From time to time the kind people at Alban Books send me books for review. I recently received this book From Teilhard to Omega, a series of essays on Teilhard de Chardin a Jesuit scientist with very interesting views on evolution as a development from geosphere to biosphere to noosphere. He was inspired by and worked with other scientists such as Vladimir Vernadsky, who was an atheist, and Eduoard Le Roy, who was a Catholic.
de Chardin believed in something I think many Christians forget when they look at the world. Evolution is a constant process and we humans are actively, not passively involved in it. The concepts of both the biosphere and the noosphere take the position that humanity (or more strictly biological life) impacts directly on the world and moves it onwards/upwards/downwards, that in effect we are co-creating with God. We aren’t just stewards or masters of a static home, we are intimately involved in the way the world develops through both biological processes and now in the noosphere through thought and knowledge. It is a positive view of evolution, a positive view of humanity’s place in evolution.
He tends to divide thought. The Vatican censored some of his work because of his views on original sin, some biologists think he was a charlatan, some physicists have rated his work and thought very highly. You can’t please all of the people all of the time.
The point for Christians is to look at the implications of his thinking. It’s tempting to think of our world as on either a hiding to disaster through humanity’s actions or just fine, because ‘it’s all God’s plan’. What I am looking forward to is exploring how Teilhard’s work places us in a co-creative relationship to God beyond simply reproduction, one that encompasses all the unbelievable technological advances we are currently making and looks forward into a dynamic future.
I should probably get on with reading this then…