Thursday, 5 February 2015
Our Time is Not God’s Time—Yes But?
Richard Rohr is one of my spiritual guides. I find much of what he writes to be meaningful for me and to contain deep wisdom. I subscribe to his Daily Meditations which arrive in my email on a daily basis as the name suggests. I would strongly recommend and can be found at https://cac.org/sign-up.
Recently one of the daily missives was entitled Giving Birth to God (Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation January 28, 2015). This meditation spoke of God’s creation as a process which is still happening or ‘winding up’ in Rohr’s words. This is an understanding of creation that is attractive to me and one in which I generally believe. Others such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin have spoken of a process of cosmic evolution in which all of creation is still evolving and therefore is, in our terms, improving and which will lead to the evolution of consciousness in which the human species will become closer to God. This view holds that God intends that God’s creation reach what Teilhard terms an Omega Point. Liberals (of the theological variety and other varieties) will maintain that the world is progressing and becoming better. They can look back and see how the human race had progressed; slavery has been eliminated (at least officially), science and technology have made our lives much better and more livable than people in previous millennia, medical science has brought us wonder drugs that will cure many diseases and brought us hip replacements and other medical miracles. In many ways our lives (at least some of our lives) are much better than if we lived a thousand or a hundred or even fifty years ago.
In his Meditation Rohr speaks of what I understand to be the inevitable progress of history, “There is no doubt that history, like the biblical text itself, goes three steps forward and two steps back”. He is proposing that although there is inevitable progress it is not a straight line—there are ups and downs, hills and valleys in the journey:
Even though we see violence, war, genocide, and stupidity, and we see religions and factions circling the wagons around their own tiny identities, yet always it happens that something like Vatican II, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, or Pope Francis comes out of seeming nowhere!
I am, as I noted, a believer in the evolution of human consciousness and the cosmos. I do acknowledge that evolution and progress is not a straight line it is indeed three steps forwards and two back as Rohr notes. However, looking at events today I have to question whether the evolution of humanity is inevitable. We have the obvious rise of terrorism in this century which seems to arise from forces from the collective unconscious of civilization and with it occurrences of slavery, torture, rape, murder, religious intolerance. The predictable reaction against this in the West is increased intolerance and restriction in freedom (in the name of protecting those freedoms). The consciousness of humanity does not seem to evolving but seems just as caught by these unconscious forces as they were in the past. In addition we see the failure of science and technology as the panacea which will solve all our problems. The diseases we thought had been eliminated are raising their ugly heads a la measles due to wilful ignorance and carelessness. Bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to miracle drugs apparently through their God-given power to evolve. The ecology of the planet is heading for the seemingly inevitable tipping point which will cause mass destruction and harm to much of this part of God’s creation—again through wilful ignorance as well as materialistic greed and short-sightedness. On reflection, I do not believe that progress or evolution is inevitable—at least for the human part of God’s creation. We may well destroy ourselves as our capacity to create for worst as well better out strips any evolution of consciousness which may be occurring. If we do destroy ourselves God’s plan for creation will continue in perhaps a different part of creation or perhaps begin again in this world but there is no guarantee that that this iteration of humanity will be a part of it.
My perspective may be nothing but my limited perspective—it is indeed limited. My time is definitely not God’s time. My understanding is not God’s understanding—thank God. However, God has given us free will to do with this world and ourselves what we will—for better and for worse. Let us make it for better.
Readers of this blog might enjoy my book The Ego and The Bible. It is available on Amazon.ca:
It is also available on Amazon.com: