Re: [asa] Cosmological Evolution?

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Wed Dec 27 2006 - 21:10:57 EST

At 08:18 PM 12/27/2006, George Murphy wrote:
>Yeah, there's a lot wrong with Teilhard's views - which wasn't
>entirely his fault. (If you're not allowed to publish your
>theological ideas, you're not going to get the criticism you
>need.) Nevertheless, characterizing him as a "pantheist" or a
>"biocentrist" is inaccurate. ..."

@ In 1954, shortly before he died, Teilhard wrote to a friend, "I am
essentially pantheist in my thinking and in my temperament."

He characterized himself as a pantheist, I didn't. More:

Pantheist [God is all and in all.]
"All around us, to right and left, in front and behind, above and
below, we have only to go a little beyond the frontier of sensible
appearances in order to see the divine welling up and showing
through. But it is not only close to us, in front of us, that the
divine presence has revealed itself. It has sprung up universally,
and we find ourselves so surrounded and transfixed by it, that there
is no room left to fall down and adore it, even within ourselves."
Teilhard de Chardin

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) - French evolutionary
scientist and Catholic mystic who held panentheistic and pantheistic
ideas. Ordained as a priest in 1913, his belief in evolution and his
rejection of dogma led to ecclesiastical expulsion. Writer Charles
Henderson states that Teilhard found "the primary source of religious the material world rather than in the magisterium of the
Church. "Evolution," said Teilhard, "is a general condition to
which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow, and which
they must satisfy if they are to be thinkable and true," In his view,
after the successive emergence of the lithosphere, hydrosphere,
atmosphere, and biosphere, came the "noosphere" (from the Greek
'nous' meaning 'mind'), with the evolution of human
consciousness. Through collective consciousness, he envisioned
humanity in spiritual union with the universe. In 1954, shortly
before he died, Teilhard wrote to a friend, "I am essentially
pantheist in my thinking and in my

Father Goergen, O.P - Current Trends: Recent Studies of Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin

"...First, Sethna is critical not only of Zaehner but of many
Catholic expositions of the thought of Teilhard. These Catholic
studies attempt to save Teilhard for the church by pointing to his
continuity with tradition, especially with the Greek fathers, as if
Teilhard's pantheism is Christian. As Teilhard has come to be more
and more acceptable within Catholicism, Sethna, from outside
Catholicism, seriously challenges his orthodoxy. Sethna argues that
the pantheism of Teilhard is truly a pantheism unacceptable within
Roman Catholicism. In fact, one of the major limitations in the
thought of Teilhard flows from the unfreedom within his church (keep
in mind the post-Vatican I, pre-Vatican II period within which he
lived) which prevented him from going fully where his spirit was
leading him. Teilhard's Catholicism stands in the way of Teilhard's
spirituality, which is pantheistic in a sense fully in accord with
Indian Vedanta. Teilhard was critical of Eastern thought without
realizing how Eastern his own thought was.

Second, because of this constraint which prevented Teilhard from
freely developing his own intuitions, Teilhard's spirituality is not
the spirituality of the future, although the core Teilhardian
intuition and spirit do provide the right direction. But one must go
beyond Teilhard, or go where Teilhard was going without letting
himself go there, and that is in the direction of the Integral Yoga
of Sri Aurobindo.

Now that there is greater freedom and objectivity we ought to
reconsider the question of Teilhard's pantheism which he himself
carefully presented so as to make it orthodox. Yet Sethna cannot
decide what is orthodox for Christianity. From within the church
there can be a growth in consciousness as well. What may not have
been seen as possible within the century after Vatican I may indeed
become possible within the century after Vatican II. A reassessment
of Teilhard, however, cannot be done apart from a profound dialogue
with the East. .."

"..Teilhard challenges both modern science and traditional religion.
...It is no surprise that someone like Roger Garaudy suggested
Teilhard as a good starting point for dialogue between Christianity
and Marxism.(4) Teilhard's world-affirming mysticism of action moves
us in the direction of a spirituality which does not remove us from
the world. At the same time, his divinization and pantheistic cosmic
sense provide a basis for dialogue with Eastern mysticism, which
Teilhard himself did not pursue. Teilhard's new mysticism is
strangely both Eastern and Marxist. ..."

~ Janice

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Wed Dec 27 21:11:07 2006

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Dec 27 2006 - 21:11:07 EST