God Of The Future

by Zoe Pollock


Andrew Cohen has reprinted a fascinating profile Carter Phipps wrote of the Catholic theologian John Haught. In it, Haught lays out a beautiful approach to what he calls “evolutionary theology”:

“In the modern world, we feel the tension between two religious vectors or two poles,” he explained to me. “One is the traditional withdrawal from the world—the desire to find peace in some Platonic heaven up there or in some sort of mystical present or some eternal now. Then there’s another pole that comes from being part of a modern world in which political and scientific revolutions have taken place. There is beginning to emerge a feeling that this world—I mean the whole universe, both cosmos and culture—is going somewhere. There is a drama that is unfolding before our eyes, and we wonder if we shouldn’t be part of that. [The Jesuit priest and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin] set out to try to find some resolution between these two poles. He saw that there is communion with God and then there’s communion with the earth. But there’s also communion with God through the earth. He resolved the tension by rediscovering the biblical idea that God is not up above but rather up ahead. In other words, everything that happens in the universe is anticipatory. The world rests on the future. And one could say that God is the one who has future in His very essence.”

For Phipps, it’s an appropriate framework for our time:

The consciousness of our age calls out for a God principle that lives not just in the wondrous beauty of nature, or the eternal stillness of the present moment, but in the unknown creative potential that exists in the mysterious space of the future.

(Photo by Luis Argerich)