Re: [asa] Cosmological Evolution?

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Dec 28 2006 - 09:13:41 EST

& of course one needs to know what Teilhard meant by "pantheist" & in particular whether when he spoke of his views in that way he meant the same thing the critic means. E.g., in his essay "Pantheism and Christianity" he rejects "heterodox forms of the pantheist impulse" such as "Spinozism, Hegelianism or theosophy." If we're to use terms in the way theologians use them today I think "panentheism" would be a more accurate characterization of Teilhard's views, whatever word he may have used.

In any case the term I originally objected to for him was "biocentrist" & that's certainly inaccurate. While Teilhard certainly saw humanity as part of nature, in union with it &c, he certainly thought that "hominization" was an advance on earlier forms of life.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Janice Matchett
  To: George Murphy ; Gregory Arago ;
  Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 9:10 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Cosmological Evolution?

  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 temperament."


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Received on Thu Dec 28 09:14:53 2006

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