Evolution vs. Creation

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I read that Pope John Paul II made a statement that evolution of man is worthy of study and may be accurate. If so, he further stated that the 'soul' of man was 'created' by God individually in each human being.

I'm not sure how to interpret this. Does the holy father imply that there was no Adam and Eve? If this is true, where does 'original sin' come into the picture? I am genuinely confused.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 1998


This simply means that man did not evolve from the ape spititualy. God created the Immortal soul and thus evolution of the spirit can not happen. Man may have taken the body from the ape but when God infused a soul he was a man and did not evolve from the Ape!

-- Anonymous, July 08, 1998

So what is the Church teaching about Adam and Eve? Was there a literal Adam and Eve or were Adam and Eve merely symbolic? Again, I am confused on the Church's teaching here and relative to 'original sin'.

Let me add that I belive in 'original sin' and the need for baptism, I'm just a little confused on the historical teaching due to the possibility of the 'evolution of man' rather than the strict theory of creation.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 1998

One thing we must believe is that there were a single Adam and a single Eve who were the parents of the whole human race. This was made clear by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Humani Generis linked here. Of particular interest are paragraphs 36 and 37.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 1998

I have recently been looking into this subject while working on curriculum for homeschooling my daughter. What I learned is that there have been some changes in the way Biblical scholars look at the Bible. According to Fr. William Most, in a Bible course I found at EWTN's web site, scholars now use the genre approach to explain things like the story of Adam and Eve. Fr. Most says "Genesis 1-11 is in a genre that pertains to history in some way, without being the same as the pattern used by Greek and Roman or modern historians...John Paul II called the genre "myth", but explained he did not mean a mere fairy tale, but meant an ancient story devised to bring out some things that really happened." I think it is kind of like historical fiction, which conveys the basic truth of events that really happened, but adds details to make the story more interesting. The inspired writer of the story used it as a means to convey the truth of original sin and our need for redemption. I also looked into evolution while teaching my daughter Biology, and learned that there is absolutely no evidence that any species has ever evolved into another species, so while we don't need to believe that God literally created Adam from clay and Eve from Adam's rib, there's no reason to think he caused them to evolve from apes, either.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 1998

Some thoughts on the Popes statement and on evolution in general: (1) The statement that evolution is more than a hypothesis was read by the Pope in front of the group that certainly authored it, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. It is also certain that the Pontifical Academy, like the Church and society at large, is absolutely enthralled with the theory of evolution. (2) Pope John Paul II does not have any competency in scientific matters, and even if he did, we are not obliged to obey or agree with him on this point, because the matter is not one of faith or morals. (3) Dorothea is absolutely correct in her post - there is not one single shred of evidence for "macro-evolution" - the generation of one species from a different species. (4) Belief in evolution is perpetuated because of what it is in its essence - a denial of the God of creation, replacing Him with the god of chance - which serves the modern secular, atheistic culture. According to the theory of (macro)evolution, every species owes its existence to a lower species, down to a one-celled organism that was GENERATED BY ACCIDENT FROM INORGANIC MATTER. That means the very stones you walk on are your brothers - they just haven't "evolved" yet. [sounds like New Age]. And not only are the stones evolving, but so are we  into some Godlike being [sounds REALLY New Age]. (5) God is an intelligent CREATOR, Who does not owe His existence to anyone, because he IS EXISTENCE (He told Moses that His name is I AM). (6) The Holy Father and the Church should leave to science that which belongs to science. If the evolutionists can prove their theory, let them do so, but they've already had a hundred and forty years, and now some brilliant (and intellectually honest) scientists are blasting holes in their theory. Ive done some reading on this subject, but unfortunately I have no sources at my fingertips except for a little TAN booklet called CHRIST DENIED by Father Paul Wickens, who makes short work of that Theistic Evolutionist charlatan, Teilhard de Chardin ...I used to say that God could have chosen to create us through evolution, until I found out that there is no physical evidence for evolution, that the people who push evolution do not love the Jesus of Scripture and Catholic tradition, and that evolution makes no logical sense. Now I tell people who believe in evolution that they could just as easily believe we were dropped off here on earth billions of years ago by aliens in spaceships  the bodies of evidence supporting each are nil. I could go on for pages, but Ill spare you all. Every time I hear evolution I have to vent a little.

-- Anonymous, July 08, 1998

I'd like to remind everyone that the Theory of Evolution is just that - a THEORY. Theories are one of the fundamental aspects of science. Theories are guesses as to why things are the way they are. Different people may come up with different theories to explain the same phenomenon.

This brings us to the next fundamental aspect of science - proper experimentation and observation in order to prove or disprove the theory, whether in part or in whole. And until any theory is proven conclusively, it remains only a theory, a guess. It might have validity. It might not. But it is an essential part of the scientific struggle to understand our universe and an essential part to scientific discovery.

Look at quantum mechanics. This whole branch of physics was developed from a simple little guess Einstein proposed in order to explain why atomic and sub-atomic particles were not behaving according to Newton's Laws. Quantum mechanics grew from this guess. And it had it's proponents and it's detractants. Even Einstein later withdrew his support of this theory because of the huge role chance has in this theory. His famous quote is, "God does not play dice".

The most ironic thing is, a contemporary of Einstein (I'll have to find my text to remember his name) also hated the Quantum Mechanics theory and spent years devising experiments to disprove it...and ended up proving conclusively that it is true! And won a Nobel Prize for his work!!

Anyhow, through an understanding of bizarre equations of quantum mechanics, we now have the lazer, microscopes which can probe at the sub-atomic level, and a host of other inventions. All of which would not be possible if Einstein had not come up with a theory and others had not debated it.

But I digress.

The long and short of this is that there is nothing wrong in subscribing to one theory or another. (in my opinion) As long as you remember it is a theory. Sure, it may get our goats that some scientific theories seem to contradict accepted RC teachings...but God will straighten things out in the end. There will be an experiment, an observation, or a briliant piece of reasoning that will prove what is true and what isn't.

Patience, my friends.

Peace be with you.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

Response to evolution vs. creation

Esther! woof, woof, woof!!!! (applause and various arm shaking, infantile movements of enthusiastic support) you da girl! you da bomb! What a great response! Learned without being pedantic, geniune and in all ways educating! I agree with every word!

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

There's a biologist called Steve Jones, who's at one of the London Univesity Colleges and researches into the DNA of snails (honest!); he's one of the BBC's favourite media scientists, and they wheel him out on every occasion. Well, he's anything but a believer, and says that he's an agnostic; and on a series he did about 18 months ago, stated that it was looking more and more likely (in fact, as near certain as biologists can be) that the entire human race descended from one woman: the DNA evidence is apparently fairly uncontradictable on this. I was *very* pleased by this, as it's so rarely that science can be seen quite obviously to confirm Scripture (the Big Bang theory of the Universe is another). Mind you, it's also very rare that science seems to contradict Scripture.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

Address by Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Biblical Commission, 23 April 1993:

...Taking into account the state of scientific research at the time as well as of the requirements of theology, the Encyclical Humani generis considered the doctrine of evolutionism, a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions: that this opinion should not be adopted as though it were a certain, proven doctrine and as though one could totally prescind from Revelation with regard to the questions it raises. He also spelled out the condition on which this opinion would be compatible with the Christian faith, a point to which I will return.

Today, almost half a century after the publication of the Encyclical, fresh knowledge has led to the recognition that evolution is more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favour of this theory....

The clearest evidence of evolution can be found in our genes. Evolutionary theory is the most powerful integrating idea in all biology and essential for other sciences ranging from astronomy to anthropology.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

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