The Pattern of Evolution

The Cosmic Christ: Week 2

The Pattern of Evolution
Thursday, November 3, 2016

Perhaps the reason it is so hard for us to see the evolution of the Cosmic Christ in our individual lives and in the arc of history is that this groaning and this giving birth (see Romans 8:22) proceeds by a process of losses and gains, and the losses are very real. There is no doubt that history goes three steps forward and two steps backward, but thank God there always seems to be a net gain. Even though we continue to see war, racism, classism, genocide, and ignorance, violence is actually declining. We may be more aware of the world’s suffering now than ever before, but as compared with previous periods in history, we are living in a relatively peaceful time. [1]

Historically and to this day, it seems that when a new level of maturity is found, there is an immediate and strong instinct to pull backward to the old and familiar. Thankfully, within churches and society at large there is always a leaven, a critical mass, a few people who carry the momentum toward greater inclusivity, compassion, and love. This is the Second Coming of Christ: Christ embodied by people who know that hatred and greed are always regressive, and who can no longer live fearfully or violently. There are always some who have touched upon Love and been touched by Love, which is to touch upon the Christ Mystery. This is the shape of “salvation.”

Teilhard de Chardin writes: “Everything that rises must converge.” [2] In other words, higher levels of evolution are always a movement toward greater unity. Along the way there will be differentiation and complexity, but paradoxically, that increased complexity moves life to a greater level of unity, until in the end there is only God who is “all in all” (see 1 Corinthians 15:28). If it isn’t moving toward unity, it is not a higher level of consciousness.

But along with differentiation and complexity there will also be an equal pushback, fear, and confusion. We see this in our current political climate in America and much of the world. The United States has suffered eight years of nonstop gridlock and opposition to any creative governance. It mirrors Newton’s Third Law of Motion that “every action elicits an equal and opposite reaction.” Today many people are reverting to tribal thinking, denial, fear, and hatred, rather than turning to compassionate, creative solutions to real challenges of poverty, climate change, and the many worldwide forms of injustice.

I highly recommend here any of the writings of Thomas Berry, who in many ways brings Teilhard de Chardin realistically forward because he has sixty more years of science, and also sixty more years of planetary push back, to bring to the present conversation. [3] Berry is another prophet in our times.

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

References:
[1] If you’re curious to see supporting data for the idea that earth is less violent, see Steven Pinker and Andrew Mack’s article “The World Is Not Falling Apart” (Slate: 2014).
[2] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man (Image Books: 1964), 186.
[3] I highly recommend exploring Thomas Berry’s writings, such as The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-first Century, The Christian Future and the Fate of Earth, and The Great Work: Our Way into the Future.

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

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