Carter Phipps, author of Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea, gave the keynote lecture for the 2013 Neil Scott Science and Spirituality series at Middle Tennessee State University. Phipps begins speaking at 7:20.
Evolutionary is a term given to thinkers who see evolution as much more than simply a theory that pertains to the biological development of life on this planet. Evolutionaries are generalists who are willing to piece together information from all disciplines in order to explain the cosmos. So, says Carter Phipps in his new bestseller, “Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea”. In which he defines evolutionaries as: “deep time explorers of a universe of infinite becoming.” In a world where scientists, philosophers, and theologians are borrowing from one another’s insights in order to explore the secrets of existence, evolutionary theory is being applied to more than just biology.
Inspired by Matthew Fox’s “Original Blessing”, I have long since given up on the medieval doctrine of original sin and moved beyond the atonement theologies that rely on our need to be saved by a “Father God”. Like many progressive Christians, rather than describing the human condition as sinful or broken, I understand humanity to be incomplete and still evolving. We did not fall from grace in some mythical garden. Humanity, like all of the cosmos continues to evolve. The idea of evolution has all sorts of implications not only for how we see ourselves as human beings, here and know. As we continue to evolve, the determination of who or what humanity becomes requires that we take seriously our role as co-creators not with some grand-puppetier-god-in-the-sky. But as co-creators with a God who is in all and through all.
The emerging conversation between scientists, theologians, and philosophers makes the question “Do you believe in the bible or do you believe in evolution?” obsolete. The conversations between disciplines are giving birth to a new spirituality. Evolutionary Christianity is emerging. Evolutionary thinkers are developing new theologies that take seriously God’s presence in all things through Christ.
After having spent a week, exploring the work of Teilhard de Chardin; an evolutionary thinker who was decades ahead of his time, I am eagerly devouring my copy of Phipps new book (just released June 12 and it has already it has reached #14 on Amazon). I will say more in future posts. In the meantime, for an overview of what it means to be an evolutionary, take a look at the video below which features Carter Phipps speaking at MIT this past May.