Several years ago, I was a senior fellow at Woodstock Theological Center working on questions in science and religion. One day, the program manager appeared at my door and asked if I wanted some boxes of notes that had been taking up space in his office. The notes happened to be those of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and he did not know what to do with them. Woodstock had inherited the notes from Nicole Schmitz-Moorman, whose father, Karl Schmitz-Moorman, inherited the notes after Teilhard's death. Karl bequeathed the notes to his daughter, who, in turn, donated them to Woodstock. The notes are typewritten pages, hundreds of them.
Teilhard's thoughts were like millions of burning stars over the great expanse of the cosmos. Sometimes, his thoughts coalesced into diagrams and formulas to which he would add words and arrows, revealing his brilliant mind plumbing scientific discoveries, scanning world events, and weaving all into his deep Christian convictions, striving earnestly to form a grand synthesis of science and religion.
Recently, I was in conversation with my friend Martine Rothblatt, founder of Sirius satellite radio and United Therapeutics and author of Virtually Human: The Promise -- and Peril -- of Digital Immortality, and mentioned that I had Teilhard's notes. Martine is a "Teilhardian" and was thrilled by this revelation. She offered to digitize the notes for me so they could be safely preserved. I now have four boxes of Teilhard's notes on a thumb drive and last week downloaded them to my tablet so I could slowly ponder his incredible quantum thoughts.
As I was scrolling through the notes, I was delighted to see this phrase: "Le toujours Noveau Dieu" ("God is always new"). I was immediately struck by Teilhard's words because I have been pondering the newness of God for quite some time. Teilhard realized that God does not simply do new things, but God is always new. The Dominican mystic Meister Eckhart had a similar insight several centuries ago when he wrote: "God is the newest thing there is, the youngest thing there is. God is the beginning and if we are united to God we become new again."