Wednesday Word: God, Evolution, & Transformation
The foundation of things is not so much a ground of being sustaining its existence from beneath as it is a power of attraction toward what lies ahead. -- The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love, Ilia Delio, p. 15
Through most of Epiphany and into Lent, I have been discussing the topic of transformation. Jesus transformed the law from black and white enforcement to looking at the heart of the law and what God was really after in our relationships. Jesus was transformed/transfigured on the mountain with Peter, James, and John present to see him for who he truly was – God incarnate. And on Ash Wednesday and the First Sunday in Lent, I discussed how Lenten disciplines shouldn't be seen as something to give up for a season, but something that transforms us into living more fully in our relationship with God and others.
This idea of transformation is based on a continual movement from where we are to where we want to be, from who we are to who God is calling us to be.
I'm currently working my way through this book about how evolution and God tie together.
For most people, I think, evolution is understood by looking backward – starting small (one-celled organisms) and ending big (us). When discussing evolution, I think most people look back and wonder if our ancestors really were monkeys.
But Ms. Delio puts forth a different idea in this book – namely that evolution is all about looking forward. She posits that God is a God of newness (“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” – Is. 43:19). That God is a God of ever evolving communion becoming “ever more deeply in love through the generation of the Word and Spirit.” And that evolution “thrives not on 'rugged individualism' but on communal interdependence.” These thoughts, then, don't look backward to where we originated as much as they look forward to what lies ahead.
The foundations of Christianity also look forward. We look forward to resurrection. Holy Communion is forward looking as it is a “foretaste of the heavenly banquet.” In the burial service we are reminded that life is changed, not ended. And the Catechism is forward looking when it states that the mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and others.
God is the power of attraction moving us forward. God asks us to look toward what lies ahead.
With this in mind, let us look to our Lenten journey and Lenten discipline not as a period of time we need to endure until we get back to the way it was, but as a period of transformation that focuses on what lies ahead.