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Paul Tillich and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin both have made contributions to a theology of evolution. In a 2002 essay John Haught 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. 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 Second 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.
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Keywords: End of History; Kingdom of God; Omega Point; being and nonbeing; dynamic dialectic; horizontal dimension and vertical dimension; science and religion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: ( ) led the Component Technology Branch of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA 01731, where he is emeritus., Email: [email protected], URL:

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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