Don’t be put off by this phrase. It is becoming central to our understanding of Incarnation. This is one of the central themes of this book. In his The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and of the World Pope St John Paul II wrote, ‘The Incarnation signifies the taking up into unity with God not only human nature, but in the human nature, in a sense, everything that is flesh . . . the Incarnation then also has a cosmic significance: the first-born of Creation unites himself in some way with the entire reality of humanity, within the whole of Creation’. It’s forty years since that document was written. The ‘cosmic significance’ has now exploded beyond all imagination. In his encyclical Laudato Si’ Pope Francis writes of an ecological conversion, a paradigm shift in our understanding and compassion for all of Creation in the light of Incarnation.
Current scientific revelations are radically changing the way we understand and live out our faith. Creation and its evolution are all part of Incarnation. We are called to become familiar with the term ‘the Cosmic Christ’ and to see all evolution and cosmic energy from the first star to the final ending as the work of the Holy Spirit. Evolution, you could say, is intrinsic to Incarnation. It is how Creation, already containing the divine seed, has prepared the necessary ground for the human birthing of God. There is a sense in which Creation is the beginning of Incarnation, ‘the first Bible’ as St Thomas Aquinas put it.
The Pope hopes that a ‘new conversation in a new language’ will surely change our wanton neglect of Mother Earth who is God’s incarnate body and our nourishing home. This radical theological shift in our recognition of the divinity of Creation will profoundly transform the whole heart of our faith, our preaching and teaching, our pastoral practices and ministries, our understanding of church, the sacraments and especially of the Eucharist, the meaning of grace, of sin, of salvation and contemplation, how we see the world and its evolution, how we perceive, adore and deepen our intimacy with God.
(From an unpublished work by Daniel 2018)
As a postscript – a quote from Richard Rohr, episode 2 ‘Embracing an Alternative Orthodoxy’
‘You’d think that Christianity would have got incarnation early and first because we’re the only religion that concretely believes that the Divine took on flesh. No-one else claims that the Divine became a human being. But much of our history has been ex-carnation, that is, how to get out of the world. We didn’t get incarnation except in a very narrow sense. And now we are paying the price for it: the huge dying off of species and the pollution of the earth . . .
Cosmology is the name for the new theology. Like no other generation we now know the extent of the mystery of the universe.