How long did it take for God to create the cosmos? The Protestant creationist movement is firmly committed to holding that God's creative acts were limited to six 24-hour days.
Reflections of a Catholic Creationist
by Thomas Storck, January 2004
Not quite. Hugh Ross - who is a Protestant - is very firmly Old Earth creationist. He considers the "distant star light problem" as a refutation of a young universe.
When I was a Protestant before my baptism and before my Catholic conversion, I took the "light created in passage approach". Now I take a small universe approach (confer Chesterton and St Juliana of Norwich) meaning I do not believe the universe is much bigger than the solar system as one calls it, or that several orders of magnitude separate the distance of the most distant stars from the distance of Pluto or other Kuiper Belt objects.
This means I do not accept parallax as parallax, since otherwise I would have to acknowledge that if a light-day separates Sun from Neptune, it is four light-years that separate us from the closest star.
And believing that the heavenly bodies created on day four were entrusted to the angels created when God created Heaven and Earth, in the beginning, before day one, I believe there is no problem in assigning:
- yearly stellar aberration of light
- yearly stellar parallax
- orbit of Mercury (which does not quite fit with Newton's and Kepler's prediction)
- twinklings attributed to all the 777 exo-planets not seen directly through telescope
- gravitational lensing due to stars and heavy planets
- gravitational lensing due to black holes
- and cometal orbits reaching to "van Oort's belt" or more probably "sphere of the fix stars" or "stellatum"
- and possibly more ...
... to the simple expedient, far better in tune with Occam's razor, that all such movements are due to angels shifting position of bodies entrusted to them.
Now, a Catholic Old Earth creationist or Theistic Evolutionist (excepting Adam and Eve) is obviously agreeing with Hugh Ross and Stephen Jay Gould as much as I agree with Kent Hovind (who unlike me now does not take the Geocentric approach to distant star light problem).
Of these two, I have heard Hovind utter some idiocies about history of the Catholic Church, but without any rancour against the rank and file of Catholics. And I have heard Hugh Ross cite the Belgic Catechism, which is written by a minor Calvinist Reformer, Guido de Bres (one man who was actually hanged by the Spanish Inquisition, it seems he was scandalised at the Catholic Church publically burning copies of the Vernacular Bible's in Protestant translations to Flemish and French along with works of Erasmus, but that hardly excuses Calvinism). So I cannot exactly say that Hugh Ross is less Protestant than Kent Hovind.
The reason Pius XII in Humani Generis persisted most about Adam's special creation was obviously because Roman's "by the sin of one man" most certainly concerns human death, while some Church Fathers (St Augustine and Venerable Bede) do not take it as concerning animal death. But even there, the liberty of discussion he gave to learned should not immediately be taken as a liberty of belief in the faithful. Sadly enough it was at least so taken, as we see from Tolkien's collected Letters where that author states that the Pope allows us to believe Adam's body, but not Adam's soul evolved from previous animal creatures.
Now that is a pretty awkward position. Both mammals and men in an ethic or merely emotional way honour their parents.
If Adam was born from a couple of non-human highly evolved apes, we get a problem.
Was he himself non-human for a long time up to when his parents died? And after that changed? I call that position highly impious. It reminds of a certain position about Nimrod "beginning to be a giant".
Or did he become a man while his parents remained highly evolved apes? How could he then honour those that were less than himself without that being awkward?
Or did his parents die very early so as to leave this problem out? How was he then nurtured up to adulthood? Instead of making him a Nimrod, maybe you have made him a Mowgli or a Romulus without a Remus! And even they continued to honour the shewolf.
The one sense in which this would not be impious is not a syncretism with evolution, but with Nordic Myth, where it states the first couple were at first two tree trunks. Ask and Embla means ash tree and elm tree, or ash tree and vine (but a vine would not be a tree trunk). Being created out of two trees is not very different from being created out of slime of the earth.
But all these senses, including two tree logs in a river are impious in so far as instead of attributing death to disobedience of man, they attribute evolution of last link up to Adam to "evolusion's chisel" death.
There is another thing about Adam which rules out day period creationism. If after creation of Eve day six ceased immediately and we are still in day seven, then there was no marriage for six sevenths of creation and Christ's words about marriage "from the beginning of creation" become a lie.
Whereas if day six was 5199 years and nine months before the birth of Our dear Saviour, and each day was 24 hours at most, the part of creation on earth that occurred before the first marriage was only 3.16 parts per million of the time elapsed up to Christ's birth. In that perspective "from the beginning of creation" makes perfect sense.
This was probably overlooked by Pope Pius XII - assuming he was indeed Catholic - and it has been pointed out by Kent Hovind. So far I have heard no answer from Hugh Ross.
If Catholics are free to agree with Theistic Evolutionists like Jew Gould, or with Old Universe special Creationists like Protestant Hugh Ross, why should a Catholic not be agreeing with a Young Earth Creationist like Kent Hovind?
One answer I can think of is misunderstanding the scope of Humani Generis - or if it was no misunderstanding, one can hardly say Pius XII (whom Chesterton had the chance to miss in such a case) was Pope.
Humani Generis can be read as merely allowing a discussion to go on up to when a definite solution has been found and approved by a future Papal decision. This is not what happened, it was taken immediately, as a licence for every Catholic to be cavalier about Young Earth Creationism. It has eventually come to be taken - although the document nowhere mentions that - as an indirect new condemnation of one kind of Protestants, namely Young Earth Creationists like Hovind.
Another one I can think of is that Chesterton had a knack of attributing hysteria to Protestants - and hysterics they often are about some things, but creationism is not in these days one of them. Maybe it was back at the time of the Scopes trial. Nowadays, Creationists are among the least Catholic bashing and in ethics least hysteric Protestants I know of.
There is some ground for taking this to be Storck's point.
For them, because of a commitment to a Fundamentalist interpretation of Scripture ...
Which was maybe not that of Cardinal Suhard or Pius XII in 1948, but certainly that of the Church Fathers, including St Jerome who calculated Our Lord was born on December 25th (he compared which feasts he thought most probable) 5199 Anno Mundi (he did as Ussher, but on the Septuagint). As equally it was certainly that of St Thomas Aquinas. And of St Robert Bellarmine, during the Galileo trial of 1616.
However, a few pieces of scientific evidence have also been picked up since then by Young Earth Creationists. I have for my part added the problem of Mammalian Chromosome numbers to refutations of Macroevolution. Even though, like Thomas Storck, I am no scientist, that does not mean all evidence of scientific nature is vague to me. I learned Mendel's laws when I was pretty young. By a ma who was a medical student, a Christian (in fact Protestant, back then at least, in the sense of non-Catholic rather than anti-Catholic: she placed Sts Benedict Patriarch of OSB and Francis OFM with William Booth) and a Young Earth Creationist. Remaining faithful to that, even after Catholic conversion, seems neither Protestant, nor hyperecumenic or syncretist, nor an act of prophecy requiring corresponding poverty for the right to state it.
BpI, Georges Pompidou
Decapitation of St John the Baptist
Birthday on earth, 1911, of a grandmother
who offering a book on evolution
wrote "read, learn, think" (I did)
I tried to post following comment under a blog post by Storck:
What’s Wrong with Distributism: A Response (when comments were nine)
My not published comment:
"Cassiodorus", the apostate to Sufism known as René Guenon is very much not the most famous perennialist. He is only very much cited in French circles in order to discredit perennialism as a kind of syncretism and apostasy.
Mr Storck, here is my answer to your biassed essay from january 2004: