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Teilhard's Vision and the Environment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2014

Brennan R. Hill
Xavier University


Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a pioneer in integrating modern science and Christian theology. He was also a mystic who throughout his life and writings attempted to share the ways in which the divine was the source, power and goal of all creation and to point out how spirit glowed within all of matter. Teilhard's vision of the earth can be most helpful today as we attempt to restore and sustain our environment. In this article I will explore Teilhard's deep reverence for the cosmos and humanity, as well as his views on how God's power works through Christ and the church. Along the way I will suggest how this vision might be linked to our contemporary concerns for our environment. I will close with some recommendations for updating Teilhard's vision so that it might better serve our present day needs.

Copyright © The College Theology Society 2001

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37 Teilhard's anthropocentric view is problematic today, since many environmentalists advocate a more earth-centered perspective and place more emphasis on the inter-connectedness of all things.

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59 Science and Christ, 80.

60 Toward the Future, 37.

61 The Heart of Matter, 206.

62 Science and Christ, 57.

63 Ibid, 63.

64 Ibid, 63–64.

66 Ibid, 70. See also The Heart of Matter, 99.

67 The Future of Man, 23.

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78 Toward the Future, 33.

79 Ibid, 38–39. See Trennert-Helwig, Mathias, “The Church as the Axis of Convergence in Teilhard's Theology and Life,” Zygon 30 (March 1995): 7391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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88 See King, Ursula, “Teilhard's Reflections on Eastern Religions Revisited,” Zygon 30 (March 1995): 4773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Many see Thomas Berry as a legitimate successor of Teilhard. Berry is a disciple of Teilhard, but is contemporary in his scientific views, focuses on the evils of environmental destruction, is earth-centered, and has a deep respect for Eastern religions. See Berry, Thomas, The Dream of the Earth (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1988)Google Scholar and—Swimme, Brian, The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Age—A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1992).Google Scholar

89 Hymn of the Universe, 30.