Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Ecotheology 10.2 August 2005

Teilhard de Chardin's Engagement with the Relationship between Science and Theology in Light of Discussions about Environmental Ethics

Ludovico Galleni, Francesco Scalfari
Issued Date: 22 Feb 2007


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was among the most outstanding palaeontologists
of the twentieth century. He was also a Jesuit whose task was to bring
to the Church the novelty of the modern world. This novelty was evolution,
the irreversible change in time characterized by a movement toward
complexity and consciousness. Teilhard de Chardin proposed a research
programme that would provide evidence for this increasing complexity in
the animal evolution of canalizations and parallelisms. The most important
of these was the move toward cerebralisation observed in various phyla. In
order to investigate the mechanisms, he proposed biology as the science of
the complexity of life, and geobiology as the science of the evolving biosphere.
Teilhard de Chardin developed a synthesis with theology where
humankind carried forward evolution with convergence towards the
Omega point, the moment of the parousia of Christ. This eschatological
perspective was strictly related to the survival of Earth, which itself
allowed the emergence of humanity. At this point the preservation of the
biosphere acquires all of its ethical value as it is the means to reach the
eschatological task of the parousia of Christ. Finally, the relationship
between the biosphere and the noosphere is suggested by the concept of
symbiosis. In this way, the model of Teilhard de Chardin is a model of
continuing exchange between science and theology with a reciprocal
enrichment providing, among the many aspects, a new vision of the relationships
between humankind and the biosphere.

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DOI: 10.1558/ecot.2005.10.2.196


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