Jesuit priest, geologist and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was above all a tireless researcher. He is one of the first to have proposed an evolutionary synthesis of the History of the Universe and of Life as it is explained to us today by the scientific community, and to have extended it to a Christian religious dimension.

His vision of the world, presented among other things in his posthumous work “The Human Phenomenon”, is conceived around the central theme of evolution: evolution as the rise of complexity that supports consciousness with the hypothesis of a convergence in an ‘Omega’ point, the Universal Christ or Cosmic Christ of St. Paul. In particular, he developed the concept of the “noosphere”, the Earth’s thinking envelope, and explained the current phenomenon of planetaryization.

Throughout his international scientific career he has remained in contact with the National Museum of Natural History, which currently hosts his Foundation.

His vision of the world
Teilhard takes a new look at matter. Darwin has just presented his theory: “… man would descend from the monkey!…”. The Church, but not only her, protests! But very quickly, Teilhard understands that the evolution of the species is registered in the reality of the discoveries in progress of anthropology. From there, instead of the old representation of the world, which was that of a fixed world where the action of the Man, appeared suddenly and ‘all made’ in the nature, was registered in an immutable way between the poles of the good and the evil, it proposes a new anthropological representation released from a vision of the world understood as a rise of complexity and conscience. Consciousness gradually emerges from the depths of matter as it becomes organized. Emergence proceeding by creation of entities organically linked more and more complex and conscious as the animal life shows it. And this down to the human level. But this pathway operates by great ruptures separated by phases of slow evolution preparing these jumps: the jump of Life, then the jump of Man, that is to say the appearance of a reflected consciousness or self-consciousness. Man is the most complex creature. If Humanity is no longer the center of the world, since Galileo, it is the summit of complexity – the arrow – which aims at God, no less, at the ultimate point of the trajectory of the World. This point Omega Ω, could only be that of the plenifying meeting awaited since the origins, Alpha α, by the entrails of the World. Man is therefore not the result of chance. It is wanted for its conscience and its power of action. For his reflective consciousness that now has his hands on the levers of evolution, therefore in charge; he is thus self-evolving.
For Teilhard the childhood of humanity is coming to an end. An ultra-humanity, united, adult and responsible, is in the process of hatching; and we are witnessing, in the difficulties of globalization, the birth of this noosphere, a layer of unified human thought surrounding the Earth (the Internet would be an example). It is “the firing of the next stage of the Evolution rocket”, which precipitates events under the active thrust of human consciousness.
Religiously, Teilhard is in line with the cosmic Christology of St. Paul and St. John (“…I am the α and the Ω..”) which he translates as follows: “…the redeemer could not penetrate the fabric of the cosmos, infuse himself into the blood of the universe (phase α), except by first melting into matter and then being reborn (phase Ω)”. Teilhard thus proposes a modernized Christian reading of the universe which integrates the intimate scientific knowledge of the matter with the Pauline vision of the Body of Christ Universal: a cosmic body in phase of sublimation under the transforming action of the energies of the love. There is no place in this Pauline vision of the Incarnation for a dualism (= separation soul/body of the Greek philosophers where the soul is created especially by God, whereas the body is only a form of the matter, place of the suffering and the evil) because for Pierre Teilhard, there is not possible body separated from the soul, this one maintaining all the parts of it united. From this point of view it is undeniable that Teilhard still irritates Christians with the residues of dualism inherited from the Greeks and the Manichean model of evil identified with matter.
Philosophically, Teilhard reduces the old antagonism Spirit/matter in a unified vision of reality: matter and spirit are the two faces of the same reality: a Spirit-Matter.