Julie asked:

I was reading a fantasy novel recently, and the theology in this book was very interesting. In the novel, the idea is put forth that WE are God. That man, and his sentience, are a vessel with which the universe is to becoming self-aware.

Is this a common belief? Is there a name or an ‘ism’ for this particular line of thought?

Answer by Jürgen Lawrenz

Julie, your novel is probably informed by a book published not long ago under the title ‘The Anthropic Principle’, by Frank Tipler and John Barrow. Both of these men are astronomers; but they both believe something of the sort you said: that self-awareness is a disposition of the universe (for which we are the proof). Accordingly it is not too fanciful to assume two things (at least): first, that the matter content of the universe must have a disposition to generate conscious life wherever conditions are favourable; and second, that self-consciousness requires energy to drive it — if therefore there is much conscious life in the universe, it will consume energy without replacing it. And now, over the long run (very, very long run), this energy will significantly deplete, and consciousness increase. Then inevitably the day will come when matter and consciousness comprise each 50% of the universe; and at that moment the 50% consciousness will gobble up the remaining energy in one gulp. Then the universe will be a conscious entity — and you can choose if you wish to call this God or spirit or whatever.

You can see from this that, no: we are not God or gods, but way stations en route to the universe becoming God.