Teilhard De Chardin and The Future of God

In his book God After Darwin theologian John Haught claims that evolution opened a new window to God, giving us a new vision of God at home in a universe of chance and law.  Not everyone has accepted this claim, however. Strict materialists such as Richard Dawkins readily dispense with God as an unnecessary hypothesis in an evolutionary world, claiming that it runs quite well on genes and natural selection. On the other hand fundamentalists say that evolution belies God’s orderly creation recounted in the first book of Genesis. Evolution contradicts God’s providential design of creation.  In the midst of these polarities stands the figure of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic Jesuit priest and a trained scientist. Teilhard was one of the most provocative and seminal thinkers of the twentieth century; yet, his ideas are still marginally accepted.  As a paleontologist, Teilhard’s insights arose from his keen observations of the natural world and he was dazzled by the convergence of elements to form the stuff of life.  His keen observation of nature and its inherent direction towards unity inspired him to seek God in nature.

Teilhard’s writings are suffused with a radical Christocentrism which some have described as pan-Christism. The pervasiveness of Christ in his thought seems prima facie to truncate theology, a Christomonism devoid of any real theological ground. A closer reading of his works, however, reveals this not to be the case. Underneath his doctrine of Christocentrism lies a doctrine of God in evolution; Christogenesis is integrally related to theogenesis. My purpose is to explore Teilhard’s theogenesis as the ground of a Christocentric universe, and to show that Christogenesis is the unfolding of divinity in space time.  The universe is God coming to be fully the Christ through creative union in love.

The God of Evolution

Teilhard’s theology of God is scattered throughout his works; yet, the presence of God in creation pervades his works. In his Christianity and Evolution he summed up the problem of God in an evolutionary world by saying:

In the case of a world which is by nature evolutive. . .God is not conceivable (either structurally or dynamically) except in so far as he coincides with (as a sort of “formal” cause) but without being lost in, the center of convergence of cosmogenesis. . . .Ever since Aristotle there have been almost continual attempts to construct models of God on the lines of an outside Prime Mover, acting a retro.  Since the emergence in our consciousness of the ‘sense of evolution’ it has become physically impossible for us to conceive or worship anything but an organic Prime-Mover God, ab ante.  Only a God who is functionally and totally ‘Omega’ can satisfy us.  Who will at last give evolution its own God?

Teilhard’s quest—to give evolution its own God—is a search for a credible God in an evolutionary universe. Since Aristotle, there has been almost continual attempts to construct models of God on the lines of an outside prime-mover, acting a retro.  The emergence in our consciousness of the sense of evolution, however, has made it difficult to conceive or worship anything but an organic prime-mover God, ab ante. Thus Teilhard claimed, in the future, only a God who is functionally and totally ‘Omega’ can satisfy us. He indicates that in an evolutive world, God is conceivable only within the context of evolution, since evolution is no longer a mere hypothesis, he states but now dominates the whole of our experience. quoteWhile in the case of a static world, the creator is structurally independent of his work—in the case of an evolutive world, the contrary is true. God is not conceivable except in so far as he coincides with evolution but without being lost in, [sort of a ‘formal’ cause] the center of convergence of cosmogenesis . The God who is in evolution cannot be a God who creates from behind but must be ahead, the prime mover who is Omega. Teilhard’s question, “who will at last give evolution its own God” is challenging because the God of evolution must be the God in evolution. Evolution has direction and God is the direction, in Teilhard’s view.

Teilhard left us no systematic treatment of the triune God; yet, it was clear that only a God who is a plurality of relationships unified in a common Center (the Word) could be the God of an evolutionary creation marked by a plurality of relationships directed towards greater unity.

Donald Gray, in his book The One and the Many, claims that the Trinitarian formulation provides the key to understanding the whole movement of reality as a process of unification.  Although Teilhard did not develop a theology of the Trinity to any great extent, he indicated that the unity of God consists precisely in the plurality of relationships. The Trinity is the basis of God’s self-communicative nature, that is, God could not be in relationship to the finite if God was not communicative in Godself.  God’s relational nature begins with the Father who vitalizes and engenders, the one who is fontal source of all that is, including the personal center of the Son and Word. The Spirit is the energy of divine love that unifies the Father and Son. Evolution is God turned toward the world in the act of love, that is, the love of the Father for the Son through the energizing bond of the Spirit.

Teilhard describes the God-world relationship as a type of formal causality. God is dynamically interior to creation, gradually bringing all things to their full being as his image—Trinity-in-unity-by a single creative act spanning all time. In Christianity and Evolution he said that God is a dominant causality among the other causalities, a divine energy which is imperceptible. God acts on the whole body of causes without making itself evident at any point. Every element is an overflow of God who is First Cause so that God makes things to make themselves. God acts from within, at the core of each element, by animating the sphere of being from within. Where God is operating, it is always possible for us to see only the work of nature because God is the formal cause, the intrinsic principle of being, although God is not identical with being itself. As principle of being, God imparts to creation its inner dynamism. Because creation is essentially relatedness and God is love, evolution is the unfolding process of God-related dynamic love.

Creative Union

The key to Teilhard’s understanding of the God-world relationship is creative union. He did not hold to a separate doctrine of creation but saw creative union as the integral core of creation which includes the mysteries of incarnation and redemption. Creative union is the union of God and creation in evolution; hence, creation, incarnation and redemption form creative union.  In his “Mon Univers” he wrote:

The theory of creative union is not so much a metaphysical doctrine as a sort of empirical and pragmatic explanation of the universe. This theory came to birth out of my own personal need to reconcile, within the confines of a rigorously structured system, the views of science respecting evolution (which views are accepted here as being definitively established, at least in their essence) with an innate tendency which has driven me to seek out the presence of God, not apart from the physical world, but rather through matter and in a certain sense in union with it.

For Teilhard the creative process which involves a unification of multiplicity is also a redemptive process because unification involves a struggle against the forces of dispersion, the forces of evil. Hence creation and redemption are coextensive with the total space-time continuum. Also, the incarnation in the general sense of immersion of God in the evolutionary process is coextensive with the total space-time continuum. In one of his journals Teilhard wrote:

Christianity, influenced by the conquests of modern thought, will finally become aware of the fact that the three fundamental personalistic mysteries upon which it rests are in reality simply three aspects of one and the same process (christogenesis), depending on whether one looks at it from the point of view of its principal moving power (creation), or its unifying mechanism (incarnation), or it elevating effort (redemption).

For Teilhard “creative union” is the act of creation as an act of immanent unification—the world is in process of being created by the gradual unification of multiplicity. Thus “creation” is to be located not at the “beginning” of the world but at its “end.” Creation is that which is always coming to be. Within evolution lower level entities become higher level entities with a persistent emergence of novelty whereby each unification results in new being. Teilhard suggested that multiplicity is dependent on unity and on some final unity which does not need any principle beyond itself to unify it, since it is the “already One.”  This ultimate unity is God incarnate who is Christ Omega.

While classical theology viewed creation as a free act of God, either by way of desire (Bonaventure) or intellect (Thomas), Teilhard saw creation as integral to God.  He believed that without creation, something would be absolutely lacking to God, considered in the fullness not of his being but of his act of union. Christopher Mooney writes:

The assertion that the world’s movement towards unity “completes” God in some way is unusual and needs to be clarified.  . . .Teilhard is doing nothing more nor less than asserting in a in evolutionary context the paradox which is already contained in St. Paul:  the Pleroma of Christ cannot constitute an intrinsic completion of God himself, but it will nonetheless in some sense be a real completion. . . .Teilhard wants to do away once and for all with the idea that God’s continuous act of creation is one of absolute gratuity.

For Teilhard the relationality of God’s triune nature makes creation more than an act willed out of intellect or desire; creation is the truly beloved of  God and hence completes God. He opposed the idea of an absolutely gratuitous creation because it makes creation independent of God.  If creative union reflects God’s nature to be relational and participative, then God cannot create an isolated creation. Evolution towards greater unity rests on the involvement of God in creation. Teilhard’s doctrine of creative union suggests that creation does not participate in God; rather, God participates in creation. Because God is unified complexity (Trinity), evolution tends toward unified complexity. When the Trinity is properly understood, it strengthens our idea of divine oneness by giving it the structure of unity which is the mark of all real living reality. If God were not triune we could not conceive the possibility of his creating (by being incarnate) without totally immersing himself in the world he brings into being .

The twin poles of evolution and creative union meant that Teilhard was less concerned with being and becoming than with the relationship between unity and multiplicity, the One and the many.  Rather than following the classic metaphysical construct of the many flowing from the One (a devolution or thinning out of being), Teilhard posited that the One flows from the many. The involvement of God in evolution through creative union means that everything happens as though the One were formed by successive unifications of the multiple, and as though the One were more perfect, the more perfectly it centralized under itself a larger multiple. The One appears to us only in the midst of the multiple, dominating the multiple, since its essential act is to unite. Creative union does not fuse together the terms which it associates; rather, it preserves the terms and completes them. The more something or someone is in union with another the more it is itself, since it is precisely the core of self that is the basis of union or as Teilhard proclaimed, “union differentiates.” God reveals himself everywhere as a universal milieu, only because God is the ultimate point upon which all realities converge. The new evolutive God rises up at the heart of the old maker-God; for if he had not pre-emerged from the world, he could not be for the world.


Teilhard believed that God could not appear as prime mover without first becoming incarnate and without redeeming—in other words without our seeing that he becomes Christified. The observation in nature of greater unity, from atoms to cells to plants, animals and humans, led him to posit a centrating factor, a basis of unity that is both immanent and transcendent to material reality. The unity of the Trinity is the Center or Word of God who flows from the fontal love of the Father. The Father’s self-expressed love is centered in the Word; hence when God turns toward the world Christ becomes the center of creation. The Trinity shows the essential condition of God’s capacity to be the personal summit of a universe which is in process of personalization. It is not surprising that when Teilhard discovered the doctrine of the primacy of Christ in the Franciscan theologian Duns Scotus he exclaimed “Voilà! La theologie de l’avenir.” His doctrine of creative union complemented the Franciscan idea that Christ is first in God’s intention to love; all of creation is modeled on Christ. For Teilhard, evolution was aimed at divinity from the beginning, and the Christified universe was always its goal.

Teilhard used the term Christogenesis to indicate that the biological and cosmological genesis of creation—cosmogenesis—is from the point of faith, Christogenesis. Creation itself is God uniting to form one with something, to be immersed in it. The genesis of Christ is characteristic of Teilhard’s thought. By “genesis” he indicated that evolution involves directed change, organized becoming, patterned process, cumulative order. It is not mere change or becoming which can be random, disordered, and meaningless. Rather evolution has direction. Teilhard recognized that there is a unifying influence in the whole evolutionary process, a centrating factor that continues to hold the entire process together and move it forward toward greater complexity and unity. The ultimate mover of the entire cosmogenesis, he indicated, is something that is simultaneously within the sequence of beings as tendency, desire and purpose, and in front of the advancing wave of development, beckoning it, as its ideal culmination. This Mover Teilhard identified with God. The evolutionary pressure is the presence of God at every stage, helping, driving, drawing.  We always assumed that God could be located “above,” he said, but now we realize that he can also be situated “ahead” and “within” as well.

His faith in Christ led him to posit Christ, the future fullness of the whole evolutionary process, as the “centrating principle,” the “pleroma” and “Omega point” where the individual and collective adventure of humanity finds its end and fulfillment. The universal Christ could not appear at the end of time at the peak of the world, if he had not previously entered it during its development, through the medium of birth, in the form of an element. If it is indeed true that it is through Christ Omega that the universe in movement holds together then it is from his concrete germ, the Man of Nazareth that Christ-Omega derives his whole consistence, as a hard experiential fact. The two terms are intrinsically one whole and they cannot vary in a truly total Christ except simultaneously.

Through his penetrating view of the universe, Teilhard found Christ present in the entire cosmos, from the least particle of matter to the convergent human community. The whole cosmos is incarnational. “The Incarnation,” he said, “is a making new. . .of all the universe’s forces and powers.” Christ is the instrument, the centre, the end of the whole of animate and material creation; through him, everything is created, sanctified, and vivified. Christ invests himself organically with all of creation, immersing himself in things, in the heart of matter and thus unifying the world. By taking on human form, Christ has given the world its definitive form: he has been consecrated for a cosmic function.  God could not create unless God was incarnate and to be incarnate is to share in the sufferings and evil inherent in the painfully concentrating multiple. By saying that cosmogenesis is now Christogenesis Teilhard showed that the very being of the world is now being personalized. Someone and not something is in gestation and this birth of Christ involves all the pain and suffering of the world. Our universe is a christified universe, marked by divine omnipresence shining through both the glory and pain of the world.

The Cosmic Nature of Christ

Teilhard sought to show that the cosmic function of Christ was not only moral but physical as well. The Pauline phrase Omnia in ipso constant (In him all things consist) (Col 1:17) dominated his thought. “I find it quite impossible,” he wrote in 1924, “to read St. Paul without being dazzled by the vision under his words of the universal and cosmic dominance of the incarnate word.” The one who is in evolution is himself the cause and center of evolution and its goal (emphasis added).  It became increasingly evident to Teilhard that if Christ is to remain at the center of our faith in an evolutionary universe, then this cosmic Christ must begin to offer himself for our adoration as the “evolutive” Christ–Christ the evolver.  This evolutive Christ, for Teilhard, was not distinct from Jesus but indeed was “Jesus, the center towards whom all moves.” Teilhard did not believe that the human reality of Jesus Christ was lost in the superhuman and vanished in the cosmic. Rather, the universal Christ could not appear at the end of time at the peak of the world, if he had not previously entered it during its development, through the medium of birth, in the form of an element. It was the humanity of Jesus Christ, his life, death, and resurrection, therefore, that spoke to Teilhard of the evolutive Christ. Because Christ is both the center and goal of an evolutionary creation, Teilhard viewed Christ as a dynamic impulse within humanity (and non-humanity) which is moving toward greater complexity and unity, from biogenesis to noogenesis, from simple biological structures to the emergence of mind.

Although Teilhard introduced a new understanding of Christ the evolver, the notion of Christ as evolver is one with Christ Omega since it is from Jesus of Nazareth that Christ-Omega derives his whole consistence. The link between Christ the evolver and Christ the Omega means that the cosmic goal is disclosed by creative union. As evolver, Christ is that which is coming to be in evolution through the process of creative union. As Omega, Christ is superpersonal in nature—the One who fills all things and who animates and gathers up all the biological and spiritual energies developed by the universe. Since Christ is Omega, the universe is physically impregnated to the very core of its matter by the influence of his superhuman nature. The presence of the incarnate Word penetrates everything as a universal element through grace.   Everything is physically “christified,” gathered up by the incarnate Word as nourishment that assimilates, transforms, and divinizes. Thus Christ is not a static idea but a living Person, the Personal center of the universe. Teilhard posited a dynamic view of God and the world in the process of becoming something more than what it is because the universe is grounded in the Personal center of Christ.

While Teilhard was aware of the doctrine of Christ formulated at Chalcedon, he did not refrain from suggesting a “third nature” of Christ based on spiritual insight and contemplation of the world. By positing a “third nature” Teilhard indicated that the whole physical world has a spiritual nature which attains its full consciousness and openness to God in the person of Jesus Christ.

Thus, Christ is related organically not simply juridically to the whole cosmos. It is a nature contingent on the humanity of Christ but not subordinate to his divinity. Since the cosmic Christ is the resurrected Christ, this third nature or cosmic nature emerges from the union of divine and human natures so that it is neither one nor the other but the union of both, although it exists on the side of creation. This third nature means that Christ the Redeemer is Christ the Evolver. The evolutionary progression towards greater complexity in creation is Christ-in-the making. Every bacteria, blood cell, plant, tree, animal, pre-human, human whether black, white, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, atheist, deist—every single created being is integral to Christogenesis. quoteIn short, Christ is the fullness of nature’s evolving unity in God.

The Organic Nature of Christ

Teilhard insisted that it is time to return to a form of Christology which is more organic and takes account of physics. We need a Christ “who is no longer master of the world solely because he has been proclaimed to be such,” he wrote, “but because he animates the whole range of things from top to bottom.” The greatness of Teilhard’s insight lies in the organic nature of Christ as the heart of change in the universe. “If we are to remain faithful to the gospel,” he said, “we have to adjust its spiritual code to the new shape of the universe. It has ceased to be the formal garden from which we are temporarily banished by a whim of the Creator. It has become the great work in process of completion which we have to save by saving ourselves.”  He wrote:  “Our Christology is still expressed in exactly the same terms as those which three centuries ago, could satisfy men whose outlook on the cosmos it is now physically impossible for us to accept. . . .What we now have to do without delay is to modify the position occupied by the central core of Christianity–and this precisely in order that it may not lose its illuminative value.”

Teilhard’s Christogenesis is a radical departure from understanding Jesus Christ as an absolute, single, salvific figure. Jesus is the Christ, the one in whom and through whom healing and wholeness comes into creation. If the humanity of Jesus emerges out of an evolutionary process, then the humanity of Jesus is the explosive love of God, the pattern of what the Christ is about in creation. Jesus ushers in a new level of consciousness and a new future, precisely because Jesus returns love for love unconditionally. When Teilhard speaks of Christ the redeemer as the Christ the evolver I think what he is saying is that divine love is at the heart of creation and the movement towards the fullness of love incarnate is the Christ who is coming to be.  This is the very process of creation itself in evolution. Teilhard recognized that every act of evolving nature is the self-expression of God, since the very act of nature’s transcendence is the energy of divine love. God unfolds in the details of nature; thus, evolution is not only of God but is God incarnate.  In his Phenomenon of Man he describes evolution as an unfolding process of withinness and withoutness.  The within is the mental aspect and the without is the physical aspect of the same stuff. Although this relationship between within and without points to the role of consciousness at the heart of matter, I think it also points to the unfolding simultaneity of God and world: God is the withinness of the withoutness of matter in evolution.  God is dynamically relational, trinitizing creation, and the trinitization of creation is, at the same time, personalizing it in Christ. Love is the energy of trinitization. Love is dynamic, and dynamic love is never the same from moment to moment. What Teilhard pointed to is that divine love is evolutionary—it changes, grows, complexifies—and this growth and complexification is the basis of unity. God is not the source of love; rather love is the source of God, that is, God emerges out of relationships of love. Even in human relations, the perfection of love comes at the end of a long, loving relationship, not in the beginning.

If God is the dynamic ever fullness of love, then God is indeed up ahead, the future in which we have our being and in which we are coming to be. But God can only be up ahead as Omega if God is within evolution as evolver. That is why Incarnation does not take place in evolution; Christ does not intervene in creation and then become its goal. Rather the whole evolutionary process is incarnational. Evolution is christogenesis or God coming to be at the heart of matter. As Teilhard said, “… not just something but Someone holds together the plurality of elements in a personalizing center” and this is Christ.  Christ is the meaning of the whole creation because Christ is the One who is coming to be, the One who is engendered by the Father’s love and the object of that love through the life-giving bond of the Spirit. That is why a Christocentric universe is not only possible for Teilhard; it is the only universe that makes sense.  Evolution is a single act of love between Father, Son and Spirit, one Christ, unfolding in space-time unto the fullness of love.

The Future of God

Whereas classical theology begins with the philosophical notion of being and the existence of God, Teilhard begins with the science of evolution as the understanding of being and hence of God. The creative union of God-matter by which all of matter is spiritualized, reaches its culmination in Jesus of Nazareth in whom the direction of evolution is revealed. In Christianity and Evolution he writes that the early Church sought to understand Christ’s relation to the Trinity. However, he writes “in our own time the vitally important question has become for us to define the links between Christ and the universe: how they stand in relation to one another and how they influence one another.” What Teilhard tried to show is that evolution is not only the universe coming to be but it is God who is coming to be.  His radical thought is twofold: suffering, pain, and death are part of an evolutionary universe (not the result of original sin) and Christ is the fullness (pleroma) of that which is coming to be. Thus he states, “God is entirely self-sufficient; and yet the universe contributes something that is vitally necessary to him.” Teilhard’s theology is an incarnational theology that takes seriously the historicity of God.  He felt that the traditional view of God and creation, the “metaphysics of the eternally present,” was inadequate for the reality of evolution. Evolution, he claimed, requires a divine source located not in the past or “up above” in a timeless present but “up ahead” in the future. Thus he suggests a metaphysics of Esse be replaced by a metaphysics of Unire since unity marks evolution and, in creation, the evolution of multiplicity is unitive. In a footnote to Christianity and Evolution Teilhard states:

We might say that for the discursive reason two phases can be distinguished in ‘theogenesis.’ In the first, God posits himself in his Trinitarian structure (‘fontal being reflecting itself, self-sufficient, upon itself): ‘Trinitization.’ In the second phase, he envelops himself in participated being, by evolutive unification of pure multiple (positive non-being) born (in a state of absolute potency) by antithesis to pre-posited Trinitarian unity: Creation.

This is a rather obtuse way of saying that the triune God who is source of creation, enfolds divine being in creation through incarnation, so that the God who is evolutionary source (fontal principle) is evolutionary goal (Omega). Rather than following a classical, static theology of God-world relationship, however, where the end returns to the beginning (Omega revolvit ad alpha) Teilhard reframes the God-world relationship from the point of evolution. “The organic vastness of the universe,” he states, “obliges us to rethink the notion of divine omnisufficiency:  God fulfills himself, he in some way completes himself, in the pleroma.”  Thus evolution reveals a newness to God.  Just as novelty marks “being-in-evolution” so too novelty marks “God-in-evolution.” Teilhard viewed evolution and Incarnation as interrelated; the God-matter creative union means that creation “can only have one object:  a universe, that is, creation “can be effected only by an evolutive process (of personalizing synthesis) and that it can come into action only once: when absolute multiple is reduced, nothing is left to be united either in God or ‘outside’ God.”  We might call this idea the primacy of Christ in evolution. Christ is first in God’s intention to love which means evolution is a single act of Trinitarian love; however it is a single act of love in space-time and thus an unfolding towards the fullness of unity. God can only create evolutively, Teilhard states, because the whole point of creation is the fullness of love which is Christ who is the trinitizing center of creation. Evolution, therefore, has meaning and purpose; it is intended to be God, all in all. Christ the evolver is the unifier within creation, the personal principle within matter to unite.

The twofold function of the incarnate Word of God as evolver and Omega means that the God-world relationship is not a static relationship but one of dynamic newness. As Christ the evolver, Christ is the one in evolution; as Omega Point, Christ holds together the universe in movement. However, instead of seeing creation return to the Father, Teilhard identified the Father in relation to the Son as the one who vitalizes and engenders. Every theological development which “affects the theology of the Son-Object-of-Love must affect the Father in whom all being must ultimately find its source.” Thus if Christ the Word incarnate is in evolution it is because the Father is in evolution as well, the one who makes possible the dynamism of love. As Trinity or perfect multiplicity-in-unity, God is truly up ahead, the God of the future who draws the universe towards a new future of creative union. The future of evolution, therefore, is marked by the horizon of love.  God “is the transcendent future horizon that draws an entire universe, and not just human history, toward an unfathomable fulfillment yet to be realized.” Evolution is progress towards union in love in relation to a God of ever-deepening love. If the power of divine love is source and goal of all that is, then the fidelity of divine love in an evolutionary universe is the transcendent source of change. God is ever newness in love, eternally becoming other in love unto love.

For Teilhard, God is no static Being transcendent to the world. Rather God’s transcendence is God’s immanence, the fecundity of divine goodness intimately involved in creation and the creative union of God in creation becoming something more through the evolutionary process of complexity-consciousness. The newness of God in creation is the newness of Christ. In this respect, human activity is essential to God who is coming to be. The human endeavor completes the deepest intentions of God’s love by bringing creation to its fulfillment. The human person does something for God which God, because of his love for us, cannot do for himself. The human completes the yearning of God’s own love for us and God’s desire for our salvation which is union with God.  Gray writes: “Man (sic) completes God’s love for the creation by bringing that love to the effective realization of its goal, which is the good of the creation”.  Thus God is completed through creation insofar as creation is completed through human persons. It is this completion of creation as pleroma which God has in view in creating because the completion of creation is the fullness of God. Creation completes God not by supplying something God lacks but by relating to what God is as divine love.   Christian love, he states, is to be dynamized, universalized and pantheized.  To love God in and through the universe in evolution is the spiritual energy of convergence and the axis of hominization.  God and creation evolve to pleroma in and through human efforts to unite through love and thus to unite the multiple into unity.

According to Teilhard, we are evolution made conscious; thus, a deepened consciousness should yield to greater bonds of love, promoting unity in creation. Such unity, according to Teilhard, is not sameness but differentiated unity. True creative union preserves the distinct personalities of each term. Thus evolutionary progression toward greater union is a progression towards greater divergence.  It is overcoming multiplicity or separateness through bonds of unity that preserve distinction.  The progression of hominization in the universe (and with hominization non human creation) through complexity-consciousness (the development of noosphere, for example, and in our age, the internet) is the progressive unification of the world in God. What Teilhard emphasizes is that the God who is and who is coming to be is united with the whole evolutionary process through Christogenesis. Christ evolves through the unfolding fabric of evolution by the power of the Spirit. quoteAs self-reflected being-in-evolution, humans are to continue weaving the process of evolution towards greater wholeness. Christianity, in particular, is faith in the progressive unification of the world in God—unity with the natural world, unity with other religions, unity with other planets, unity with all people—Christians are to be engaged unifiers in a world of evolution, working towards the pleroma, the fullness of plurality in unity.  Thus the whole earth in all its natural diversity, the whole planet and planets in their diversity, all religions or spiritual yearnings in all their diversity, all of these are being drawn together from the future in a boundless love, the fullness of Christ.

If Christogenesis gives meaning to the whole evolutionary progression, it is because God is at the heart of creation as source and goal; the One who is in evolution is the goal of evolution.  Teilhard emphasized that Incarnation fulfills God by contributing to God that which God is not—material reality. Evolution, therefore, will always be integral to God because it reveals the nature of God to be relational and participative and hence open to novelty and future.  As long as God is, we are and creation will be. What we will be, however, depends on our actions, choices and decisions. Evolution demands a consciousness of the present and attentiveness to the future as the ground of our actions. It is a forward moving act of creative union where life is always new and God is ever newness in love. The pleroma is the forward moment of evolution itself; God drawing us from the future to become more conscious, more united, more one-in-love, more Christ. The pleroma is not the end of time but the fullness of life where creation is trinitized and personalized in Christ the Omega. In space-time, God is always creative union in evolution and the pleroma is the horizon of deepening bonds of unity. For evolution is not simply the way God creates, evolution is the nature of the Trinity who is always coming to be.

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  1. Dr. Ernie Sherretta, D. Min. on February 15, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Isn’t Open Theism really Deism without faith/belief? In deism, the creator (God) began the distribution of LOVE(energy freely given) through evolution which led to human consciousness which led to the human person, reason, psyche, self (soul) ultimately resulting in Free Will. Then through the continuing process of ongoing evolution, allowed humans the choice of following the laws of nature which, unlike other unconscious mammals, could be altered to eventually evolve into the choice for unconditional love which is manifest in compassion, mercy, forgiveness, acceptance, and other virtues. In other words, the man Jesus ultimately grew to the fullness of his humanity which united him to the eternal source of his being. “In my end(omega) is my beginning (Alpha)” This is a theory about the “logos” or Word of God being manifest in Jesus,the human who “grew in wisdom and stature, and the favor of God and man.” Open theism is based on faith via revelations to humans which are not objective but subjective. Which religions are to be believed? Deism is a theology based in reason which postulates an ending in divinity. Isn’t Deism free from the influence of religion but constructed by natural law based on evolution?


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