Editor’s note: Following is the response of Barbara Marx Hubbard to the comments on conscious evolution made by Cardinal Gerhard Mller during a meeting of officials of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) on April 30.
I am grateful to Cardinal Gerhard Mller for raising concerns about conscious evolution and its relationship to Catholic teaching. I hope his focus on this issue will stimulate many, both within the Catholic church and outside it, to deepen human understanding of conscious evolution and how we might advance our own evolutionary action for the good of the whole of Earth life.
I am not a Catholic nor a theologian, yet I have been deeply inspired to help develop the meaning of conscious evolution through my studies of Teilhard de Chardin, Ilia Delio, John Haught, Beatrice Bruteau, Fr. Thomas Berry, David Richo, Diarmuid O’Murchu, and others. And of course, from the New Testament itself.
Now, meeting with so many women religious through LCWR, I see conscious evolution in action. They have been evolving the church and the world for hundreds of years through deep gospel living, a mystical presencing, faithfulness in serving unmet needs, solidarity with Earth, building community as “whole-makers,” risk-taking for the sake of the mission, genius for cooperative self-governance and decision making, and above all bringing love and hope for the future into the lives of millions.
For me, the most vital source of meaning of conscious evolution is the Catholic understanding of God and Christ as the source of evolution, as its driving force as well as its direction. As Ilia Delio puts it, we experience in evolution the Emergent Christ and God Ahead.
Through science, research, technology communications and virtually every other area of human activity, we are weaving a delicate membrane of consciousness, what Teilhard called the “noosphere” or the thinking layer of Earth that is embracing and drawing into itself the entire planet. It will infuse the whole of humanity with a feeling of relationship and resonance. He called this potential experience “the Christification of the Earth.”
Many of us are becoming what Teilhard called “Homo progressivus,” those attracted to the future of the world moving toward the unknown, toward ever higher consciousness, freedom, order, and love.
In this view, evolution itself becomes a spiritually motivated labor of love toward a Christ-inspired world, leading toward life ever-evolving beyond this current stage of Homo sapiens sapiens.
Of course the scientific basis for conscious evolution is coming from many fields, most importantly from an understanding of the new cosmology, of the 13.8 billion year “The Universe Story,” as written by Brian Swimme and Fr. Thomas Berry, and from “Big Bang Cosmology,” as Ilia Delio calls it. Recently, Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present by David Christian, Cynthia Stokes Brown and Craig Benjamin is changing the view of history itself to begin at the origin of creation.
Meanwhile, new technologies are giving us vast new powers we used to attribute to gods, to destroy this world or create new worlds on this Earth and in space, as described in Dr. Ted Chu’s new book, Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential: A Cosmic Vision for Our Future Evolution.
Marx Hubbard response to Cardinal Mller