An Incarnational Worldview

Christ Since the Beginning

An Incarnational Worldview
Friday, February 22, 2019

What I am calling an incarnational worldview is the profound recognition of the presence of the divine in literally “every thing” and “every one.” It is the key to mental and spiritual health, as well as to a kind of basic contentment and happiness.

Ilia Delio, an expert on geologist and Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955), writes:

Building on the idea that love is self-communicative, Teilhard indicated that in the [first] incarnation, the “self” of God is in the “self-emptying” of God. God is that which is constantly becoming “element,” drawing all things through love into fullness of being. God incarnate invests Godself organically with all of creation, immersing [Godself] in things, in the heart of matter and thus unifying the world. This investment of divinity in materiality is the Christ. The universe is physically impregnated to the very core of its matter by the influence of this divine nature. Everything is physically “christified,” gathered up by the incarnate Word as nourishment that assimilates, transforms, and divinizes. The world is like a crystal lamp illumined from within by the light of Christ. For those who can see, Christ shines in this diaphanous universe, through the cosmos and in matter. [1]

Christians believe that this universal presence was later “born of a woman under the law” (Galatians 4:4) in a moment of chronological time. This is the great Christian leap of faith, which not everyone is willing to make.

We daringly believe that God’s presence was poured into a single human being, so that humanity and divinity can be seen to be operating as one in him—and therefore in us! But instead of saying that God came into the world through Jesus, maybe it would be better to say that Jesus came out of an already Christ-soaked world. The second Incarnation flowed out of the first, out of God’s loving union with physical creation.

My point is this: When I know that the world around me is both the hiding place and the revelation of God, I can no longer make a significant distinction between the natural and the supernatural, between the holy and the profane. (A divine “voice” makes this exactly clear to a very resistant Peter in Acts 10.) Everything I see and know is indeed one “uni-verse,” revolving around one coherent center. This Divine Presence always seeks connection and communion, not separation or division—except for the sake of an even deeper future union.

References:
[1] Ilia Delio, A Hunger for Wholeness: Soul, Space, and Transcendence (Paulist Press: 2018), 45.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 14-15, 18.

Image credit: Monhegan, Maine (detail), Nicholas Roerich, 1922, International Centre of the Roerichs Museum, Moscow, Russia.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: In the beginning was the Cosmic Blueprint (“Logos”), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. —John 1:1-5

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