In short, parts are never independent atoms radically separate from the whole, but involved in a network of internal and external relations. And although these objects may not be biologically alive, please understand that this implicit organicism is the necessary condition for the very possibility of biological life. In other words, if the cosmos were not (as it were) a big organism, then the little ones would be strictly impossible. "Darwinism" could never get of the ground, because there would be nothing above the ground.
So, whole and part are always complementary. Another related complementarity is container/contained. Everything partakes of this relation, whether we recognize it or not. And importantly, it applies both in the objective and subjective worlds. For example, every thought in your head is contained and conditioned by a container. In fact, one might say there are levels of containment: as thoughts are contained by the soul, the soul is contained by God, the Absolute Subject.
Can we even imagine something without a container? No. Imagine, for example, a painting with no frame. Rather, it just goes on "forever." If that were the case, then there would be nothing to see, nothing to set it apart from its surroundings.
Interestingly, this also applies to time. Analogously, what if human beings had no spatial boundaries -- no containment -- but again went on forever. Then we couldn't see each other! Likewise if we lived forever: the price of being something is containment in time and space.
I can hear you now: can I buy some pot from you?
All of the above is also related to the complementarity of immanence <--> transcendence. Everything partakes of both, except that in the case of human beings we are consciously aware of having a foot in each camp. Every bad philosophy tries to eliminate one or the other, which is how we can know ahead of time that any form of idealism or materialism is wrong. It is also what makes the Incarnation possible, and is indeed its Whole Point: that it has pleased the Absolute, the MetaCosmic Person, to dwell in history and mingle among its relativities.
So, I am not at all surprised to read the following in No God, No Science:
Every conception of scientific knowledge harbors within itself a metaphysics and a [natural theology] that shape in turn both how the objects of knowledge are conceived and what knowledge of the universe itself -- truth -- is taken to consist in.
Thus, "the very idea of a universe remains irreducibly metaphysical and theological." Not to belabor the point, but no one has ever seen the cosmos, and no one ever will. No man can contain that which contains him.
To take an obvious point, even if physicists were to arrive at a Theory of Everything, in which the laws of cosmology are reduced to a single equation, one must nevertheless posit something like a divine mind in which the equation is contained. Otherwise it is like writing on an imaginary blackboard with invisible ink.
Interestingly, Genesis approaches this question in a unique -- and correct -- way. Other cosmologies posit a primordial substance with which God works, but this then reduces to the absurdity of two absolutes: God and the substance. But the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo teaches that the Creator at once creates both the blackboard and the equations written on it.
And this doctrine points back -- or up -- to the Trinity, such that creation down here is very much in the image of the primordial creativity that goes on upin there. As I have put it before, we live in an intersubjective cosmos because it is grounded in an intersubjective Godhead. Only because of this are truth, love, beauty, and other transcendentals available to us. If they're not available, then we're not even human. But we are definitely human, even if certain widespread philosophies deny the fact. Which is why secular humanism is an egregious form of un- and anti-humanism.
Exactly: "the ontology of scientific materialism, with its exclusion of intrinsic meaning, is tantamount to 'cognitive suicide' and makes ordinary experience miraculous beyond explanation." The good news: miracles are real! The bad news: they're absolutely meaningless if not frankly perverse, such that the only meaning of which we can be sure is the meaninglessness of it all. You can kill the cosmos, but human persons will be among the collateral damage.
Ultimately, the cosmos within is proportioned to the cosmos without. Which is how and why science is even possible. Every scientific discovery proves the point -- that our minds are in deep conformity with the nature of things, that "there is a single order of reality comprehensive of its own intelligibility, an order large enough to include us..."
But you will have noticed that scientism posits a universe that is not large enough -- or better, deep enough -- to contain its most vital and interesting content, AKA human persons. In short, it tosses out the vertical, such that there is no longer any space for humans to inhabit, or even any container for truth. How can scientistic minds posit scientism when the positer no longer exists? They never say.
Do you know why universities are the way they are -- which is to say factories of indoctrination into fragmentary shards of a once unified knowledge of being? Because
The universe as a comprehensive order of reality was the presupposition and impetus behind the original universities and their ideal of an order of knowledge that was comprehensive and nonreductive, unified without being uniform.
Instead, we see
The degeneration of the university into a 'multiversity' of disintegrated disciplines suppressing their own metaphysical character, refusing integration into a comprehensive view equal to the truth of human life and experience, and vying with one another to become a 'theory of everything'...
Parts pretending to wholeness, contained presuming its own containment, horizontal swallowing vertical, and ultimately man become God, AKA Genesis 3 All Over Again.