teilhard 2

THE SPIRITUAL PROBLEM (diagnosed for the Western church)

  1. Christian confession has rendered Christ as static figure
  2. Christ’s principal business is judgement
  3. Christ has become a law of life, instead of being a way of life
  4. Christ is portrayed as single, individual existent – static and absolute in space and time/ permanent and fixed
  5. The mystery of God has been locked into an externalised, single individual human person
  6. This individual, Jesus of Nazareth, has been rendered as the single individual superhero
  7. This reduces the rest of humankind as mere spectators to the divine drama
  8. The consequent doctrines of Original Sin and the Fall, have induced the Christian fixation on rescue religion and the need to be saved
  9. Which has created the radical and complete separation between God and creation

4 things:

  • Expansiveness, large heart
  • Decision to be faithful to the church despite harm – repeatedly blocked him from sharing philosophical writing
  • Church is about transformation not legalism
  • Vision is experiential – trusting his own experience

Mystical theology – full acknowledgement of revelation and full acknowledgement of personal experience across all sensory perceiving. Goal to be immersed in God like a drop in an ocean… guiding preoccupation with listening, personal experience of divine love… liberates!

Teilhard was a French palaeontologist and a Jesuit priest > stretcher-bearer “writings in time of war” Gave his spiritual works to a lay woman who published them! Teilhard was deeply distressed by the one sidedness of both science and religion, and by the unnecessary and tragic consequences of their bifurcation. .. devoted equal commitment to internal and external facts. His writing has had a profound effect on 20th century thinking across many disciplines: science, history, international development. Critiques: didn’t engage with other faiths, didn’t go ‘far enough’ into consciousness.

Genesis is an ongoing state of becoming > what is Christs role then? Christ is the driving loving energy of cosmogenesis. Teilhard: looking for Christ the evolver. Not King and Master outsider/adjudicator but Christ who fills and moves all things.

“By means of all created things, without exception,
the divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us.
We imagine it as distant and inaccessible,
when in fact we live stepped in its burning layers.”

Evolution is the process if suffering > creation is groaning > has casualties. At cosmos and individual level (stars explode and new ones are born).

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves,
the tides and gravity,
we shall harness for God the energies of love,
and then, for a second time in the history of the world,
man will have discovered fire.”

‘to bear the sins of the guilty world’ means precisely, translated and transposed into terms of cosmogenesis, ‘to bear the weight of a world in a state of evolution. (Christianity and Evolution, p218-219)

The recognition that ‘God cannot create except evolutively’ provides a radical solution… to the problem of evil (which is a direct ‘effect’ of evolution), and at the same time explains the manifest and mysterious association of matter and spirit. (Christianity and Evolution, p179)

Christ must no longer be constitutionally restricted in his operation to a mere ‘redemption’ of our planet. (Christianity and Evolution, p241)

If a Christ is to be completely acceptable as an object of worship, he must be presented as the saviour of the idea and reality of evolution. (Christianity and Evolution, p78)

I can only be saved by becoming one with the universe. (The Heart of Matter, p78)

Development of consciousness – choice and decision-making > ethics

Something is wiped out and something else comes? Way we are broken open that are impelling is to grow. Earthquake – want to hold onto everything, for it to stay the same (building), cosmos says “No”, need to re-build, change, evolve. Progression vs. regression – want to lock it down to earlier ‘known’ state. Christianity wants to find a culprit, aggression and blame with preaching love that does not make sense to people outside the church. Not merely – sin will be made clean but an invitation to participate in the ascent of creation.

Have to experience something that will actually change us.
We are star dust.


Hubble Heritage Team/NASA/ES

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

 We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability –
and that it may take a very long time.

 And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually – let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own goodwill)
will make of you tomorrow.

 Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.”