Advancing into the future

Flung into existence, we are forced to advance into a future which terrifies us by its novelty and disheartens us by the “chance” that seems to govern its development. We suffer equally from the determinist processes that involve us in their various phases, and from the forbidding indeterminism of chances whose multiplicity and slenderness make it impossible for us to control them.

Following upon that, I shall put forward a particular concept of faith. If the future seems to us so uncontrollable – both in its causal sequences and its capriciousness – it is because we are afraid to plunge with it. Once we have faith (in the vigour of our spirit and in the powerful goodness of God) then the future will submit to control, and lose its terror. First of all, “chances” will give way to our personal effectiveness; and then there will emerge, from the strengths developed from our own faculties, a freedom we have never dreamed of. The creative power somehow needs our faith on which to rest its advances. The world will achieve its fulfillment only to the extent to which we commit ourselves more confidently in the direction of what has not yet taken shape – confidence forces the barriers of determinism and brings order to chance.

It is in the supernatural sphere that the world is now being created. And it is therefore above all to an achievement of sanctity that the sum total of chances that punctuate the whole course of a believer’s life will directly co-operate. … faith has an even wider function than to triumph over chance: it really enables the soul to achieve new stages of being. It doesn’t simply “order”; it creates new powers.

The more one changes, the more one dies. Trust in God does not do away with death, but it makes death such that it opens the way to greater fullness of life. There are, of course, as many deaths as lives: the greater the faith with which one allows death to carry one off, the more will death introduce one to some individually heightened form of existence.

In short, we may say that the more we believe in life, the bolder we are, the more the Universe is able to build itself around us in its mystical reality, of which all that has already taken shape makes itself manifest then to our vision in faith, inseparable from our action in faith.

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin The Making of a Mind