This room is for discussion related to learning about the faith (Catechetics), defense of the Faith (Apologetics), the Liturgy and canon law, motivated by a desire to grow closer to Christ or to bring someone else closer.
Saint Augustine of Hippo is considered on of the greatest Christian thinkers of all time and the Doctor of the Church.
Learn More: Saint Augustine
The whole problem with this discussion is the difference between two hypotheses:
that of micro-evolution and that of macro-evolution.
There is quite a lot of difficulty in this discussion since most so-called "evolutionary scientists" do not speak or write with rigorously defined or philosophically correct terms.
The hypothesis regarding micro-evolution does have some consistency to reality based upon what we can now observe on the cellular and "genetic" level (re: allele frequencies). However, it goes off the deep end when scientists start getting into genetic drift, since the cause cannot be observed. It is basically a label for a result, but by fallacious a posteriori reasoning, evolutionary scientists posit that genetic drift is certainly the result of a random sampling of parent genes. There is a lot going for the notions of mutation, selection and gene flow, since they all label results which are naturally observeable to the senses, but these terms still fall short of explaining the underlying purpose or invisible causes of the results they label.
The notions of mutation and selection can be pretty much summed up by the fallout that the corporal creatures experience due to original sin. We live in a corrupting temporal nature since Adam's prevarication and therefore accidental (a philosophical term meaning that which exists in and is said of the other in which it exists, such as quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, time, place, disposition (arrangement of parts) and raiment (whether the being in question is dressed or armed, etc.)) variants can occur. Gene flow is also based upon observation of the natural outcome of breeding across populations of different observeable traits, so there's really not much problem to be had with it as the label of a result.
Things really start to get absurd when one looks at the hypothesis of macro-evolution. The basic explanation of this hypothesis is that a change within a specific corporal being allows it consistently to spawn viable progeny which are genetically unlike itself. The problem is not the observation of adaptive changes in nature, the problem is using this hypothesis as a starting point of a posteriori reasoning to come to the conclusion that an invertebrate animal spawned a vertebrate animal without the observation of such occurring. The hypothesis is used in opposition to sound reasoning which dictates that each being has a purpose that it is for, defined by its Creator, which is labeled by the word essence, which cannot possibly change into a new essence by the mere flow of events in nature.
A good source on this notion regarding macro-evolution is in an Encyclical written by Pope Pius XII called Humani Generis. In it, the Holy Father states:
"5. If anyone examines the state of affairs outside the Christian fold, he will easily discover the principal trends that not a few learned men are following. Some imprudently and indiscreetly hold that evolution, which has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences, explains the origin of all this, and audaciously support the monistic and pantheistic opinion that the world is in continual evolution. Communists gladly subscribed to this opinion so that, when the souls of men have been deprived of every idea of a personal God, they may the more efficaciously defend and propagate their dialectical materialism.
"6. Such fictitious tenets of evolution which repudiate all that is absolute, firm and immutable, have paved the way for the new erroneous philosophy which, rivaling idealism, immanentism and pragmatism, has assumed the name of existentialism, since it concerns itself only with existence of individual things and neglects all consideration of their immutable essences.
"35. It remains for Us now to speak about those questions which, although they pertain to the positive sciences, are nevertheless more or less connected with the truths of the Christian faith. In fact, not a few insistently demand that the Catholic religion takes these sciences into account as much as possible. This certainly would be praiseworthy in the case of clearly proved facts; but caution must be used when there is rather question of hypotheses, having some sort of scientific foundation, in which the doctrine contained in Sacred Scripture or in Tradition is involved. If such conjectural opinions are directly or indirectly opposed to the doctrine revealed by God, then the demand that they be recognized can in no way be admitted.
"36. For these reasons 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, on the part of men experienced in both fields, 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 -- for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faithful Some however rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from preexisting and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.
"37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.
"38. Just as in the biological and anthropological sciences, so also in the historical sciences there are those who boldly transgress the limits and safeguards established by the Church. In a particular way must be deplored a certain too free interpretation of the historical books of the Old Testament. Those who favor this system, in order to defend their cause, wrongly refer to the Letter which was sent not long ago to the Archbishop of Paris by the Pontifical Commission on Biblical Studies. This Letter, in fact, clearly points out that the first eleven chapters of Genesis, although properly speaking not conforming to the historical method used by the best Greek and Latin writers or by competent authors of our time, do nevertheless pertain to history in a true sense, which however must be further studied and determined by exegetes; the same chapters, (the Letter points out), in simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation, and also give a popular description of the origin of the human race and the chosen people. If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations (and this may be conceded), it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents.
"39. Therefore, whatever of the popular narrations have been inserted into the Sacred Scriptures must in no way be considered on a par with myths or other such things, which are more the product of an extravagant imagination than of that striving for truth and simplicity which in the Sacred Books, also of the Old Testament, is so apparent that our ancient sacred writers must be admitted to be clearly superior to the ancient profane writers."
Best wishes to you, Liberacion, in seeking your answer.
While some lower forms of animals undergo physical change, example a fish washed up to the shore, has to survive, must learn how to hop on the sands by using its fins to function as legs, transformed into another species and cannot go back to the sea to be a fish, this kind of transformation happened because of adaptation as every living creature has the ability to adapt to its environment. But man, though belonging to the animal kingdom, is a special kind of animal because of our souls that continues to live after death. Lower forms of animals also have souls but when their body dies, their souls die with their bodies - these are called vegetative souls. Also intelligence cannot be used as a destinctive point to distinguish man from apes, because science has found out that lower forms of animals can acquire intelligence by conditioning or training. What then are the reasons why there are individuals who become atheist by using the evolution theory as the reason?
There are some errors in what you are exposing here.
The essence of a fish does not change merely because it has flopped on the shore of the beach. A fish, by definition, needs water flowing past its gills to breathe. On land, no water would flow past the gills of the fish, meaning the fish would die. A dead fish is not a species of fish, "dead fish" is merely the closest label to cover the concept "that which looks like a fish, yet is neither animated nor a fish" that we have. It is technically a carcass.
It is not correct to call it the natural process of "adaptation" when what was formerly a fish flopping on land, getting ready to die, sprouts legs and breathes the air. That is what is called "a miracle." Only God, by extraordinary means, can change what was once a fish into what is now some sort of reptile. It is not within the nature of a being to change its essence.
Human beings have souls, just as animals have souls. A soul is the substantial form which informs the primal matter that comprises an animate being. In merely animate beings, it is not possible to have a substantial form without it informing the primal matter, and it is not possible to have the primal matter without it being informed by the substantial form. The two do not exist without one another. However, in human beings, there is a spiritual aspect to our souls: we have an intellect, will and intellective memory. This, by gift of God, allows our souls to continue on in the violent state of separation from our primal matter after death (though we will be united with it again after the General Resurrection).
Animals do not have what is called a merely vegetative soul/substantial form. A tree has a vegetative substantial form, because it can only nourish itself, grow and reproduce. However, an animal has an animate substantial form because it is sentient, though it does also have a vegetative aspect, since like the tree, an animal can nourish itself, grow and reproduce. An animal is a sentient being with a sentient soul. Sentience is what allows the animal to sense its surroundings, and animation is the logical result. Animation allows the animal to move away from what it senses as painful and toward what it senses as pleasant. Plants do not have this ability to move in such a fashion, because they are not sentient.
Animals do not have a capacity for intelligence, as they have no intellect (the intellect is the faculty of the spirit which allows an intelligent being to know what is true and what can be true). They do not have a capacity for choice, as they have no will (the will is the faculty of the spirit which allows an intelligent being to choose what it will make true). Unless the being has the capacity to ponder abstract concepts, it is not intelligent. Animals work off of passion primarily which is ordinarily governed by their nature. Animals have a capacity to learn by what is called "association," however. Due to the fact that sentient souls have a sentient memory, animals can remember associations based upon whatever passion is striking them at the time. Humans train or condition the association of animals by affecting the animals' passions. Animals do not gain any intelligence whatsoever from training or conditioning, as neither give them the capacity for abstract thought. The fact is, if animals can gain intelligence, then they would have to be baptized...since they would technically be human at that point.
What causes problems in observing this, is that there is a specific group of people who choose to live as little more than clever animals. Of course, humans have the capacity for abstract thought and choice, but nonetheless, these people live for the most part irrational lives governed by passion and association. Other human observers then take this as normal human behavior and begin calling animals people, too, since animals have these same traits (that is, being irrational and governed by passion and association).
In answer to your question: the only reason why a person would apostatize (totally repudiate the Christian faith, and embrace atheism) is because there is a sin he loves, and will find whatever reason he can in order to justify it...even if that means rejecting God.
May I chime in a bit.... We must be careful to use the term "evolution" and say the Church is ok with it. If it is used as Darwin's view, the Church does not agree. If it is used as that God used this to create the world, and that God was the one that made matter, shot it into existence and ordered it, yes, we can believe in that. I am sure you meant this but if not, I am open to sharing more info..... Another thing, there is no scientific info for macro-evolution, that is where a species became another species like a duck became a dog. However, there is scientific evidence of micro-evolution where there were slight mutations over time. Longer wing span of a bird etc. But they still remained the same species. What we know is that "IF" man evolved over time, that Adam was the first to have a soul created by God. I like going to Catholic Answers on line, in their tract section they have a short tract on this topic. It will go much more indepth than I shared...
Hope this was helpful....
I have a very close friend whose 14-year old son, an altar boy does not go to church anymore unless they can explain to him the theory of evolution. She said his son believes in what his teacher taught in the class. How safe would our children be in public schools that teaches evolution and the teacher happens to be a non-Catholic and believes in this theory.
This is really quite easy.
Just explain to him that evolution is one of the many ways God uses to express his creation here on earth. Evolution does not diminish the Creator's power or glory in any way. In fact, the workings of the universe, with all its laws of physics, chemistry and biology, are so orderly and rational that they are firm evidence that there is a Creator. It is illogical to believe in a rational universe without an intelligent Creator. God can create the universe however he wishes it to be, and he has created the processes of evolution as one of his ways to express himself and his majesty. Everything we learn in science is merely peering into the way in which God holds his universe in existance. Teach him the relgion will explain the Why to him. Let science explain the How.
There are different classes of evolution. What you are speaking of is gradual evolving, but still in accordance with God's plan. There is no objection to teaching or believing in this. The main problem stems from trying to determine when a human being was formed. Again, the physical body could have been the product of evolution, but the primary difference is the infusion of a soul; that's the difference between animal existence and man.
Was the world literally created in 6 days? Most likely not. The Church and science are in agreement on this. For those who insist upon a literal translation of Genesis, they would have to consider that there was no word for a 24-hour period of time, which we now call a day. A day in those times meant a period of time (could be a second, or millions of years).
Nicely said. I agree with your thread but I would like clarification on your statement
>>>>> Was the world literally created in 6 days? Most likely not. The Church and science are in agreement on this.>>>>>
You are aware that the Church has not interpreted infallibly the 6 days am I correct? When you said the Church and science are in agreement are you saying the Church said the world was NOT created in 6 days or are you saying that the Church says it could have been but science does not appear to be definitive on this yet? Perhaps I am reading too much into what you are saying. I agree that when Fundamentalist insist on this interpretation they are not being open to the problems with the world being made in 6 - 24 hour days... I am glad you mentioned that a day did not necessarily mean a 24 hour period of time, for the word "day" is "rom" if I recall correctly, and it is said that to God a day can be like a thousand years. That was good you pointed that out. There are about 7 different interpretations of the creation story. Was it a literal 6 day of 24 hours, was it the gap theory, and so forth. One very interesting thing is in Dr. Scott Hahn's Genesis Chapt 1-11 audio CD's. The word, gosh I hope I am correct here for the #7 is Sheva, spelling may be wrong, I dont have time to look it up, but I think so) and this has much implications. It literally means to "covenant" oneself. This is really interesting because in John chapter 1-4 we see some interesting things going on with being Born Again or born from above, born anothen.... John 1 starts out with the phrase, "In the beginning" just as we see in Genesis 1. As you read from chapter 1 you see the words, "next day". When you add up the next days, we are into chapter 2 and that is the 7th day where our blessed Mother, and Jesus mother intercedes and Jesus calls her "woman" pointing to the woman in Gen 3:15. That is why the Church Fathers called Mary the New Eve... Anyway, it is on the 7th day the woman comes to the New Covenant Adam and starting his public miracles of turning the water into wine in the "6" baptismoi jugs, which has great implications with the #6 being a sign of incompletion. Chapters 1-4 deals with baptism and the New Covenant Creation story where we are born anew, born again...through baptism. In John 1 you have the next days mentioned, Jesus is baptized and then the New Eve coming to the New Adam and then the first miracle of his ministry then the words of Jesus, in chapter 3 of being born of water and spirit one cannot get into heaven, and then Jesus baptizes the apostles and in chapt 4 Jesus no longer baptizes, he commands the apostles to go do this....
So my reason for bringing this up is to share how deep the Genesis story can be. We worship on the 7th day, a day of rest, the Lords day, and we renew our baptismal covenant (where we entered into the Covenantal family of God) with God because He is always faithful, we are not, thus renewing our vow to be a faithful bride is key and we the bride of Christ receive our Groom, Jesus into our body in a physical way. Kimberly Hahn goes much into this in the last chapter of "Catholic for a Reason III, Scriptures and the Mystery of Mass" editor is Dr. Scott Hahn. She ties Mass with marriage and it is very interesting. That is an awesome book as well is the Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn. We renew our covenant on the 7th day, the marriage supper of the Lamb.... You wouldn't know you were going to a wedding with the way people dress that is for sure. I am NOT one to sit there and look around, but it is obvious to see Mass is not special to many at least not as special as going to a friends wedding for you see folks taking the time to dress up for that... ok, going off topic..
I hope this is interesting to some... if so, read those two books, it will help make one be more intune to each part of the Mass, when we say Lamb of God who take away the sins of the world, one who is knowledgeable will not continue shaking hands of peace, they will know peace time is over, and it should be short and sweet, and then we should focus back on the Lamb of God on the altar truly present....... I thnk most Catholics would believe in all of the teachings if they fully were taught the teachings, and they would take Mass in a different light if they had the info to grasp the dept and significance of it. We live in some great times though, there is so much info at our finger tips to learn.....
Well, I am going on and on and on, I guess that is what the word can do, it has such depth and all of it is so tied together... It is so awesome to be Catholic to be able to trace our bishops back to the apostles to know we have the fullness of the faith and to tell us and teach us what the written word of God means... I wonder how some get past Peters warning of us needing to be taught the scriptures or we will distort them.... I always ask, who taught you, who taught your teacher and who SENT them pointing them to Romans 10
2 Peter 15-15
And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant (untaught/undiscipled) and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.
13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
14 But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
15 And how can people preach unless they are sent?
And we know Jesus sent the apostles our first bishops to preach and teach us and guide us. If the non 7 out of 7's were taught this or open to this and more, they probably would agree with all of the teachings instead of their lack of information forming their opinions on subjective reasons instead of objective TRUTH.
In the upper room, Jesus SENT the apostles, in Luke 10:16 he says, "if they hear you, they hear Me, if they reject you, they reject Me and if they reject Me, they reject the One who SENT Me."
So many more words of God to prove the Church cannot error on teaching the faith and on morals....
Ok, I went on an on and on.. hope this helps someone... I should reread this but I spent far too much time on this today... Got to go... if anything is unclear, just write to me, sorry got to get things done today... I enjoy all of your writings folks....
I believe the Church's teaching on Genesis, and I also love studying evolutionary biology. It's a great puzzle and a great story and I love to learn about it.
The important thing to tell your friend's son is that the theory of evolution does not answer the question of why, but the question of how. As in how did fish evolve into something different that no longer acted like a fish? What were the biological mechanisms? What were the environmental factors? An atheist could explain the process of evolution just as well as a Christian. But such a theory does not rule out God at all. Indeed, from a purely speculative metaphysical mindset one has to accept the real possibility of a God who created the universe, and furthermore, one that intends to create a rational and even moral creature such as man.
Regarding the theory of man's descent from apes it seems to me that there is sufficient evidence to believe that it's true. In this case, whether God chose to make a man directly out of mud then give him a soul, or to to create life out of mud, have it evolve into man, then give him a soul, either way God can make it work.
There is this difficulty; the story of the Garden of Eden is true in these senses (1) there was an original man and women who lived in a state of grace (2) they lived in a place that was different from the "dog eat dog" world of evolution that we live in (3) by their free choice the sinned against God and entered into history. (4) it's to atone for this original sin that Christ entered the world, died and rose again. How and where that historical reality fits in with what the theory of evolution says happened is one of the hardest parts of faith to reconcile with science. I think it's the big reason so many fundementalists are against evolution. I accept it, and ponder it, and hope to discover a "theory of the Garden of Eden" that makes more "sense" than what I have now. When data does not make sense scientists doen't throw everything out that makes sense; they puzzle it and think about it till they find the connections.
Finally, faith seeks understanding...there may not be a 10 minute fix for your friend's son- I went through a several years of doubt in my faith due to what I learned about science (and my somewhat liberal seminary experience) but I ultimately came out of it stronger than before. Be truthful, encourage him to think hard about it and pray. That usually works.
Thanks for all your responses. If you all don't mind, I print out your posts to give to his mother.
I really love opening a thread where CM members actively express their knowledge of the subject matter. Aside from the information gathered, I can see the person behind the letter (words). If other CM members visit this thread and start knowing each of you who posted here through your opinion on the subject matter, then they might be giving themselves some thoughts to start making contact with you.