Richard Rohr Meditation: Evolutionary Thinking

The Scopes Monkey Trial might symbolize the beginning of the culture wars we still suffer today, with naïve presentations of two seeming opposite positions—neither well-defined, but simply providing banners and loyalty tests for both groups. In my parents’ generation, when many people often had fewer years of formal education, this false dilemma was commonly presented as, “Did we come from monkeys or did God create us?” Good Christians righteously shouted “God!” thinking God needed their support, and scientific-minded people who had a bone to pick with religion shouted “Monkeys!” What a waste of good minds and hearts!

.. For most of the last century, in many Christian circles, the very term evolution was a code word used to expose and condemn enemies and infidels. It was a false test-case.

.. What if God creates things that continue to create themselves?

.. God “turns everything to good by working together with all things. . . . The ones God chose so long ago, which God intended to become true images of God’s Son” (Romans 8:28-29).

.. The contemplative person can observe and love with their mind, heart, and body at the same time. The reduction to purely rational knowing didn’t begin until the seventeenth century. Now science can observe neural activity, revealing that there is a “heart mind” and a “body mind.

.. Evolutionary thinking is actually contemplative thinking because it leaves the full field of the future in God’s hands and agrees to humbly hold the present with its current, tentative knowledge. Evolutionary thinking agrees to both knowing and not knowing, at the same time.

.. Evolutionary thinking sends us on a trajectory, where the ride is itself the destination, and the goal is never clearly in sight. To stay on the ride, to trust the trajectory, to know it is moving somewhere better is just another way to describe the biblical notion of faith.