Serious Doubts/Confusion About Church Teachings: Part 1


#1

My faith has been very shaky lately… I have so many questions about so many things. I know it’s not necessary to have each and every one answered… but when I perceive what seems to be something directly opposing Church teaching, I must admit, my faith is forced to waver. I figured since two things right now are troubling me, I’ll make two threads so that they can each get the necessary attention.

This concern is more recent. I understand that the Church teaches that humanity is descended from a single human pair (am I wrong?). However, she does not force a literal interpretation of the Genesis account upon us. (The Holy Father, I know, is an evolutionist, as was his predecessor.) The latter part is good. I’m passionate about Darwinism and I think it is beautiful.

I don’t really have a problem accepting the idea that all humanity shares ancestry with a single human pair (it is not far-stretched to admit it possible that humanity’s most recent common ancestors originated from non-human, humanoid parents [probably as fraternal twins for such a hypothesis to be made more reasonable] and were sharers of some advantageous mutations [probably greater mental capacity] and bred. Then their protege could have inter-bred with other humanoids, thus accounting for genetic diversity as well as allowing for humanity to share, in some way, this “Adam and Eve’s” lineage.) But I was under the impression that Holy Mother Church doesn’t allow us to hold a position in which nonhuman beings and humans interbreed. I do not understand the problem, honestly (“it justifies racism”-thing doesn’t seem to hold water to me). What can we believe here and is it possible to reconcile it with modern science?

This is causing me a lot of confusion. Any help would be appreciated.


#2

Hi,
I hope it may be of some use to you. :slight_smile:

EVOLUTION

Pius XII issued in 1950 the encyclical Humani Generis. In part this encyclical said that the human race descended from two original parents and that the human soul was infused by God into a body making it a human being at a certain point of time. Catholics must believe these two things.

The Church has no theory of evolution which Catholics must accept. The theory of evolution must stand or fall on its scientific merits.

What follows is taken from *Adam Eve and
Evolution *catholic.com/library/Adam_Eve_and_Evolution.asp

Evolutionary theories have been used to answer questions about the origins of the universe, life, and man. These may be referred to as

  1. cosmological evolution, (cosmos)
  2. biological evolution, and (life)
  3. human evolution (mankind)

People usually take three basic positions on the origins of the cosmos, life, and man:
(1) special or instantaneous creation,
(2) developmental creation or theistic evolution,
(3) and atheistic evolution.

The first holds that a given thing did not develop, but was instantaneously and directly created by God.

The second position holds that a given thing did develop from a previous state or form, but that this process was under God’s guidance.

The third position claims that a thing developed due to random forces alone.

The Catholic Position

1. Cosmological evolution
The Church does not have an official position on whether the stars, nebulae, and planets we see today were created at that time or whether they developed over time. However, the Church would maintain that, if the stars and planets did develop over time, this still ultimately must be attributed to God and his plan.
2. Biological evolution
Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to God.
**

  1. Human evolution**
    Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul.
    Souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.

While the Church permits belief in either special creation or developmental creation on certain questions, it in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution.

*Handbook of Christian Apologetics *by Peter Kreeft and Rev. Ronald Tacelli has a good chapter on evolution.

But I was under the impression that Holy Mother Church doesn’t allow us to hold a position in which nonhuman beings and humans interbreed.

I think that you are correct here because a nonhuman would not have a soul. It was the infusion of a soul which made the creation a human being.


#3

I know the Church is surprisingly up-to-date on these matters, but my concern is not with the special creation of the soul (which is the key defining point of human life) but of whether or not the Church permits us to believe that humans and nonhumans bred. It seems to be the most logical conclusion–but I’ve heard Catholics say we cannot believe this. I know the Church doesn’t like to move into science’s domain and that many “fundie-Catholics” try to twist Church teachings to fit their own beliefs, but that had me confused.

Also, your definition of theistic evolution is okay, but I think it could be better. Theistic evolution (that which the Holy Father subscribes to) in no way, shape, or form seeks to undermine any one aspect of the evolutionary theory as articulated by modern scientists (unlike Intelligent Design movements) but rather holds that ULTIMATELY creation of the universe should be attributed to the intent of the Creator, who willed it so, but who is perfectly capable of–and in all likelihood DID–use chance, random forces to achieve his ends. It is far less “hands-on” than creationism.

I took some time and talked to God yesterday, and let a lot of things out. I feel quite peaceful now. Thanks so much for your comment.


#4

I just wanted to say thank you for that reference, and information. I have never read this before. I have recently returned, in full, to my childhood faith, and am searching for information to further my education on this subject.

Again, thank you for this. :slight_smile:


#5

So essentially, for church teachings to work, either

1-Adam and Eve were evolved brother and sister born of a non-human parent (incest).
2-Adam (or Eve) propagated with a non human and so Eve (or Adam) would have been the daughter (or son) of the union. Then Adam and Eve would have had children with each other. (incest again)
3-Perhaps both mutations happened in two different non human mothers, and Adam and Eve just happened to find each other and produce human offspring.

Are there any other posibilities I’m missing?

Number 3 seems to be more of a miracle than the others because it would be so highly improbable. But if we don’t rule out miracles…it is possible…

God bless,
Ut


#6

The problem with the theories of multiple parents or humans breeding with non-humans isn’t so much that it leads to racism as that it undermines the notion that we are all part of the same human family. As such, we all share in the original sin of our first parents, and likewise in the redemption of Christ, our brother in this human family. If we descended from multiple parents, then it wouldn’t really be fair for us to share in Original Sin.

I don’t know that the Church has specifically addressed your question about Adam and Eve’s children interbreeding with other non-humans. To me, it would seem the answer would be that we should not believe that, but I have no Church documents to back that up. I think it would raise some pretty serious issues, though (much like issues today about cloning and gene splicing to mix humans with other animals). If a human being with a rational soul is interbreeding with humanoid creatures with no souls, the first question to ask would be: Why would they choose to be united to a creature that does not share their rational soul? The next question would be, what would be produced by such a union? Would their offspring have a soul or not?

If you don’t mind my asking, why does this shake your faith?


#7

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