Age of the Earth and Evolution

Hi,
So this issue came up as a side issue in a question I just posted and it has got me thinking about things I haven’t thought about in years, but which were stumbling blocks to me when I was a new “revert”. It is the questions of the age of the earth and by connection evolution, Adam and Eve, and so forth. It’s something I would like to understand more.
My main thoughts/questions are these, and I’d love to hear thoughts from people who believe in a young earth, those who believe in an old earth, theistic evolutionists and those who don’t believe in evolution, however I don’t desire input from atheists, if you don’t mind:

  1. For those Catholics who believe in evolution as laid out by Darwin and others (and I will just say that I do not believe in macro-evolution, and it seems the science is more and more calling it into question) but of course accrediting it to God, how is this a logical position to take as a Catholic, considering if it were the case, that it would mean that before the creation of Adam and Eve there was millions of years of chaotic life, and death and evolution, all which contradict the Biblical account of a world created perfect by God and into which death only entered after Adam and Eve’s sin?
    Secondly, for those in this category who accept human evolution from primates, do you really believe that a sub-human primate without a soul gave birth to Adam? And Eve? That Adam was born into a world already filled with death and savagery? How do you reconcile all this with the Bible?
  2. For those who believe in a “young earth”, say, less than 10,000 years old, how do you reconcile this with commonly accepted science of a much older earth, and the evidence of such?

Lastly, I would love help in understanding how, if the science says that the world has existed for millions (billions?) of years, and death has existed since the beginning, how does this fit into a Biblical account where Adam was created around 6000 years ago, into a a perfect world free of death and sickness?

I apologise if my thoughts aren’t all very clear but it’s a huge topic and I’m just grasping at understanding.
Thanks! :slight_smile:

The soul in Adam was breathed into him by God. All souls are created by God. It really doesn’t matter if Adam’s body came from the dust or came from the apes, his soul has the same origin.

Also, it was Adam and Eve who became subject to death once they ate of the fruit. The animals did not have a share in that. Given that God created all of the animals before creating man, then either wolves ate very differently or they could already kill their prey.

Finally, answer me this: If God spent 6 days creating a universe and part of that universe was a history of billions of years, is the universe 6 days or billions of years old?

It’s not, but I do hear this repeated by people who reject evolution but want to seem reasonable. I’m not saying you’re doing that but I would guess if you looked at who you’re actually hearing this from it’s not going to be actual scientists. If you want to say science is rejecting it I’d be curious what the basis for that is. Macro-evolution isn’t even a term in actual evolution, the idea that many small changes couldn’t add up to large changes is a bit strange, like saying a person can take a step but surely they can’t walk a mile.

Anyways don’t mean to be harsh, would be genuinely curious to lean more about the basis for your conclusion that it’s being disproven.

I’ll leave the theological discussion to those more qualified, but Inquiry’s response above has the one I’ve seen more often.

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I highly disagree with this - and I find it completely at odds with the biblical account.

Obviously the universe isn’t 6 days old.

Just curious, are you a Catholic? Don’t ask to be condescending it just affects how I view your answer and my response.

I tried to limited my response to inquiring about the source of your information and conclusion specifically so it wouldn’t touch upon any theological matters. I’m not asking for you to tailor your answer to my beliefs just to clarify how you came to yours. You said science seemed to be calling macro-evolution into question. I’m just curious if this is your conclusion and if so is there a particular paper or study or whatever that you feel is compelling? Is this a conclusion of someone in some kind of biological field and if so is there a paper or talk or something I can watch?

  1. Adam and Eves fall brought death into the world for men. There’s no reason so assume God made marmots with divine, deathless bodies or something, and if he did, less sense for him to take that away from them because of man. Makes more sense that animals have always been the same as they are now in this sense, and man was a unique deathless creation at the time. It’s made pretty clear that man is a separate creation an order above the rest of life, so it makes sense.

  2. I’m not sure which I exactly believe, but I don’t find it hard to believe that God gave an immortal soul to a man who’s parents didn’t have one. I mean the literal reading says God breathed an immortal soul into a guy he made from “the slime of the earth”. I mean obviously God is omnipotent so it makes no difference but the former seems alot less complicated, so not sure why it’s harder to believe.

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No, you asked if a sub-primate without a soul could give birth to Adam. I don’t know if that happened, but I am open to the possibility it could have. Assuming it did, I don’t see how the fact that she didn’t have a soul matters since either way God had to be responsible for Adam’s.

I mean, of course Adam being born is at odds with the biblical account. But that’s not necessarily a problem. Literal and true are not the same thing and we already know we have to look beyond the literal with Genesis because it gives two different accounts of Adam and Eve’s origin.

Are you sure it’s not both?

I’ll follow up on this. When you picture God creating Adam from the dust, do you picture Him shaping an adult man?

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God only gave the preternatural gifts of immortality, infused knowledge, and lack of concupiscence to Adam and Eve. He did not give those gitfs to any animals that existed before they did. “death entering the world” only pertains to mankind.

Yes, that is what I believe. It is not hard to reconcile that with the Bible ate all. I will add that I it is also very hard to reconcile creationist views with Genisis, since there are two accounts of creation and they are do seem to contradict each other on the details.

This statement is wrong on a lot of levels. Science by its very nature is supposed to question things. What we actually hear from most scientists are glossed over explanations such as “it rained on the rocks for millions of years”. That is the most unscientific explanation that exists. There are many more common sayings such as this by so called scientists and frankly it’s shocking.

There are true scientists who not only question the entire idea evolution, they question the entire model. In order to start the entire theory of evolution you must first create a living cell.

If you are really interested in hearing from one of the most brilliant scientists in the world on the subject please watch the following from Dr. James Tour.

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I can accept this, but also it doesn’t actually say “death entered the world for humans”, it says it more broadly. Again, I can accept it, I just wonder. I might look up this question to see if any of the Church fathers or aquinas commented on it.

Agree to disagree on this one. Adam suckling the breast of a soulless beast does fit with a biblical account of a Paradise.

Biological evolution does not deal with the creation of life, that’s a separate but related field called Abiogenesis. Biological evolution deals with the diversification of life once it exists. I really doubt you’re finding someone saying “it rained on the rocks” in any actual scientific paper. Perhaps something vaguely like that in a casual conversation, but not in actual research or when discussing the topic in a serious manner.

And yes, scientists do question ideas and models all the time. Biological evolution is still around because the models keep passing tests. Even fields such as genetics which didn’t exist when the theory first began being seriously researched reinforced the principles in the scientific theory.

I will watch the video you provided when I have some time this evening, but again you’re discussing a related but different concept than evolution.

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Thanks I’ll watch this later.

This came up a couple of weeks ago, and someone posted a source, but I don’t have time to find it. It will say this, the Bible itself pretty much says that death of animals and plants existed first, as God told them to eat of anything in the garden besides the tree of life. Eating something implies death.

I have no problems discussing these things with non-Catholics, it’s just that on this occasion I’m trying to find the Catholic perspective from different angles. Thanks. :slight_smile: Not intending to offend!

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The examples, would all be putting faith in science. And science is about things they can prove, and therefore, opposed to faith.

As Peter said, Re: time

To God a thousand years is like a day and

Put any number you want into that analogy. Put a million, a billion, etc etc. Can science prove without a shadow of doubt that the earth is 4.5 billion yrs old? Or that the universe is 13.7 billion yrs old +/- 1%? It’s that +/- 1% that I find MOST interesting. :roll_eyes

This is printed in text books from elementary schools all the way through college. This isn’t a saying I overheard in the bathroom haha

I never said scientific papers proposing a thesis include these terms, yet it’s taught across all ages in text books.

Good point! Thanks. Funny how I never thought of that.

I think Jesus was not above using stories to illustrate theological points, so why does the Genesis account have to be literal? I think the author makes very true statements about God creating the world, and our first parents falling into sin, and how sin brought “death” into the world, but we have since used our intellect to better understand God’s creation, and it seems that evolution is a pretty good theory about how life has developed, as there is vast evidence for it.

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Understood! No offense taken, evolution is just an interesting topic to me and it initially sounded like you were closed off to other opinions or ideas. My own beliefs might be considered in the ‘its complicated’ category but you could probably treat me how you’d treat a non-believer and be fine, doesn’t mean I consider myself closed off just skeptical at this time in my life.

That said evolution is an interesting topic to me, I think it’s a beautiful system and frankly given how often I hear adherents praise the order and reason present throughout the universe I’m surprised it’s not more universally attributed to God. We look at mountains and trees and all around us many find the beauty of divine creation, to me if that’s the origin of it all that beauty seems to run deeper into the systems to govern the world as well. Reconciling that with specific bible passages as I said I leave to those with more knowledge of the text.

I do however find it difficult not to try and provide clarity when I see misconceptions being thrown about. I am genuinely interested in watching the video linked above but it’s also worth noting the existence of people disputing the claims shows the system does allow thoughts that go against established ideas. Many scientists are religious and accept evolution, and even they don’t find the arguments against it compelling. Either way it’s easy to simply say “I don’t think that’s possible”, the hard work, which I haven’t seen done, is collecting evidence and formulating a better explanation that better explains the variety of evidence we see in the world.

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