Edinburgh: Teilhard conference on Theology of Evolution

The British Teilhard Association is sponsoring a FREE one day academic conference: Theology of Evolution-Convergent, Contingent or Directed? on 13 December. The conference will explore new trends in the theology of evolution and is aimed at students, specialists, and the general public.

Speakers: Prof Simon Conway Morris (Cambridge); Dr Michael Burdett (Oxford); Dr Conor Cunningham (Nottingham); Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker (Newman); Dr Bethany Sollereder (Oxford)

This is the first of a series of conferences which the BTA is sponsoring in the UK over the next few years in the area of science, theology, and ecotheology. These conferences will open up the thinking of Teilhard de Chardin to both the academic community and the wider public. A key feature of these events will be the development of his ideas for our contemporary context.

"The essential contribution of Teilhard," writes Jean Daniélou SJ, "has been to show that the results of modern science which he knew better than anyone else agree more with a spiritual and christocentric vision of history than any materialist interpretation. He has opened up Christian faith to those trained in modern science. And he has helped theologians rediscover the true value of time in Christian revelation ... "

Recent endorsement of Teilhard's writings by Popes Benedict and Francis has highlighted his prophetic role in developing a spiritual and theological response to evolution and the ecological crisis:

Pope Benedict said in a homily during Vesper in Assisi in 2009: http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/homilies/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20090724_vespri-aosta.html

'The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host. And let us pray the Lord to help us become priests in this sense, to aid in the transformation of the world, in adoration of God, beginning with ourselves. That our lives may speak of God, that our lives may be a true liturgy, an announcement of God, a door through which the distant God may become the present God, and a true giving of ourselves to God.'

In Laudato Si Pope Francis writes: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html#_ftnref53 83.

'The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things. [53] Against this horizon we can set the contribution of Fr Teilhard de Chardin.'

The next conference sponsored by the BTA is in collaboration with the Alister Hardy Trust on 3 June 2017 in London. Speakers will include Professors Keith Ward and Ursula King. The event will broadly consider the contribution of the science theology debate to the ecological crisis and will include insights from the work of that key follower of Teilhard, Thomas Berry. The B.T.A. is also providing financial support for a Teilhard weekend retreat with the organisation Green Christian (formerly Christian Ecology Link) in 2017.

Further details of these and future events can be found at: www.teilhard.org.uk/teilhard-association/events/

Although this event is free, tickets are required. Please book online by 2 December at www.ed.ac.uk/divinity/news-events/events/day-conference-the-theology-of-evolution-converg

Tuesday 13 December, 9.15am - 4.15pm Martin Hall, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX

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