation of control, and thenbranched subordination of functions within a given livingnorganism amply illustrate the principle. Though interdependencenis indeed another basic principle of nature, it does notnimply equality. The brain and the kidney are interdependent,nbut medical ethics would rightly insist that the kidneynis subordinate to and less valuable than the brain. Anynsurgeon would rightly sacrifice a kidney to save a muchnsmaller volume of brain tissue.nAlthough the combination of ideas can cause cognitivendissonance in some minds, we human beings are both partnof nature, and superior to and more valuable than any othernpart; while at the same time we are essentially dependent onnthe rest of nature, and the loss of any of its unique andnbeautiful forms is an absolute loss to us.nThe final objection to the cliche with which we began isnpolitical. Any attempt to impose Brahminical control overnthe masses — over the merchant, warrior, and farmer castes,nso to speak — is doomed to failure. In Eastern Europe thenCommunist Party was just such an enlightened and refinednelite, and indeed, as we are finding, it did help to keep downnsuch atavistic tendencies as ethnic hatred. But all over thenworld those masses have sacrificed themselves, suffered andndied, to escape or overthrow that Brahminical control.nSo to sum up, the formula, “a sustainable relationshipnbetween human beings and nature” is profoundly misleading.nNature does not sustain, but changes cumulatively,nsometimes preserving earlier states of it while inventing newnones, and integrating old and new together in a morenreflexive and self-observing way than before. There is non”between” the human and the natural, unless there can be anspecial relationship, not between one thing and another, butnbetween the most characteristic and quintessential part of anwhole, and the whole of which it is the privileged part,nprivileged because it is the most developed product of itsnwhole process. Human beings are not equal to, but superiornto, other species. And the complete injunction to thensustainable relationship as formulated is politically impossiblento enforce.nNevertheless, there is a residual wisdom in the call for thensustainable relationship. It might be worth our while to try tonreformulate and rescue this goal, by providing for it ansounder philosophical (and theological) basis. It may seemnodd to cut our theology to fit our environmental ethics, butnlet us, in a playful spirit, do so anyway. Perhaps afterwardsnwe can see whether the result makes sense philosophicallynand morally, and discover if it has any significant continuitynwith the best of our religious traditions.nLet us begin by following the Gaia hypothesis in itsntheological implication that the divine is immanent innthe world, not detached from it. This is not necessarily tonadopt a pantheist position. If, by analogy, we assert that thenmind and soul are immanent in a brain and body rather thanndetachable from them, we are not committed to believingnthat the mind and soul are only the brain and body. Thusnthe first axiom of a natural theology would be: THEnDIVINE IS IN NATURE.nIf, then, the divine is in nature, how might we find out thennature of the divine? Surely by examining and listening tonnature itself, just as we find out about a man’s or woman’snsoul by examining the tendency of their bodily actions andnlistening to what they physically say. That is, we should paynattention to the process, the story, of nature, if we wish tonknow its divine soul. And nature, as we have already seen,nincludes us as its acme and quintessence; so we must looknespecially at ourselves, the most characteristic part of God’sn(or the gods’) natural body. The way we find out, thenprocess of knowing, the attempt to come to know the storynof things, is called science. Thus our second axiom mightnbe: WE KNOW THE DIVINE BY MEANS OF THEnSCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING OF NATURE ANDnOURSED/ES.nA story is an irreversible process of events that arenunpredictable beforehand but apparently inevitable andnobvious once they have happened., The, very possibility ofnstory implies that time is essentially asymmetrical, that truthncan be a different thing prospectively than retrospectively.nThere are fixed truths, or we would have no points ofnreference by which to know; but the newly-emergent truthsninclude most of what we consider valuable, good, andnbeautiful: all the exquisite forms of matter, life, and mindnthat have evolved over the history of the universe. If naturenhas no story, then we can conclude that God is (or the godsnare) fixed and eternal, forever unsurprised and undisturbed.nIf nature has a story (or many stories), as it most manifestlynand emphatically has, then we must conclude that the divinenhas one, too. Thus, the third axiom of our natural theologynwould be: THE DIVINE CHANGES; THE DIVINEnHAS A STORY.nIf we do examine nature and ourselves we discover bothnthat there are underlying unities under the variety ofnthings — the mathematical forms, the constants of physicsn— and also that nature is an evolutionary drama, a competitive/cooperativendialogue among its parts, species, levels, andnprinciples. Thus if nature is the body of the divine, we mayninfer a fourth axiom: THE DIVINE IS BOTH ONEnAND MANY. It is one in its most remote, abstract,ntimeless, impersonal, simpleminded, and passive aspects,nand many in its most immediate, concrete, changing,npersonal, intelligent, and active aspects. In deference to ournown monotheistic tradition I shall from here on refer to thendivine as “God,” but it should be understood that thenpolytheistic description of the divine as “the gods” is innmany ways superior; I prefer it myself, but others might findnit distracting.nThe transformation of the gods of change is not exclusivelynrandom, reversible, and meaningless; as we have seen,nthe evolution of the universe is progressive, irrevocable, andndramatically meaningful. There is a one-way process ofnincreasing feedback, reflexivity, self-organization, and freedomnas the world evolves. Elementary particles have polaritynbut no shape. Atoms, more reflexive than particles, havensimple geometrical shapes that are symmetrical in manynnnAUGUST 1990/29n