Catholic Theistic Evolution - Ken Miller



This is not a challenge to the Roman Catholic faith, but a very very interested question and I hope it’s taken in that way, I’m not cruising for an argument (on this occasion :wink: )

I found this video on youtube, where a guy called Ken Miller speaks about evolution and a crucial piece of evidence in primate DNA.

Ken miller is a Roman Catholic and a theist. This is the link:

It’s interesting to me becuase it appears to me that he says that he belives in a designer but also that if such a thing occurred deliberatly God would have deliberatly acted to make it appear that he hadn’t done it. He then says he is a theist.

I’d like this explained to me from christian thiests, perhaps there’s something I’m missing in all this. Is there a way that I could believe what he explains in the video and in theism?

Genuine question asking for genuine responses:

Please no creationists or anti evolutionists. Catholic or mainstream christian theistic evolution answers would be appreciated. If you’d like me to read something in the bible, please post the reference rather than the verse and I will read it. Please watch the video, it’s not long.



That appears to be a clip from his full talk from Jan 2006 at Case Western Reserve in Ohio. The full talk (2 hours) is here

If you want just the audio as an MP3, I’ve saved that on my site

The only problem I might have is where he implies “we are an accident.” He does this in Finding Darwin’s God (I’ll have to look up the page number). But I think he means from “nature’s” perspective we appear accidental, while from God’s perspective we have purpose and are designed, and evolution is God’s method, although to some it seems a very messy method rather than designing from “scratch” (like a mechanic or engineer would).

I’m looking to get both Mike Behe’s (The Edge of Evolution) and Ken Miller’s (Devil in the Details) new books on the topic. And the Pope’s/Cardinal Schonborn’s book (Creation and Evolution) when translated into English.

Phil P


regarding this argument of chromosome fusion, it seems to me just as another argument of our good-old creation vs. evolution debate, but nothing revolutionary new and convincing though.

some good resources about traditional church teaching of origin,

What Does The Catholic Church Teach about Origins?

*God created everything “in its whole substance” from nothing (ex nihilo) in the beginning.
  (Lateran IV; Vatican Council I)

*Genesis does not contain purified myths. (Pontifical Biblical Commission 1909[1])

*Genesis contains real history—it gives an account of things that really happened. (Pius XII)

*Adam and Eve were real human beings—the first parents of all mankind. (Pius XII)

*Polygenism (many “first parents”) contradicts Scripture and Tradition and is condemned. (Pius XII; 1994 Catechism, 360, footnote 226: Tobit 8:6—the “one ancestor” referred to in this Catechism could only be Adam.)

*The “beginning” of the world included the creation of all things, the creation of Adam and Eve and the Fall (Jesus Christ [Mark 10:6]; Pope Innocent III; Blessed Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus).

*The body of Eve was specially created from a portion of Adam’s body (Leo XIII). She could not have originated via evolution.

*Various senses are employed in the Bible, but the literal obvious sense must be believed unless reason dictates or necessity requires (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus).

*Adam and Eve were created upon an earthly paradise and would not have known death if they had remained obedient (Pius XII).

*After their disobedience of God, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. But the Second Person of the Trinity would subsequently pay the ransom for fallen man (Nicene Creed).

*Original Sin is a flawed condition inherited from Adam and Eve (Council of Trent).

*The Universe suffers in travail ever since the sin of disobedience by Adam and Eve. (Romans 8, Vatican Council I).

*We must believe any interpretation of Scripture that the Fathers taught unanimously on a matter of faith or morals (Council of Trent and Vatican Council I).

*All the Fathers who wrote on the subject believed that the Creation days were no longer than 24-hour-days. (Consensus of the Fathers of the Church)

*The work of Creation was finished by the close of Day Six, and nothing completely new has since been created—except for each human rational soul at conception (Vatican Council I)

*St. Peter and Christ Himself in the New Testament confirmed the global Flood of Noah. It covered all the then high mountains and destroyed all land dwelling creatures except eight human beings and      all kinds of non-human creatures aboard the Ark (Unam Sanctam, 1302)

*The historical existence of Noah’s Ark is regarded as most important in typology, as central to Redemption. (1566 Catechism of the Council of Trent) 

Personally, I too am convinced into young earth creationism. And many older Catholics I know never ever really considered evolution to be true, even though the school system in our former Yugoslavia exclusively forced evolution in text-books. But Catholics here (the older ones to whom I talked about it) never believed into communists believes anyway, they believed how their Priest told them in Sunday classes (and how their Catholic parents told them). They made no big stories about it. It was like: they believe into that, but we believe into ours.
Besides the fact that I find the traditional view of 6-literal-day of creation much more beautiful and romantic, I also fully believe that it’s True! :thumbsup:


Thanks Phil I’ll check those out. I’ll grab the audio file and listen to it, seems like an interesting guy, I’ll see if I can get some of his books.

Am I right that he puts forward the view point that while from a material point of view we were created by chance and becuase God fornew this you could say it was planned?

Could you say that the meaning of the Adam and Eve story isthat two historic beings then had created souls ‘implanted’ in them? Or perhaps that God continuously does this ‘implanting’ on an ongoing basis for all human beings?

Just trying to get my head around the concept…


I don’t want to side track this conversation. I appreciate you taking the time to express your opinions, but I’m really interested in the theistic evolutionary view point.

Pope Benedict himself has come accross quite progresively on this matter. Each to their own. :slight_smile:



Gareth << Could you say that the meaning of the Adam and Eve story is that two historic beings then had created souls ‘implanted’ in them? Or perhaps that God continuously does this ‘implanting’ on an ongoing basis for all human beings? >>

Something like that. We’ve had this discussion numerous times in here, and various explanations have come up. I’ve asked Ken Miller privately in Email and he doesn’t seem to believe in a literal Adam/Eve, and even suggests the Catechism doesn’t require “our first parents” to be two people (for example, see Catechism paragraphs 337-338, 362, 369, 375, 390, 396, and 159, 283-284). You’ll find others in here while affirming there is the “symbolical” and “figurative” in Genesis see Adam/Eve as essential to the faith (Catechism paragraphs 359, 375-377, 379, 388, 390-392).

Evolution works in populations, and homo sapiens (or any pre-human species) was never “bottlenecked” at just “two people.” But two people could be selected as representatives of humanity, or figurative “parents” of the bunch, with souls infused. Sometime after this, they fell, and their sin spread to all existing humanity.

One book that tries to deal with the theological objections while still affirming a theistic evolution and orthodox Catholic faith is Origin of the Human Species by Catholic philosopher Dennis Bonnette. I think sometimes he gives too much credence to young earth ideas in the book. A compilation of articles by evangelical Christians (geologists, biologists, astronomers, and others) is Perspectives on an Evolving Creation edited by Keith Miller (no relation to Ken). If you buy only one book on the topic, make it that one.

A number of articles on my site:

Philosophy and Science, especially

Adam, Eve, and the Hominid Fossil Record excerpts from Keith Miller and Dennis Bonnette

Phil P


The Church Fathers themselves are not free from error. They are not infallible.

  1. When is the infallibility of the Magisterium exercised?


Infallibility is exercised when the Roman Pontiff, in virtue of his office as the Supreme Pastor of the Church, or the College of Bishops, in union with the Pope especially when joined together in an Ecumenical Council, proclaim by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. Infallibility is also exercised when the Pope and Bishops in their ordinary Magisterium are in agreement in proposing a doctrine as definitive. Every one of the faithful must adhere to such teaching with the obedience of faith.

Nothing wrong if you do believe in a young Earth creationist ideology, mate. Just do not get the impression that it is a heresy to believe in Mr. Darwin’s evolution.

It is heretical however to believe in atheistic evolution for obvious reasons:thumbsup: .


I’ve touched about this here: so yes, I do believe that God is the Prime Mover in evolution.


Thanks for these links on evolution and Genesis.


I read Ken Miller’s book. Thanks for these video links.


It’s Miller time.:smiley: He’s got mad evolution skillz.


Hmmm, interesting! PhilVaz (Phil Porvaznik) you helped Alec (hecd2) write an article on Jan 26, '06 that was presented to the forum titled **Evolution and Cardinal Schonborn **. The article states, "Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, recognised this when he wrote in the July 2004 Vatican Statement on Creation and Evolution:."But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, …"

All I could find on the Vatican website was INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION COMMUNION AND STEWARDSHIP: Human Persons Created in the Image of God* CHAPTER THREE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD: STEWARDS OF VISIBLE CREATION, 1. Science and the stewardship of knowledge the above quoted exerpt in 69. “…But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality…"

I’m wondering Philip if you may have been thinking the Pope’s new book would state what was in the INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION COMMUNION AND STEWARDSHIP and you gave Alec incorrect information by accident? I have the transcripts of the last two drafts Alec presented back in January 2006. (1) Nothing much changed. Futhermore, I recall looking at the history of Wikipedia when you posted Alec’s article there. All I can say is the PhD was a ‘no no’ . (Strange now that I think about it, I do recall getting around that time about 20 phone calls a day for almost two weeks straight from loan companies. Weird. And not too long ago a weird call from Sarasota, Florida…ah well. )

Alec, it would be nice to see in your online article some comments made by the Vatican’s Scientific Advisory Committee members such as Peter Raven, Coyne, and a few others. I have them and will post them later elsewhere. Perhaps you and Phil would like to read the review of the book Schoepfung und Evolution (Creation and Evolution) by Pope Benedict.



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