December 7, 2019
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The Spiritual Power Of Matter Teilhard de Chardin kiwiconnexion theology

The Spiritual Power of Matter. Now, that’s
a curious phrase. How can inanimate objects, made up of matter, have spiritual powers?
Matter is just matter. Welcome to this episode of the Naked Theologian Asks. The spiritual power of matter: this phrase
sounds like it came from a world of magic, of primitive societies, a pre-scientific age?
This is worth thinking about. But who could possibly guide us, as so many conventional
scientists are wedded to a materialist philosophy. Outside the Roman Catholic world, not so many
have heard of the priest-scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1881-1955. No better guide
than de Chardin since it’s his phrase. And he really meant something quite beyond the
ordinary when he talked about the spiritual power of matter. For a long time his teachings were banned
by the church, but Pope Benedict restored him to favour. His teachings were equally
abhorred by the scientific community. Why? He was a palaeontologist, who studied rocks
and fossils, and old, bleached bones of long extinct species. He was often away on expeditions.
It is on one such trek, out in central steppes of Asia, he is suddenly aware of the spiritual
power of matter. It is the dawn and he is far from creature
comforts and Christian company. In that instant he realises that he has no bread, no wine,
no altar. These are necessary elements in the life of a priest. They are not merely
tools of trade, but the essence of a priest’s being. His vision takes him into a quite different
earth, a new cosmos. In it, the whole earth is the altar, and on it he will place the
world�s life, its labours, its travails, its pain, its suffering, its joy, its wonder. He put it this way. There were two companions
walking in the desert, when the ‘Thing’ like an arrow in flight, sped towards them, swooped
down on them. This is a very strange description. What does he mean by the ‘Thing’? It is unconventional
religious language, to say the least, and hardly scientific. He tells us, that the Thing is the ‘moving
heart of an immeasurable pervasive subtlety.’ It becomes for him the hymn of the universe,
the title of his book. It is spiritual language that moves me. This is the centre of Christian
ministry, to unlock the spiritual power of matter and all that it might imply in our
lives, and the world’s life. I’m David Bell. Do join me again next week,
same channel and time. It’s easy to subscribe, just click the purple-yellow button below
right on the screen. Share and discuss YouTube or Facebook. And find out more about
#kiwiconnexion Thanks for watching.

Otis Rodgers