Adam & Evolution, Darwhiggian History, and Supernatural Election
The latter is what all radicals do. You will often hear radicals say that the word “radical” comes from the word “root,” and that they are merely the type of person who likes to seriously attack the problems of mankind at their root (I heard Bill Moyers say this just the other day). But what radicals always do instead is attack the root of mankind, which is how you end up with nightmare regimes such as the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, or North Korea. However, to a lesser extent, it is also how you end up with socialist Europe, which, if Mark Steyn is correct, will not survive its abandonment of tradition. Perhaps historians in a thousand years will lump all of these things together as different aspects of the same phenomenon: the abandonment of man qua man.
So on one side of broad pathway through of history we have the nightmares of the left, while on the other side we have the naughty Moors of the right, i.e., the Islamists who believe that time is a big mistake and that we need to undo it and return to the Golden Age of 1267. But that too is a caliphate worse than death, because you cannot undo time without destroying a lot of genies and the bottles they came in. Tenured clowns to the left of me, armed and dangerous jokers to the right, stuck in the middle are the Jews.
Yes, the Jews, because the Jewish prophets discovered history as we know it, which is to say linear history, which is to say irreversible time, which is to say evolution, which is to say the anti-entropic nature of the whole existentialada as the river of time flows toward its nonlocal deustinocean. And yet, at the same time, no human group has been more diligent about preserving and recollecting the primordial tradition that connects us to our source and makes us human, i.e., revelation. Perhaps a rabbi will correct me, but I believe it would not be treffling with scripture to say that, on a spiritual level, Torah is analogous to DNA, in that it represents not just our human blueprint, but the blueprint of creation itself.
However, I believe it is a postmodern superstition to say that DNA holds the secret of life. Rather, if we turn the cosmos back rightside up, we see that Life holds the secret of DNA. In other words, DNA is not anterior to life; rather, Life is anterior to DNA. In other other words, to the extent that God is alive--which he no doubt is--he most certainly cannot be reduced to biological life, any more than the Divine consciousness can be reduced to what a brain is capable of. Frankly, if the average brain were to experience an unfiltered influx of the divine light, it would fry like a computer struck by lightning and shatter into pieces. Which, according to the Jewish kabboomalists, is what happened when God created the universe and it shattered into so many little sparks of divine light, sparks that are preserved at the core of our being and the being of our luxury corps.
Now, back to the issue at hand, tradition vs. progress. It is a banality to point out that all of our amazing scientific and technological progress has done nothing to improve the moral stature of man. In fact, there are many traditionalists who argue--wrongly, I believe--that it has actually made us worse. Actually, in the absence of the guide rails of traditional morality, it is an independent variable, in that good people will use technology in a good way, while bad people will use it for bad ends. Nevertheless, there are many idiots who ask the question--I recently saw the idiot Wolf Blitzer ask it of President Bush--”Israel has a nuclear bomb. Why can’t Iran?” Good question, Wolf. Wolf Blitzer has a cable news show. Why can’t a morally insane sociopath have one? Oh, wait a minute.... Olbermann does have one.
But do we really want to have the dissemination of information in the hands of madmen? Well, we do. It’s called wackademia, or the leftist looniversity bin, where parodies of truth are disseminated by parodies of scholarship to a slackjawed but diverse flock of sheep. For the academic left, time stands still no less than it does for the Islamists, except that it is always 1967 instead of 1267.
But time moves, and it moves toward a transcendent goal that is implicit or immanent in each moment of time. Someday it will be common understanding that we inhabit an evolutionary cosmos that is fundamentally spiritual in nature. Until then, we cosmonauts will have to satisfy ourselves with being at the leading edge of this cosmic evolution, waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. We must be voices crying in the bewilderness of a spiritually blind scientific materialism on the one side, a religiously bland materialism on the other.
This is actually a very old problem. For example, it is the problem Thomas Aquinas confronted in his great Summa, in which he attempted to reconcile faith and reason. Yes, scripture is eternal. But our understanding of how the universe works is always changing and evolving. Therefore, it is always necessary to show how the uncreated wisdom of scripture is compatible with our shifting understanding of the things of time.
Consciousness evolved. Consciousness is evolving. End of story. Or, to be perfectly accurate, the beginning of the story, for the evolution of consciousness is the only story that is, and that story is not over. Therefore all religions must be compatible with that fact if they are to be vehicles of Truth.
I have no doubt that Christianity is compatible with the idea of an evolving cosmos that is ultimately the evolution of consciousness. Although perhaps never articulated in a straightforward way prior to Teilhard de Chardin, it is clearly implicit in Christian teachings. As noted above, it is thanks to the Judeo-Christian tradition that we even have the concepts of history and progress. The Hebrew prophets discovered the directionality of history and were the first to clearly understand that it was not cyclical or degenerative. Christianity teaches that history is salvation history--it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It is not static. Rather, history is drawn to its transcendent end--the eschaton or telos--which it is man's birthright to intuit.
Consciousness is the container. Knowledge is the contained. Consciousness itself evolves as higher knowledge is metabolized to become understanding and thereby expand being. As being expands, we can bear more Truth. The first and last word of being--the Alpha and Omega--is I AM. Evolution is the ongoing, ever-deepening disclosure of that uncontainable ontological fact. It is what it means to constantly be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:1). After all, it is nothing to be transformed horizontally. That is like rearranging the furniture but remaining on the same floor of the high-rise. We want to be transformed vertically. We want to progress and deepen our understanding. We want to evolve and take the human eschatolator to the next floor. And we would like leftists to join us, instead of pulling on the other end of the R.O.P.
Gazing into the singularity at the end of time, bathed in the white radiance of ecstasy central, One Cosmos Under God, Indivisible, with Liberation and Joyousness for All: