Evolution Sunday -- 12 February


#1

Evolution Sunday!

Hundreds of Christian churches all over the country are taking part in Evolution Sunday, February 12, 2006. Michael Zimmerman, the initiator of the project, writes, "For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy.


#2

Understandably, no authentic Catholic Church has signed on to this. The only exception is a “St. James Catholic Community” in Maryland that seems to exist entirely on-line. For your entertainment pleasure, here is their mission statement:

Our GOAL and MISSION is to invite churches to make this AFFIRMATION and to act upon it:

"Following Jesus in nonviolent struggle for justice and peace, we love our neighbors and enemies as God loves us all, becoming a peace church to share in God’s work to save the world."
A peace church is a church which knows what happened to the body of Christ in the world, and still wants to be the body of Christ in the world.

**RESOLUTION
(EVERY CHURCH A PEACE CHURCH **

Whereas the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who made peace by his cross, offers new life through the power of forgiveness and suffering love, 1

and whereas Jesus said that his cross is to be taken up by each and all who would follow him, 2

and whereas the cross was the price which Jesus paid for his nonviolent resistance to the powers of injustice, violence and oppression,3

and whereas we have heard God’s call to follow Jesus, to be in the world as he was in the world, and to continue his peacemaking by the cruciform power of nonviolent resistance and suffering love,4

and whereas the Christian tradition, including the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., sets an example of energetic work for justice and peace,

and whereas we believe that the church could turn the world toward peace if every church lived and taught as Jesus lived and taught,5

be it therefore resolved that our community of faith,
the St. James Catholic Community
declares itself a peace church by making the following affirmation:

**The Peace Church Affirmation **

Following Jesus in nonviolent struggle for justice and peace,
we love our neighbors and enemies as God loves us all,
becoming a peace church to share in God’s work to save the world. :rolleyes:


#3

February 12th my dh and I plan on attending Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Mpls to celebrate their patroness. She was instrumental in my becoming a Catholic, which is, naturally special for us. I am sure the subject of evolution will be noticeable by its absence from the homily or the Mass, thank God! :rolleyes:


#4

ahim << More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. >>

I’d sign it if I was clergy, but making St. Darwin the patron saint of beetles, pigeons, and finches, now that’s going too far! :smiley:

Phil P


#5

[quote=PhilVaz]ahim << More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. >>

I’d sign it if I was clergy, but making St. Darwin the patron saint of beetles, pigeons, and finches, now that’s going too far! :smiley:

Phil P
[/quote]

Some of it is dichotomy.

Reconciling monogenism as taught by the Church with a 10,000 ancestor-strong “bottleneck,” 10,000 years of Biblical geneaology from Adam to Christ to 2006 versus 4.5 million years, death, disease, etc. pre-Fall (where humans emerged at the very end of “creation” or “evolution”) versus sin and death occurring only AFTER the fall, and God creating man ex nihilo from the dust of the ground and woman from the rib of man versus ensoulment of hominids millions of years ago…these are only a few of the many, many problems, some of which seem irreconciliable, between Catholic teaching and Darwinian teaching.

If you can fix that mess, you’ll have a Nobel Prize or congratulations from Pope Benedict, one of the two.


#6

[quote=Mike O]Some of it is dichotomy.

Reconciling monogenism as taught by the Church with a 10,000 ancestor-strong “bottleneck,” 10,000 years of Biblical geneaology from Adam to Christ to 2006 versus 4.5 million years, death, disease, etc. pre-Fall (where humans emerged at the very end of “creation” or “evolution”) versus sin and death occurring only AFTER the fall, and God creating man ex nihilo from the dust of the ground and woman from the rib of man versus ensoulment of hominids millions of years ago…these are only a few of the many, many problems, some of which seem irreconciliable, between Catholic teaching and Darwinian teaching.

If you can fix that mess, you’ll have a Nobel Prize or congratulations from Pope Benedict, one of the two.
[/quote]

I agree that there is much that needs to be synthesized in order to “fix that mess,” but I was reading through Aquinas the other day and came across a passage which I think really answers the question of “pre-Fall” death and disease. Within the Bible itself it says that “God did not make death” which Aquinas alludes to. To reconcile that with God as goodness, Aquinas essentially says that matter is corruptible, but that the rational form is not corruptible.

Hence, our material nature was always corruptible, but because it was initially the subject of the rational soul, which WAS incorruptible, so too was the matter incorruptible as it was subject to its form. However, at the Fall the form became subject to matter. Therefore, the form became corruptible because the matter always had been corruptible.

It follows from this that death and disease prior to the Fall doesn’t affect the doctrine of the fall. It merely means that matter, without the rational form, is corruptible. Why God would make it that way and how to fuse that with a good God is another question, but perhaps it is not possible to make matter incorruptible without a rational form. A good God diffuses Himself through creation, and creation itself is good, although its very nature is corruptible. I would say that God can do all things that are possible. Maybe its simply not possible to make matter incorruptible except with the rational form.

Anyway, enough of Aquinas’ metaphysics, but I simply thought it was interesting that Aquinas, who had no idea about the controversy raised by evolution, had already created a solution to the problem by answering a totally different question.


#7

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