Evolution supported in Father Groeschel program


#1

Earlier this week I was watching Father’s programming and he espoused and was in agreement with evolution of mankind from lower forms of life starting at about 20,000 years ago, and that human beings had their origin in Africa and were black, instead of in the Garden of Eden. I was flabbergasted and disgusted. I will certianly no longer watch his show.

What is the Church’s teaching on this matter?


#2

the Church teaching is that we are perfectly free to interpret the creation accounts in Genesis other than literally, as long as we believe all humans are descended from one man and one woman, and that it is entirely consistent with Catholic belief to regard the definition of “one day” as poetic, as long as we believe in the order of creation as described in Genesis. Fr. Groeschel’s remarks are entirely orthodox. We are not fundamentalists. Recall that the events of each “day” of creation are speaking of God’s actions, and happend in God’s time, not ours, where a thousand years are as a single day, according to the psalmist.


#3

while his statements may be orthodox his science seems screwy

I wonder where he got the 20,000 year figure

unless he is speaking of the neolithic cultural explosion :confused:


#4

[quote=BonnieBj]Earlier this week I was watching Father’s programming and he espoused and was in agreement with evolution of mankind from lower forms of life starting at about 20,000 years ago, and that human beings had their origin in Africa and were black, instead of in the Garden of Eden. I was flabbergasted and disgusted. I will certianly no longer watch his show.

What is the Church’s teaching on this matter?
[/quote]

I agree with puzzleannie on this. There is nothing in what Father Groeschel said contradicts the teaching of the Church.
As for Father Groeschel, I really enjoy listening to him and reading his books.


#5

The other thing that the Church requires, is that if you want to believe in evolution, you must believe that God is the ‘prime mover’. This means that the universe did not ‘spontaneously’ come into existence, it was willed into existence by God. And I think we must also believe that the evolution of humans was not a matter of pure chance - God always intended there to be humans so that He could have a creature of body and spirit… and hence God planned the evolution of humans. I think it’s in the CCC if you want to double check what I’ve said. Or maytbe other CAF posters can correct me if I’m wrong there.

I believe in evolution (of course, believing that God is the prime mover). I reckon that when there’s so much scientific evidence that the world is zillions of years old, then it just makes those Christian groups who say that their followers can’t accept that theory seem like pretty ignorant groups (and it probably leads to fewer converts). I think it’s important for Catholics to point out to people they’re trying to convert (or just the general public), that our Church doesn’t proclaim the theory of evolution to be false, as most of our prospective converts probably won’t want to let go of that belief. (Well, you don’t need to specifically bring it up, but if the people you are talking to want to discuss it, make sure you know the Church teachings).

I sometimes wonder though - did all the hominids (creatures ‘in between’ apes and modern humans, such as australopithicenes and homo erectus and homo neanderthalis, which I believe exist since I believe in evolution), did they have souls, or is it only homo sapiens? I suspect that the earlier kinds of humans did have souls - studies show that they had some sort of religious inclination (eg, a child that appeared to be buried in some sort of special rite, with tools beside them and etc., demonstrating a likely belief in the afterlife). Maybe Adam and Eve were Australopithicenes. Or does the church say we must believe Adam and Eve were not just any kind of human, but homo sapiens in particular? Anyone know about this?


#6

[quote=Flopfoot]…s. Or does the church say we must believe Adam and Eve were not just any kind of human, but homo sapiens in particular? Anyone know about this?
[/quote]

I don’t know but I think that ever since that Galileo thing the Church has been wise enough and smart enough not to pronounce on science with that level of detail.

exactly how or when we were created is immaterial
that we were created is


#7

I respectfully beg to differ. Inherent within a belief in the current evolutionary model is a huge misunderstanding of the nature of God. I’ve used this analogy before, but I think it works great: consider the Ford Mustang. It can be said that the Ford Mustang has “evolved” over the past forty years - and it is most defintely a thing of beauty this year. However, this is not true “evolution” in the sense that the current scientific community understands it because there was not a “natural” force that allowed the Mustang to develop of its own accord. Rather, there was an intelligent creator, or creators, that were integral in constructing it every step of the way.

This is important because if we are to believe the theory of evolution, we must, necessarily, believe that human beings were not created by God - at least directly - but by the effects of a natural process that God initiated at some point in the past and then set to “auto-pilot.” That belief is called Deism and is contrary to our understanding of God. The Father is not just a “prime mover,” He alone sustains every moment in the palm of His creating hand and carries it through time and if at any point a person acknowledges God’s intimate involvement in the development of the human being, it is no longer “evolution” in the scientific sense but figurative “evolution” as in the aforementioned Mustang analogy.


#8

This is being discussed in another thread, but I thought this was relevant –

There was an article in this month’s (December) “This Rock” magazine. The distinction here is primary vs. secondary effect.

The Church teaching is that God is the primary reason for all of creation, but others have secondary effects - for example, the mother who gives birth certainly is responsible for her child’s birth, but secondary to God.

So the Church says God created all, it is certainly possible that evolution is the mechanism God used in whole or in part to accomplish that. There are many examples of how God works in this primary-secondary relationship if you think about it.

Another important point the article made, the reason the Church doesn’t clarify for sure more specifics about the role of evolution, is that it becomes a science question then - as long as we agree God is behind it all, we leave it to scientists to learn and teach us about how that science works.


#9

Certainly, but with the recent enlightment on the importance of human sexuality and the formation of the body as explained in Theology of the Body, it does not seem consistent to believe that something as important as our bodies in their composition were not directly created as such by God, but by an indirect process. This belief would seem to negate the intimacy expressed in Theology of the Body and subsequently undermine our union with Christ in the Eucharist if we were not built directly by God for God.

Not to mention the complications in explaining how the Son of God who always existed became incarnate into a form defined by a “random” scientific process. I would think that if God possessed an image of Himself, it would be pretty clearly defined by Himself and not some indirect process.


#10

I think you folks are reading far too much into this

I for one have no problems saying “I don’t know” when I don’t know


#11

Mike - I didn’t say EVERYTHING was created via evolution. I was supporting the Church teaching that evolution could in fact play a role in creation. Or it might not.


#12

It’s possible to believe that God was intimately involved in evolution and still have it be evolution in the scientific sense. Biology here says absolutely nothing about ultimate causes, rather it outlines evolutionary principles that work inside the realms of time and space. To believe in the scientific theory of evolution is to say nothing about whether or not God was involved. I believe that God was involved, directing every event, while at the same time, allowing one event to cause the other. At some point, He caused man to come into existence, and He created man in his image and breathed life (more than biological life) into him.


#13

[quote=mike182d]Certainly, but with the recent enlightment on the importance of human sexuality and the formation of the body as explained in Theology of the Body, it does not seem consistent to believe that something as important as our bodies in their composition were not directly created as such by God, but by an indirect process. This belief would seem to negate the intimacy expressed in Theology of the Body and subsequently undermine our union with Christ in the Eucharist if we were not built directly by God for God.

Not to mention the complications in explaining how the Son of God who always existed became incarnate into a form defined by a “random” scientific process. I would think that if God possessed an image of Himself, it would be pretty clearly defined by Himself and not some indirect process.
[/quote]

I don’t share the difficulties you express in the first paragraph

Scientific randomness is different from the randomness you seem to be understanding here. It is related only to a scientific inability to predict, not to any knowledge or ability of God. I think that God can use whatever process He wants, and it doesn’t take away from His intimate connection to man. You assume that evolution means God started a process, unsure of the end point, and walked away. This is not my view of evolution.


#14

[quote=BonnieBj]Earlier this week I was watching Father’s programming and he espoused and was in agreement with evolution of mankind from lower forms of life starting at about 20,000 years ago, and that human beings had their origin in Africa and were black, instead of in the Garden of Eden. I was flabbergasted and disgusted. I will certianly no longer watch his show.

What is the Church’s teaching on this matter?
[/quote]

The Church allows for the possibility of evolution and a Catholic can remain in communion with Rome and believe that evolution is possible, as long as they also accept that God created the first man and the first woman. There was a specific encyclical written on this in 1950. Do not get disgusted with Father Groeschel for trying to educate you to what the Holy Mother Church truly teaches…


#15

I personally take the view that evolution or adaptation could very well have taken place and that the world is probably a few billion years old. More importantly, however, is that I really don’t care how it happened. I mean, it is God’s work and thus is beautiful and awesome, but since HOW He created the world isn’t important for our salvation I don’t really mind. I’ll find out some day if I make it to heaven.

That is pretty much how I see all of science, it is a good servant but terrible master. I personally find scientific “discoveries” to be of little more than passing interest, something to chat about over coffee although I do think it is good that we have folks that are interested in science and develop good things out of this knowledge.

However, I also take what the scientists say with a grain of salt-if they have a radical anti-God spin on their theory I don’t accept that part of it. I also don’t buy what they say as actually “true”. They put forth THEORIES and HYPOTHESES-NOT FACT. Thus, what science has said was “true” 300 yrs. ago often isn’t, same with what they said last year. What they come up with is often a reasonable explanation but I refuse to worship at the alter of Science with the relativists and cynics.

I also think that the fundamentalists that say that the literal account of the Bible (or at least their literal account) is the way it really happened are scared of the possibilities of admitting that the whole Bible isn’t to be taken absolutely literally, and thus destroying their whole ideology. I’ve seen fundamentalists argue what they call “creationism” to ludicris lengths.


#16

I looked this up on the Vatican website. It was written by His Holiness, Pope Pius XII. It is from Humani Generis

[left]36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.[11] Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.
[/left]


#17

[quote=LSK]… when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now
[/quote]

His Holiness was a wise man
this was a good caution with the facts that had been discovered up till then
but many more facts have been discovered in the past 50 years
the past 10-15 years alone have been amazingly prolific


#18

that is what I thought when I read it…I do not understand all the science but I know that when I was taught about the theory of evolution at my Catholic High School God and His Power were never left out of the deal…and it never shook my faith. Now that other stuff is, I guess, being examined to show that evolution might or might not have happenned as Darwin theorized, it is nice to know that the Jesuits and the Sisters of St. Joseph were right on the beam all the time!


#19

[quote=Kristina P.]I think that God can use whatever process He wants, and it doesn’t take away from His intimate connection to man.
[/quote]

The fallacy of your argument is that your supposing that the omnipotence of God entails His ability to do whatever He wants and that things like order and logic are arbitrary and conditionally dependent on the whim of God. Just because God can do anything doesn’t mean anything is possible. God can’t create a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it and He cannot use evolution to create for the very same reason: doing so would deny Himself.

The whole purpose of creation is for God to reveal unto our senses the inimate union He desires to share with us and how there is purpose in creation. If our senses perceive the creation of our bodies as “random” despite God’s knowledge of it, then God has defeated His own purpose in creating. If our bodies are intimately connected with our souls and subsequently intimately connected with God, then there is something God is trying to reveal in that intimacy and it would be against His nature to create a “process” to mask that.

God is not a “process” and to think that the world is run by “processes” instead of God, as the effective cause of every moment in time, is called Deism. There’s no other way around it.


#20

[quote=LSK]The Church allows for the possibility of evolution and a Catholic can remain in communion with Rome and believe that evolution is possible, as long as they also accept that God created the first man and the first woman. There was a specific encyclical written on this in 1950. Do not get disgusted with Father Groeschel for trying to educate you to what the Holy Mother Church truly teaches…
[/quote]

The important thing to note however is that Catholics currently have freedom of opinion in this regard. The Catholic Church DOES NOT teach that Evolution is true. If you look at documents like Humani Generis, it is clear that the Pope has simply NOT CONDEMNED all opinions of evolution as long as they are properly understood (2 first parents, special creation of soul, etc.).

Keeping this in mind… I personally think that Evolution is nonsence. It has deep deep roots in athiestic philosophy and secular humanism and has for many people lead to eugenics and other amoral nonsence.

I appreciate the Pope for being very careful not to make scientific asertions that would later bite the Church, like that “Galileo thing”, but if you look at the fruit of the philosophy behind evolution I find it corrupt.

I have looked at the arguements on either side philosophically and scientifically and I must say that I am unconvinced. We could argue all day on these type of things but I personally don’t find it fruitful. I find it easier to just look at the source and fruit. Evolution at it’s source is the product of radical materialist athiestic philosophy and the influence it has had on secular “intellectuals” has led to wide spread athiesm and some really corrupt moral thinking. This is not to say that everyone who learns the theory of evolution will reject God but it is a real fact that many many have, especially at universities.

I do not say that I “know” it evolution is false and I will not insist that any Catholic reject it, as our own Pope has currently permitted belief in a qualified-deistic-evolution, but as for me, I think it’s one of those things Science and Philosophy will eventually be forced to realize they’ve painted themselves in a nihilist corner.

Anyway. The Church clearly permits opinion on this topic and I try to be cheritable to those who believe in evolution but also expect charity in return as I most definitly reject it.

As far as Father Groeschel is concerned. I love him. He’s one of my favorite people. God bless him.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.