At the end of his stirring sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Bishop Michael Curry brought up the name of theologian and geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Curry brilliantly captured the power of Teilhard’s synthesis of science and theology by citing Teilhard’s comments on fire and love. Curry noted that Teilhard had called fire one of the greatest discoveries in human history and had said that “if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.” With the help of a French Jesuit theologian, Curry set the love of two people for one another at the center of the material and spiritual forces that unify the world.
Few theologians have joined the disciplines of science and theology as creatively as Teilhard. He acquired his fascination with geology early on, growing up in the volcanic Auvergne region of France. His father, an amateur naturalist, encouraged him to collect fossils and other natural objects. Meanwhile, his mother instilled in him a deep Catholic piety. He joined the Jesuits at 17, a fitting step for a young man who wished to combine his spiritual and scientific commitments.