Original Sin vs. Evolution


#1

I know that this question has been asked before, but I am posing it again.
I think that we are closing our eyes on the problem of Evolution, by declaring that Evolution indeed took place (which it did), but God somehow still managed to be the Creator, by utilizing it.
Now, there are many inherent problems with this. One of them is the problem of Original Sin.
Bishop Shelby Spong basically rejects the notion original sin, delegating it to the “medieval superstitions” of an outmoded church.
But if there is no original sin, then Jesus’ sacrifice has no meaning, and if Jesus’ sacrifice has no meaning, then the entire christianity has no meaning. (Other than an ethical system, perhaps).
So, I do have problems with Evolution, and I do not feel comfortable with the easy way out - the fusion of evolution and creation.
Could someone with clear mind and some intelligence elaborate on this problem? I am not interested in superficial quick answers, as I usually get here.
Tomas


#2

Eleven scenarios posed by evangelical physicist Loren Haarsma of Calvin College

“For now, I’ll quickly summarize 11 ideas which I’ve encountered in various books and articles. All of them are suggestions for dealing with the biological and paleontological evidence while maintaining the doctrine of Original Sin and the need for a Savior. For this post, I’ll just list the ideas and won’t comment on which ones I believe probable or improbable, acceptable or unacceptable, or the scientific and/or theological problems faced by each idea. Maybe others in this group will want to start that discussion.”

(1) God used evolutionary creation of plants, animals, and some hominids; followed by special creation of Adam & Eve, the parents of all modern humans, in a literal Garden of Eden several tens of thousands of years ago.
(2) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens; followed by special creation of Adam & Eve, as representatives of all existing and future humanity, in a literal Garden of Eden.
(3) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens; followed by special selection of Adam & Eve, as representatives of all existing and future humanity, in a literal Garden.
(4-6) The same as 1-3 above, except the Garden of Eden story is an allegorical re-telling of some other historical event. The historical details of The Fall are unknown, but it involved revelation from God, choice, and rebellion.
(7) Same as #1 above, but occurring 5 million years ago with the Genesis flood (a local flood) corresponding to the filling of the Mediterranean basin; Abraham (Genesis 12) is a modern person.
(8) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens. The story of Adam, Eve and the Garden of Eden is an allegorical version of some actual historical event, in the distant past, where God revealed Himself to a group of humans (perhaps more than two), and the humans rebelled. The Fall was not inevitable, but a choice. Original sin “spread” from this group who received the first “revelation” outward to eventually include all humans.
(9) Same as #8, but the story of the Fall is a telescoping of multiple events of revelation and rebellion in human pre-history.
(10) Same as #9, but taking into account the slow development of hominid intelligence and self-awareness over time. Analogous to the gradual development from the ordinary self-centeredness of an infant into the sinful selfishness of a toddler.
(11) Same as #10, but the eventual sinful state of humanity was inevitable, given the number of opportunities for it to happen.

See Adam, Eve, and the Hominid Fossil Record

Also the book cited in there by Catholic philosopher Dennis Bonnette Origin of the Human Species attempts to address all the “tough” theological issues

My rather long reply to Bob Sungenis on this

Catholic Creationism and Jack Chick Comics (my latest one) :smiley:

CONGRATULATIONS, our first new, long, drawn out, going nowhere fast, causing nothing but heartache and headaches, creation-evolution thread for 2006. No one said it was going to be easy once you take the science and Catholic theology seriously. :thumbsup:

Phil P


#3

[quote=tomaskovarik]I know that this question has been asked before, but I am posing it again.
I think that we are closing our eyes on the problem of Evolution, by declaring that Evolution indeed took place (which it did), but God somehow still managed to be the Creator, by utilizing it.
Now, there are many inherent problems with this. One of them is the problem of Original Sin.
Bishop Shelby Spong basically rejects the notion original sin, delegating it to the “medieval superstitions” of an outmoded church.
But if there is no original sin, then Jesus’ sacrifice has no meaning, and if Jesus’ sacrifice has no meaning, then the entire christianity has no meaning. (Other than an ethical system, perhaps).
So, I do have problems with Evolution, and I do not feel comfortable with the easy way out - the fusion of evolution and creation.
Could someone with clear mind and some intelligence elaborate on this problem? I am not interested in superficial quick answers, as I usually get here.
Tomas
[/quote]

As a Catholic, one must believe at the beginning there’re literally only 2 humans, one male and one female. This is called “monogenism”. the idea of multiple humans (more than 2) at the beginning is called “polygenism” as far as I know it’s last condemned in “humani generis” by Pius XII. Don’t know if JP II has written anything on this.


#4

[quote=PhilVaz]Eleven scenarios posed by evangelical physicist Loren Haarsma of Calvin College

“For now, I’ll quickly summarize 11 ideas which I’ve encountered in various books and articles. All of them are suggestions for dealing with the biological and paleontological evidence while maintaining the doctrine of Original Sin and the need for a Savior. For this post, I’ll just list the ideas and won’t comment on which ones I believe probable or improbable, acceptable or unacceptable, or the scientific and/or theological problems faced by each idea. Maybe others in this group will want to start that discussion.”

(1) God used evolutionary creation of plants, animals, and some hominids; followed by special creation of Adam & Eve, the parents of all modern humans, in a literal Garden of Eden several tens of thousands of years ago.
(2) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens; followed by special creation of Adam & Eve, as representatives of all existing and future humanity, in a literal Garden of Eden.
(3) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens; followed by special selection of Adam & Eve, as representatives of all existing and future humanity, in a literal Garden.
(4-6) The same as 1-3 above, except the Garden of Eden story is an allegorical re-telling of some other historical event. The historical details of The Fall are unknown, but it involved revelation from God, choice, and rebellion.
(7) Same as #1 above, but occurring 5 million years ago with the Genesis flood (a local flood) corresponding to the filling of the Mediterranean basin; Abraham (Genesis 12) is a modern person.
(8) God used evolutionary creation, including modern homo sapiens. The story of Adam, Eve and the Garden of Eden is an allegorical version of some actual historical event, in the distant past, where God revealed Himself to a group of humans (perhaps more than two), and the humans rebelled. The Fall was not inevitable, but a choice. Original sin “spread” from this group who received the first “revelation” outward to eventually include all humans.
(9) Same as #8, but the story of the Fall is a telescoping of multiple events of revelation and rebellion in human pre-history.
(10) Same as #9, but taking into account the slow development of hominid intelligence and self-awareness over time. Analogous to the gradual development from the ordinary self-centeredness of an infant into the sinful selfishness of a toddler.
(11) Same as #10, but the eventual sinful state of humanity was
Phil P
[/quote]

OK, wow!!! I have gone through the articles and I am exhausted. I see that my simple question, in fact, is a part of a very complex problem with even more complex solutions, each yielding new set of even more complex questions…
I guess God gave us brains for these matters, but sometimes I doubt that it was a good idea on his part :slight_smile:
So, my question is NOT answered (at least not yet), but I know that this will be a long journey.
I guess I will have to “tentatively” suspend my unbelief in God, while I patiently wait for the answers to arrive (through a lot of study, it seems).
Thanks
Tomas


#5

[quote=abcdefg]As a Catholic, one must believe at the beginning there’re literally only 2 humans, one male and one female. This is called “monogenism”. the idea of multiple humans (more than 2) at the beginning is called “polygenism” as far as I know it’s last condemned in “humani generis” by Pius XII. Don’t know if JP II has written anything on this.
[/quote]

Not if you read the previous comments and followed his links.
It is actually quite interesting. The situation is rather complex indeed


#6

[quote=tomaskovarik]Not if you read the previous comments and followed his links.
It is actually quite interesting. The situation is rather complex indeed
[/quote]

Nothing complex. Dogmas are dogmas. don’t ever try to prove a dogma wrong. will reply in detail later, when I have time.


#7

Here are a few bizzarro suggestions that one may derive from theoretical physics:

If we can have a ten dimensional universe and we treat time dimensions the same as we do spacial dimentions, then that allows imaginary time. Imaginary time would run perpendicular to real time. Since we already know from St. Augustine that time is a property of the universe and was created with the rest of it, we can say that all of creation from the Big Bang to the Big Chill or the Big Crunch was, from God’s perspective, simultaneous.

One could rightfully say that Adam and Eve were not here before us but simply elsewhere. The Cosmologists who say the universe is over 13 billion years old and Bishop Ussher who says about 6000 can both be correct. No matter how far time streches into the past or the future, both past and future can run from a common origin – maybe Adam 6000 years ago?

That makes Evolution moot. At most. it is a blue print for the tree of life rather than an actual process. It does nothing more than add a temporal axis to the Linnean System.

Origional sin must also be a by-product of creation. Many people have a problem with the idea that an omnicient, omnibenevolent God created evil and sin. To live with this conundrum we have to consider to Genisis 1:31. “God looked at everything he had made and found it very good.” He looked at everything,* including *sin and evil. If it is God’s own judgement is that everything he created was good, then who are we to argue? We need not inquire further.


#8

[quote=richbansha]Here are a few bizzarro suggestions that one may derive from theoretical physics:

If we can have a ten dimensional universe and we treat time dimensions the same as we do spacial dimentions, then that allows imaginary time. Imaginary time would run perpendicular to real time. Since we already know from St. Augustine that time is a property of the universe and was created with the rest of it, we can say that all of creation from the Big Bang to the Big Chill or the Big Crunch was, from God’s perspective, simultaneous.

One could rightfully say that Adam and Eve were not here before us but simply elsewhere. The Cosmologists who say the universe is over 13 billion years old and Bishop Ussher who says about 6000 can both be correct. No matter how far time streches into the past or the future, both past and future can run from a common origin – maybe Adam 6000 years ago?

That makes Evolution moot. At most. it is a blue print for the tree of life rather than an actual process. It does nothing more than add a temporal axis to the Linnean System.

Origional sin must also be a by-product of creation. Many people have a problem with the idea that an omnicient, omnibenevolent God created evil and sin. To live with this conundrum we have to consider to Genisis 1:31. “God looked at everything he had made and found it very good.” He looked at everything,* including *sin and evil. If it is God’s own judgement is that everything he created was good, then who are we to argue? We need not inquire further.
[/quote]

Of course we need to inquire further, much further.
I don’t think that God created sin or evil, however, Satan did. So, I don’t think that when God says “behold, everything I created is good”, He meant sin and evil.
Now, the apostle Paul tells us (in Romans), that we can learn about God’s qualities from the creation. So, we need to pose these questions and inquire.
Evolution theory certainly displaced the need for God as the creator. It didn’t “disprove Him”, but it took away the need, the argument about “where did things come from, if there is no God”.
Therefore every believer (with brains) has to somehow deal with Evolution theory, and I find it quite difficult to be honest. I know that Vatican statement, but it is not satisfactory from the philosophical perspective, I mean the “creative evolution” kind of stuff.


#9

[quote=tomaskovarik]Of course we need to inquire further, much further.
I don’t think that God created sin or evil, however, Satan did. So, I don’t think that when God says “behold, everything I created is good”, He meant sin and evil.
Now, the apostle Paul tells us (in Romans), that we can learn about God’s qualities from the creation. So, we need to pose these questions and inquire.
Evolution theory certainly displaced the need for God as the creator. It didn’t “disprove Him”, but it took away the need, the argument about “where did things come from, if there is no God”.
Therefore every believer (with brains) has to somehow deal with Evolution theory, and I find it quite difficult to be honest. I know that Vatican statement, but it is not satisfactory from the philosophical perspective, I mean the “creative evolution” kind of stuff.
[/quote]

He created Satan knowing exactly when and how he would sin. If he didn’t, he could not be omnicient. The only way God could dodge responsibility for sin would have been not to create Satan at all.

One thing you might ponder is that Evolution, as we know it now, is the end product of political and social developments, as well as scientific advances. Darwin’s theory was Natural Selection, not what what we now call Evolution. Just look at the quagmire that has developed around the classification of homonid fossils. Archeologists and Palentologists have to go to such extrordinary lengths to characterize their discoveries in such a way as to avoid them being hijacked by racists. They often invent a new species to just appease the PC crowd. There are may scientific questions that go unexplored because they are politically “too hot to handle”.


#10

was there physical death for people before the fall?


#11

There was pain and death (animal pain, early hominids, etc) and general chaos on Earth before Adam and Eve’s supposed existence. How do theists account for this if it is true that Adam and Eve’s sin is responsible for ruining God’s perfect creation? The pre-fall world doesn’t appear to have been perfect at all.

clarkal


#12

[quote=Daniel Marsh]was there physical death for people before the fall?
[/quote]

Good point!!!
I think according to everything, there must have been physical death before the fall. Which makes things even harder to comprehend. For example, if Evolution is true, then you need death (extinction of unfitting species is a precondition).
So, it seems that at certain point God intervened in the Evolution process and “created man” out of nothing (ex nihilo)?
But the problem of death also keeps bothering me.


#13

[quote=clarkal]There was pain and death (animal pain, early hominids, etc) and general chaos on Earth before Adam and Eve’s supposed existence. How do theists account for this if it is true that Adam and Eve’s sin is responsible for ruining God’s perfect creation? The pre-fall world doesn’t appear to have been perfect at all.

clarkal
[/quote]

Yes, that is exactly my question!!!


#14

[quote=richbansha]He created Satan knowing exactly when and how he would sin. If he didn’t, he could not be omnicient. The only way God could dodge responsibility for sin would have been not to create Satan at all.

One thing you might ponder is that Evolution, as we know it now, is the end product of political and social developments, as well as scientific advances. Darwin’s theory was Natural Selection, not what what we now call Evolution. Just look at the quagmire that has developed around the classification of homonid fossils. Archeologists and Palentologists have to go to such extrordinary lengths to characterize their discoveries in such a way as to avoid them being hijacked by racists. They often invent a new species to just appease the PC crowd. There are may scientific questions that go unexplored because they are politically “too hot to handle”.
[/quote]

Are you suggesting that there are problems with Evolution?
I think we all accepted evolution pretty much “as fact” (whatever that means).


#15

Then why are there so many of us that accept evolution as valid science yet also believe God is the Creator?

Therefore every believer (with brains) has to somehow deal with Evolution theory, and I find it quite difficult to be honest. I know that Vatican statement, but it is not satisfactory from the philosophical perspective, I mean the “creative evolution” kind of stuff.

I’m never sure why this is such a problem with so many people. There are things we don’t understand but accept as a matter of faith. Things like the Holy Trinity, the virgin birth, etc… . Truth cannot contradict truth. Therefore, if there is physical evidence for evolution (and there is an overwhelming amount of it) and you don’t believe in God the deceiver, then there is truth in the science. We know that God is the creator, so there is not a conflict between the two. We may not understand every detail of how the two are compatable, but they are.

Peace

Tim


#16

Maybe you should explain what you understand evolution to be. Evolution to me is the way life has changed over time. Nothing political or social there.

Darwin’s theory was Natural Selection, not what what we now call Evolution.

Natural selection is still a big part of evolutionary theory. Are you suggesting that it isn’t?

Just look at the quagmire that has developed around the classification of homonid fossils. Archeologists and Palentologists have to go to such extrordinary lengths to characterize their discoveries in such a way as to avoid them being hijacked by racists.

Can you please give a reference for that?

They often invent a new species to just appease the PC crowd.

They “invent” new species? That is a pretty damning charge. What is your evidence that scientists “invent” new species?

Peace

Tim


#17

[quote=Orogeny]Then why are there so many of us that accept evolution as valid science yet also believe God is the Creator?
I’m never sure why this is such a problem with so many people. There are things we don’t understand but accept as a matter of faith. Things like the Holy Trinity, the virgin birth, etc… . Truth cannot contradict truth. Therefore, if there is physical evidence for evolution (and there is an overwhelming amount of it) and you don’t believe in God the deceiver, then there is truth in the science. We know that God is the creator, so there is not a conflict between the two. We may not understand every detail of how the two are compatable, but they are.

Peace

Tim
[/quote]

There is a big difference in accepting the mystery of the Holy Trinity and Evolution Theory. Holy Trinity is a revealed dogma which cannot be derived intellectually and so, it cannot be discussed as such. On the other hand, evolution theory is a scientific theory and as such it should be discussed intellectually,especially because accepting evolution theory means shifting the traditional paradigm of creation. Saying that “evolution happened, but God is still the creator” is a curious statement, but it is not a dogma. I think we should think about it, what it means, what are its implications etc.
So, put your thinking cap on, we are NOT finished yet.:slight_smile:


#18

Here is what Ludwig Ott writes in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma on what is “De Fide” dogma on creation:

All that exists outside God was, in its whole substance, produced out of nothing by God. (De Fide)
God was moved by His Goodness to create the world. (De Fide)
The world was created for the Glorification of God. (De Fide)
The Three Divine Persons are one single, common Principle of the Creation. (De Fide)
God created the world free from exterior compulsion and inner necessity. (De Fide)
God has created a good world. (De Fide)
The world had a beginning in time. (De Fide)
God alone created the world. (De Fide)
God keeps all created things in existence. (De Fide)
God, through His Providence, protects and guides all that He has created. (De Fide)

And here is Ludwig Ott’s commentary on evolution (this was originally written a while ago in the 1950s, the version I am quoting is 1974 by Tan Books)

“The doctrine of evolution based on the theistic conception of the world, which traces matter and life to God’s causality and assumes that organic being, developed from originally created seed-powers (St. Augustine) or from stem-forms (doctrine of descent), according to God’s plan, is compatible with the doctrine of Revelation. However, as regards man, a special creation by God is demanded, which must extend at least to the spiritual soul [creatio hominis peculiaris Denz 2123]. Individual Fathers, especially St. Augustine, accepted a certain development of living creatures…The question of the descent of the human body from the animal kingdom first appeared under the influence of the modern theory of evolution. The Biblical text does not exclude this theory. Just as in the account of the creation of the world, one can, in the account of the creation of man, distinguish between the per se inspired religious truth that man, both body and soul, was created by God, and the per accidens inspired, stark anthropomorphistic representation of the mode and manner of the Creation. While the fact of the creation of man by God in the literal sense must be closely adhered to, in the question as to the mode and manner of the formation of the human body, an interpretation which diverges from the strict literal sense, is, on weighty grounds, permissible.” (Ott, pages 93-94, 95)

As I commented in my reply to Sungenis, if anyone is familiar with the dogmatic sources he is, and he sees no necessary conflicts between modern science and Catholic dogma. The “headaches” come when actually trying to reconcile everything in every detail. Like trying to figure out the predestination / free will issue, or the whole Problem of Evil. Not easy. :eek:

The book Perspectives on an Evolving Creation has a few interesting chapters by various evangelical Christians trying to reconcile it all.

See also Evolution and the Roman Catholic Church, the Wikipedia article I helped edit (I basically took over editing duties there)

And Theistic Evolution in Wikipedia is quite good, I helped a little there

Phil P


#19

[quote=tomaskovarik]There is a big difference in accepting the mystery of the Holy Trinity and Evolution Theory. Holy Trinity is a revealed dogma which cannot be derived intellectually and so, it cannot be discussed as such.
[/quote]

Certainly, there is a difference between the two. You are willing to take on faith the teaching of the Church regarding the Holy Trinity. You don’t need an explanation to accept it, which is probably a good thing!:smiley:

On the other hand, evolution theory is a scientific theory and as such it should be discussed intellectually,especially because accepting evolution theory means shifting the traditional paradigm of creation.

The theory of evolution is constantly addressed in science. If you mean that we should discuss the theological aspects of evolution, ok, but doing so takes it out of the exclusive realm of science.

Saying that “evolution happened, but God is still the creator” is a curious statement, but it is not a dogma.

I don’t believe I made that statement, but I would agree with the premise. Of course it is not dogma. Who implied it was?

I think we should think about it, what it means, what are its implications etc.

What are the implications of what? Evolutionary theory? From a theological standpoint? If so, I can answer that very easily. For me, there are absolutely no theological implications to the theory of evolution.

Peace

Tim


#20

[quote=Orogeny]Then why are there so many of us that accept evolution as valid science yet also believe God is the Creator?

[/quote]

That’s a paradox, that’s why I oppose evolution so vehemently, If you have trouble why there’s one aspect of the origin of human that doesn’t need God, you’ll eventually end of worshipping that non-God “god” also. If you think God took active part in every part of the origin of human. then tell me why God can’t create human body and soul directly. what God is trying to prove when He first made a monkey/ape then turned it into human body? and if one admits God’s active involvement in the creation of human body, he also admit it can’t be understand using physics laws. If one use physics law to interpret the resurrection of Jesus, he will inevitably come to the conclusion: the resurrected Jesus isn’t the one on the cross


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