Catholics and evolution

Status
Not open for further replies.
R

raggamuffin

Guest
I recently downloaded an MP3 file from Peter Kreeft’s web site. He is one of my favourite apologists and so I was a little dismayed to hear him say that he saw no difficulty with evolution in light of scripture. Is this a common belief amongst Catholics?

raggamuffin
 
40.png
raggamuffin:
I recently downloaded an MP3 file from Peter Kreeft’s web site. He is one of my favourite apologists and so I was a little dismayed to hear him say that he saw no difficulty with evolution in light of scripture. Is this a common belief amongst Catholics?

raggamuffin
I hope not. Since it is a disproven theory. Macro evolution that is. Chrsitians should be on the forefront of making sure they know all the ALL the information. Not just atheistic, ivory tower egg heads with a forum and an axe to grind. By asdsumiong these guys are the only authority regarding science we are acting like lemmings.

Mel
 
The term “evolution” must be clarified a little. Darwinian evolution, i.e., every evolution present in nature has occured as a process of trial and error without the intervention or instigation of a Creator, is incompatible with the Catholic Faith. However, evolution in general, as defined as the idea that life has become more complex over time, that single-celled organisms replicated and became multi-celled organisms, and that these multi-celled organisms became more specialized, can be rectified with the account of Genesis.

Considering there are in fact 2 markedly different accounts of creation in Genesis, it is logical to conclude that the purpose of the book was not to instruct on biology. It can be viewed by the faithful as an allegory showing the very real truths of God, His creation, and what the Catechism calls the “Primordial Act” which brought sin into the world.

The Catholic Church has not pronounced whether or not Genesis is a direct account of creation or an allegory. The Faithful are allowed to hold either opinion, so long as those believing in evolution do not exclude the necessity of God in Creation. I myself believe in evolution.
 
40.png
raggamuffin:
I recently downloaded an MP3 file from Peter Kreeft’s web site. He is one of my favourite apologists and so I was a little dismayed to hear him say that he saw no difficulty with evolution in light of scripture. Is this a common belief amongst Catholics?
This is one of those areas where the apparently-not-so-tyrannical-after-all Church does not bind the conscience of the individual. Consequently, you will get many varied interpretations of the Genesis account. You will get 7-day literalist to evolutionists, with the whole spectrum in between also represented.

BUT! Those who affirm evolutionary theory cannot deny some form of original sin. I happen to fall into this category. I believe that the Genesis account conveys truth in the form of a popular folk-tale (some people call it “myth”, as a form of literature, not the all-too-common popular definition of “false”), the type that would have been told around fires underneath the stars for generations. Thus, the truth conveyed seeks to answer the questions, who, what, and why, and not to answer the question of how. Specifically, Genesis reveals that a good God created the universe out of nothing, that human beings are the crown of his creation, created good and to be in relationship with him, that humans fell, reaped the consequences of that fall, and that God promised to somehow redeem humanity.

What the “evolutionary Catholic” would deny is that God created the world in 7 literal days. In other words, he would affirm that God created the world through the process of evolution. God is still the creator. It’s just that evolutionists would posit a different means of creating than would the 7-day literalists.
 
There is no conflict with believing in evolution and being Catholic. Provided that you believe that God was the one driving evolution. Unlike the fundmentalist baptists and similar religions the Catholic Church believes that the stories of creation in Genesis reveal truths about our relationship to God rather than historical facts, there are after all two conflicting reports of creation. It is how they wrote 3,000 years ago. Genesis reveals that God was the creator, that he did it out of love, he could have not created, that man is given a place of prominence in creation due to being made in the image and likeness of God, and that creation is good. Going back to our Jewish roots Catholics also believe that creation is an ongoing process. God did not just create the world and then let it go…the clockmaker theory. He has been an active part of creation since…well…creation.

All of this being said. Evolution is a thoery. I don’t believe it has been disproved or proved. It is compatible with Catholic teaching however.
 
40.png
raggamuffin:
I recently downloaded an MP3 file from Peter Kreeft’s web site. He is one of my favourite apologists and so I was a little dismayed to hear him say that he saw no difficulty with evolution in light of scripture. Is this a common belief amongst Catholics?
I always found it interesting that in the Bible when God is creating He says things like *“Let there be light” * and “Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures”, almost like He set up the circumstances and just allowed it to happen in a natrual way but when He creates man he says: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

Personally I don’t see a problem with evolution as long as you believe that it was God was the source of it. Scripture does not say HOW God created the world.
 
Dr. Colossus:
The term “evolution” must be clarified a little. Darwinian evolution, i.e., every evolution present in nature has occured as a process of trial and error without the intervention or instigation of a Creator, is incompatible with the Catholic Faith. However, evolution in general, as defined as the idea that life has become more complex over time, that single-celled organisms replicated and became multi-celled organisms, and that these multi-celled organisms became more specialized, can be rectified with the account of Genesis.
I think you put that well. There are more potential “methods” of evolution than Darwin’s natural selection working through random mutations.
 
40.png
raggamuffin:
I was a little dismayed to hear him say that he saw no difficulty with evolution
The Church has no quarrel, and nothing to fear, from legitimate science, genuinely seeking truth. Of course, we also know there is plenty of “junk science” out there that is tailored to suit a political agenda, instead of truth.

These quotes are from documents on the Vatican website:

CREATION, CULTURE AND FAITH by PAUL Cardinal POUPARD
Besides, both science and theology have learned new forms of humility. Possibly the most significant shift within the field of science is the abandonment of a mechanistic model of reality and the move towards a new sense of mystery especially in cosmology and astrophysics. How can we really grasp the staggering fact that the universe is about fifteen billion years old? For the theologian today, in fact “cosmic evolution can be considered as something entirely logical if one supposes that God did not wish to create a fully realized universe and that he chose to rely on the cooperation of natural causes” (Mariano Artigas, “Science et foi: nouvelles perspectives”, in Après Galilée: science et foi - nouveau dialogue, ed. Paul Poupard, Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1994, p. 210). Here I am doing no more than evoking horizons of friendship between science and religion that were unimaginable in the culture of even a few decades ago.
The HUMANI GENERIS ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII:
  1. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.
TENDENCIES WITHIN U.S.A. CULTURE from PLENARIA '97 by William BIERNATZKI S.J.
In searching for openings to culture for the gospel message, those speaking «for the Church» also have to use everything available to them. It is important that Catholics show respect for modern science. As an anthropologist, I am especially aware of this need in regard to evolution. Generally, we have a good record on this - Teilhard de Chardin, etc. - but the public has to be reminded of it. In the U.S. there is a tendency - especially because of lines drawn in the abortion debate - for Catholics to be identified as «fundamentalists» across the board: the anti-abortion «alliance» with Protestant fundamentalists being easily broadened, in the public mind, to other fundamentalist issues, such as «creation science.» We have to make an effort to avoid that image.
CONTEMPORARY CULTURE AND THE COMMUNICATION OF THE GOSPEL from PLENARIA '94 by Robert GASCOIGNE
Sacred Mystery, Historicity and Freedom
A balanced emphasis on these values of sacred mystery, historicity and freedom will attempt to respond to the truth implicit in each of these three ways of life and thought and at the same to criticize what is, from the perspective of Christianity (or, in the case of fundamentalism, from the perspective of the main-line Christian denominations) alien to the Gospel. In relation to the enlightenment, the Church must remain aware of all that humanity and the Church itself have gained from the Enlightenment’s emphasis on freedom and critical reason. The conflict and tension between the Church and the Enlightenment have often been creative in unpredictable ways: the deist critique of the veracity of the Bible was a spur to critical Biblical studies which have borne great fruit for Christian faith and life, Darwin’s ideas have challenged Christian theologians to situate salvation history within a cosmic history of creative evolution, and Marx’s critique of religion has compelled theology to critically reflect on its own and the Church’s social context
 
As much as I dislike the theory of evolution the Church does not forbid people to believe it. I’ve read this in several books. It’s not just Peter Kreeft. The Church stands back from making an infallible ruling on a scientific issue. One thing a Catholic who supports evolution cannot believe, however is that man’s soul evolved or came from another animal. A great book Fifty Questions on the Natural Law by Charles Rice discusses it some. Like I said, though, I’m not a fan of evolution. Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton should seriously make someone question evolution. He was no scientist, but he was alert and aware of the liberties evolutionists took (and still take) with their theories.
 
40.png
John_Henry:
This is one of those areas where the apparently-not-so-tyrannical-after-all Church does not bind the conscience of the individual. Consequently, you will get many varied interpretations of the Genesis account. You will get 7-day literalist to evolutionists, with the whole spectrum in between also represented.

BUT! Those who affirm evolutionary theory cannot deny some form of original sin. I happen to fall into this category. I believe that the Genesis account conveys truth in the form of a popular folk-tale (some people call it “myth”, as a form of literature, not the all-too-common popular definition of “false”), the type that would have been told around fires underneath the stars for generations. Thus, the truth conveyed seeks to answer the questions, who, what, and why, and not to answer the question of how. Specifically, Genesis reveals that a good God created the universe out of nothing, that human beings are the crown of his creation, created good and to be in relationship with him, that humans fell, reaped the consequences of that fall, and that God promised to somehow redeem humanity.

What the “evolutionary Catholic” would deny is that God created the world in 7 literal days. In other words, he would affirm that God created the world through the process of evolution. God is still the creator. It’s just that evolutionists would posit a different means of creating than would the 7-day literalists.
John Henry that is well said. Thankyou for stating it that way. Do you know of any good books on the subject? Charles Rice’s 50 Questions on the Natural Law covers some on evolution. He basically says what you said. It’s not a work on evolution, per se, though. God bless and once again, thanks for putting it that way.
 
If Adam and Eve were not real then there was no Fall. If there was no Fall there was no need for a Second Adam to undo Adam’s work. I am sorry but theisitc evolution completely makes the Gospel meaningless. No literal Fall = no need for a Savior. theisitc evolutution is worse than atheistic evolution. For theistic evolution does away with the need for the Cross. If Adam & Eve are allegory the so are the Gospels. You cannot have it both ways.

How do you reconcile this?

Also there is no proof of Macro Evolution using the scientific method. In fact the entire theory does not even begin with the scientific method. Which ironically makes it unscientific. It has never gone beyond theory. It has however, been taught as fact though there is not one shred of transitional stage or fossil evidence that stands up to scrutiny. What’s that saying about a lie repeated often enough?

Micro Evolution, change within species, on the other hand is true. It is observable and can be proven by real science. Macro Evolution, change from one species to another, is nothing more than a modern myth. Should society continue for another 100 years Macro Evolution will be a big embarrasment to the scientific community. It already is to Geneticists. And theistic evolution will be an embarrasment to the Church. Similar to Geocentrism.

Mel
 
There’s an important point to realize here: the Church does not say a person cannot believe in evolution. That does not mean the Church actively promotes the theory as correct. It just means that Genesis is understood to not necessarily be taken literally. That’s really all the deeper it gets.

Now, if a person used evolution to deny the soul or the Creator, that’s a no-no. There are significant and numerous literal truths of a spritual nature in Genesis. This does not translate to scientific truths of the course of events.

I was discussing this with a relative of mine who is Lutheran, and swears that the earth is only 6,000 years old. I made it a very clear point that I have no problem with him believing that, but if he thinks believing otherwise contradicts Scripture then I disagreed. He didn’t say he agreed, but it was a good discussion.

I personally don’t believe in evolution, but I do believe the earth is billions of years old. God is not a God of deception. Why would He create something 6000 years ago and give it every appearance of being billions of years old? That woould seem to me to be a direct hindrance to faith.
 
40.png
Melchior:
If Adam and Eve were not real then there was no Fall. If there was no Fall there was no need for a Second Adam to undo Adam’s work.
One can believe in the reality of Adam and Eve as our first parents while also accepting some form of evolution of the species. In fact, one of the Church’s criteria for anyone to accept evolutionary theory is that it must be compatible with the concept of original sin.

If it was evolution that prepared a species suitable for infusion of a human soul, it was nevertheless God who created our first parents, either in toto, or by infusing a human soul into Adam and Eve to begin mankind.

JimG
 
40.png
Melchior:
I hope not. Since it is a disproven theory. Macro evolution that is. Chrsitians should be on the forefront of making sure they know all the ALL the information. Not just atheistic, ivory tower egg heads with a forum and an axe to grind. By asdsumiong these guys are the only authority regarding science we are acting like lemmings.
Perhaps you haven’t read the documents by Pius XII about evolution:
“The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, insofar as it inquiries into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter.”
Here is an article on the matter.
 
One way to answer the questions regarding evolution is to note that the Genesis creation accounts are not describing the creation of the universe that we, the children of the Fall, are dwelling in. The creation accounts are describing the account of the creation of the universe that contains the garden of Eden, a universe where death, disease, and decay does not exist. 🙂

Think of the universe that contains the garden of Eden as being in a parallel universe to our world. Why not? Many saints have had revelations that the terrestrial paradise (i.e. the garden of Eden) is a real place that still exists. There are saints that say that Enoch and Elijah were taken to the terrestrial paradise, where they wait to be returned to our universe as the two witnesses in the Book of Revelation. Where else could Enoch and Elijah have gone? They left earth with their mortal bodies in a state of unremitted original sin, and they could not have gone to the heaven where Jesus and Mary now dwell with their glorified bodies. Enoch and Eliajah had to go someplace with their bodies, and it wasn’t to the heaven where the blessed behold the beatific vision.

No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
John 3:13

Genesis states that Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden, and that a cherubim with a revolving flaming sword guards the tree of life that grows at the center of the garden. I believe that the terrestrial paradise is a real place that still exists, just as purgatory, the limbo of the Fathers, the lake of fire, and the heaven of the blessed are real places that exist. Paul mentions that he was drawn up to the third heaven. How many other parallel universes to this world are there?

God “caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man” when he created woman from the immortal flesh of Adam. I imagine that when Adam and Eve lost the preternatural gift of bodily immortality, that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon them. When they awoke after the Fall, they found themselves cast out of the universe that contains the terrestrial paradise, and living in the universe where Satan is the ruler of the Kingdom of the World. :mad: The mortal bodies that Adam and Eve lived in could have been formed by evolution, since those bodies were not the immortal bodies that they had in the terrestrial paradise.
 
“Evolution is only a theory.” ANSWER

“There is no evidence for macroevolution.” ANSWER

“God and Evolution are incompatible.” ANSWER

Read and (even better) print out all the TalkOrigins articles here

Evolution is a FAQ

One recent book I just bought is

Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing edited by William Dembski (2004)

Gives a minority viewpoint, contains essays by Dembski, P. Johnson, M. Behe, D. Berlinski, and other “Discovery Institute” fellows

Also I highly recommend Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth Miller for the standard scientific evidence for evolution, responds to P. Johnson, M. Behe, and such atheists as Richard Dawkins

As for the Church’s position, the Catechism says…
  1. The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers…
Phil P
 
I strongly recommend anyone interested in this topic to read
The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel.

It seems that while microevolution (within species) has a certain level of evolution, macroevolution (species - species) has no basis in scientific fact whatsoever.

The fossil record has shown the exact opposite of what Darwin’s theory suggested we should find.
In fact the Cambrain Explosion (the biological “big bang”) amazingly supports the genesis record - that God created the birds/animals/fish -all creatures prior to His creation of man.

When it comes to the Big Bang itself - Genesis comes to mind again.
It seems that at the initial explosion - photons lit up the newly born universe.
“Let there be light”

Fantastic book - it is not a time for christians to embrace the 19th century myth of natural selection.
 
<< I strongly recommend anyone interested in this topic to read
The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. >>

Its an okay book, I’ve seen the book prominently displayed at the local Borders and Barnes/Noble. The best chapter is probably the one with Behe where he and Strobel attempt to respond to Behe’s critics. The case for a Creator can be made quite well from reason and philosophy (Kreeft/Tacelli Handbook of Christian Apologetics, and William Lane Craig does quite well there).

But to make the case for a Creator from “science” seems to be a bit unscientific. We’ll just have to wait and see if “intelligent design” can make its case to the scientific community at large. The two big sides in this debate are (btw, both are believing Catholics)

Mike Behe

Ken Miller

They’ve gone head-to-head a couple times in debate. I recommend the 1997 Firing Line "Resolved: The Evolutionists Should Acknowledge Creation." In my opinion, the creationists/intelligent design folks were smoked in this debate. But they started off well. Just my opinion. 😃

Phil P
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top