Evolution as Christogenesis Essay

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Evolution as Cosmogenesis

Some people still think that evolution is just a theory, first advanced by Charles Darwin over 150 years ago to describe our human descent from apes. But this way of understanding it only covers a small fraction of what evolution is all about. Jesuit priest and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was among the first in the modern era to champion that evolution is not a theory but a fact, demonstrating itself in every stratum of our planetary experience. In fact, the appropriate term is not evolution but cosmogenesis, passing on a comprehensive definition that everything in our cosmos, (geological, sociological, spiritual etc.) is actively in a progress. In other words, the cosmos is in the process of continuous change and unfolding before our eyes. Furthermore, Teilhard was among the first to verify that cosmogenesis cannot be limited to the antiquated Darwinian theory of the origin of species.

Everything around us is in process. The air we breathe and the ground we’re standing on. This can be initially unsettling. The human mind is more comfortable standing on unchanging religious dogma rather than change and fluidity. Most of the time, the impression that the universe is unchanging is based on perceiving it at the wrong timeframe. In our usual timeframe, the geographical formations like mountains, islands, and continents of our planet seem to be motionless. But over time mountains move, continents drift, and oceans increase and decrease. That star in the night sky turns out to be an enormous fireball in the process of self-destruction. The solid chair I am sitting on dissolves at the quantum level into a fiery dance of electrons and neutrons spinning in their orbits and from there into even smaller particles appearing and disappearing. The process continues until eventually the illusion of solidity disappears into a vortex of vibrational frequency. From this paradigm, everything is in motion and evolution can be our interpretive starting point.

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Understandably, this paradigm is very challenging to traditional theology and dogma. Therefore, some people, even in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary, continuously claim that evolution is only a theory and that the biblical timeframe of creation originate from an eternal changelessness is the only correct possibility. To believe otherwise would seem to them like yielding to confusion.

The Evolution of God

A world that’s in the process of continuous change is certainly not a ruination of the divine life but an essential expression of It. Rather than fixing our minds on an eternally changeless above, it’s about learning to entrust ourselves to a dynamic, indwelling future that will meet and carry us as we ride the wave of cosmogenesis, creation-in-motion. Over the past few century’s theologians have tried to spin their theories and connect divine truth with the idea that the universe doesn’t change. However, the issue is that we have no validation anywhere in the universe that ‘eternal changelessness’ exists anywhere. Creation is in motion.

As you can probably see, cosmogenesis challenges many traditional and institutional belief systems. For the first 1500 years of its institutional existence, the biblical world was the scientific world. The creation account told in the book of Genesis was the only universe story the Christian world knew. At the end of the fifteenth century, the conventional understanding of the universe fell into a series of disruptions. When people such as Columbus, Copernicus, Galileo, and many others riding their wave, the Christian world learned new and challenging facts that the earth was not flat, the sun did not revolve around the earth, and the earth was a small globe spinning in a solar system fixed within an unlimited expanse of space and time whose dimensions exceeded our wildest imagination.

The last nail in the coffin to the conventional understanding of the univserse was Einstein’s theory of relativity, which showed us that at the subatomic level, matter is condensed energy. And space, time, and energy are unified within a continuum. Most of mainstream Christianity eventually got onboard with the new cosmological map, but at the cost of a series of disruptions of the former paradigms.

Christian fundamentalist are trying to restore the foundation to that former paradigm and sense of solidarity. At times people do not have the mental bandwidth to comprehend anything outside of mythical stories they heard in bible study. Sadly, their method is very successful but in a very limited way. This method has been to minimize the amazing narrative of universe story back to its biblical foundations and persistently hold it there through ‘faith.’ Standing within the 14th century paradigm may restore a sense of stability but at an enormous cost, their standing on the Western intellectual landscape. It is here where Christian fundamentalism refuses to evolve as it hides behind stain glass windows and church pews, waiting for an escape as science reveals to us a breathtaking view of the universe created by the Christ who is the Alpha, the beginning.

Teilhard however, takes an opposing method of the standard understanding of the universe. Rather than minimizing the universe to its mythological foundations, he expands the biblical story to the size of the universe as we currently know it, 13.8 billion years old, an enormous galaxy among galaxies, all within the limitlessness of the space-time continuum. Furthermore, Teilhard brilliantly established that the core of the faith and biblical history still hold firmly together while the foundations of the bible continue to fall in the same places.

Based on irrefutable scientific evidence, Teilhard demonstrates that the Christian view of the universe can grow to the same proportions of the universe that’s known in our modern era, without throwing away intellectual integrity.

In order to ride the wave, this new idea requires visionary thinking and a renewed sense of wonder that has been choked out and restricted within strictly categorized doctrines and institutionalism that have nothing to do with core doctrines of the Christianity. It requires willingness to think independently and letting go of religious dogma. That capacity lies in the awakening of mystical vision, specifically, the capacity to stop thinking and simply see.

Over the next few chapters we’ll be expand each of these four concepts, cosmogenesis, complexification, convergence, and Christ-omega. As well as work our way through some of the challenges this teaching carries.

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