Teilhard, God and Evolution
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s faith in the connection between evolution and religion created dogmatic backlash toward his philosophical pursuits. His belief centered around the notion that God is implied in the theory of evolution and this position led him to be cast as an outsider of both science and religion. This brief essay will outline his theories in an attempt to synthesize his approach with the hopes of advancing the dialogue surrounding this thought provoking individual.
Teilhard held that God was implied in the theory of evolution on the basis that there had to be an original creator to have conceived the physical world in the manner that allowed for evolution to develop. More specifically, he believed that the whole material world was the setting for a mystical force of creation, such as Christ or God. His theory was that the universal presence of a divine entity was evident in the world at hand as well as inside each and every individual. He writes in The Divine Milieu, “By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us, penetrates us and moulds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers” (Chardin). In this manner, the earthly challenges that the whole world encounters can be conceived of as a religious sphere that we all have access to. The divine, in Teilhard’s view, awaited us as long as we learned how to look. The officials in the Church disagreed on account that they were the only link between humans and the divine.
Teilhard’s view led to many detractors from the religious and scientific communities, but his vision helped shape theologians to come in their quest for divine understanding and the reconciliation between science and religion.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. (1968). The Divine Milieu: An Essay on the Interior Life. Harper and Row. New York, New York. P.112.