The general theory of Evolution is diametrically opposed to Christian revelation and creed. It opened a chasm between modern thinking and traditional Christianity. Ostensibly to bridge this chasm, and professedly to clothe Christianity in a garb acceptable to science, there came a Jesuit priest, "Father" Teilhard de Chardin. Whatever his personal motives may have been, his ideas have done more damage to orthodox Catholicism than those of probably any other person in history. His "evolution-theology" has raised a new religion.
Teilhard gained a reputation in scientific circles, as we have already seen, for his part in the setting up of the phony Piltdown Man as well as Peking Man, the real story of which is tainted with equally discreditable procedures.
Teilhard's mind was firmly locked into evolutionism on a grand scale. He proclaimed: "Evolution is not just a hypothesis or theory… It is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy if they are thinkable and true." To Teilhard, evolution and polygenism were the essential realities which Christianity must perforce satisfy (i.e. faith must be the slave of science).
In 1922, he wrote an essay which treated Original Sin in a way contrary to Church teaching. By mistake it went to the Vatican, and Teilhard was nearly excommunicated. He was forbidden to teach or preach; but he wrote secretly, and his pamphlets were passed from hand to hand. He wrote several books formulating a Christianity which bowed to total evolutionism. His books were refused a Church Imprimatur and remained unpublished.
Bridges: (a) His followers claim that Teilhard built a bridge between religion and science. As regards the religious end of the bridge, even some modern theologians have described Teilhard's work as "disastrous." As regards the scientific end, it is hard to imagine any scientist using Teilhard's bridge to approach religion. England's famous man of medicine, Nobel Prize winner, Sir Peter Medawar, stated that Teilhard's works lack scientific structure and that his competence in the field of science is modest. In The Art of the Soluble (1967), Sir Peter dismissed Teilhard's works as a bag of tricks for gullible people-for people whose education has outstripped their capacity for analysis.
(b) Teilhard's work is also claimed to be a bridge between Christians and Marxists. Dietrich von Hildebrand (in Trojan Horse in the City of God) quotes Teilhard's own words: "As I love to say, the synthesis of the Christian God (of the above) and of the Marxist god (of the forward)-behold! that is the only god whom henceforth we can adore in spirit and in truth." Von Hildebrand comments: "In this sentence the abyss separating Teilhard from Christianity is manifest in every word."
The non-Catholic biologist, Bolton Davidheiser, Ph.D. (in Evolution and Christian Faith) tells us: "The delegates of the Twentieth Annual Convention of the American Scientific Affiliation were told that 'in Europe, both Christians and Marxists find his thought the most helpful bridge this century offers between what once seemed their irreducibly opposing views.'" It is noteworthy that Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis drew attention to extreme evolutionists whose monistic or pantheistic speculations are eagerly welcomed by the Communists as being powerful weapons for popularizing dialectical materialism. Unfortunately Chardin was not condemned by name.
Pantheism (?): In a letter dated January 26, 1936, Teilhard wrote: "What increasingly dominates my interest… is the effort to establish within myself, and to diffuse around me, a new religion (let's call it an improved Christianity if you like) whose personal god is no longer the great neolithic landowner of times gone by, but the soul of the world… [emphasis added].
Matter and Spirit: Essential to Teilhard's whole system is the assertion that matter and spirit are one. He uses the Spinozan idea that matter has a "within'' and a "without." From the outside it is matter; but, looked at from within, this matter has consciousness and thought. Also, the "within" and the "without" are developing in complexity.
Teilhard taught that primitive particles of matter assembled into more complex arrangements until some of the most complex arrangements burst into life. Lifeless matter had become alive, and it continued to complexify until it reached a "boiling point," whereupon the living matter became conscious. The animal stage had been reached. The complexifying continued. The brains of some higher animals attained such complexity that, in one type of animal, thought was generated and the animal became man. Matter, in the shape of man, had begun to think.
From that point, Teilhard proposes that evolution is sweeping man's thinking-consciousness upwards toward the climax when all humanity will merge into a "super-consciousness" with common thought and common will. He calls this the Omega Point where, he says, all creation will be united with christ (the cosmic christ, evolutor of the world) and absorbed in god. (Much like Oprah describes Obama-man.)
To claim that matter and spirit are the same leads to a denial of the spirit world followed by rejection of the supernatural character of Christianity. I detect an element of cheating in the proposition that the material and the spiritual are one. It is as if Teilhard saw that he faced a problem in getting mind to evolve from matter, and he got over the problem by pronouncing in advance that mind and matter are the same substance. His disciples gravely nod in agreement, not because Teilhard produces evidence, or even a good argument, but simply because Teilhard says so.
The "Cosmic Christ": "Christ saves. But must we not hasten to add that Christ, too, is saved by evolution?" Chardin's "christ" is no longer the God-Man, the Redeemer; he is the initiator of a purely natural evolutionary process, and also its end—the christ-omega. Any unprejudiced mind must ask: Why should this cosmic force be called "christ?" Teilhard has dreamed up an alleged cosmogenic force and has then tied onto it the label "christ." But Teilhard, the obsessed evolutionist, has a basic conception of the world which cannot admit traditional Original Sin. Consequently his world has no place for the Jesus Christ of the Gospels, because, without Original Sin, the redemption of man through Christ loses its inner meaning.
Teilhardism Invades: Teilhard de Chardin died in 1955. Thereupon, a group of people who were extreme evolutionists, many of whom were atheists, had his works published without the authority of his Jesuit superiors. From that moment, Teilhardism invaded the Catholic Church on a large scale. Teilhard's ideas entered modern catechetics and many priests and nuns espoused them. Children whose parents had never even heard of Chardin were subjected to his ideas.
It has been said that the real danger to the Church is Modernism and that evolutionism is only a minor academic exercise. Such a view misses the point that Modernism and Teilhardism have their source and lifeblood in the General Theory of Evolution. Logic, theology, and sweet reason usually will bounce off the Modernist. However, if you discredit evolution, you collapse the foundation of it all and the Modernist is left without support. While this might not cause a change of heart in a dedicated Modernist, it should fortify the ordinary person against the intellectual seduction of Modernism. Above all, if we can get through to our young people that evolution is unscientific nonsense in the extreme, they will be spared the religious doubts and compromises which propel them into the pseudo-sanctuary of Modernism and Teilhardism.
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