Teilhard de Chardin Quote of the Week (January 6, 2014): Transformation


“Nothing can any longer find place in our constructions which does not first satisfy the conditions of a universe in process of transformation. A Christ whose features do not adapt themselves to the requirements of a world that is evolutive in structure will tend more and more to be eliminated out of hand.”

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (2002-11-18). Christianity and Evolution (Harvest Book, Hb 276) (Kindle Locations 980-983). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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6 Responses to Teilhard de Chardin Quote of the Week (January 6, 2014): Transformation

  1. jono113 says:

    Isn’t this happening among those who have walked away from the Roman church and Christianity in general?

    • Juno113, thank you for you for your question. People dissociate themselves with the Church and with Christianity for a variety of reasons, including lack of belief, lack of relevance to daily lives and frustration with the “institution” of the church (as opposed the Church.

      The Catholic Church is a dynamic faith that continues to be influenced by the Holy Spirit. As a result the Church has always been (and will likely continue to be) in creative tension between those who believe it is moving too far from Tradition and those who believe it is not incorporating new Revelation quickly enough. These tensions were at the beginning of the Church (see e.g. the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15). Dr. Jason Waller has a good discussion of this here.

      One of the reasons I have devoted this blog to Teilhard de Chardin was that he continued to be loyal to the Church even when the institution ostracized him. Teilhard believed that God continues to be active and the Catholic Church, despite all of her institutional shortcomings, is the best way to promote Unity in Christ and among all humanity. Teilhard’s ideas, despite being censored during his lifetime, eventually found their way into mainstream Catholic theology. In my opinion, Teilhard’s example is that as humanity continues to slowly evolve closer to God, the Church, as the optimum intermediary, will likewise slowly evolve (while not losing Tradition).

      W. Ockham

  2. Lynda says:

    This is such a powerful statement. Transformative change is integral in this evolving universe. Christ is limited only in our image of him. Thank you.

  3. I’m just getting started with your blog and its treatment of an evolving church versus a traditional church (shorthand), so forgive me for what may be an ignorant question. If our world’s…our universe’s…transformation is one that is more destructive than constructive, how does Christ’s features change? And, if so for Christ, then would this not also be true of God’s features, if we believe in a triune God? Does He transform with us in some way? Or does He at some point turn His face from us?

    • Hi Mary:

      Great questions. I am not sure I am adequately respond but I will make an attempt:

      I do not believe there is a contradiction between an evolving church and a traditional church. These two components not only can live in creative tension but I believe they must in order to advance. The tradition is a connection to people of the past and evolution towards Christ is how humans individually and humanity in general are made. The life of Jesus is a wonderful example of that. He grew up in a Jewish household and was a devout Jew. However, the Father sent him to extend the covenant made with Israel to all people. As Christians, we retain the Hebrew Bible and the core traditions of Divine Revelation but interpret these through Christ and the Church.

      Christ does not change but our understanding of him does. Christ is risen and is still active (along with the Father and the Holy Spirit) in the world and in our daily lives. The triune God is at work in transforming the world and we are called to assist in this process through acts of faith, love and charity.

      God never turns His face from us. There were long periods in my life when I turned away from God, thinking I could do it by myself. However, when I realized the folly of my endeavors, God was there for me, just like the Father of the Prodigal Son or the shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep.

      W. Ockham

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