I awoke to a cloudy, humid, very overcast summer mountain morning. The low-hanging clouds have the mountains in their soft embrace as they reach toward the valley below. Many would not call this a Chamber of Commerce Day. If it were bright and sunny they would. The divine also shines through the cloudy overcast. The sun shines on the good and bad alike. The rain falls on the good and bad alike. This will be a good day for reflection, prayer and just catching up on things.
I continue to read Ilio Delio’s Christ in Evolution. I am also reading Bishop Spong’s latest book on the Gospel of John. Spong was the first to alert me to the understanding that evolution, as the process by which the cosmos is coming to completion, precludes a fall from a garden of original grace. There has never been a garden. The story of the fall is an etiological myth designed to help us understand human imperfection. Evolution is perfectly comfortable with humans emerging into greater consciousness, greater awareness, greater union with the Divine pulsing through the cosmos and every creature and created thing.
I remind the reader that this entire discussion takes us beyond defined dogma into the wonderful arena of mystical knowing. It takes us from What God is to Who God is for us and the cosmos. We are trying to put into words unbounded mystery; therefore, we must use metaphor and myth.
I have written in this blog that I think the overarching myth, the metamyth, in the Bible is that we can become more than we are; however, I must now go one step beyond this version of the metamyth. The overarching and dynamic metamyth is simply that in creation God is pouring forth God-love, the power that creates and animates the universe. We live in a sea of Divine Love outpoured. We did not deserve it. We do not deserve it. It is God’s pure self-gift. This effectively turns the metamyth away from a sin focus to a growth in love focus.
We are called to become more than what we are because in creation, the incarnation, and redemption, God’s love flowed forth as God spoke the Word of Love. The ultimate Word of Love came to fulfillment on the cross and in the resurrection—again self-giving Divine Love poured forth lavishly. Christ Jesus in and through the power of the Spirit is now the Love energizing force driving creation toward fulfillment at the Omega Point.
God does not invade from outer space. Rather, God is present in the depths of the cosmos and of the human heart calling us to higher consciousness and unity in love. As Merton understood at Fourth and Walnut, we are one with all that is. There are no divisions in the Cosmic Christ. There are no exclusionary boundaries in Love freely poured forth.
This is a Cosmic Christ I can relate too. It is not the Jesus of the “have you met your personal savior?” The Cosmic Christ takes us beyond rugged individualism and solipsism into an awareness of being related and intimately connected to all this is. The Cosmic Christ is a metaphor for the total self-giving presence of God to the cosmos. It is incarnational because Jesus became flesh—matter and energy. We encounter the Cosmic Christ in creation as it evolves. Ultimately, creation is evolving in the very depths of our hearts. Merton described it as a movement from false self to true self. The true self is self-giving for others.
Paul understood all this with creation struggling, groaning and groping toward desired fulfillment. Is this not evolution, not as a theory, but evolution as the very heart of God unfolding in the cosmos? In today’s reading from 1 Cor. 8, Paul calls the Body of Christ to self-emptying, self-giving:
I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
We are more familiar with Philippians 2 where Paul uses a hymn to teach us about kenosis—God’s outpouring:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
The Cosmic Christ is the Evolving Christ and we are to have his mindset. Awash in a sea of Divine Love, we are called to be co-creators. We are called to work to bring about the fullness of the mystery that is the Cosmic Christ—self-emptying Love. This is the dynamism that drives creation toward its ultimate fulfillment.