Upon reading de Chardin, Blondel responded with the following note of caution:

In brief, like Fr. Teilhard, I believe that the time has come for deeper commitment to the doctrine of Emmanuel: “Testis verus et fidelis,” “Alpha et Omega,” “in quo omnia constant,” “princeps omnis creaturae.” But one should be on guard against the dangers of immanentism; the more one represents Christ as an innate presence in souls and in the world itself, the more vital it is to lay sharp stress on the absolute transcendence of the divine Gift, on the inescapably supernatural character of the plan towards deification, and thus on the moral transformation and the spiritual expansion which are demanded by and achieved through grace. Although in one sense there is continuity in the universal order, in another sense there is incommensurability, a doing away with the old man and the old nature for the birth of the “novum coelum” and the “nova terra.”

As editor of this collection of letters between Blondel and de Chardin, de Lubac notes in a footnote a possible defense of de Chardin’s view:

“Teilhard would have said ‘reversion’ or ‘excentration’ instead of ‘a doing away with.’ ‘We have not yet crossed the critical point of our excentration, of our reversion to God. There is a further step to take: the one that makes us lose all foothold within ourselves – oportet illum crescere, me autem minui. We are still not lost to ourselves. What will be the agent of that definitive transformation? Nothing else than death.”

What’s fascinating about this correspondence is that it’s characteristic of the current debates between an apocalyptic form of Christianity and a natural desire for the supernatural.

Blondel, sounding somewhat Reformed here, wants to highlight a “deeper commitment to the doctrine of Eammaneul,” that all things have been made new. Yet he feels the need to step back. And step back into apocalyptic he does: “there is incommensurability, a doing away with.”

De Lubac, while still noting the need for metanoia, qualifies Blondel’s “doing away with” with de Chardin’s “reversion” or “excentration.” Perhaps for de Lubac, “doing away with,” which I take to be representative of the apocalyptic rupture or inbreaking, is too strong, in that it forgoes transformation of the creature/creation for the sake of destruction.

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