Brian Swimme On Chardin - The Divinization Of The Cosmos (107.0 Kb)
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An interview with Brian Swimme on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by Susan Bridle. In our reading and wide-ranging research for this issue of What Is Enlightenment?, we found the name of the mid-century French Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin popping up again and again.His visionary writings, we discovered, have been an important source of revelation and inspiration for many scientists, ecologists, futurists, and theologians who are now grappling with critical questions about the state of the earth and ... More >>>
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An interview with Brian Swimme on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by Susan Bridle. In our reading and wide-ranging research for this issue of What Is Enlightenment?, we found the name of the mid-century French Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin popping up again and again.
His visionary writings, we discovered, have been an important source of revelation and inspiration for many scientists, ecologists, futurists, and theologians who are now grappling with critical questions about the state of the earth and the human being's place within it. When we read excerpts from Teilhard's The Human Phenomenon, The Divine Milieu, and The Future of Man, we immediately understood why.
Brian Swimme has been a student of Teilhard's work for many years. Himself a scientist with an abiding interest in the interface of science and spirituality, Swimme's own passion and understanding have been deeply influenced by Teilhard's ideas.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who taught New Age mystical doctrine. De Chardin was not his last name but was a French aristocratic title.
Pierre Teilhard was trained by the Jesuits from age 11 and ordained to the priesthood in 1911.
He is referred to in a positive manner by many within the contemplative movement. In the introduction to his edition of The Cloud of Unknowing, William Johnston refers to "the dynamic approach of Teilhard de Chardin," calling it "biblical." Richard Foster includes a chapter by Teilhard in his book Spiritual Disciplines. Larry Crabb recommends Teilhard's book The Divine Milieu. Brennan Manning quotes sympathetically from Teilhard. John Michael Talbot says, "Teilhard de Chardin broke yet new ground with his Cosmic Christ, and a revolutionary marriage between science and mysticism" (Come to the Quiet, p. 95). John Yungblut combined Christian contemplation with Jungian psychology and Teilhard's doctrine of the evolution of the universe. Bret McCracken, in Hipster Christianity, says cool emerging Christians identify with Teilhard (p. 98).
Teilhard's (pronounced tay-yar) major writings include The Phenomenon of Man (1955), The Divine Milieu (1957), The Future of Man (1959), Human Energy (1962), The Activation of Energy (1963), Hymn of the Universe (1964), and Christianity and Evolution (1969).
Pierre Teilhard was "a leading proponent of orthogenesis, the idea that evolution occurs in a directional, goal driven way" ("Pierre Teilhard de Chardin," Wikipedia). He called it "sacred evolution." He didn't believe in blind naturalistic evolution as per Darwin or Huxley, but in evolution as the tool used by "God" to create and perfect the universe. He described "sacred evolution" as follows:
"In very truth, it is God, and God alone whose Spirit stirs up the whole mass of the universe in ferment. ... The fact is that creation has never stopped. The creative act is one huge continual gesture, drawn out over the totality of time. It is still going on" (The Mystical Milieu, 1917).
This is a blatant denial of the Bible's teaching that God made the heaven and earth in six "evening and morning" days and that He rested from creation on the seventh day.
Pierre Teilhard's views on evolution were influenced through studies at the Museum of National History in Paris and by evolutionists Henri Bergson and Theodosius Dobzhansky. The New York Times for March 19, 1937, described Teilhard as "the Jesuit who held that man descended from monkeys." Teilhard carried out research into man's evolution, making extended paleontological* explorations in China and elsewhere. He was one of discoverers of the Peking Man in China and helped excavate the gravel pit in England where the Piltdown Man was discovered, both supposed "missing links" between man and apes. The Piltdown Man was exposed in 1953 as a deliberate forgery consisting of the lower jawbone of an orangutan combined with the skull of a man. Teilhard's role in the hoax is unknown. (* Paleontology is the study of prehistoric life forms through the examination of fossils.)
One of Teilhard's scientific colleagues was Julian Huxley, who helped promote Teilhard's writings and penned the foreword to the 1959 edition of The Phenomenon of Man. Julian was the grandson of the infamous Thomas Huxley (1825-1893), the friend of Charles Darwin who turned Darwinian evolution into a campaign against God. Julian was a brash evolutionist in his own right. He developed the "modern synthesis," the unified form of evolution that is accepted by the great majority of biologists and that basically declares evolution by natural selection a fact rather than a theory, claiming that is consistent with all modern "scientific" findings in every field of biology. Julian was an atheistic humanist, the first director of UNESCO, a founding member of the World Wildlife Fund, and a proponent of human population control. Julian's brother, Aldous, was a Hindu mystic who claimed to have found enlightenment through drugs.
Teilhard taught that God is the consciousness of the universe, that everything is one, and that everything is evolving in greater and greater enlightenment toward an ultimate point of perfection. He called this perfection CHRIST, THE SPIRIT OF THE EARTH, and THE OMEGA POINT. Teilhard spoke much of Christ, but his Christ was not the Christ of the Bible.
To Pierre Teilhard, all men's souls constitute the "soul of the world" which is evolving toward the "ultimate convergence in perfection on Omega and the Christ" (Anne Bancroft, Twentieth-Century Mystics, p. 55). Thus, man is part of the divine and will eventually merge with it. He called his theory of evolution the Law of Complexity, claiming that the Omega Point is drawing the universe to itself so that it is being guided toward ever higher states of consciousness. He described the Omega Point as a divine personal intellectual being that is outside of the framework of evolution and that is guiding the evolution.
Pierre Teilhard denied every major doctrine of the Bible. He denied the transcendent holy creator God, Satan, the fall of man, the unique divinity of Jesus, the substitutionary atonement, the bodily resurrection, and salvation through personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Pierre Teilhard taught that evolution has progressed in three stages, the geosphere, the biosphere, and the noosphere. The geosphere (inanimate matter) was formed first, followed by the biosphere (biological life). The NOOSPHERE is the "sphere of human thought" or "collective consciousness" that is now supposedly evolving toward perfection. "It is like a thinking envelope of the earth of which all humans are part. All contribute to it through their thinking, feeling, connecting, and interacting with each other, and above all, through their powers of love" (King, Spirit of Fire, p. 88). Modern technological achievements such as the Internet are seen by many as a fulfillment of this evolutionary leap. Teilhard called the early computers at Berkeley and Harvard "the last word in systematization after the last word in energy" (King, p. 214). "According to Tom Wolfe's 2000 book Hooking Up, the teachings of Teilhard de Chardin influenced many of the engineers that were the creators of Silicon Valley in California" ("Pierre Teilhard," Wikipedia). Lyndon LaRouche, who ran for the U.S. presidency, based his political theories on the importance of the noosphere in human development.
In The Phenomenon of Man (1968) Teilhard claimed that mankind is on the verge of an evolutionary leap in consciousness similar to that allegedly achieved when man emerged from the animal kingdom.