In Saturday’s meditation, I cited Teilhard de Chardin, scientist, mystic, and Jesuit priest, who said that we should add to the teaching that “God is Love” a teaching that “The World is Love.” 

The Building of the Tower of Babel, as painted by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1530-1569). Public domain, from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. Wikimedia Commons.

Is the world Love? Is Teilhard being naïve about evil, shadow, miscommunication (the Tower of Babel story), hatred, war, injustice, racism, sexism, militarism, and human folly?

Or is he on to something? 

As a student of evolution, he wrote this: The magic word ‘evolution’ which haunted my thoughts like a tune: which was to me like unsatisfied hunger, like a promise held out to me, like a summons to be answered.  

Clearly, the deep probing of evolution was a calling, a vocation, to Teilhard. It cost him a lot to pursue that “tune” and “hunger” and “promise.” For example, his teaching job at the Institut Catholique de Paris (my alma mater); a banishment to China; and a demand not to publish any of his books in his lifetime. 

Skull fragments of Peking Man, also known as Homo erectus, on display at the Smithsonian Hall of Human Origins. Photo by Ryan Somma. Wikimedia Commons.

But he turned the exile in China into something very positive, a lemon into lemonade as they say, by making substantial contributions to the exciting archeological findings of “Peking Man.”

What did he come up with in his pursuit of the deeper meaning of evolution? That the world is love. World. Creation. Universe. Cosmos. It is all love.

He is not saying what humans have made of the world is love. He is saying that the world as a whole, with all its evolutionary dynamics, is Love. Our being invited into this 13.8-billion-year history with two trillion galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars (a fact that he did not have in his hands back then), tells a story of Love.

The JWST prompts scientists to rethink our understanding of the universe. Video by PBS NewsHour.

We were loved into existence. Existence is rare. Life and consciousness is rare. And evolution brought it about. We are invited to respond with passion and admiration and love therefore. The world calls us to greater love. Studying and meditating on it assists us in our vocation—as individuals and as a species.

What name should we give to this physio-moral energy of personalization, to which all activities displayed by the stuff of the universe are finally reduced? Only one name is possible, if we are to credit it with the generality and power that it should assume in rising to the cosmic order: Love.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, pp. 226, 228.

See also: Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

And Fox, “The Christ of the Cosmos: Meister Eckhart Meets Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry,” in Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 15-34.

And Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ.

And Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality.

And Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: “Peace Prevails” by RahulGarg (2020). Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you see the world as Love? And evolution as love? What follows from that? How are we doing?

Recommended Reading

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us in wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice.  This revolutionary book does just that.  Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations.  Study and practice these teachings.  Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth.

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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5 thoughts on “Is the World Love as Teilhard Teaches?”

  1. Avatar
    Martina Nicholson

    I love Teilhard’s engagement with evolution, recognizing it as the language God speaks, as He creates the world. I love the energy of complexity-consciousness being Love. That energy lifts us to the next level, which we could never lift ourselves to, on our own power. I love that Teilhard kept grappling with this. But the world is the word we have used to separate what is not love, what is not holy, from what IS love and what IS holy. So the word “world” sits uneasily in the context of “Love” as if it were all there is. Yes, there is the fact that mass and energy are one, at the speed of light. But most of the time, in the world, we are not moving at the speed of light, and if you run into a wall, you will get banged up; as it does not give way as though it is mostly space, filled with a few molecules. Our spiritual journeys are like the story of Exodus, not like a straight line from A to B. Extra light radiated from Teilhard, making him charismatic to all those who knew him. For many of us, we can see past the “solidity” of the world in tiny glimpses, but we cannot stay in that vast cosmic vision for prolonged periods, like which may be given to saints and mystics. I believe Teilhard will be canonized as a Doctor of the church, like Teresa of Avila, and like Aquinas. I hope I live to see it.

  2. Avatar

    From my play “Amici,” Paolo to Samantha
    Maybe you are afraid of becoming too full of life! Don’t be afraid of life, Signorina. The one who put us on this plane is not a god of scarcity. He gives to us abundance! A thin woman can nurse a baby as well as a voluptuous one, but God does not stop with what is sufficient! In Italy, we do not serve our pasta with a pat of butter and a dash of parmigiano. We do not serve our breads in little cakes or our wines in petite little bottles. Look outside on a clear night in the mountains. Is the sky sprinkled with a few dozen stars or is it dashed with a multitude of burning torches like so much mica in an Italian grotto! Were animals put on Earth simply to serve our needs–horses to pull our plows and fishes to fill our bellies? Or did God place some here simply to delight our fancies–lustful peacocks and plodding armadillos, awkward hatchetfish and curious meercats? Eat. Eat the desserts life places on your plate. I think you have been counting your cholesterol too long. Mangia!

    by Michele McFadden (aka Micki Shelton)

  3. Avatar

    GOD IS LOVE is THE Foundation, the Epiphany of epiphanies, the Bible enshrined in a majestic proclamation.

    LOVE MAKES AND IS THE UNFOLDING of All BEING– This is THE Mystical message, the discovery of the Christ-Logos-Word in the core of both mystic and Creation.

    Mystics discover and delve into the True Heart that resides in every blade of grass and grain of sand of Creation, within every corner of human psyche and reflecting into all the subtlest perceptions ,and reaching into all facets of unbounded potentiality, a Totality beyond ALL conceptual categories.

    This is Mysticism, a Truth secretly passed down through temple priests in ancient Israel, coded into the Bible but taken away from the laity. Pythagoras may have studied with Jewish priests and passed along some of those concepts into Greek philosophy, and Plato certainly developed them further. “Timaeus.” was recognizably Mysticism, but not well-developed. Neo-platonism –i.e., Mysticism — built on that.

    Jesus tried to bring that sacred Mysticism back, teaching it through His full embodiment of its Truth as THE Supreme Mystical Exemplar. By doing so, he took Mysticism outside the temple and directly challenged the hierarchy which had kept it secret from all but their elite. He correctly recognized its radically egalitarian message and the urgent need for the profound healing that this Mysticism offered.

  4. Avatar

    Yes!! GOD IS LOVE and GOD’S Evolving Creation, Our Cosmos, Our World, Our Sacred Mother
    Earth, Our Unique Souls… ARE LOVE! Since GOD Our SOURCE~CREATOR IS Immanent and Transcendent in ALL Our physical and non-physical Spiritual multidimensional~multiverse COSMOS, in All Microcosm and Macrocosm LIFE, We Are truly Blessed that our unique human evolving Souls and Consciousness Are an intimate part of GOD’S LOVING EVOLVING CREATION ~ COSMIC CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS….

    1. Avatar

      I went to your website this morning, Damian, read several of your readings, and scrolled through your recommended books and sites. Thank you so much for gathering this wealth of resources and sharing them. This one from Thomas Keating speaks to me especially this morning: “Religion is not the only means of coming to know God. Nature, spiritual friendship, conjugal love, service of others, art … these are all ways in which God calls people to himself. Religion is only one way. There may be personal reasons why one cannot identify with any religion at all. God takes all that into account and provides other paths. Moreover, like the spokes of a wheel, all paths to God tend to come closer to each other as they come closer to God, who is the center and source of them all. For example, it is normal for someone who has taken the religious (spiritual) path to perceive the wonders of God in nature as further means of uniting with God.” Nearly all my close friends follow no religion–certainly not a Christian one. Yet, they live from a deep sense of kindness, creativity, and a sense of oneness with those in need (including other people, nature, and animals). I like how Keating sees their lives as following “other paths,” non-religious ones.

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