The following is taken from a little-known book, Hymn of the Universe, by Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard was a French Jesuit mystic, scientist and poet. He had a deep faith in God and a profound interpretation of spirituality which reconciled evolution, consciousness and the divine. The Church officially condemned his writings and ordered him not to publish his ideas. Consequently, he lived a rather quiet life in China doing anthropological work and privately accumulating a great amount of writings which were to be published post-humously. He is most well known for popularizing the term "noosphere," and "The Law of Complexity/Consciousness."
For Teilhard, matter was divine. It was the clay from which God would shape creation over great spans of time. Evolution was doubly divine, for it was Spirit-in-process, working to awaken to itself. Humanity held a special place in Teilhard's cosmology, because we represented the axis of evolution itself. Evolution was a work-in-process, and progress, so it didn't stop with human kind. The next great emergence, of which we were playing a part in creating, was a "noosphere," an emergent "Mind" which included not just a thinking layer, but a Spiritual layer of the Earth.
Matter groped for Mind, Mind groped to awaken Spirit within itself. The Soul of the Earth was thus in the midst of being born. But first, we had to evolve beyond our petty differences and realize these vast, emergent processes at work in evolution. We had to realize what was being born through us, from us. Something greater than individualism, "Omega." The pinnacle of becoming.
Teilhard saw Christ as the living symbol of what was yet-to-come. A human being who was both flesh and divine. Something great was yet to come, and we were through our unconscious efforts giving birth to that new age, and new humanity.
Reading his most famous work, The Phenomenon of Man, one gets a sense that telling the story of evolution through this new lens was a sacred act for him. He had a mystical vision that united and reinvented Christianity for an age of science and evolution. Perhaps future generations will value his work as a formative text in a new planetary age.
"Blessed be you, universal matter, immeasurable time, boundless ether, triple abyss of stars and atoms and generations: you who by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards or measurement reveal to us the dimensions of God. Blessed be you, impenetrable matter: you who, interposed between our minds and the world of essences, cause us to languish with the desire to pierce through the seamless veil of phenomena.
Blessed be you, mortal matter: you who one day will undergo the process of dissolution within us and will thereby take us forcibly into the very heart that which exists.
Without you, without your onslaughts, without your uprootings of us, we should remain all our lives inert, stagnant, puerile, ignorant both of ourselves and of God. You who batter us and then dress our wounds, you who resist us and yield to us, you who wreck and build, you who shackle and liberate, the sap of our souls, the hand of God, the flesh of Christ: it is you, matter, that I bless.
I bless you, matter, and you I acclaim: not as the pontiffs of science or the moralizing preachers depict you, debased, disfigured–a mass of brute forces and base appetites–but as you reveal yourself to me today, in your totality and your true nature.
I acclaim you as the divine milieu, charged with creative power, as the ocean stirred by the Spirit, as the clay molded and infused with life by the incarnate Word."
Stay tuned for more selections and "spotlight" authors in the Evolutionary Spirituality series!