What we believe

Hi I was wondering if we Catholics believe in evolution since my friend an agnostic asked me and by what I understand is that all other animals evolve except for humans since we are in the image of God. Am I correct is there no evolution or did we actually evolve from some other animal

We are permitted to believe in evolution.

I have trouble reconciling this with Adam and Eve being real people as tradition seems to suggest.

There is no way to not believe in evolution. genetic material in normal circumstances is transmitted only by descent. Humans and all other living things share genetic material. Therefore humans and all living things are related by descent. Therefore humans evolved from other species. Belief does not change facts.

We are allowed to believe almost whatever we want in regards to creation, as long as it can be reconciled with Scripture, either literally or figuratively. In regards to evolution, we are allowed to believe that life on this planet started with a microorganism that then evolved and evolved into many different creatures and even into humanoids, which lead to humans. However, we are required to believe that there were two first humans, male and female, by which God implanted with human rational souls, made in His image and likeness, with a free will that began a relationship with God, and then disobeyed God and fell from grace, and you should know the rest. And we are also required to believe that the universe did not come from nothing randomly, but that it is a creation of our God. There may be more to it, but I think that is the gist of it.

There nothing precluding God giving an evolutionary proto human the special soul giving gift of true life.

Lutherans typically believe in a literal six days of Gods creative acts, but because God is out of space and time, there nothing to preclude that those days are experienced in our time in six concurrent 24 hour periods.

Rather interestingly, human mitochondrial DNA does have much diversity - It points to a time when there were very few humans.

And a a wishful-thinking arrangement of assorted and disparate facts does not reflect reality, or change belief. The commonalities in DNA reveal only a common basis, not a common descent. You see it pointing to accident. Believers see it as pointing to a common Creator.

As well, the observable concept of entropy runs counter to the Darwinian’s favorite “fact” pattern. Show the world one new species that has evolved from another. Even one. We see variations within a species, not the hand of Darwin in action. Evolution is a theory. That you believe it does not necessarily make it true.

Even so, to the atheist’s/agnositic’s/modern-thinker’s absolute horror, Catholics are allowed to believe in evolution, as long as it is a God-driven process.

Not so. Although there are rare instances of cross-species transfer of genetic material, it is in fact transmitted by descent. The idea that God individually creates each bacteria with DNA shared with people and so gives the impression that we have common descent with it being so is an absurdly complex proposition for a simple observation. Genetic material is transferred by descent. We share genetic material with all other species. Therefore we are related by descent. Evolution is a fact. Belief does not affect whether or not it is a fact. It is.

Please explain why it is proposed, by scientists, :eek: as a theory.

You have great faith in it! I admire such great faith.

Evolution is not proposed by scientists as a theory. It is not proposed as a hypothesis. It is accepted as a fact. The ‘theory of evolution’ is a theory of** how** the fact of evolution is explained. Its alternative name is ‘the theory of natural section’. All the scientists arguing about the theory of evolution and its modifications over the years accept that species evolved one from the other, and that all living things are related. That’s a fact, like ‘earth has a moon’ is a fact. There are theories about how the earth came to have a moon, but that does not alter the fact. There are other theories of evolution, most famously the disproven Lamarkian evolutionary theory which held that offspring were affected by the actions of their parents - for example parents which stretched to get leaves would have offspring with long necks. A fine theory - just wrong when tested. Natural selection - A fine theory, still standing when tested. I have no faith in it. Show me it is wrong and I will be delighted to discard it, and sorrowful for all the years I had misunderstood. That is the difference between science and faith. Science welcomes disproof. Faith fears it above all.

hy·poth·e·sis   [hahy-poth-uh-sis, hi-] Show IPA
noun, plural hy·poth·e·ses  -seez] Show IPA.
a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.
a proposition assumed as a premise in an argument.
the antecedent of a conditional proposition.
a mere assumption or guess.

That sounds pretty cold, hard fact-like.

In science, all facts are merely “highly probable”. Science is not faith. It might be better to say that ‘evolution is an observation’ in the same way that we can say ‘the existence of the moon is an observation’. We observe these things directly - the moon by the use of eyes and light and evolution by - well, the use of eyes and light to identify DNA sequences. It is always possible that we have observed the moon wrongly, and it is not a moon but something else. But it is highly improbable and not a potentially fruitful line of inquiry. Equally, observations about the relatedness of species through descent might turn out to be wrong, but it is highly improbable, andprobably not worth researching an alternative hypothesis.

Original Sin really only makes sense if there really were two human beings with a perfect relationship to God, who gave it up out of pride.

How could all the consequences of the first sin be just if they were derived from some primitive proto-human tribe in the heart of Africa that didn’t know their creator?

It doesn’t mean the theory of evolution has no merit, but somewhere in the chain would have to be these first human beings, much as they are described in Genesis.

“I am made from the dust of the stars”. So says Neil Peart anyway…

Hokomai, as usual you are right on point. And, as an atheist, your quote “Belief does not affect whether or not it is a fact” is a nice touch!


Faith is moot with proof. Faith does not fear proof.

I’ve read this somewhere… I think it was St Augustine (?) who proposed that God has a Divine Plan… and part of this plan may have been that we were created from some other species. Not that God created person A, then person B… but that his plan was that person A may have descended from a species and that person A would beget person B and so on.

Anyone who may know more or better, please forgive me if I butchered what he was trying to say. I cannot tell you where I read that. I am going off of memory.

So, by that, belief in evolution is permissable… and I do believe it can harmonize with the story of creation in Genesis.

Your answer is here,


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. Pope Pius XII declared that “the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that 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.

Catholics are free to believe in the theory of evolution, but not in “atheistic” evolution.

**The Catholic Church teaches that God created the entire universe, and everything in it. **We believe that everything exists (humans, animals, planets, stars, galaxies, etc…) because of God. He created man in His own image. God created us. It is possible that mans body developed over time, but even if this is the case, it was under the guidance of God. The human soul never underwent and type of “evolution.” The human soul is specially created by God.

Here is an good link from CAF:


Even the church states that Genisis can’t be read as historical fact as so many try to do. There are elements of truth but we need to consider the writting styles of the time and how certian concepts would be explained to people of the day. As far as the origional topic is concerned I have looked at “evolution” as Gods’ blueprint.

But wouldn’t you say one “essential element of truth” contained there is that the first people were like Adam and Eve, sinless and destined for happiness in an earthly paradise until they disobeyed God?

We can’t replace Adam and Eve with a bunch of cavemen without changing the whole theology, can we?

Quite true but some Catholic theologians have argued that Adam and Eve are just representations of Gods’ creation of male and female gender not nessecarily 2 actual people. It’s not a debate we can ever be certian of proving in my opinion. We have to be careful about literal interpretations - that’s what get’s many of protestant brethren so mixed up and confused.

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