Belief in evolution leads to what in the real world


#1

One more evolution poll: (I don’t think this has been done yet), what are the consequences in our outlooks on life and faith that the belief in evolution carrries with it? If you believe in the theory that humans evolved from apes (uh, the common ancestor of humans and apes, I mean of course), what other beliefs are you likely to have? Just curious–and please feel free to expand on your answer as much as possible–the more clarity here the better.

Oh and–for the three of you who will call me an ignorant “fundamentalist”—got it :thumbsup: --it’s understood, so you can refrain from name-calling and just stick to explaining your positions, thanks (in the spirit of good-form, I will also refrain from asking you if you want a bannana and calling you the product of monkey lust):

What are the ramifications in other aspects of life that belief in evolution carries with it?


#2

I believe in evolution and the Scripture, I see no conflict between the two. If you read Scripture carefully and understand evolution correctly there is no conflict. Scripture does not include every detail about Gods’ creation, it never says it does. Evolution fills in the many blanks. I believe God created man, He took clay, which means man is created from the earth, gee same as Darwin theorizes, and did God create a single cell and plan for man to be developed? Does the Bible say He didn’t? We know that a good deal of Scripture is not to be understood literally, why do we insist this part of Genesis must be literal? Genesis chap 1 is exactly what I envision happening after that great explosion of a star which describes the “big bang” theory. Why do people have such a hard time understanding God could use part of His creation to develop into another part? People seem to feel it would be degrading to have developed from a monkey, why? Didn’t God create that monkey as well? I see no conflict in the theory of evolution and creationism, although I do understand that evolution is only a theory, Scripture is fact, perhaps not literal, but fact.


#3

I do not “believe in” evolution or any other man-made theory or created thing or created person. I “believe in” God as revealed by Jesus Christ who is made present on earth in His mystical body, the Catholic Church. I believe all the doctrines the Catholic Church teaches because I believe in its founder, Jesus Christ.

I accept the possibility that certain theories about the natural world posed by scientists and mathemeticians may in fact be accurate descriptions of realities in the natural world, because God has given the gift of reason in order that we may discover the truth about the world He has created. My criteria for evalutating such claims are the ordinary laws of science and evidence. There can be no conflict between the truth about creation, and the truth about the Creator, if both are properly known and understood.

On the other hand, there can be all kinds of errors and conflicts when science goes beyond its proper realm, study of creation and created things, to making claims or denials of truth about the Creator which are outside its realm. I do not necessarily accept the extrapolations and inferences about God and His relationship with creatures, or about the soul and its origins that many people erroneously make based on those scientific theories.

for the record I hold and believe all the Catholic church teaches, submit to its earthly authority as granted by Jesus Christ, and am politically liberal in the classic sense (not the sense attributed to certain brands of American politics). Liberal in the sense of reserving to individuals that which belongs to them, and limiting governments to exercising only those functions which legitimately belong to government.


#4

I am pretty fiercely conservative on moral issues, and I absolutely believe in evolution. I don’t believe there is any correlation between lenient moral attitudes and belief in evolution. As far as I’m concerned, belief in evolution is practically necessitated by Reason. I’m in the medical profession, and I study things like cellular biology, and there is simply no other reasonable way of understanding things like the transmission of DNA. I have yet to see a rational non-evolutionary explaination of cellular biology and DNA. People are free to deny it, and I don’t consider them stupid, but they do seem to lack a rational alternative explaination.

Evolution is NOT contrary to Scripture, and if it was the Church would say so. All of the condemnation on this board of things that the Church readily allows within the CCC is a violation of Christian tolerance. You might as well condemn a person for what they eat, or the way they cut their hair. When it comes to things condemned by the Church, we have a duty to be intolerant (but not unforgiving), but evolution is nowhere near that camp. It is as much a morally correct thing to believe in evolution as it is to celebrate Mass in Latin.


#5

I’m not quite a “young earth” creationist, but more of a “middle-aged earth” creationist.


#6

I just realized that I would be much more accepting of non-evolutionists (I won’t say Creationists because I believe in Creation as well) if they simply accepted that WHEN God created the universe in six days, God created a four billion year old universe :stuck_out_tongue:

Would that solve anyone else’s problems?


#7

[quote=Ghosty]… People are free to deny it, and I don’t consider them stupid, but they do seem to lack a rational alternative explaination…
[/quote]

why is the explanation that God created it not a “rational” explanation? i don’t care what anyone thinks on this subject since whether we evolved or were created or a combination of both doesn’t affect my faith in a personal creator/God and His son, our redeemer, Jesus.


#8

[quote=Tom]We know that a good deal of Scripture is not to be understood literally
[/quote]

We are to understand all of scripture literally.


#9

[quote=bengal_fan]why is the explanation that God created it not a “rational” explanation? i don’t care what anyone thinks on this subject since whether we evolved or were created or a combination of both doesn’t affect my faith in a personal creator/God and His son, our redeemer, Jesus.
[/quote]

Well said. The problem is if we evolved over billions of years from microscopic organisms…from whence comes original sin? Why the need for Jesus and redemption?

When God breathed into man–he created a human soul and breathed it into an inanimate human body–a special creation…how is this compatable with man evolving from animals (who already have animal souls)…do evolutionists believe the soul evolves too? How do you have billions of years of random mutations with God involved? Did he create all the billions and billions of random beneficial genetic mutations which resulted in all the new species? If you say he did–what about free will? I didn’t realize that God was manipulating everything around us–even to the levels of our genes as we reproduce.

Of course atheists love the theory of evolution…it allows them to account for life **without **God being involved.


#10

[quote=Ghosty]I just realized that I would be much more accepting of non-evolutionists (I won’t say Creationists because I believe in Creation as well) if they simply accepted that WHEN God created the universe in six days, God created a four billion year old universe :stuck_out_tongue:

Would that solve anyone else’s problems?
[/quote]

The Earth is older than 6,000 years old. I’ve read several early Church fathers and modern thinkers who point out that a “day” in Genesis does not equal 24 hours. I’m not suggesting that we have a young Earth.

The issue of how old the Earth is does not suggest anything about whether animal species turn into other animal species if given enough time. Can animals just turn into people given enough time? If they can…then who needs God at all?

  1. Do we have a Deist God who started the universe and created the laws of evolution and then let it go–eventually one animal (Homo sapiens) among many was produced and then God sent His Son to redeem them from…what exactly?

  2. Or do we have a puppet God who mainpulates everything around us including our genes and who we reproduce with? Then we have no free will.

Either way we are not dealing with the Christian God here. And of course, evolutionsts claim that everything about us is evolved–even our personalities and charaters (no soul need apply). How do Christian evolutionists get around this: If we are simply adhering to our evolved natures, (again I ask) from whence comes original sin? Did we inherit original sin from Adam and Eve…or from Cornelius and Zira?


#11

Those of you familiar with Douglas Adams’ *Hitchhiker’s Guide *books may recall the “Total Perspective Vortex.” This device would give the receiving person a glimpse of the entire Universe and that person’s relation to it; it would completely destroy the mind of the viewer.

At times it can seem like this when we ponder the Universe (or Creation if you will) in its entirety. It is just so big we CAN’T comprehend it and those rare times when our minds seem to be able to “bite off more than they can chew” it can be truly awe-inspiring. We really are (physically speaking) totally and utterly insignificant in relation to the Universe. However, we know that we are NOT insignificant in the least. Why not? Because God made each and every one of us; God gave us our name as he breathed life into our body. God loves us so much that he gave us his only Son and in doing so is giving us a chance of salvation even though **we do not deserve it! **God is with each of us and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit and never gives up on us. Why should He, we are soooooo small and undeserving, yet that is how God acts. Now that is what I call Love!:smiley:

What does this have to do with evolution? Evolution is a scientific theory; and like all scientific theories, it tries to explain this world so that we may have a better understanding of it and thus have a greater appreciation for it. Since science is solely concerned with explaining the “How” of THIS world, it in no way interferes or contradicts religion (which is concerned with our relation to God and giving Him our undivided love and hopefully attaining salvation through His Son). To me, studying the theories of evolution and human origin, as well as the origin and nature of the Universe through the lens of science, gives me much deeper respect and wonderment in the power and Love of God. To me, if God created everything in 6 days and that was all, I would feel somewhat cheated (almost like it was “instant gratification” on God’s part). Before you attack that last statement think about this: we have been told by the Church that it is acceptable to believe or not believe in evolution, either way you choose, it should not interfere with your reverence of God. For me, believing that God used long term processes to create us brings me closer to Him. If evolution bothers you to the point where it is holding you back or taking you away from God, then disregard it in YOUR beliefs, but do not attack it and try to make everybody believe in what you want them to. By attacking those who hold evolution as a viable means of creation, you run the risk of leading them away from God!! This works both ways! It is good and healthy to have a dialogue, but please to not attack either position (once again, we’ve been told it’s ok either way you choose to believe!).


#12

[quote=Tom of Assisi] We are to understand all of scripture literally.
[/quote]

No Tom, the Catholic Church understands Scripture utilizes many literary devices, similes, metaphors, (please refer to “Divino afflante Spiritu” Pope Pius XII 9/30/1943) which do not call for a “literal” interpretation.

[quote=Tom of Assisi] I’ve read several early Church fathers and modern thinkers who point out that a “day” in Genesis does not equal 24 hours. I’m not suggesting that we have a young Earth.
[/quote]

I totally agree, so our understanding of a “day” cannot be limited to a 24-hour period we would consider it. Does this call for a “literal” translation?
The point is, God created everything. He does not go into great detail in explaining His creation in Scripture, He calls us to believe, we do. I’m saying I see no conflict in the theory of evolution and the Word of God in Scripture. The Church officially does not seem to find conflict either. I understand it is only a theory, as such it may be worng, but, it may also be correct, or at least partly correct. It does not change the relationship of you to God.

[quote=Tom of Assisi] Can animals just turn into people given enough time? If they can… then who needs God at all?
[/quote]

Animals could “evolve” into people if it was Gods’ will couldn’t they? Or are you restricting the power of God to your understanding? How He created us is not important in our need for Him.
Is it so impossible to think God created this world, with the intention of every living creature sharing it’s very existence with every other creature? He did after all give us Eve, taken from the rib of Adam.
As far as when we acquired our human soul, is there a problem with God “breathing life into us” (which to me means giving us our eternal “life”) at any time during our development? One day we were an Ape, the next day God breathed “life” into us as His children. Now understand, that’s not what I’m saying happened, it’s just maybe a possibility? Not so far fetched, and not against Catholic teaching (that I know of).
In the end, God created us, Our Lord, Jesus the Christ saves us. We are His. May the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, be with you, Tom


#13

Tom of Assisi: You are setting up a false dicotomy, and one that is NOT condoned by the Church. There is nothing inherent in evolution that rules out God creating everything. The Church itself teaches that evolution is an acceptable belief. To say otherwise is to go against the Catechism.Evolutionists do NOT claim that “everything” about humanity evolved. Evolution has nothing to say about the soul. Period. Questions of personality are in a grey area, because other animals certainly have personalities, so they may evolve to a certain degree, but the issues revolving around the spiritual reality of our species are not touched on at all by evolution scientists. As a scientist, I find it insulting that you put such notions in our collective mouths.

why is the explanation that God created it not a “rational” explanation?

No one is saying that God creating everything is irrational. What I’m saying is that all explainations of God creating everything that do not include evolution in some what are irrational because they ignore things that are easily observed with reason, such as the evolution of DNA. God created everything is not irrational, in fact it’s VERY rational. The Big Bang Theory attests to an outside force creating the universe, and it is about as solid a theory as science has ever put forth.


#14

I do believe in Evolution (but not Darwinism) and I am a staunch religious and political conservative. I feel that evolution, and science in general, does not threaten the Church.

P.S. Don’t forget that Galileo was right!

The Vatican has the Specola Vaticana, The Vatican Observatory, founded in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII, one of the oldest observational laboratories in the world (with a Vatican telescope in Arizona).

I love the Vatican, it is not afraid of science, it will admit its mistakes when proven wrong, take corrective action, and embrace the truth.


#15

I believe what the Roman Catholic Church believes.

An older Monsenior told me there is no contridiction between God’s method of creation and evolution. Why couldn’t God have used more than one method? I do believe God created man as the Bible tells us.

The Scriptures do not tell us how the earth was formed neither does it tell us how all the animals and plants were created. Accept it.


#16

TomA << What are the ramifications in other aspects of life that belief in evolution carries with it? >>

Not a whole lot. Unless of course you are actually working in the fields of biology, geology, medicine, or other branches of science directly impacted by evolutionary science. For the average person, the “ramifications” would be the same involved in accepting any other bit of modern science. The only reason I accept (not believe in, but accept) evolution is that – from what little I have studied – it is good science. The Catholic Church accepts modern science, and biological evolution (micro and macroevolution or “common descent”) is the best explanation of natural history and of life’s diversity that we have today. Therefore I accept evolution. That’s it.

As for the whole Adam/Eve question, I’m working on it…but you should too. Pick up a few books, I’ve mentioned a few dozen authors in past threads. That’s the only way you’re gonna learn this stuff and figure out how to reconcile, by reading folks who have wrestled with these questions themselves. Including the recent Popes. They are not new questions, they are at least 150 years old since Darwin. Don’t be lazy, study. Yes, even go to a university or seminary library. :smiley:

Here are a few possible answers to the question “How can I reconcile evolution with original sin?” I’ve posted these before, but here they are again.

– from a post by Loren Haarsma on an old creation-evolution discussion board I found

For now, I’ll quickly summarize 11 ideas which I’ve encountered in various books and articles. All of them are suggestions for dealing with the biological and paleontological evidence while maintaining the doctrine of Original Sin and the need for a Savior. For this post, I’ll just list the ideas and won’t comment on which ones I believe probable or improbable, acceptable or unacceptable, or the scientific and/or theological problems faced by each idea. Maybe others in this group will want to start that discussion.

(1) God used evolutionary creation of plants, animals, and some hominids; followed by special creation of Adam & Eve, the parents of all modern humans, in a literal Garden of Eden several tens of thousands of years ago.
(2) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens; followed by special creation of Adam & Eve, as representatives of all existing and future humanity, in a literal Garden of Eden.
(3) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens; followed by special selection of Adam & Eve, as representatives of all existing and future humanity, in a literal Garden.
(4-6) The same as 1-3 above, except the Garden of Eden story is an allegorical re-telling of some other historical event. The historical details of The Fall are unknown, but it involved revelation from God, choice, and rebellion.
(7) Same as #1 above, but occurring 5 million years ago with the Genesis flood (a local flood) corresponding to the filling of the Mediterranean basin; Abraham (Genesis 12) is a modern person.
(8) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens. The story of Adam, Eve and the Garden of Eden is an allegorical version of some actual historical event, in the distant past, where God revealed Himself to a group of humans (perhaps more than two), and the humans rebelled. The Fall was not inevitable, but a choice. Original sin “spread” from this group who received the first “revelation” outward to eventually include all humans.
(9) Same as #8, but the story of the Fall is a telescoping of multiple events of revelation and rebellion in human pre-history.
(10) Same as #9, but taking into account the slow development of hominid intelligence and self-awareness over time. Analogous to the gradual development from the ordinary self-centeredness of an infant into the sinful selfishness of a toddler.
(11) Same as #10, but the eventual sinful state of humanity was inevitable, given the number of opportunities for it to happen.

That seems a fairly exhaustive list, though I’ve probably missed a few.

– from a post by Loren Haarsma on an old creation-evolution discussion board I found

Theistic Evolution vs. Six-Day Creation by PhilVaz, not done but almost

Phil P


#17

For the record, John Paul II wrote the following to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences over twenty years ago:

“Cosmogony and cosmology have always aroused great interest among peoples and religions. The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with the universe. Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer. The Sacred Book likewise wishes to tell men that the world was not created as the seat of the gods, as was taught by other cosmogonies and cosmologies, but was rather created for the service of man and the glory of God. Any other teaching about the origin and make-up of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does not wish to teach how heaven was made but how one goes to heaven.” (Pope John Paul II, 10/3/1981 to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “Cosmology and Fundamental Physics”)

The important parts to notice here, according to John Paul II:

(1) the Bible is not a scientific treatise;
(2) the main point of Genesis 1 is that God is our Creator;
(3) the Scripture uses the cosmology in use at the time of the writer (not a modern cosmology);
(4) the Bible wishes to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heavens were made;
(5) any other teaching about the origin and nature of the universe is alien to the intentions of the original biblical authors.

I’m trying to find more comments like this from the Pope’s writings. People are already familiar with his Statement on Evolution (“Truth Cannot Contradict Truth”) to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 1996). He has also written a commentary on Genesis 1-3 in his Theology of the Body, which I’m trying to take into account. Also Cardinal Ratzinger has a commentary on Genesis titled “In the Beginning…” which I don’t have yet, but Mike Behe has quoted from it. And finally, our own Jimmy Akin has written an article on “Evolution and the Magisterium” last Jan 2004 in This Rock. Definitely not fundamentalists (John Paul II, Ratzinger, or Jimmy Akin).

These are things that Tom of Assisi (and myself) needs to read and study on this topic. Just takes a bit of time to gather the sources. The questions have been asked and answered, somewhere. :thumbsup:

Phil P


#18

Count me as another conservative Catholic who does not question Church teaching, but who sees positive benefit in studying the theory of evolution.

[However, I had a philosophy of science class under a professor of zoology in the 1980s, and he made no secret of the fact that philosophers and scientists at the time had grave problems with the theory of evolution].

Anyway…

Our Church has a tradition of openness to science with few (however important) exceptions. This openness can be traced to St. Thomas Aquinas and his teachers Albertus Magnus and of course Aristotle.

What benefits accrue from studying the theory of evolution? The same as accrue from studying other aspects of the created world.

St. Thomas gives quite an extensive list of benefits of diving in to the natural world through science in his Summa Contra Gentiles Book 2 Chapters 1-3. Of course, being St. Thomas, he grounds his analysis always in scripture:

Ps 142:5 - “I meditated upon all Thy works: I meditated upon the works of Thy hands.”

St. Thomas said that Meditation on the things of nature:

  • enables us to reflect upon His Wisdom

  • leads us to admire His sublime power

  • incites the souls of men to love of God’s goodness

  • by knowing creatures, there arises in man a certain likeness to God’s wisdom - “But we all beholding the Glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image” [II Cor 2:18]

  • through ignorance of nature man can fall into error by attributing to creatures what belongs to God

  • by ignorance of nature something is subtracted from God’s power in its working upon creatures, we become ignorant of the ways that divine providence influences all things - “We looked upon the Almighty as if He could do nothing” [Job 22:17]

In short, knowing the nature of created things always enlarges us, and always helps us reflect properly on God. Even if the theory is wrong, it is the pure desire to know, the insight of knowledge, and our judgements of truth that are inherently good. We simply must trust that over time, through trial and error, we will reach as much truth as is ordained for us to have on this earth.

God Bless all who struggle with this difficult topic. But I ask you one and all to consider that the danger is not in the theory itself, but only in the attitude of the scientist who sees in nature not the marvellous works of Yahweh, but a way to denigrate man, as in the case of modern Marxism.

Peace to all.


#19

[quote=PhilVaz]For the record, John Paul II wrote the following to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences over twenty years ago:

“Cosmogony and cosmology have always aroused great interest among peoples and religions. The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with the universe. Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer. The Sacred Book likewise wishes to tell men that the world was not created as the seat of the gods, as was taught by other cosmogonies and cosmologies, but was rather created for the service of man and the glory of God. Any other teaching about the origin and make-up of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does not wish to teach how heaven was made but how one goes to heaven.” (Pope John Paul II, 10/3/1981 to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “Cosmology and Fundamental Physics”)

The important parts to notice here, according to John Paul II:

(1) the Bible is not a scientific treatise;
(2) the main point of Genesis 1 is that God is our Creator;
(3) the Scripture uses the cosmology in use at the time of the writer (not a modern cosmology);
(4) the Bible wishes to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heavens were made;
(5) any other teaching about the origin and nature of the universe is alien to the intentions of the original biblical authors.

I’m trying to find more comments like this from the Pope’s writings. People are already familiar with his Statement on Evolution (“Truth Cannot Contradict Truth”) to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 1996). He has also written a commentary on Genesis 1-3 in his Theology of the Body, which I’m trying to take into account. Also Cardinal Ratzinger has a commentary on Genesis titled “In the Beginning…” which I don’t have yet, but Mike Behe has quoted from it. And finally, our own Jimmy Akin has written an article on “Evolution and the Magisterium” last Jan 2004 in This Rock. Definitely not fundamentalists (John Paul II, Ratzinger, or Jimmy Akin).

These are things that Tom of Assisi (and myself) needs to read and study on this topic. Just takes a bit of time to gather the sources. The questions have been asked and answered, somewhere. :thumbsup:

Phil P
[/quote]

Hi Phil,

You might want to read: A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME by Steven Hawkings, where the author describes how the Pope requested an personal interview to discuss the theory of the Big Bang. The Vatican is interested in such science according to Hawkings because its is important for the argument of a ‘first mover’. So it seems that science is useful to the Vatican to help explain the existence of God and Heaven, but not how they were made in the opinion of mere science.


#20

<< A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME by Steven Hawkings, where the author describes how the Pope requested an personal interview to discuss the theory of the Big Bang. >>

I should have that book, seen it all over the bookstores, I know its a multi-million best seller. I should get it… BTW, its Hawking. There is only one. :o

Yeah the Big Bang comes in handy with the Cosmological Arguments. The evangelical apologist William Lane Craig uses it very effectively. I have tons of his debates, send me a private Email if you want them.

Phil P


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