I’ve always heard evolutionary science used synonymously with evolutionary biology. There has never been any confusion because everyone that says I just study biology, normally means studying living species and their lifestyles. It does not matter really in general conversation about how professional something is. Language is meant to convey meaning and I think almost everyone would instantly understand what it means if someone says they enjoy evolutionary science or evolutionary biology. I can’t see very many hearing either term and being at a complete loss on what’s being spoken. Layperson slang and expert jargon often intermingle.
It’s like with common names. You won’t find many colleges that say “common plant name class” or find journals that say “ study of “some common name plant” and often textbooks don’t contain very many common names either. But almost every botanist I know uses common names just as much as their binomial nomenclature.
Please either direct me to where I have said otherwise, or read more closely.
Evolution is just biology over time; from ecology to physiology, the biology we currently find is just a snapshot of evolution. Biology is a discipline of science. “Evolutionary science” merely places the study of evolution in the broader context, and may be loosely synonymous with “evolutionary biology”, or more deliberately and purposely contextual in emphasizing the consilience of evolution between biology, geology, chemistry, and physics. It is silliness to challenge that this is not legitimate, implying that “evolutionary science” is somehow a category error or an oxymoron. Where there is such strained objection to a common usage, that is where in fact I expect to find an underlying agenda.
I have come accross an interesting paper which makes this point:
One further step remained, and this was taken by the Jesuit theologian, Franciscon Suarez (1548-1617). Starting from Molina’s idea of natural beatitude for a natural order, Suarez asked: … “Why should not the state of pure nature be prolonged in this way into a natural order, fitted to find its fulfilment in a natural end?”16 Suarez, then, proposed a theory of “pure nature” – a human nature that was completely devoid of any natural orientation to the grace of God, thus taking Cajetan’s speculations into the mainstream of theology. His account of “extrinsic grace” was developed into a systematic account in two books De ultimo fine hominis (1592) and De Gratia (published posthumously in 1619). The final shape given by Suarez to the Duplex Ordo thesis was to remain more or less constant for centuries.
Perhaps the most constant contemporary critic of the possibility of two separated orders of nature and grace has been David Schindler….
Whenever the relationship between nature and grace is severed…, then the whole of
worldly being falls under the domination of ‘knowledge,’ and the springs and forces of
love immanent in the world are overpowered and finally suffocated by science, technology and cybernetics. The result is … a world in which power and the profit margin are the sole criteria, where the disinterested, the useless, the purposeless is despised, persecuted and in the end exterminated – a world in which art itself is forced to wear the mask and features of technique.
Schindler believes that when nature and grace are held to be separate realities, the message of the Church is itself divided and gives needless credence to the ideology of Secularism….
from: Nature and Grace and the Appearance of Insincerity. Silencing the Catholic
Voice by Gerard A. O’Shea
Solidarity: The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics, Volume 2 Issue 1 Volume 2, Issue 1
I get the impression that nowadays Catholics are closer to Orthodox belief in seeing Nature imbued with Grace, and this author appears to disagree with your outlook.
Antoine, you consider all humans instead of Adam and Eve, and Nature being essentially the product of evolution - please correct my impression if it is mistaken. I cannot see where the fall fits with your outlook nor the sin of Adam within a place where he communed with God.
Making assumptions based on what if appears vacuous.
I clarify with pleasure, as “I have the impression” that “your impression [of my outlook] is mistaken”.
My view can be summarized in the following points:
God is love, and his love is so great that he decided to create non-divine personal beings, so that they may share in his divine love and have eternal life and bliss. Thus, God created the different orders of angels and humankind: the angels as pure spiritual persons, and humans as corporal persons or incarnate spirits.
In order humans can entirely become divinized, it is necessary that the whole human person, the human flesh included, becomes God. But this is only possible if beforehand God becomes flesh.
Accordingly, the aim of the whole corporal creation (the visible physical reality and the realm of life) is to bring about humankind and the flesh God prepares for His Son.
To create humankind and prepare a body for His Son, God considered evolution a highly convenient resource.
Indeed, God let things evolve till the difference between Sapiens and other species was sharp enough for each human being to can unequivocally distinguish which creature is human and which is not, as we presently can do. Such difference became as sharp as it is today by the end of the Pleistocene, about 12,000 BP, as we are taught by this article. (Notice that this article can properly be said to be a piece of “evolutionary science” as it is more than “mere evolutionary biology”).
The key tenet of my explanation is this:
At some moment after 12,000 BP, God transformed Sapiens into “humankind in the image of God”.
This is the transformation referred to in Genesis 9:3-6 and has three important implications:
a) Before this momentSapiens creatures were not “in the image of God”, notwithstanding their evolved intellectual skills. They may even have shared some form of primitive animistic religiosity, but were not ordered and called by God to eternal life.
b) Since this moment each Sapiens creature is a human being called to have eternal life, endowed with moral responsibility and accountable toward God.
c) The universal prohibition of homicide in Genesis 9:3-6 is accompanied by the permission to humans of using animals for food. This requires that humans can unequivocally distinguish between humans and animals: Evolution is the resource God used to bring this distinction about, namely by eliminating all the intermediate varieties between us and our nearest relatives (Chimps and Bonobos).
I would like to stress that the preceding explanation fits well to both:
Robin Dunbar’s “evolutionary explanation of religion”, according to which before the Neolithic the Sapiens creatures shared animistic beliefs, so called “immersive forms of religiosity”. Such “animistic beliefs” can be considered “evolved animal religiosity”, the same way as one can speak of “evolved animal morality”, but were not yet the Doctrinal Biblical Religion, we consider to involve God’s Revelation.
The teaching of Pope Pius XII in Humani generis, as quoted in the article you GJDS referred to, supporting that God can create “intellectual beings without ordering and calling them to the beatific vision.”
Clear and unambiguous signs of sense of moral and legal responsibility, as well as accountability relationship, appear with the emergence of writing at about 5,300 BP. And accordingly we can conclude that the Creation of humankind in the image of God as referred to in Genesis did happen later than 12,000 BP and not later than 5,300 BP, that is, it is concomitant with the dawn and subsequent explosion of civilizations.
A further important aspect of my explanation is that Genesis 9:3-6 can be considered a universal revelation God engraves in the heart of each human person coming into existence since this moment, i.e.: the moment of the re-creation of the world after the flood as it is today. On the one hand, this moment marks the moment at which Sapiens can be well defined. This means that the anatomical features or behavioral pattern defining Sapiens acquire meaning and distinctness only with relationship to the anatomical features and behavioral patterns of other species that are clearly different from that of Sapiens. You cannot define Sapiens looking at Sapiens alone, you need to have a sharp difference between Sapiens and the other animal species as we have today. As said, this difference becomes established at about 12,000 BP. On the other hand, the evolved primitive forms of “animistic religiosity” of hunter-gatherers can be considered sort of proto-religious stage in preparation of this universal revelation, and taken alone such proto-religions cannot be considered sign of the presence of human beings in the image of God, according to the divine Revelation in Genesis 9:3-6.
I think Christy has magnificently formulated the same idea of the preceding point 9 in the follwoing quotation:
In Summary, I do NOT consider “all humans instead of Adam and Eve, and Nature being essentially the product of evolution”. I rather consider that humankind is the product of God’s love, and Nature and evolution are the means by which God creates human flesh and so prepares a body for his Son.
In particular, my explanation highlights that evolutionary science (evolutionary biology, evolutionary anthropology, and evolutionary explanation of religion), Scripture, and the teaching of the Popes illuminate each other.
Adam was the first human being made in the image of God, and therefore ordered to unfold his love to God, and called to have eternal life and become like God by doing God’s will. To create Adam, God transformed a Sapiens creature into a human person endowed him with sense of responsibility and awareness of being accountable toward God.
God endowed Adam also with special gifts to kept him “from all corruption and evil”. In this state, Adam could master the Darwinian tendencies present in the Sapiens creature he was made from, so that “the flesh lusts against the spirit by the rebellion of the passions against reason could not occur.” So, Adam was within a place (paradise) where he communed with God, in the so called “primitive state of innocence or righteousness”.
However, after sin, Adam fall into a state “worse” than the pure animal state of Sapiens previous to paradise: The Darwinian tendencies merged with intelligence, and concupiscence took overhand, that is, “the urge to act selfishly no matter the cost to others”. This explains also why the universal revelation of Genesis 9:3-6 became little by little blurred, and horrible practices like human sacrifices and religious wars arose.
Genesis 9:3-6, and actually the whole Scripture (AT and NT), is the written formulation God inspired to make clear for all times and all people the content of the universal Revelation God engraves in the heart of each human person coming into existence.
If one keeps to the principle that humans have a special dignity, not shared by animals (or robots), it is crucial to restore again the universal revelation proclaimed in Genesis 9:3-6 as the foundation of morality, law, and religion, and enhance the belief that God made humankind in the image of God, by preparing a body for his Son (the Word) to become flesh.
Is it now clearer to you that the fall and Adam’s sin fit well with my outlook?
If not, which point of my explanation would you oppose?
I just realized it was the research gate paper. I saved the link and will read it. After I go through it once I’ll go back through a second time to take notes and respond. Even if this particular thread is shut down, I’ll respond through PM or just create another thread which I imagine will be merged with this one.
Antoine, I am finding it difficult to provide a coherent reply to your post for the following reasons:
You have not provided a view on the divine energies sustaining the creation and the transcendence of God.
Your wording still amounts to a separation of nature and grace and may be misread as God is bound by the theories of science (natural and supernatural as distinct).
The Dunbar presentation uses statistics in an arbitrary manner (no correlation coefficients, no equation to identify important parameters etc). His outlook (if taken seriously) would amount to backward correlations from current observation. Also there is an odd (to say the least) reasoning regarding grooming and animistic beliefs.
The paper you referred to points to various fields of study and the many questions that need to be considered. Surely this points out the inadequacy of the current paradigm, especially when it is extended to sociological and anthropologic studies.
To avoid misunderstandings, you should well define the terms “nature” and “grace”.
In my view, God creates:
Animals, which are not in the image of God, and thus do not share in the life of grace and are not ordered to eternal life.
And “human beings in the image of God”, who are called to become like God through the life of grace, already while dwelling on earth, till finally reaching the “beatific vision” in heaven.
I would like to propose calling natural all what allows us to unfold our earthly life (like food, air, water, medical drugs, etc.) and supernatural all what allows us to reach “eternal life” in heaven (like baptism and the other sacraments).
In any case both, nature and grace, come from God, and in this sense they are united in God, and even in human life cannot be completely separated from each other.
However, you object to me that I am considering:
Are you then rather claiming that also animals share in the supernatural life of grace, and thus deserve to be baptized, receive Eucharist, get married, ordained bishops?
We agree on a number of matters - however I view the creation as a gift from God and the beauty, intelligence and awe inspiring majesty as well as the scientific insights are aspects of God’s grace and creative power; the creation points and testifies its creator. Since we believe all was brought forth by the Word from nothing, it must be sustained by the energies and dynamics from the Almighty.
The creation is shown in scripture to have unfolded in time, described in Genesis as days of creation, with mankind created from the material in the image of God. It is this that is distinct and separates mankind from animals, and requires an act from God, both in the beginning and ultimately salvation in Christ. It is the latter that we may speak of salvation by the grace of God, and requires repentance etc.
is metaphysical and spiritual the same to you? logic and math is metaphysical but does it allow us to reach eternal life?
Ask yourself, did God create life or did he pass it on to us? If he created life he can not be alive by definition.
If an animal does not define it’s life in it’s physical self, how can it lose its eternal life?
You have not responded to the doctrine regarding the energies of God so I assume we differ.
You have made evolution as the backdrop or central theme whereas I have stated that it is inadequate to deal with God’s creative acts.
Adam and Eve are distinct entities and were placed in the Garden to commune with God - this means that as innocents (without sin) they are created by God (Paul speaks of the first Adam and the second Adam, Christ). If I indulge in your what if, I would say that if Adam had not disobeyed, but grew in grace and knowledge from God, he would have enabled humanity to enter the garden. Your view differs.
Skins were provided to Adam and Eve outside of the garden - I assume these were animal skins and this figuratively indicates their new nature.
There are additional points where we may dissagree but these will do for now.