North American Paul Tillich Society Meeting (AAR)

Marriott Marquis Hotel, Atlanta, GA, Cabinet Room, 21 November 2003, 2: 30 PM



Paul H. Carr, AF Research Laboratory Emeritus, Bedford, MA 01731


John Haught's paper (1) "In Search for a God for Evolution: Paul Tillich and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin" expresses doubt that Tilllich's rather classical theology of "being" is radical enough to account for the "becoming" of evolution. Tillich's ontology of "being" includes the polarity of form and dynamics. Dynamics is the potentiality of "being," that is, "becoming." "Therefore, it is impossible to speak of being without also speaking of becoming." Tillich's dynamic dialectic of being and nonbeing is a more descriptive metaphor for the five mass extinctions of evolutionary history than Teilhard's progress. This dialectic is also a more realistic description of cosmic evolution. Tillich's "Kingdom of God" within history as well as "the End of History," in contrast to Teilhard's Omega Point, does not appear to contradict the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which predicts that the universe will ultimately disintegrate. Haught's contrast/contact modes of relating science and religion would regard Teilhard's Omega Point as an expression of spiritual hope and purpose rather than a scientifically verifiable principle. The contrast/contact position is consonant with Tillich's description of religion as part of the vertical dimension of ultimate concern, and science as part of the horizontal dimension of relationships between finite objects. Tillich did not share Teilhard's optimistic vision of the future. Both Tillich and Teilhard have made contributions to a theology of evolution.

(1) Haught, John F. 2002. "In Search for a God for Evoloution: Paul Tillich and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin," Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, Vol 37, 539-53, (September 2002) .