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A New Cosmology

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Cosmic Christ: Week 2

A New Cosmology
Friday, November 4, 2016

[The cosmos] is fundamentally and primarily living. [1] Christ, through his Incarnation, is interior to the world, rooted in the world even in the very heart of the tiniest atom. [2] Nothing seems to me more vital, from the point of view of human energy, than the appearance and, eventually, the systematic cultivation of such a “cosmic sense.” [3] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry have both helped me come to my understanding of the Cosmic Christ. As Paul saw Christ as a single “New Man” (see Ephesians 2:15), as Duns Scotus saw Christ as the Alpha point of history, so Teilhard saw the same Divine Icon as the Omega point of cosmic history—he was both the archetypal starting point and the alluring final goal. The end was therefore already contained in the beginning. History is both emanating from and also seduced by the same force: Divine Love. But do not confuse this with any sentimental notion of love. Teilhard uses the word “love” to describe the cosmic allurement of everything toward everything, a structural, metaphysical shape to the universe, most visible in the basic laws of gravity, electro-magnetic fields, and sexual reproduction.

And yet there is a constant price that must be paid to be faithful to such foundational love. Everything is also fragmented and fighting this very process of reunification. For Christians, this resistance is symbolized by the cross. There is a cruciform shape to reality, it seems, and loss precedes all renewal, emptiness makes way for every new infilling, every transformation in the universe requires the surrendering of a previous “form.” Nothing in the human psyche likes this pattern. It is the big fly in the cosmic ointment!

It may take us hundreds of years more to move beyond the old story, the ancient cosmology that viewed matter and spirit, light and dark, you and me, as separate entities and life and death as total opposites. Christ is the Living Icon of all Reality and all Reconciliation. His very being says that matter and Spirit are one! Life and death are one! The Christ Mystery is the code-breaker for the human dilemma.

Collectively, we’re moving toward the Omega point; but every time you and I hate, fear, compete, attack, judge, separate—thus avoiding the necessary letting gowe are resisting the full flow of Love, the energy which is driving the universe forward. As the central doctrine of the Trinity has made clear to many of us, there can be no infilling unless there is first of all a self-emptying. The “Three Persons,” who are the template for all of reality (see Genesis 1:26-27), can only pour themselves out because they have agreed to let go, and they can only receive because they have made space for the other. Self-emptying and infilling in equal measure is the only sustainable meaning of Love, growth, and Life Itself. [4] If Christ is the human code-breaker, Trinity is the universal code-breaker.

Gateway to Silence:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

[1] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Human Energy, tr. J. M. Cohen (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1969), 23.
[2] Teilhard de Chardin, Science and Christ, tr. René Hague (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 36.
[3] Teilhard de Chardin, Human Energy, 130-131.
[4] This is much of the thesis in my most recent book, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker: 2016).

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Christ, Cosmology, & Consciousness: A Reframing of How We See (CAC: 2010), MP3 download.

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