Lesson 101- Organic Level and Radiation
Last Sunday I attended a luncheon sponsored by In His Sign Network at which Christopher West was the featured speaker. I’ve heard a lot about him but this was the first time that I ever heard or met him. My two daughters have been raving about him to me for months so I was very anxious to meet him because he has become the major interpreter and presenter for the writings of Pope John Paul II “Theology of the Body.” These were a series of documents written by the late Pope that many say will become his greatest legacy because in them he made a major contribution to the theology of the Church. Therefore, I was very anxious to hear what Mr. West had to say.
I ended up sitting at the main table next to him and as we began to talk I shared with him some of the concepts that I have been exploring in my recent programs. I mentioned that in one of my most recent talks I had upset some of my listeners because I was exploring the sexual nature of God and how, according to the Bible, He was seeking to form a marital relationships with us since Jesus was portrayed as the Bridegroom and we, the Church, were portrayed as His Bride and the final act in the story of salvation was a marriage and wedding feast. However, I said, that I may have crossed the line when I suggested that the Creation might have been a birth process and the Big Bang might be seen as a Cosmic Orgasm. I thought that he would be shocked but instead he began to smile and said, “Then you’re going to love this talk.”
I didn’t know what he meant because, I’m sorry to admit, I had no idea what John Paul II’s Theology of the Body was about. However, once Mr. West began to talk, I saw that the late Pope and I were on the same page since his major theme was the sacredness of sex and its connection to the very nature of God. The Pope said that the more sacred something was, the more the devil tried to profane it and that is why sex has become so distorted in our modern culture. In fact, it is the profanation of sexuality that is at the very basis of the Culture of Death while the sense of its sacredness was the foundation for the Culture of Life. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to know that my remarks on this topic were not as far-fetched as they might have seemed but were totally consist with a Pope who will probably go down in history as St. John Paul the Great. Thus, with renewed confidence, I would like to continue with my theme of evolution as a birth process and Jesus as similar to a “woman in childbirth” whose efforts to bring His Father’s Plan to completion is reflected in St. Paul’s words that “the creation groans like a woman in childbirth waiting for the revelation of the sons and daughters of God.”
Let me begin by reviewing and expanding on what we had covered in my last program:
First I had suggested that you might want to take a piece of paper and create a small circle, about the size of a dime, on the edge of the left hand margin halfway down the paper. Then draw an even smaller circle within that circle on the right hand edge. Then darken the larger circle and leave the smaller one white. The darken circle symbolizes the Event Horizon , which was totally spatial with no linear time dimension. In other words, space without time. The smaller white circle symbolized the potential for time within space that would be actualized the moment that something moved. When the Event Horizon, a speck smaller than the smallest atom into which the whole universe was compressed, reached a point of “critical mass” it exploded and as the smaller white circle began to expand, space begot time. Or, looked at from the point of view of philosophy and theology, Yin begot Yang; Thesis begot Antithesis; Potentiality begot Actuality; the Right Lobe begot the Left Lobe or the Father begot the Son and the Creative Energy of Their Spirit, organized the first form of stabilized energy: the hydrogen atom consisting of a positively charged proton and a negatively charged electron. It was the first dialectical relationship and the prototype for all other dialectical relationships to come in which two seemingly opposing forces would unite to create a third that was a combination of them both. Put another way, two seemingly opposing forces would have intercourse and give birth to a third force that was a combination of them both.
Thus, it appears that Lao Tsu was correct when he said that everything that came into existence, or moved from potentiality to actuality, is the result of the interaction or intercourse between a Female Principle, which is positively charged and built to receive and a Male Principle that is negatively charged and built to give. So in your diagram, let us symbolize this by having another circle, the size of a quarter , flowing from the Event Horizon and containing the symbol for Yin and Yang. The left side of this circle, which is split in half by an “S shaped” curve, is dark representing the original space of the Event Horizon that contained all the latent potential of the universe. In it is a small white circle, representing its original potential for time. On the right side of the “S curve” that divides the circle, is a white area with a little dark circle. This represents the actualization of the potential for time that was in the Event Horizon. Finally, coming out of this Yin/Yang symbol is a line, stretching to the other side of the paper, representing the flow of evolution as the actualization of the potential of the universe continues to follow the Law of Complexification as it moves from simple to more complex expressions of reality. This line will be divided into four sections representing four different levels of evolution that were identified by Fr. Tielhard de Chardin.
According to Fr. Chardin, the first level is the Chemical Level in which the basic building blocks necessary for all that will follow are being formed. So let us write above this first section on our chart the words “Chemical Level.” On this level, first will come atoms which, according to the Law of Complexification, will united into molecules, elements, and inorganic and organic compounds. Like all things to follow, the atoms that are formed will be the result of the relationships that occur and, it seems reasonable to assume that relationships on this non-conscious level, occur accidentally as one type of atom, like hydrogen, bumps accidentally into another type, like oxygen, and unites with it to form H2O or a molecule of water. Thus, it appears that on this level of evolution, relationships are accidental and not the result of Intelligent Design. However, this is not true because, as I explained in a previous talk, an accidental process can be steered towards an intelligent end, if there is a rational agent or mind that is judging it and is “selecting in” those combinations that fit a preordained plan while “selecting out” those that do not. And since there are a limited number of atoms on the Atomic Table, it appears that certain combinations are preferred and are “ selected in” by becoming stabilized and other are “selected out” because they fail to unite as a stabilized form of energy. Thus, even on this level, the laws of Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest seem to be operating. This raises the obvious question of who or what is selecting and for what purpose.
The Christian answer to these question is that God, the Super-Rational Being who created the universe, like all rational beings has a dialectical mind consisting of a creative, artistic right lobe, called the Father, and a scientific, technological left lobe, called the Son who has the task of organizing and actualizing through a logical, step-by-step process, the plan of the Creator. Thus, He is rightly called the Word or Logos of God and in this role He is the selector who moves the creation towards its ultimate purpose, the “fullness of life.” The energy necessary for this monumental task is provided by the Holy Spirit of Enthusiasm that accompanies all creative acts resulting from the agreement between the creative, spatial, artistic genius of the right lobe and the logical, temporal, technological genius of the left lobe.
To signify the presence of this judging agent over the whole process of evolution, let us draw a line from the white side of the Yin/Yang symbol, which is comparable to the logical left lobe, and place it in the middle at the top of the page. As Christians we will label it as the “Logos of God” and as scientists we will label it the Natural Selector. No matter what you call it, it indicates that evolution is incapable of moving from a hydrogen atom to a human being without some type of judging agent. As I noted in a previous talk, “without judgment there is no progress ”and “without reflection there is no progress” and both reflection and judgment are qualities associated with a rational mind. And that is why some modern physicists say that the universe operates more like an “idea” that like a “mechanical clock.” It seems to be responsive to changing variable just as we are responsive to new conditions and situations.
Anyway, according to Fr. Chardin, the Chemical Level of Evolution follows the Law of Complexification until it reaches the point of organic compounds, which are the chemical basis for life. At this point, atoms have reach a level of such complexity – or as Chardin says “centricity”- that the changes which up to this point have been quantitative, now become qualitative. Let me explain the difference.
Quantitative changes have to do with a “change in size”, while qualitative changes have to do with a “change in kind.” For example, if a little boy grows up to be a man, that is a quantitative change. However, if he grows up to become a gorilla that is a qualitative change. Thus, atoms that unite to become molecules, elements, or inorganic compounds on the Chemical Level might be more complex in size but they are still just chemicals. However, once we reach the level of organic compounds, we are, according to Chardin, ready to make a qualitative leap into a new level of evolution. We are ready to see inert chemical compounds display new qualities that we associate with living things. According to Aristotle, there are four qualities that separate the non-living from the living. They are: sensation, growth, reproduction and self-movement. Thus living things respond to stimuli. You can kick a table or chair and it won’t react but if you kick a dog or person, you will get a response. Living things grow organically while non-living things don’t. Living things can reproduce themselves while non-living things can’t. And finally living things are capable of moving themselves, while non-living things have to be moved by an outside force.
Now I don’t know whether Aristotle’s criteria for life still holds up based on modern knowledge because I believe that I read that there might be some transitional forms between living and non-living things in which some non-living things, such as viruses, share some of the qualities of life and lack others. No matter because Aristotle’s criteria is sufficient for our purposes here.
To illustrate this movement from non-life to life, let us draw an arching arrow jumping over the line that separates the first, or Chemical Level of evolution, from the next. This new level is called the Organic Level by Father Chardin and it marks the evolutionary development of life. So let us write above this second section of our chart the words “Organic Level.”
Let me pause here to return to Sebastian Temple’s poem that I quoted in a previous program because the poet often says it better than any logical analysis can. Temple wrote:
Down the corridors of time, at the entrance to the door,
Existed endless darkness as it reigned forevermore.
The prime stuff of the universe was everywhere and still
A little seed of life was locked in every particle.
The “endless darkness” refers to the conditions at the beginning of the universe. In the Bible, depending upon the translation, it is referred to as the chaos, or void, or state of formlessness that existed before God spoke. However, another way of looking at this is a “state of equality” where all energy forces are equal. It appears that all motion seems to be dependent on the inequality between a positive and negative pole and when they are equal everything comes to a grinding halt. For example, the flow of electrons that produces electricity results from the movement of excessive electrons from a negative pole towards a positive pole. When the two poles become equal, the flow will stop. Thus, we could say that useable energy is the result of inequality trying to reach equality and the moment this happens, movement stops. Thus, the poem says that the “prime stuff of the universe was everywhere and still.” In other words, it was a potential that had not yet actualized; it was space without time; it was a Thesis without an Antithesis; it was a positive without a negative. It was an empty vacuum. It was a state of Nothingness. In short, without opposing polarities, nothing can move and without movement there is no time, and without time there is no linear dimension to the universe
It is interesting to note that Hegel said that nothing could be known except in relationship to something else and the most basic relationships were contrast and comparison. Thus “wet” needs “dry”; “up” needs “down”; “in” needs “out”. If everything in the universe was the same color, nothing could exist and if the only sound in the universe was “zzzzzzzzz” it would be the “sound of silence.” Thus difference and inequality is the basis for conscious existence and movement. In fact, Hegel said that no being could exist except in relationship to another being. One of my students said, “If this is true, then God couldn’t exist without us.” My response was “That would be true unless God Himself was a relationship” an obvious reference to the Trinity.
It is also interesting to note that the goal of Hindu meditation is to reach a state of “nothingness” by eliminating the whole idea of “difference.” According to them, all differences are an illusion and in reality everything is “One.” Thus, they seek to enter a meditative trance that gradually eliminates all sensory perception and finally enters a state of “No-thingness” or Nirvana where even one sense of “self” disappears. At this point, one unites with the Godhead. Thus, the major difference between Eastern Hindu meditation and Western Christian meditation is that the Eastern version rejects the rational mind or left lobe, while the Western version does not. In other words, Eastern meditation rejects the Logos Within. Ironically, the Hindu version of heaven, Nirvana, a state of “nothingness” or “empty thought” is the same as Gehenna, the Jewish version of hell. The Hindu seeks to return to the original “formlessness” of the universe while the Jew and Christian seek to move forward towards the completion of the dream. The first is entropic and considers progress and freedom and reality itself to be an illusion, the second is negentropic and considers that effort and free choice will result in a progressive movement towards the Ultimate Realty.
Finally, it is language that is the source of difference because it permits us to divide up reality into separate entities. If like animals, we lacked language then our perception of reality would be either that “everything is one” or “no thing exists.”
Imagine for a moment that we don’t have language. What is in the room? If we could think, which we couldn’t without language, we would see everything holistically since everything is touching everything else. We are touching the chair, the chair is touching the floor which is touching the wall, which is touching the ceiling, which is touch the light etc… Without language, we are unable to separate one thing from another. So everything is either“One” or “no thing exists.” We move things into conscious existence by naming them and it appears that God does the same thing. Thus, according to the Book of Genesis, when God spoke, out of the original “formlessness” or “nothingness” there came light.
When He spoke, His Word or Logos or Wisdom or Jesus began to organize, as logic is prone to do, the universe. The “little seed of life…locked in every particle” in this poem refers to the potential for life that was present in a latent form in atoms, molecules, elements, and inorganic compounds on the Chemical Level of Evolution. His poem continues:
Down the corridors of time this consciousness inside,
Was drawn together by another consciousness outside.
And soon within its confines grew a pressure-bringing strife
That burst upon the darkness as a new form of life.
The “consciousness inside” was, like the potential for life in non-living chemical, the potential for “thought” that was also locked inside them. The “consciousness outside” refers to the Logos of God or Jesus who through His direction of the evolutionary process was moving it towards “conscious thought.” The reference to “pressure-bringing strife” refers to the fact that the whole evolutionary process involves a great negentropic effort by the organizing left lobe of God who struggles to bring order and progress out of the chaotic relationships formed by non-conscious and sub-conscious agents. It the story of the Rag Tag Army of God. The poem continues:
Down the corridors of time this younger form did grow
And atoms under pressure mothered minerals and so
Created a complexity of consciousness that freed
This life to greater liberty than when it was a seed.
This stanza continues the theme of struggle and pressure as elements of a complexity that is moving towards greater consciousness. But now it adds a new quality, that of freedom. In other words, the evolutionary process is involved in setting the creation free. Free from what? Free from the mental darkness from which it sprung. The Logos of God through its organizational powers is taking the creation out of the realm of “empty thought” into the realm of “conscious thought”. And, since the Old Testament word for hell is Gehenna, which means “empty thought”, then this Logos is leading the creation out of hell.
Viewed from the Law of Correspondence, this seems to correspond to what happens in each of our lives. We, like the universe, begin in a formless world of Mental Darkness or Gehenna and, if we were animals with two, functional speaking, right lobes we would remain imprisoned in it for the rest of our lives. However, the moment we learn to speak, we activate the left lobe or Logos Within, and through its powers of organization and reflection we begin to free ourselves from the chaotic world of Mental Darkness into which we were born. Let’s continue:
Down the corridors of time encased within each form
Life struggles ever upward through endless stress and storm
Sleeping in the minerals, adream in moss and plant
Waking up in animals to know itself in Man
In this stanza, we once again hear the theme of struggle and you might remember that the central point of Hegel’s dialectical theory was that life was about upward struggle towards God or Ultimate Truth. In previous talks I have suggested that the Passion of Jesus was as much about struggle as it was about suffering. In fact, suffering by itself does not carry the same message as it does when it is connected to an upward struggle. Thus, we could imagine many forms of death that He could have suffered in which struggle was not involved. For example, stoning, hanging, beheading, poisoning etc… but none of them would have had the same impact as suffering connected to the carrying of a cross up a steep hill. Falling down and rising three times and then being crucified, only to rise again to a higher level of existence. Only this type of death could signify His ultimate advice to us, “If you want life and you want it fully, pick up your Cross and follow Me.” In other words, if you want to join the negentropic forces of life that are struggling towards the “fullest expression of life”, face the challenges that life presents to you and follow me, the Truth that will set you free from the Gehenna of “empty thought.”
Sebastian refers to this movement towards conscious thought in the lines: “Sleeping in the mineral, adream in moss and plant; waking up in animals, to know itself in man.” Thus, the evolutionary process is the movement from the non-consciousness of chemical, to the barely consciousness in plants, to the sub-consciousness in animals, and, finally, to the full consciousness in human beings that results when the left lobe of the brain becomes a reflective agent on the right lobe and self-awareness begins. The next stanza states;
Down the corridors of time evolves the greatest plan
The building blocks of life culminate in every man
Who directs evolution by the motion of his will
And so creates a destiny that he has to fulfill.
This stanza states to we were the intended goal of this plan from the beginning of time. In Proverbs 8, Wisdom, the Creator’s craftsmen, says that it had a special love for Mankind and that anyone who interacted with it would have life and anyone who rejected it chose death. Of course, Christians believe that this Wisdom is Jesus, the Incarnate Wisdom of God, and, this being so, then His words “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and “Unless you eat My body and drink My blood, you shall not have life within you, takes on an even deeper meaning. As I mentioned in a previous program, the Jew believed that there were two dimensions to every person: the flesh, which at food, and the spirit, which ate Wisdom and one of their names for Wisdom was the Bread of Life.
The poem suggests that from the beginning God was seeking a rational being who, instead of being part of a process which, like other creatures, he did not understand, he would become aware of laws of evolution and freely choose to cooperate with them.
Let me leave the last two stanza for later when, after we have analyzed the Organic Level of Evolution more thoroughly, they will have greater meaning for us.
Once we enter the Organic Level of Evolution, the Law of Correspondence repeats the same process that occurred on the Chemical Level. We will begin with the simplest form of life: one cell creatures, and through the Law of Complexification begin to move towards more complex forms. One cell creatures, like the amoeba that reproduce asexually, are incapable of leading evolution towards higher forms of life because they are involved in non-dialectical sex. In other words, they reproduce by splitting themselves and thus each offspring is a clone of the parent cell. I have already stated that with judgment , there can be no progress and now we can add the observation that without variety, there can be no judgment. In order for the laws of Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest to operate at an optimum level, you need to have creatures that are faster or slower, stronger or weaker, smarter or dumber from which to select. Therefore, if evolution was to progress towards higher forms of life, sexual reproduction had to replace asexual reproduction. Since asexual reproductions seems to be female in nature because it appears that female is the default sex, it appears that the male had to be invented as a reflective agent on the female that allowed two different cells to interacted and thereby create a variety of off-springs.
As one-cell creatures combined to form multi-cell creatures and the number of cells increased, the Logos of Reality, with its obsession with order and organization, took multi-cell creatures made up of identical stem cell and began to organize them by assigning different functions that would enhance the over-all survival value of the organism. Thus, some cells would become light sensitive and evolve into eyes. Others would become sound sensitive and evolve into ears. Still others would become pressure sensitive and evolve into sensory nerve cells.
It would appear that the first form of life on this level were plants who are able to take the inorganic chemicals in the soil and energy from the sun and, through photosynthesis, transform them into living tissue. Eventually, through the vast variety of plants that evolved in response to different environment conditions, there emerged plants that began to exhibit qualities that we associate with a newer form of life called animals.
According to the scientists, whenever any form of life first emerges, it will radiate. By this they means that it will spread out in all directions by transforming itself to take advantage of every possible way of survival. Thus, plants radiated into many different forms to match whatever environmental conditions were available for the perpetuation of life. By the same token, the different forms of animals would do the same thing. This should not surprise us because new inventions also radiate when they are first introduce. The internal combustion engine began as the power source for pumping water out of mines and radiate into the power source for turning the wheels on a “horseless carriage”. From there it radiated to turning the propeller on a boat, then on airplanes and now it is used in every possible conceivable way wherever its circular motion can be put to use. The automobile itself radiated into all the types of vehicles such as sport cars, vans, sedan, SUV’s buses, etc… And, at this present moment, the computer is radiated as its use is being expanded into every conceivable area.
But it wasn’t just the general categories of plants and animals that radiated. Each type of plant and each type of animal also radiated. Thus, from one primitive type of dog radiated all the different breeds that we see today.
Thus, according to the scientists, life through its vast variety of creatures evolved towards higher forms and each time one emerged with an advantage over other forms it radiated to take advantage of whatever conditions for life existed. As a result there was the Age of Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Marsupials, and Mammals and each one of these new forms of life radiated. They dug, crawled, flew, swam. Were large, small, vegetarians, meat eaters, or insect-eaters. They hunted at night or during the day and developed all types of methods for hunting or defense. They followed one immutable law: he who adapts to the changing conditions in the environment survives and he who doesn’t becomes extinct.
Well, I see that my time in up. In my next program I will look closer these different forms of life and how, according to the evolutionists, they eventually resulted in the emergence of our own specie. Here’s Dom!