Origin of Life?


I’m curious how open Catholics - especially those who accept evolution - are to a natural explanation for the origin of life (nature itself being a work of God, however).


You should be able to pick multiple answers. I chose “God created…”, but actually would prefer “God created…” and “the theory of evolution is false” (though saying the “whole” theory is a bit limiting, also). I realize you are trying to make a point, but it really limits the sope of the poll.

Obviously those who believe evolution is false generally (if not 99.99%) also believe God created everything. And some % of those who believe God created everything also believe evolution is false. Your poll loses that bit of info.

Given a conflict between personal beliefs that deal with religion (like whether evolution is true or not) vs. questions of God’s omnipotence (i.e., whether God created), one has no choice but to pick the second as the more general case.

I participated in any case.


i selected other because i believe that evolution happened but that god did it


don’t understand why belief in God as creator of the universe and all living beings affects acceptance or rejection of evolution, which is not a theory that describes the origin of life, but rather a theory that attempts to explain differentiation of species from existing life forms. in any case my opinion of the validity of the theory does not depend on my CAtholic faith, but on science which has as yet produced no conclusive proof of the theory. I don’t judge science by the rules of faith and I don’t judge faith by the rules of science.


[quote=hildegaard]Obviously those who believe evolution is false generally (if not 99.99%) also believe God created everything

Exactly - the second is implicit in the third option. The second is for people who believe life evolved naturally, but that the origin of life was miraculous.


The key word is miraculous. If you accept evolution then you accept that the diversity of species is not miraculous, but naturally evolved. My question here is whether Catholics believe the origin of life happened within nature itself or whether God caused it to occur supernaturally.

Of course I take it as a given that we all believe God created the Universe and nature itself.


This is not about belief in God, but belief in whether the origin of life is literally a miracle or a natural occurrence in the universe. Either of those options would, at this point in time, have to be accepted on faith.


That’s a good point. But I think the distinction would then be shifted between abiogenesis and special creation as opposed to evolution and special creation.

As you know, evolution doesn’t actually explain the origins of life. It explains the speciation of life from primordial life-forms which evolution, on the whole, has no actual answer for-- because it presumes these priordial life-forms already existed.

As is, I would probably select “other” regarding the origins of life. I think the situation involved for life to emerge on earth (abiogenesis) is so extraordinary that God would have to have directed natural processes to bring the two together.

This doesn’t mean that it can’t happen naturally. Until more data comes in, it just seems unlikely to me that it would have happened naturally.


I sure wish more people would understand this. If an omnipotent God chose to use the particular mechanism which objective science today seems to have identified to bring about the variety of life we see, who are we to object? And who are we, as Catholics, to demand a literalist reading of Genesis when the Church does not require such a reading? The last thing Catholicism needs is to adopt the errors of fundamentalist Protestantism.


then discuss that topic, don’t muddy the waters by bringing evolution into the debate


OK, understood. While I have no strong feelings either way on the question, I am inclined to believe that life originated naturally, which is just to say that God has chosen to work within his self-imposed framework which consists of the material laws, matter and energy that he created. Of course to an omnipotent and omniscient God there are no such things as flukes, strokes of luck or random events. God created the universe so that it would at every moment reflect his will and his vision exactly.


God do not cheat to Him/Herself when playing solitaire.
He/She made the rules of nature and from those rules life evolved according to God’s providence and timeframe.
Life is a natural product and objetive of God’s creation.
I do not know why some catolics are trying to imitate protestant fundies and create a magic literal reading of Genesis when the medieval monks that created modern science had it clear.


You can guess on what I voted on…


[sarcasm]Ya, next thing you know, those fundie Catholics are going to claim a literal reading for John 6, also.[/sarcasm]

BTW it is those liberal protestants that deny the real presence, the dogma which the Church developed based on a [fundie] literal reading of Scripture.


I shouldn’t have used the word ‘evolved’ in the first option! Mistake - but I can’t change it now. It should read something like ‘emerged’ instead.
I did however want the first two options to be for Catholics who accept the theory of evolution, so I included the third for those who don’t. I realise that evolution itself does not cover the origin of life (hence the confusion in wording).


Well, I think you would mean the first option then. The first two choices might otherwise be named something like ‘Natural Providence’ and ‘Supernatural Miracle,’ respectively.


The origin of life is still a profound mystery to us. Perhaps God wanted it to be that way, and so he caused it miraculously, directing natural forces to evolve from there on. It does seem like an anti-scientific conclusion, however (a textbook ‘God of the gaps’), and methodologically we ought to continue searching for a natural answer even if there isn’t one, imo.


hehe. Thanks for voting, but I did intend this question more for Catholics!


Don’t be naive: the origin of life is the provenance of Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution and the origin of life are closely intertwined.

The worlds of prebiotic chemistry and primitive biology lie
on opposite sides of the defining moment for life, when
darwinian evolution first began to operate…

Once a general mechanism existed for self-replication, allowing
the introduction of variation and the ability to replicate those
variants, darwinian evolution began to operate. This marked the
beginning of life. The special properties of a particular polymer
sequence then were defined by its net rate of accumulation (rate of production minus rate of degradation), and sequences that were
associated with the most favourable survival rates would have come to dominate their locale. From that point onward, the natural history of life on Earth played out as a succession of dominant polymer sequences and their associated functional properties.



Other: God creates all time and space at ‘once’ there is no time for God. So man doesn’t come ‘from’ apes, God creates man in the present and apes in the past and dinosaurs in the more distant past constantly and eternally.

Looking at time linearly scientists might see a pattern and call it evolution. But God creates it all continuously.

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