Evolutionary Theology in Six Hundred and Forty Words or so…


by Bruce Sanguin

This posting originally appeared on Bruce Sanguin’s blog IfDarwinPrayed.com. Visit his blog for more postings, webinars, and podcasts on Evolutionary Christianity.

I was once asked to write a piece describing evolutionary theology in six hundred words or less. I know, it’s ridiculous. But I gave it a shot anyway. Actually, I’ve expanded it a bit because it’s my blog.

In the song Lord of the Starfields Bruce Cockburn’s praises his God: “O Love that fires the sun, keep me burning.”


After 13.7 billion years, the love that fired the universe into being is still firing through an evolutionary process infused by the radiance of the divine. It’s all an incarnation of love, everything, you, me, a tadpole, the crow building her nest in my magnolia this morning. It’s love in the process of realization.

Christians have tended to associate Jesus with “the” incarnation, but I’ve come to think of the story of his life, death, and resurrection most radiant occasion of a universal incarnational dynamic in the human realm. He is the divine promise of where all creation is headed. In Teilhard de Chardin’s words, the universe is in the process of being christified, just like Jesus.

There was a time when I imagined myself over here looking out upon the universe outside of me. This objective relationship to the cosmos is emphasized by science. A beautiful thing.

But the universe also enjoys an interior dimension, a subjectivity. That is you, dear reader. And me. And it is the “we” that arises in the sweet space between us, if we decide to fall in love with each other.

You are, we are, iterations of this originating fire—the fire of love. Your big self is as big as this universe, inside and out, and you are eternally expanding. We are the presence of the universe doing the looking.

God is the womb of creativity, intelligence, and love that we emerge out of along with everything. This emergence is happening every moment. To know this is to awaken to our deep creativity, intelligence, and love, being made as we are in the image of God.

Check out this video, if you want to see how these three qualities manifest in artistic expression. The artist illustrates beautifully this stepping into this stream of creativity. A more profound three minute theology I have not found.

Divine creativity is expressed primarily in, through, and as the evolutionary history of the universe, (able now to consciously enjoy the creative process in, through, and as us). The evolving cosmos, including life on our planet—both bodies and minds—is the incarnation of God’s deep creative desire for love to find its fullest expression.

The story of evolution, then, is itself a sacred text, revealing God’s heart and intention. This implies a non-coercive bias in the evolutionary trajectory of the cosmos—toward an increase in love.

My core spiritual practice as a Christian is to remember this when I find myself contracting into a pathetically small self that generates all kinds of stories that have nothing to do with love. I remember, in prayer, worship, on walks with my wife and friends, writing sermons, etc.

And lately I find that placing my hand over my heart helps my memory, which looks kind of strange when standing in a check-out line with a cart full of groceries. I remember that I am an expression of the love that fired the sun, and my silent prayer is to keep burning in me until I take my last breath.

To be a disciple of Christ is to undergo a fundamental identity shift, by awakening to the simple and obvious truth that we are occasions of the divine creativity and love coursing through the cosmos commissioned with the purpose of birthing the “new thing” God is doing. Anointed and called to be the new thing that is eternally springing forth from the heart of God, we proclaim and enact the Kin-dom of God.

Bruce Sanguin is a minister serving Canadian Memorial United Church in Vancouver, BC. Bruce is passionate about raising public awareness that there is a form of Christianity beyond the belief-based, biblical literalism that is associated with traditional “church.” His latest book, If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics, won an IPPY gold medal for best spiritual and inspirational book.

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Categories: Bruce Sanguin, Christian Life, Spiritual Growth

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One Comment on “Evolutionary Theology in Six Hundred and Forty Words or so…”

  1. April 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Lovely, Bruce. Keep firing!! I like the hand on the heart part.

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