Genesis 1 aside, does that fact that physical systems being able to naturally evolve and adapt on their own without any sort of intervention show that there is no need for a creator or a God? Further does the growing amount of evidence for abiogenesis also lend support to the idea that God is simply not needed for systems to arise and evolve?
Here’s the keyword.
A few years back there was a very interesting exchange on an EWTN talk show where one of the guests stated that the process of evolution takes a far more complicated avenue to achievement than would instantaneous creation by rote. To his mind, and I agree, evolution in this respect only serves to reveal an even more brilliant and imaginative mind on the part of the Creator.
No, thinking such would seem to take a very simplistic view of God and His “role” as Creator.
And could you explain your reasoning?
It’s already been done to death by many people smarter than I am. See any of the plethora of evolution threads on this very site, any of the cited documents found on those threads, or myriad other sources. I just don’t understand why this same question gets asked over and over and over; the answer always boils down to “No, evolution does not disprove (or prove) God.”
I think it does argue powerfully against the god that was en vogue throughout Modernity—the deistic, intervening, meddling, god-of-the-gaps. However, this god is not advocated by the history of the church. “Classical theism” (e.g., Thomism) argues for a God to account for contingency itself and change itself. If contingency, then Necessity is required to account for it. If the actualization of a potential ever occurs, then an Unmoved Mover is required to account for it.
In one sense, your questions illustrate that Stephen Jay Gould was on to something when he proposed that science and religion are NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria). I would only revise it to say that metaphysics/theology/religion investigates areas that the sciences do not and vice-versa. Gould represented it in the simplistic fact vs value way. But, he was on to something in suggesting that the subject matters often do not overlap (science and religion are mostly concerned with different matters).
An acorn and an oak tree look very different.
What happens when an acorn takes 10 million years to become an oak tree?
Still in God’s design and plan for the universe.
No. It simply disproves some fundamentalist interpretations of certain biblical passages. No more. No less.
OK, what about the absolute need for “The First Cause?”
How would evolution disprove God? I don’t see why (or how) it would. God can choose to create species however he wills, he IS God.
The question doesn’t relate to that.
In my view, there is not enough evidence for macro evolution, only micro evolution. But regardless, only when the theory of evolution becomes this universal explanation of reality, doing away with God in the process, is when it is unacceptable. Because it steps out of physics and into metaphysics.
I don’t have an ontological problem with Evolution, I think it highlights the complexity and beauty of God’s “Mind”. It is a teleological argument, if you will.
The problem I have with Evolution is more of a moral one (and that doesn’t mean I don’t believe it to be more correct than creationism), that is:
Why the system of natural selection is so cruel? Why so many animals, innocent beings with a soul, have to live a life and death so harsh for the Creation to develop?
This sometimes troubles me; a theory I have is to recourse to Redemptive Suffering and Heaven for animals: maybe the difficult existence of so many creatures here can be recompensed in Heaven…
I find evolution to be beautiful. For me, I see how complex and unique we are. I think that there is real beauty in that. We could have appeared as single-cell organisms. And they have their own unique beauty about them as part of creation. But I think the complexity of life, how we can walk, talk, think, etc is just incredible.
The philosopher Thomas Nagel wrote a work called Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false. He is also an atheist. Even he acknowledges that a purely materialist account of evolution is unlikely. There must be some kind of cause that orders nature. He isn’t working in an Aristotelian or Thomistic account. This book was also cited on Fr. Spitzer’s Universe for any of his fans. For any fans of philosophy, I strongly recommend Nagel. I think that he has a brilliant mind.
Christians do not need to sacrifice their minds and evolution does NOT disprove that Jesus is the Son of God , was crucified on the cross, rose from the dead, and lived the most miraculous life in History.
Evolution has no bearing whatsoever–as far as I can tell–on anything relating to Jesus Christ. To me, the account of creation in Genesis is a way of explaining something that was completely beyond the understanding of ancient man. God is creator, but His method is rather irrelevant.
“There are no difficulties in explaining the origin of man in regard to the body by means of the theory of evolution. According to the hypothesis mentioned it is possible that the human body, following the order impressed by the Creator on the energies of life, could have gradually been prepared in the form of antecedent living beings [i.e. living beings that existed prior to humanity].”
John Paul II, “Humans are Spiritual and Corporeal Beings”, April 16, 1986.
St. Augustine in the A.D. 300s wrote a commentary on Genesis and pointed out that the days do not need to be taken literally nor need the creation be a few thousand years ago. Indeed he suggested that God made the world with certain special potencies that would gradually unfold over time and develop. This interpretation came 1,500 years before Darwin!
Biological evolution is simply irrelevant to the truth of Christian Theism.
Any doubts I would have about the theory of biological evolution would be scientific and not biblical. Barrow and Tipler two physicists who wrote the Anthropic Cosmological principle lists 10 steps in the course of Human Evolution and each of which is so improbable that before it would occur the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and incinerated the Earth. They calculate the probability of the development of the human genome to be somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power to the 110,000 power and 4 to the negative 360th power to the 110,000 power! So, if evolution did occur on this planet it was literally a miracle and therefore evidence for the existence of God!" BOOM! CROWD GOES CRAZY
"So, I don’t think this is an argument for Atheism.Quite the contrary it provides good grounds for thinking that God super intended the process of biological development. So, the Christian can be open to the evidence and follow it to where it leads. You have to feel sorry for the atheist because their presuppositions determine the outcome no matter how improbable or fantastical because they cannot follow the evidence to where it leads. However, if there is a fine tuner and creator of the universe then already in the initial conditions of the big bang you have an elaborately designed universe that permits the evolution and existence of intelligent life."
These animals do not have rational souls. You may be personifying them unduly.
Natural selection isn’t THAT cruel. Not every creature has the same number of offspring. So, for example (so the theory goes), if a certain mutation allows an animal to live long enough to have 8 offspring, he will have more influence than an animal that only has 5. Assuming that this mutation is something that will be passed onto their offspring, then over many, many years this variation would take over the gene pool in a certain area.
It’s mainly about whoever has the most offspring and thus the most influence over the gene pool. We can think of various reasons for this, like maybe they were able to get more food or could escape predators better, or they could attract a mate better. These are good things that help their life and species.
But in nature, to quote The Lion King, there’s a “circle of life” of sorts, things help each other in the grand scheme of things for the greater good.
Now, I’m not the biggest proponent of evolutionary theory, but I do try to be open-minded to the Truth in these matters!
Thanks for the insight. I understand that theoretically natural selection can come at having more offpring. However, practically, in the majority of the situations there is infighting to achieve this: hunting, mating fights, parasites, even animals that kill their own offspring. That’s why I don’t buy into the “cycle of life” argument, it’s still horrible from the point of view of the animal.
And no, animals don’t have a rational soul, but they can certainly feel, they can certainly sense, and they certainly have a counciousness. So I think they have Dignity within Creation. Lesser than human? Obviously, but only below.
Well, we technically can’t really know what a lower animal experiences. Obviously the Fall has traditionally been seen in playing a huge part in the sufferings of the world. But, I wonder how conscious of pain/suffering the lower animals really are. It is very difficult to know. What is very intriguing is the amount of “knowledge” animals have from birth through instinct.
But I think you have a knack for being empathetic! Perhaps this can be a great gift used for the Kingdom.