A quote from St Augustine
“But if they are able to establish their doctrine with proofs that cannot be denied, we must show that this statement of Scripture . . . is not opposed to the truth of their conclusions.” He urges us to change our interpretation of Scripture, not because Scripture is to be ruled by science, but because no two truths made by God will contradict one another. All truth comes from God, whether discovered by science or by the Church in its interpretation of Scripture. The first question we must ask is whether a particular scientific theory is well-founded. If it is, then we must make sure we don’t read the Bible in a manner that contradicts sound knowledge of nature."
Kenneth J Howell is high in his praise of St Augustine and his approach to science. (article in The Rock)
The problem is becoming slowly apparent that the evolution of man and the doctrine of original sin will inevitably collide. Science has been fairly clear in revealing a polygenic origin of human beings. That is rapidly leaving the realm of hypothesis and becoming solid theory. If true then man arose in groups from pre-man and that makes EDEN an unlikely scenario. The events surrounding the creation of homo sapiens perfectus and the subsequent descent into the species homo sapiens sinnerus imperfectus is becoming increasingly more unlikely. It would appear on the face of the evidence that man arose from pre-hominids as a totally natural creature with a brain able to finally comprehend its own reality and with that extant creature God chose to begin an intimate relationship with his creation.
That man is perfect as he is, is not in question here. Man comes well equipped with what seems to be a built in original or inherited flaw which is the ability to deceive not just those around him but himself as well. Our ability to create our own reality (in our minds) is an ongoing stumbling block to our relationship with our Creator since we can (if wished) make God disappear from our reality and in that way begin to create our own unique hell on earth (and probably in eternity as well).
The soul is equally not in question. If God begins a relationship, He will give the means to make that permanent.
If all of this is right in as much as we can now determine, was St Augustine a man of his time and right as far as he knew and is he now wrong in light of current science?
Popes Pius XII, John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have indicated that evolution appears to be a solid scientific theory, " as long as it does not conflict with Adam and Eve" Is this a position that the Vatican can sustain without becoming dogmatic and unyielding?
Note that there is no question about God as Creator and source of creation. In that I firmly believe. Intelligent Design is not as the ID literalists insist but that the entire design was written into the laws of the energy/wave/matter that instantly appeared in the “Big Bang”.
The discussion here is:
- Does evolution as a scientific theory and therefore most likely true as far as we know, conflict with scriptural interpretation and;
- Is it time for a serious discussion between the Church and Science as to the ramifications of this theory on Genesis and the doctrine of original sin and
3 Is it time for the church to reevaluate the doctrine of original sin and man’s “fall from grace”
No, you may not burn me at the stake for heresy. Taint allowed in Texas.