It really bothers me to know that the Catholic church is quite indifferent about the creation narrative. I understand why, that there does appear to be some scientific evidence regarding evolution and whatnot and that faith and science are not antithetical to one another. Nonetheless, that evidence is hardly concrete or conclusive.
The account in Genesis just seems so… so… plain spoken about it. Maybe my faith in the teachers of the modern church is weaker than it should be, but it is a stumbling block for me. :o
There is quite a bit more than “some” evidence for evolution and an extremely old age for the earth and all the universe. While not completely understood, the scientific evidence for these theories is growing exponentially. They are not becoming more questionable over time as you might expect if they were incorrect.
The Catholic Church is not indifferent. If you want to know what the Church actually teaches about creation, you have to go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other official documents - not just what some Catholic theologians or scientists are saying.
Have you read the Catechism on creation? If not, I would suggest you do. It’s beautiful and I think you will be reassured in what the Church teaches. Read paragraphs 279 thru 421. Here is a link if you do not have the book. (After you finish the first page, just click on “Next” at the top of the page to keep on going.) vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P19.HTM
Here are just a few quotes: #282 Catechesis on creation is of major importance. …
#289 Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. …these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the “beginning”: creation, fall, and promise of salvation.
#290 … three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal
God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb “create” - Hebrew* bara *- always has God for its subject). …
#301 With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end.
#360 Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity,** for "from one ancestor [God] made **all nations to inhabit the whole earth. …
#366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not “produced” by the parents - and…
If your question concerns the physical body of the first human being, when you examine the text of Genesis you will see that God did not create Adam’s body - that is, bring it into being from nothing; He formed it from matter that was already in existence; matter He had previously created. And it doesn’t tell us the method He used to bring about this physical formation.
Gen 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: (Douay)
Gen 2:7 "then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, (RSV)
But He did directly create our soul. Our soul does not come from anything previously created, it comes directly from God.
Gen 2:7 …"and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul. (Douay)
Gen 2:7 …“and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
In reply to your post Mark, what bothers me is the ammount of ‘scientists’ there are in the modern world most of which are tunnelled visioned and think that if they say something eveyone will believe them. A physicist was being interveiwed on the radio recently and was saying how they know whats on the outer reaches of the universe, what utter rubbish they don’t even know what’s at the bottom of our deepest oceans.
Science is doomed if it tries to explain Gods mystical powers.
I was once told that where religion and science go wrong is when they try to interfer in each other’s feilds. Science tells us HOW the world was created while religion tells us WHY it was created. I think that keeping it that way allows science and religion to work together. Even practising science is doing God’s work.I mean, when studying biology, I am amazed at how God planned out our bodies so carfully because he loved us so much!
Science allows us to better understand the wonder of God. It fails when it trys to **become God. **
For example, it not necessary to believe the world was created in 7 days (24 hours each.) However the fact that God created humans to love and be loved should be and is believed by Catholics.
If you want to believe that the world was created in 7 days and the rest, that’s fine, but Catholics are not required to do so.
CCC 115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.
CCC 116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”
CCC 117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.
The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.
The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”.
The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.
CCC 118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:
The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.
CCC 119 “It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgment. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God.”
But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.
No need to be trouble concerning the Church, but there is plenty to be troubed about with some modern “scholars” that portray that the Bible is no more than myths and legends that only teach a good moral lesson and not to be taken as history or literally. The Church is the only place to find the right balance of the senses of Scripture. What we have right now is the Church loaded with Catholics who are indifferent about their faith who are in leadership positions in our Catholic schools and colleges and over programs in our parishes. Until the rest of us say enough is enough and we send them packing, then we will continue to have the kind of problems that we are having.
I’d agree with Nita and echo that with regards to Adam and Eve, the Church has spoken forcefully. The Magesterium has taught infallibly that Adam and Eve are two real people from whome we are all descendants. They are not allegory or myths, not represntitive of humanity…
37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own. (HUMANI GENERIS, Pope Pius XII, August 12, 1950)
It’s also intersting to note, for me anyway, that there are two creation accounts. Genesis 1 has man created last, after all the plants and animals. Genesis 2 has man created first, before all the plants and animals.
The question I ask is, in what way does it matter to me in terms of my salvation? I’m not trying to challenge anyone or diminish the OP in any way. it’s just a question I have, that’s all.
The account in Genesis just seems so… so… plain spoken about it. Maybe my faith in the teachers of the modern church is weaker than it should be, but it is a stumbling block for me.
“A Father Who Keeps his Promises”, by Scott Hahn is helpful here.
Very informative book and he talks about Genesis. Our preocupation with science
can get in the way of our understanding of Genesis. In the Book of Job Scripture
asks how the world was created–God basically says forget about it. Too complex
for us to understand.
We probably should focus on what God was doing during Genesis and the why of creation…
As to the why (Gn 2:2-3) God made the Sabbath to be the sign of the covenant-
to rest now and forever in God’s blessings.
What was God doing? He was building a home for us during His big construction
project. I suppose it doesn’t matter how long it took.
I thank God daily for His guidance -the Catholic Church. Hopefully was all can
enjoy the “Why” of creation forever!
The supposed two creation accounts are not. It is one tale told in two complimentary parts. This is a literary method used in this time period not exclusively but more frequently. The first part is the part is a broad outline of the Lord’s handy work to set up the more specific story of the fall. Man is created last as the pinnacle of the Lord’s Creation. The garden is prepared already and is brought to bloom as Adam is placed in it. The animals which having already been made are now brought to Adam to be named “And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself. And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them” (DR Genesis 2:18-20) The chronological specificity was prescribed previously. Now the focus is on the man and woman and their relationship to each other, the Lord, and peaks with the fall. The “animals which having already been made…” is a re-emphasis on the fact that the Lord already created the animals out of the earth, not a different order of creation.
These conspiracy theories didnt come out in stride until the Victorian/Modernism era. Modernism for one encourages personal interpretation of all works, which is why people start making the claim that the Bible is just a bunch of fairy tales and stories for entertainment rather than an actual account of history. Thats how agnostics and atheists see it(and we know how vocal and whinny they are), even though for 4000 years the author never stated such an intent and hardly any scholars thought it so either. Also during this time Darwins "OoS" hit its stride and had folks loosing their weak and easily deceived minds, which contributed to attacks on Christianity. Its a synergistic effect with negative commentary. Now the agnostic scholars who have no business writing in a Bible have unparalleled access to published commentary for whatever reason.
The first bibles were all written by priests. Some heretics in the time of the reformation, but still priests. Now we have joe agnostic who is the self ascribed authority, giving inaccurate dates to books because prophecy is TOO ACCURATE, despite all other criteria being met for traditionally thought(older) dating.
I don’t mean to be name dropping here, but in Dr. Hahn’s Biblical Foundations class, he made it clear that it is a mistake to look to Genesis to try to determine the age of the earth or determine the scientific origins of humanity. Yes Genesis is clear, but it is not intended to be a literal historical account of the origin of man, but rather an account of the order of creation, that is, the fact that creation is ordered towards worship and liturgy.
To me the greatest miracle is “God created the heavens and the earth.” The how is not important to me. Many things about history aren’t clear except in hindsight. Much of the Old Testament doesn’t have meaning until Jesus Christ and the Crucifixion. With all of their knowledge scientists can’t create a single simple organism such as a worm or fly. However when I hold a baby in my arms I KNOW there is a God. Scripture was written that we might know God and to come to salvation.
God created the Heavens and the earth and then everything else and somewhere in the Creation continuum he imbued man with a conscience. Could it have happened with Australopithicas or Neanderthal- why do we have a consience. I have a friend who says it never rained on the Earth until the flood of Noah- why:because the Bible never mentions rain before this.Just because the document does’nt say it rained doesn’t mean its true. Hard to explain that rain is a natural occurrence.
I’m wondering about something, were there other ppl beside Adam and Eve? If Adam and Eve were the first ppl, then how did the human population came into being? Wouldn’t Adam and Eve and their children would have to commit incest?