Evolution: Need book recommendation for family member

Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn wrote an interesting book, Chance or Purpose, that treats the subject of evolution. He was one of the Holy Father’s former theology students and was asked by Pope Benedict XVI to study the issue. This resulted in both the book and the papers presented by the Holy Father’s former students while they were at Castel Gandolfo in 2007.

It’s blasphemous because it places the creation of horrific evils at the feet of God. Lou Gehrig’s Disease becomes a product of the “intelligent” designer.

Also, ID reduces God from the role of infinite creator to that of commonplace designer, and a rather klutsy and inept one at that.

Schoenborn’s book was not part of the discussion in Rome last month, because it is clear to readers of the book that the cardinal understands very little about science. For example, he claims that no transitional fossils have yet been found; in fact, the world’s paleontological museums are crammed with such fossils. Neither the theologians nor the scientists at the Rome conference were the slightest bit interested in discussing “intelligent design” because it is bad theology, and it is not science at all.


Evidently, the Holy Father thought enough of the cardinal to have him take the lead on the discussions at Castel Gandolfo. His book should not be completely discounted.

*Chance or Purpose? *has some good theology in it, but neither Cardinal Schoenborn nor Pope Benedict are scientists. If the former had restricted himself to speaking about theology, rather than dismissing a science with which he is not deeply acquainted, it might have been better. Of course, I suppose it is possible that the anti-science stuff was written not by him, but by an ID ghost writer.


Evolution does contradict the faith. It shows that man is an accident. The product of mutation and natural selection. No biology textbook or college course will ever include God in any of it. The theory does not allow for the supernatural at all. It happened all by itself. Without any outside interference like God.

I recommend the book, Chance or Purpose? by Cardinal Schoenborn.


You suppose a conspiracy? Really? Why? The Cardinal was a principle in the assembly of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and you’re suggesting he doesn’t understand high school biology? Or worse - that he lied on the book cover and did not give credit to his ‘ghost writer’? Please.



Evolution does not contradict the Catholic faith. That’s why Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict support it.


Pope Benedict XVI

Monod nonetheless finds the possibility for evolution in the fact that in the very propagation of the project there can be mistakes in the act of transmission. Because nature is conservative, these mistakes, once having come into existence, are carried on. Such mistakes can add up, and from the adding up of mistakes something new can arise. Now an astonishing conclusion follows: It was in this way that the whole world of living creatures, and human beings themselves, came into existence. We are the product of “haphazard mistakes.”

What response shall we make to this view? It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error. Nor are they the products of a selective process to which divine predicates can be attributed in illogical, unscientific, and even mythic fashion. The great projects of the living creation point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before. Thus we can say today with a new certitude and joyousness that the human being is indeed a divine project, which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. Human beings are not a mistake but something willed; they are the fruit of love. They can disclose in themselves, in the bold project that they are, the language of the creating Intelligence that speaks to them and that moves them to say: Yes, Father, you have willed me.

We are not haphazard mistakes.


The Cardinal writes: “If it is true that everything developed from one first seed, then there ought to be innumerable transitional states, but noone has yet discovered any of them.”

Since the world’s paleontological museums are crammed with “transitional states,” the good Cardinal either is unacquainted with high school biology, or is engaging in deliberate deception. I decline to speculate about these alternatives.

I called my loca library for the Creation & Evolution book and they’re going to get it for me from our local Seminary! The second one I’ll see if I can get when I’m done. Thanks gents!

We’ve been through this before. You misrepresent ID as usual, but I would like you to answer the questions you touch on above.

  1. You claim ID is bad because it places the creation of horrific evils at the feet of God. Where then does evolution put them?

  2. If a klutzy designer is how ID sees God, then is a klutzy infinite creator any better?

The whole question of why/how/when God allows there to be evil in the world is much larger than the ID / Evolution controversy.

Good questions.

(1) ID says that we can detect divine design in creation. Does all creation show evidence of design, of just some of it? If only some things are designed by God that might excuse God from some ills such as a poorly constructed heart, or a disease like ALS.

Evolution does lay the responsibility for creation at the feet of God. However, one can argue theologically that God permits creation its own integrity, so as to maximize creaturely freedom

(2) An infinite creator who allows creation to evolve along its own paths need not be held responsible for the evolution of arteries in such a way that they lead to heart attacks, or the evolution of MS as a mother’s immune system response to the foreign cells of her own children (a kenotic God might suffer with creation). An infinite designer should have been able to design the heart in a way to prevent heart attacks, or to design the immune response to pregnancy in such a way that mothers’ systems would not react to fetal tissue by attacking their own bodies. Or perhaps the designer could have designed things more efficiently, but chose not to.


It is sad that the Bible is not mentioned. Jesus mentioned deformity but God is not the creator of deformity. Man deformed himself when he believed someone other than God. Someone who contradicted what God told Adam.

And what did Jesus say to the man who was bed-ridden, let down through a roof? He forgave his sins and then told him to take up his pallet.

I ask all the Catholics who live under the spell of modernism to realize that all the sins mentioned in the Bible are still with us.


I don’t know how much of creation has detectable (by us) design in it. But I do know that when God created it, that it was all good. And I know that God designed the fundamental laws of nature to work together in harmony to bring about this earth as a place for his children to live. Those laws were designed, they didn’t come about by accident. And neither did we.

Humans have free will. Free will is the capability to go against the nature which God intended us to have. Nothing else in this material creation has that capability. God permits / permitted us the freedom to engage in original sin (and much more of course) and we often choose unwisely. The effect on God’s good design, his good creation was to cause it to unravel.

The Kingdom of God, the coming of Christ, started to put things back together again. And our actions as Christians - thy will be done - as part of the body of Christ allows us to participate in this re-raveling(?) of creation.

That can be argued theologically as well.

Creation doesn’t evolve along it’s own path. God planned it, designed it, purposefully wanted it to come out a-la the garden of eden. We had the free will to screw it up and we did.

Yes. You’ve said many times that God does not meet your expectations. Or that the only way he can meet your expectations is via “God allowing creation it’s own integrity…”

God holds the universe in existence. All of it. Including heart attacks and Gehrigs disease.

Read the book of Job.

God’s design was good. Very good, in fact. Genesis.

Tell that to the mother of the anancepahlic child! Oops – sorry God screwed up in the design of your kid; better luck next time.

 It's amazing that someone who questions the absurd, Godless theory of evolution is called a "blasphemer" by StAnastasia. Scientists cannot even create a "simple" cell using THEIR intelligence, yet they profess to know that the entire sequence, from non-living elements to mammals, was produced by random mutations. I wasn't born yesterday! Proud "Blasphemer" :tiphat:

Oh, yes. It’s much better to say that it was allowed by “An infinite creator who allows creation to evolve along its own paths…” [your direct quote from above.]

Is that what you would tell the mother?

In addition to the question why does God allow evil in the world, the question of why does God allow suffering in the world is also very deep.

Of course the question is deep. I would tell the mother that God did not intelligently design her child not to have a brain, but that by virtue of the long evolutionary history of Homo sapiens genetic accidents happen, and unfortunately anancephaly occurs. I would tell her that – incomprehensible though it may be to us – God permits suffering in creation, and suffers with that creation, even taking on our form (Philippians 2:7-8) and our experience to the point of death.

This answer is more honest than one that says that because “Adam” and “Eve” ate the “fruit” somehow that led to her child being born without a brain.


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