- Many Catholic priests and religious are also medical doctors or scientists. How would they reconcile creationism with evolution?
- My own answer
- YEC demands that heaven and earth were created in either six calendar days or one moment (most Church Fathers say six calendar days, St Augustine prefers considering it one single moment).
YEC also demands that this happened sth like 5508 or 5199 or 4004 years (normal solar years being the medium length of Hebrew years) before Christ was born.
YEC also demands that between Creation and Christ there came a Flood. 3266, 2957 or 2468 years before the Birth of Christ.
YEC does NOT demand that salmonella and escherichia coli were created as separate species or kinds, or that salmonella cannot have developed from a virulent strand of escherichia, which seems to have at least some kind of normal function in intestines too (though I think lactobacillus is preferable).
In the experiment with escherichia, it took only a few decades for some of the strands to develop a trait characteristic also of salmonella, namely digesting citric acid.
I don’t see why a medical doctor would have a problem with YEC.
- Other answers
- Greg Moore,
- Was a practicing Catholic, but the Church wasn't.
- Written Wed
- Since the official Catholic Church doctrine is evolution (though with some involvement from God) and definitely NOT creationism, they don’t have anything to reconcile.
Basically the Catholic view is God’s universe is large enough to include evolution.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- You are contradicting the Council of Trent and the Church Fathers.
- Christopher Delich
- Catholic with interest in other religions & double major in philosophy
- Updated Thu
- Upvoted by Jo Vesegas
- Catholics are not creationists in the sense of Biblical fundamentalists. The official doctrine, as it was taught to me, in interpretation of the Bible is called the Historical Critical Method. This, among other things, means that the Bible should be interpreted as God’s revelation. The words written in the Bible have to be meaningful to both an audience from thousands of years ago and a modern audience. So, not everything written there is meant to convey a scientific fact, in fact most things are not. Truth and facts are not precisely the same thing, and an audience from thousands of years ago would not have understood scientific facts the way that a modern audience would. Therefore Genesis is not necessarily meant to convey that the Earth was created in 7 days as humans understand days. The text is trying to convey a deeper truth without conveying scientific fact, because scientific fact is not its purpose. Once again the purpose is conveying God’s message or revelation.
So yes, we believe God created the Earth and human beings, but we do not believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, like many fundamentalists. So God absolutely could have created the world through the mechanism of nature. This does not eliminate the Big Bang or Natural Selection.
Therefore Catholic universities teach science to include the Big Bang and Natural Selection. In fact Catholic universities create scientists and physicians as well as philosophers and theologians. Point of fact I have degrees from a Catholic university run by an order of priests known as the Society of Jesus in both science and philosophy.
To put a finer point on it, we believe the Bible is revelation (God’s message to humanity), but it is not a science textbook or a comprehensive historical document. The Gospels even tell us this. In the Gospels it tells us that they are not biographies of Jesus Christ, they are written so that people who were not there when Christ was on the Earth can come to believe. Lots of things happened to Jesus that are not recorded in the Gospels.
Likewise, there are many things that happened in the creation of the universe that are not recorded in Genesis. The purpose of the book is to provide God’s message as can be understood by generations of people, not to explain the physics involved to humanity in a way that could be understood by everyone over a span of thousands of years. One has to assume that God could have explained the mechanisms of nature, since it is his creation, but in lieu of doing that he gave us an intellect so we could explore creation on our own. This includes everything from crop rotation to the Big Bang.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- “Catholics are not creationists in the sense of Biblical fundamentalists.”
If by Fundamentalist you mean Biblical Inerrantist, that is false. And since you qualified it by “Biblical fundamentalist”, you probably meant exactly that.
“The official doctrine, as it was taught to me, in interpretation of the Bible is called the Historical Critical Method.”
The official doctrine as taught by the Council of Trent is to agree with all Church Fathers when they agree between them.
You are free to choose between six calendar days (most Church Fathers) or one single moment of creation (St Augustine and non-Father Origen).
You are NOT free to insert either a gap or a day-age system which would make prehuman history longer than or comparatively as long as human history since Adam.
Specifically St Augustine and Origen, the two most noted exceptions to Six Calendar Day Creationism (which is anyway a safe doctrine, and actually mentioned as being so by St Augustine), both also went out of their way to say that Young Earth Creationism is absolute truth. Both lampooned such Pagan systems (notably Egyptian and Babylonian) which gave dates ranging in the ten thousands or hundred thousands.
The Historic Critical Method may or may not be approved as licit, but it is certainly not approved as THE main key to Biblical Exegesis. An Encyclical by Pius XII, even supposing there were no doubts about his papacy, cannot overturn a canon by Trent.
All what Biblical Exegesis has as a fixed framework from Fathers remains as barriers beyond which no Historical Critic should dare venture, on pain of sinning against and indeed losing the saving faith and sanctifying grace with it.
“This, among other things, means that the Bible should be interpreted as God’s revelation.”
This is not an exact rendering of what Historical Critical Method actually means.
It is also not at variance with what the Catholic Church infallibly teaches. Unless, of course, you mean:
This, among other things, means that the Bible should be interpreted as God’s revelation. = interpreted in order for it to be God’s revelation, not God’s revelation by a straight reading.
Most texts are God’s revelation by a straight and SIMPLE reading.
While that is also, technically speaking, an “interpretation”, it is one which does not specify any acts of interpreting beyond interpreting letters as meaning such and such words and words as meaning such and such propositions, in their usual meaning. In ordinary speech that is not referred to as interpretation.
While it is de fide that not all texts are “self interpreting”, some are, and this is especially clear for the historic texts, most sentences.
“The words written in the Bible have to be meaningful to both an audience from thousands of years ago and a modern audience.”
As far as the literal meaning of your words goes, this is strictly speaking true.
The words written in Genesis 1–11 are both meaningful to YEC in Modern (that is contemporary) audiences and in audiences listening to High Priest Aaron reciting this once every seven years, after his brother Moses had written it down.
They are also meaningful to unbelievers back then, like Canaaneans, and to unbelievers now, like Dawkins.
The one people to whom they are NOT meaningful as back then is the modern reinterpreter, who is changing the meaning both of single words and of narrative structure to shoehorn Genesis 1–11 into what he believes is Modern and Correct Science.
“So, not everything written there is meant to convey a scientific fact, in fact most things are not.”
Most facts are not scientific, but historic. That Caesar crossed Rubicon is a historic fact, not a scientific one.
Scientific facts explain how the world is going on, from Creation to Doomsday.
Historic facts explain how non-eternal facts came into being.
Creation is a historic fact, not a scientific one.
Flood of Noah is a historic fact, not a scientific one.
None of these contradict scientific facts, like “water boils at 100° C in the airpressure of 1 at, but at 90° C very high in the Andees”.
“Truth and facts are not precisely the same thing, and an audience from thousands of years ago would not have understood scientific facts the way that a modern audience would.”
I think they would have understood the difference between science and history better than you do, Sir.
“Therefore Genesis is not necessarily meant to convey that the Earth was created in 7 days as humans understand days.”
Since most of these are before man was created, we have no human witness to six calendar days as opposed to one moment.
Christ, of course, is Human as well as Divine, but the comment in Mark 10:6 does not preclude a one moment creation, as envisaged by St Augustine. It definitely precludes a day-age scenario, as you seem to be thinking of.
“The text is trying to convey a deeper truth without conveying scientific fact, because scientific fact is not its purpose. Once again the purpose is conveying God’s message or revelation.”
God’s revelation to either Adam or Moses or both about what He did before creating Adam is about historic facts.
“So yes, we believe God created the Earth and human beings, but we do not believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, like many fundamentalists.”
In a very literal sense, your words are right again.
7216 years, or perhaps 7525 years is more like it than 6000. On the other hand, Vulgate gets a date so similar to 6000 that Douay Rheims commenting Haydock comment actually uses Ussher’s timeline.
“So God absolutely could have created the world through the mechanism of nature. This does not eliminate the Big Bang or Natural Selection.”
That is supposing Big Bang or Natural Selection were remotely anything like creative acts, or Big Bang remotely anything like a verified one. It contradicts the historic facts of Genesis 1, as to what happened before creation of Adam.
Also, you are actually speaking gibberish.
God could have created the world by the mechanism of the world before it was created? God could have created nature by the mechanism of nature before it was created? God could have created Adam by two parents before there were any human parents?
Please, do learn some logic before next time you speak!
Why don’t they teach logic in these schools? What do they teach them in these schools?
“Therefore Catholic universities teach science to include the Big Bang and Natural Selection. In fact Catholic universities create scientists and physicians as well as philosophers and theologians. Point of fact I have degrees from a Catholic university run by an order of priests known as the Society of Jesus in both science and philosophy.”
To put a very fine point on it, that Catholic University has made its credentials as Catholic University void, and any Bishop or Pope or Cardinal offering it to keep these credentials up has made his credentials as a Catholic and as one holding office in the Catholic Church void.
You cannot be head of anything you are not member of. My head (fortunately) cannot be head of your body. A non-Catholic cannot be bishop of the canonic see of Seattle, because he cannot be member of a canonic see of Seattle. A non-Catholic cannot be bishop of the canonic see of Rome, because he cannot even be a member of the canonic see of Rome.
So you, your university teachers, the bishop which upholds their credentials as Catholic University, the “Popes” who has or have upheld his credentials as a bishop, that is so many non-Catholics.
Natural selection can eliminate variants, not create them.
- my answer expanded in new comment
- To your last point, of two paragraphs.
That the Gospels were written so we could believe is perfectly true.
This does NOT mean they are not biographies of Christ in the then traditional sense, unless you mean they are very expanded compared to biographies such as given in Plutarch.
Nowhere in the Gospels is it stated in so many words they are not biographies.
Nowhere in any dictionary or lexicon is biography defined as meaning to record every event in someone’s life.
No biography of a man who picks his nose (which is the case with me, unfortunately) will include every instance he picked his nose, except perhaps the biographies which will be known on Doomsday, if even that. Not every act of nosepicking is either relevant for my merits or demerits or for those of any human person watching me.
But even more relevant things, which will with much greater probability be known on Doomsday, like, did or did not JRRT read any manual of Bantu phonology and diachronic language history before inventing Quenya, which will probably be known when God judges on a quarrel between me and some others, is recorded in a normal biography. If the clear yes or no to this question had been recorded in Humphrey Carpenter’s biography, there would have been no quarrel. (Note : both sides agreed Tolkien had acquired no functional fluency in any Bantu language, that was not the issue for me, even if it might have been a red herring or strawman on the other side).
This means, the words in John 20:31 are most certainly NOT denying the Gospels the status of biography or history.
And while Genesis 1–11 were also written so that we may believe, this does most certainly NOT deny these chapters the status of history and in some sense very brief biographies too.
That also goes for Genesis 1.
“Likewise, there are many things that happened in the creation of the universe that are not recorded in Genesis.”
God created Aldebaran on day IV (or in the one moment), God created Sirius on day IV, God created Pluto on day IV … not separately recorded.
God confided Aldebaran, Sirius, Pluto to angels … not clearly recorded at all.
But nevertheless, we think it happened on day IV that he did so.
It seems implied by some other text passages. Mere lumps of burning gas or rock outside earth are not very apt to from their orbits fight Sisera and his men. One mere lump of burning gas is not very apt to be compared to a hero.
Hence, yes, angelic movers for celestial objects can be inferred even if not recorded in Genesis 1.
One hint as to why not so recorded could be found on why (supposing planets came in celestial spheres of crystal) the spheres of crystal were not recorded. The spheres of crystal are not visible from Earth, supposing they exist. Angels are also, even if on earth, not visible to human eyes. Hence the confiding of each celestial body to an angel - but not thereby exhausting the number of angels, see the 77th condemned proposition in the syllabus of Tempier - is not recorded in Genesis 1, since not visible.
Here is my own transscript of the relevant condemnations, note that it is also 12 proposition in chapter VII of a later reorganised version of the syllabus of Tempier:
[stephani tempier condempnationes] Capitulum VII
Errores de intelligentia uel angelo