What Christian Scholar say about the Future. I begin with two thinkers who insist that this material world we inhabit will be transformed someday into Christ, and will have a future with God. If we believe that this is factual, we certainly need to protect the planet Earth, since it seems, it will be, our home forever.
The first thinker we need to know about was a man of scientific credentials, a paleotologist, a geologist, a Roman Catholic Jesuit priest. His name is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin ( 1881-1955) a Frenchman deeply devoted to his work as a scientist. Teilhard's most influential book is "The Divine Milieu". In his book, Teilhard argues that through the incarnation of Jesus Christ (when Christ took on a human body and human nature) and also through his resurrection from the dead. The love of Christ is like a fire engulfing all things across the vast expanse of the universe. Only by looking at the past, by delving more deeply into the fossil record, did Teilhard discover a dynamically evolving cosmos. One that is being drawn into something bigger than itself, into the very heart of God.
Teilhard makes it clear that he see the future universe in the hands of a "Cosmic Christ" powerful enough to make stars, planets and galaxies coalesce into a new universe.
The theory of Evolution is fundamental to Teilhard's thought, to his spirituality, and to his approach to struggle. He tells us that in its fourteen-billion history, that the cosmos has struggled to advance. For us humans, says Teilhard, the evolutionary struggle must be directed toward providing us with a richer spiritual life -- toward facilitating the final convergence of all creatures into the Cosmic Christ. "All things hold together in him". (Col 1:17).
The second thinker is a Catholic Theologian, Karl Rehner (1904 - 1984). Like Teilhard, he was also a Jesuit priest, but not a scientist. While his work is certainly informed by science, Rahner insists that he writes simply as a German theologian. He is considered today to be one of the great theologians of the twentieth century, an interpreter of the theological giant, Thomas Aquinas.
Rahner takes up issues raised by Teilhard from his own particular perspective. He begins study of the resurrection of Jesus which he sees as a transforming event in the history of the universe. Yes, the resurrection of Jesus was a saving event for the benefit of all creation. According to Rahner, the resurrection of Jesus finalizes the destiny of the world. Jesus is the "pledge and the beginning of the perfect fulfillment of the world". And Jesus is the "representative of the new cosmos" who will lead God's creation into the future by transforming it with breathtaking beauty and perfection.
Rahner's proposal is that we think of God as continually at work in the universe as it evolves and emerges, continually giving creation itself the capacity to become something new, to become more than it was.
In other words, Christ death and resurrection, put the future of creation and all human beings too--- safely into his Father's care.
We cannot hope for anything better than what these two scholars describe. Can we? To be at home at last with our loving and merciful Maker in a glorious playground, where the whole new universe is divine. Where we will become one with God. "Behold I make all things new". (Rev 20:5)
Father Jerry Wickenhauser