The universe is best understood as a story, taught my mentor, Thomas Berry.
Here’s the image that comes my mind:
Remember the beginning of the original "Star Wars" (1977), when the ‘backstory’ appeared as words scrolling up the screen into infinity: "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…"?
In a sense, each of us are like one of those words: born into the cosmos, a unique, individuated expression of the divine, a Word of God. But, at first, it’s hard to see beyond ourselves. We have trouble making sense of ourselves because our vision is limited. We can’t see our connections to the larger text which is our context.
Let’s say, for example, we’re a word like "the." It is hard to make sense of a single word like "the" until we recognize that we are just one link in a greater narrative. We grasp our identity be reading the story around us: "We are one small part of the unfolding journey of the universe."
If our family is the sentence into which we are spoken, our culture is the paragraph, the planet the chapter, and the universe the book. As E. O. Wilson said, "to know where you are is to know who you are."
The Latin root of the word "evolution" means to ‘unroll,’ and its original sense denoted the unspooling of a parchment scroll.