Is Evolution official?


#1

I have been tring to study the whole issue of creationism/evolution. I have noticed that everyone here at CA forums seems to dislike creationism (in any of its forms). Has the Church officially disavowed creationism (in any or all forms) for evolution taking a symbolic/allegorical look at Gen. 1 as it? Thanks and God bless.


#2

As I understand things, Catholicism–and Orthodoxy, for that matter–has no trouble with a model of evolution that does not exclude God from the process.

What is rejected is a mechanistic, godless approach.

Neither idea is “scientific,” in the sense it can be duplicated under laboratory conditions.


#3

Not everyone. :slight_smile:

I’m very much open to God having created Adam, literally creating Adam from the dust of the earth and would have no problems if God had indeed did this. But I’m also thinking that science has demonstrated that God may have indeed used evolutionary processes to bring about Adam as well-- and I don’t have a problem with this either, at least in a general sense.

Having said this, I have not really read a good thesis on how to reconcile the Genesis account with the theistic evolutionary model. I’ve heard many times that it’s easy but I haven’t read the explanation as to why it’s so easy. I’m not saying it’s impossible --and I think it will come some day – only that it has not been finely produced in a way that I can fully accept yet.

Has the Church officially disavowed creationism (in any or all forms) for evolution taking a symbolic/allegorical look at Gen. 1 as it? Thanks and God bless.

No. She has quite reasonably allowed people to believe what we believes regarding this. You will meet Catholics who are advocates of young-earth creationism, old earth creationism, gap-theory, intelligent design and theistic evolution. All are allowed, but only some are more palapable to the more scientifically minded-- with theistic evolution being a heavy hitter here at Catholic Answers.

Most of the time I notice that some of those who espouse theistic evolution will pull the trump card with science and attempt to humiliate the opposing side-- thus appearing to have the answers to this question. However, if you just stick to your beliefs and examine the Scriptures and Traditions – specifically the philosophical/religious questions behind the theory of evolution – I think that one can readilly defend their own point-of-view without giving up the ghost.

Please note I would consider young-earth creationism to be wrong based on science and not the Scripture. But I would take no delight in demonstrating this to someone who might hold this view. I’d just look for common ground and seek some reconcilation with their view. The same is more or less true with theistic evolution-- although my disagreement would be more theological than scientific in this regard and I’m more favorable to theistic evolution now than I’ve ever been before.

You will find that many of these debates are one-sided-- with many sides arguing “their side” without listening to the “other side” as if there really were only “one side”. The distinction seems to fall squarely on the nature of what is considered a supernatural act as opposed to a natural act– with each side drawing their own lines in accordance with thier own view of how God operates within his creation.

My own experience here is that it’s almost scandalous as to how often we argue with each other over who’s “side” of the creation/evolution debate is right or wrong. I suppose it’s a necessary dialectic. One would almost think that we weren’t all Catholics going to the same Church after reading some posts.

I know I’ve actualy had my fidelity to the Church questioned because of my answers. You might too. But I wouldn’t let it bother you too much. And I do think we need to get our acts together on this subject.


#4

Kind of. Every educated person now believes in atoms. However it is not very easy to pinpoint the exact moment at which rejection of the theory became totally untenable. Also, it is not dangerous to the soul to have rather odd ideas about chemistry. So the Church doesn’t pronounce.

Similarly it is not reasonable to throw out people who disbelieve in evolution. The difference is that the theological implications are obvious. The Church’s official position is that “evolution is more than [just] a theory”. You can reject evolution if you want, and still go to communion and enter heaven, but that would disqualify you from being taken seriously as a Catholic thinker.


#5

Evolution according to Darwin? I don’t think the Church fully supports that. Here is from Humani Generis:

5*. If anyone examines the state of affairs outside the Christian fold, he will easily discover the principle trends that not a few learned men are following. Some imprudently and indiscreetly hold that evolution, which has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences, explains the origin of all things, and audaciously support the monistic and pantheistic opinion that the world is in continual evolution. Communists gladly subscribe to this opinion so that, when the souls of men have been deprived of every idea of a personal God, they may the more efficaciously defend and propagate their dialectical materialism.*vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html


#6

Dear Sir,
Did you know that the oceans are getting saultier every year? If the earth is millions of years old, like the evolutionists tells us, then we would be able to walk to Europe on all the sault that has been built up in the oceans.
But we cannot because the earth is not millions of years old and evolution is a lie. I believe what the Bible tells us in Genesis 1-11. The Bible teaches a day-age creation of all things. To believe in evolution is contrary to the veracity of the Bible. If it is wrong in one point, creation/evolution, then where else is the bible wrong, salvation, redemption, the family? But the Bible is not wrong on this issue and it teaches that God created everything in a 24 hour day period of time.

DLC


#7

I would have thought that every Christian (Catholic or otherwise) on the forums believes in some form of creationism, since we all believe in a Creator.

So, what do you mean exactly by “creationism,” which you have put in opposition to “evolution”?


#8

I’m afraid your argument is faulty at several points:

talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD220.html
talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD220_1.html
talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD221.html
talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD221_1.html

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#9

I have no desire to rehash this for the fourth time or so here. So I will just say this:

  1. The Church basically has admitted that evolution is a correct model for how life evolved on earth. God of course is the Creator of all that is seen and unseen. The Church has not been especially clear on this, but that seems to be the bottom line. It is lamentable that this is so. A very nice discussion of this can be found at my blog, yesterday’s post, look for the link to John Ferrell.

  2. Most Catholics here who accept the evolutionary model do not care whether some Catholics wish to believe in YEC, concurrent dinosaurs with humans etc. We do object when they promote it as Church teaching. Why?

  3. Because you place Catholics in the same boat with fundamentalists, who are just about the only other group of Christians who still argue literalness in reading Genesis. That has certain repercussions.

  4. I want my Church to have a strong voice in the world on important issues regarding poverty, war, fair wages, and a myriad of other things. When the world says that Catholics don’t even believe in evolution, they aren’t worth listening to, I have a problem…

  5. So if your faith is such that evolution if true destroys it, then believe what you wish, just realize that its your needs that you are placing paramount to the truth.


#10

The Church affirms the theological doctrine of creation (that God created all things other than himself). However, the Church lacks the authority and competence to pronounce upon matters of science. Rather, her authority is restricted to matters of faith and morals. Thus, to officially declare whether or not evolution is a valid scientific idea would take the Church outside the limits of her authority and competence, which are strictly relegated to religious and moral issues.

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#11

The Church makes pronouncements about science all the time. In the encyclical, Humani Generis, it was stated that there was an Adam and an Eve, not a tribe of hominids. This is why Christ had to come and die for us, because of the sin freely committed by our first parents. (Humani Generis, published in 1950, is available online.) So the Church rejects the idea that there were many Adams that we are descended from. This is called polygenism.

Pope John Paull II said that “evolution is more than a hypothesis” (not theory). But he also referred to and accepts Humani Generis.

Cardinal Ratzinger writing in "Human Persons Created in the Image of God, had this to say: “In the Catholic perspective, neo-Darwinians who adduce random genetic variation and natural selection as evidence that the process of evolution is absolutely unguided are straying beyond what can be demonstrated by science. Divine causality can be active in a process that is both contingent and unguided. Any evolutionary mechanism that is contingent can only be contingent because God made it so. An unguided evolutionary process - one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence - simply cannot exist because “the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles…It necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence” (Summa theologiae I, 22, 2).” From part 69. (Also available online.)

As taught in school, the theory of evolution does “deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe.” From part 64.

So, for Catholics, the correct answer has two parts. One is science, the other tells us that God has been intimately involved in every aspect of creation. What Catholics, and Christians in general, need to watch out for is accepting any theory of evolution that excludes the guiding work of God.

God bless,
Ed


#12

If one would like to research this issue about the age of the earth and salt in the oceans you may go to the answers magazine web page to find many articles that show that support a young earth. Evlotion is just wrong. It first disagrees with Bible and if the Bible is wrong here were else is it wrong? On the diety of Christ? Of course God would never give us a Bible full of errors.


#13

We’ve been through this all before…You must be really new to this discussion. Your “many articles” are written by YEC proponents and have no basis in science. They are simply not true.

The bible does not proport to be science. It was not meant to be. The stories in Genesis are meant to convey theological truths not scientific facts.

No, the fact that the bible is not meant to be taken literally in every respect does not make it inaccurate in its theological claims.

You are mouthing fundamentalist rhetoric. The Church has stated many many times that she rejects a funamentalist approach to scripture. We leave that to the fundamenalist christians who don’t know any better.


#14

If all of the data and science that indicates an old earth (and an old universe, for that matter) is false, then God is simply mocking the very gift of reason that he bestowed upon us. Why would God mock that which he created in his own image and likeness?


#15

By saying that the church has rejected fundamnetalism is to say every single church ahs done this. Have you asked all denominations about this is? I think not. Many denominations hald to fundamnetalism in a loving and accurate way. The Bible is not a science book but this does not mean that it doesn not speak to sientific things factually.Being dogmatic is ok but which dogma is the best dogma to dogmatic about is the question. A bias determins what you do with the evidence, especially the way in which you decide that certain evidence is more relevent or important that other evidence. Scientists are not objective truth seekers, they are not neutral. Justa as an atheist is one hundred percent biased so are scientists. We all are for that matter, biased. But being so does not make out biased true. It is not a matter of whether one is biased or not. It is really a question of which bias is the best bias with which to be biased.

Please keep in mind that both creation and evolution are religious views of life upon which people build their particulare models of philosophy, science, or history.

DLC


#16

i dont know why so many Catholics believe in Evolution. Its a ridiculous theory with no evidence. Darwin said in “Origin of Species” that if his theory was true scientists should find innumerable intermediate species (missing links). Well, in the 150 years since his theory zero have been found, neither missing links from ape to human or from anything to anything else. VARIATION does exist and God created this.


#17

You seem to be mistaking *your preferred interpretation *of the Bible with the Bible itself. Yes, the concept of evolution conflicts with a certain interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2, but it does not necessarily contradict the biblical texts as properly understood. So, no, it’s not the Bible that is in error, but merely your preferred interpretation of it.

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#18

In stating that there was a historical Adam and Eve, Humani Generis was making a theological declaration, not a scientific one. It was telling Catholics what they must believe on the basis of the biblical text, not what they must affirm as scientific fact.

Cardinal Ratzinger writing in "Human Persons Created in the Image of God, had this to say: “In the Catholic perspective, neo-Darwinians who adduce random genetic variation and natural selection as evidence that the process of evolution is absolutely unguided are straying beyond what can be demonstrated by science. Divine causality can be active in a process that is both contingent and unguided. Any evolutionary mechanism that is contingent can only be contingent because God made it so. An unguided evolutionary process - one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence - simply cannot exist because “the causality of God, Who is the first agent, extends to all being, not only as to constituent principles of species, but also as to the individualizing principles…It necessarily follows that all things, inasmuch as they participate in existence, must likewise be subject to divine providence” (Summa theologiae I, 22, 2).” From part 69. (Also available online.)

Again, Cardinal Ratzinger (a theologian) is here doing theology, not science. He is outlining the theological parameters of Catholic belief. Consider this from the Holy Father:

"Now more reflective spirits have long been aware that there is no either-or here. We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God…does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the ‘project’ of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complimentary----rather than mutually exclusive----realities" (In the Beginning, p. 50).

As taught in school, the theory of evolution does “deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe.” From part 64.

Actually, no, rather it simply acknowledges that any such “divine causal role” would be indetectable to science, and thus beyond the scope of the scientific enterprise.

What Catholics, and Christians in general, need to watch out for is accepting any theory of evolution that excludes the guiding work of God.

How could one possibly adopt a theory of evolution that included the guiding work of God? Since supernatural causes and agents are necessarily beyond the limits of scientific investigation, this would be a categorical impossibility. Science can say absolutely nothing about the existence or activity of any god or gods. Therefore, your demand for a scientific theory that “includes the guiding work of God” simply fails to comprehend the limitations of science as an empirical discipline. Now, I certainly believe that God works providentially behind all creational events, but this is a theological conviction on my part, rather than a scientific conclusion.

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#19

You’re confusing evolution (a scientific theory) with evolutionism (an ideological worldview). Cardinal Schonborn makes this careful distinction in his new book, Chance Or Purpose? Also:

talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA610.html
talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA612.html

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#20

So are you saying that when God in Genesis 1-11 tells us that He created in 6 24 hour perids of time He was not telling the truth. Every time the Bible used the word day in relation to night and day it referrs to a 24 hour period. This grammtically correct. Do you know that carbon dating is not exact in determining the age of anything. Carbon-14 only has a half life of around 7500 years.So nothing could be found to be older than 15,000 years onld using this method of dating.


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