Everything That Rises Will Converge — Center for Action and Contemplation
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Everything That Rises Will Converge

Paul: Week 1

Everything That Rises Will Converge
Friday, March 11, 2016

In Romans 8:22, Paul says, “From the beginning until now, the entire creation as we know it has been groaning in one great act of giving birth.” Just this one line from Paul should be enough to justify a Christian belief in evolution. Yet to this day, the issue of evolution still divides some Christians, questioning what is rather obvious: that God creates things that create themselves. Wouldn’t this be the greatest way that God could create—to give autonomy, freedom, and grace to things to keep self-creating even further? (Uncreative minds tend to not see or allow creativity anywhere else. In fact, that is what makes them so uncreative!)

Healthy parents love their children so much that they want them to keep growing, producing, and performing to their highest potential. Good parents are even excited when their children surpass them, as my uneducated farmer parents were when I went off to higher studies. Mature parents are generative about their children and say, in my paraphrase of Jesus’ words: “Don’t get too excited about the things that I did. You’re going to do even greater things!” (John 14:12). Immature parents only see their children as images and extensions of themselves. Truly loving parents empower and delight in the even larger and independent successes of those they love.

For a long time most people were satisfied with a very static universe. But now we clearly see the universe is unfolding and expanding. It’s moving until, as Augustine put it, “In the end there will only be Christ loving himself,” or as Paul writes, “There is only Christ, he is everything and he is in everything” (Colossians 3:11). Paul sees history as an ongoing process of ever greater inclusion of every lesser force until in the end, “God will be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). Christ is our word for the One reality that includes everything and excludes nothing; it is really universal forgiveness in all directions!

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the twentieth century Jesuit, would agree. In Ilia Delio’s words, Teilhard “described the human species in evolution toward the fullness of unity in love. . . . [He said] the way forward is a new spirituality by which humans around the globe can unite to become one mind and one heart in love, a new ultrahumanity united only by love.” [1] Teilhard believed that “everything that rises must converge.” [2]

Gateway to Silence:
My life is not about me. I am about Life.

References:
[1] Ilia Delio, Compassion: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis (Franciscan Media: 2011), xiv.

[2] Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man (Image Books: 1964), 186.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Great Themes of Paul: Life as Participation (Franciscan Media: 2002), disc 11 (CD);
Christ, Cosmology, and Consciousness (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), MP3 download;
and A New Cosmology: Nature as the First Bible (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2009), disc 2 (CD, MP3 download).

Image Credit: Conversion on the Way to Damascus (detail), Caravaggio, 1601.  Santa Maria del Popolo, Rome, Italy.
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