Chardin: The Matter of Man

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin lays the foundation of his theory regarding the evolutionary process currently happening all around with a poetic description of a new way to view the cosmos. Chardin paints a picture from one end of the materiel universe to the other with the hope of broadening our view of reality. He dares us to expand our preconditioned minds, from seeing only those things directly in front of us that are rooted in scientific fact, to imagine where it is we are going. Chardin challenges us to take the knowledge we have learned through science [in particular through evolution], combine it with the hope we find in the New Testament, and use these tools as a means of envisioning the direction we are driving towards in our eternal state of being. Teilhard wants to not only impart such a vision, but more importantly wants to encourage humanity to work together to help bring about that vision.

This vision begins with a fuller, more integrated view of the universe. Chardin bonds together the various ways we currently see reality, in order that the unified whole is replaced as that which is more naturally seen. As we stare out into the cosmos on any given night there are certain things that naturally arise in each of our minds—other solar systems with their own spinning planets, blazing suns being born and dying, black holes, and our dreams of the unknown. Alternatively, we see things in our mind differently when we glance around the very place we are standing or as we look into the eyes of another human. And then there is still another when we ponder those things on the atomic scale. There is space; there is what we see on the scale of the earth and the human race; and then there is the mysterious atomic and mostly undiscovered quantum scale. Teilhard lays this divided spectrum in front of us and then questions the usefulness of such a division. What if the way we viewed the universe could give us a fuller view of the hope we find in Christ? What difference would it make for Christians to regard the physical universe as a whole, rather than a spectrum of divided realities?

The New Testament declares that we are to be built up together to form the body of Christ. This same church that is being built up into Christ also rests upon Christ who is our cornerstone and from which nothing else can be done apart from. This biblical description is echoed in the very fabric of the universe we find all around us. From the smallest and seemingly infinitely divisible molecules, to the massive and constantly expanding universe, each part is both being multiplying and becoming a unified whole at this very moment and in each that follows. And each of these deriving from and hurling towards a singular point (a point later referred to by Chardin as the Omega point). As we begin to grasp the universe as a unified whole of physical matter, rather than in divided spectrums, we can turn our attention to the next layer of reality Chardin asks us to consider. A reality we must become more cognizant of if we wish to work together to build up the body of Christ—the reality of our consciousness.

I love the way the following quote from Chardin encapsulates the beauty that will arise as humanity begins to see itself beyond itself in hopes to become that which we have been called to become: “To see is really to become more … In such a vision man is seen not as a static center of the world he’s for long believed himself to be – but as the access and leading shoot of evolution, which is something much finer.”

3 thoughts on “Chardin: The Matter of Man

  1. Stephanie:

    I found Teilhard de Chardin approximately five years during a dark time in my life and it was a life-changer, so much that I took on his avatar and started a blog :-). Teilhard’s synthesis of science and faith and his deep mysticism is an amazing combination.

    You seem like a strong and courageous woman and I hope that you find Teilhard helpful. I wish you well in your studies and in your life journey.

    W. Ockham


    • Thank you William. I’m so happy to have a connection with another Teilhard admirer. I would love to hear feedback from you as I travel along this journey. Your blog is fantastic and I like the avatar! (Truth be told, I’m a little bit jealous:).


  2. Stephanie:

    This reminded me of this quote from Jamake Hightower (a Blackfoot Native American) from “The Primal Mind: Vision & Reality in Indian America”

    Look twice at the world. Bring your eyes together in front so that they notice every drop of dew on the grass, the steam rising from damp anthills in the sunshine. Then look again, directing the gaze to the very edge of what is visible so that we see visions, cloud people, animals the scurry past us in the dark. “You must learn to look at the world twice if you wish to see all there is to see”

    Looking twice, once through the lens of science, and once again through the lenses of art, beauty, poetry, and the Holy Spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

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