God and Evolution


#1

God and Evolution.

This essay is not to dispel the notion that God does not exist, but rather to compel the idea that God and science together are responsible for the creation of this world as we understand it today.
If God is understood to be the creator of the heavens and earth, and all living things that inhabit that earth, it is also possible to accept evolution as the continuation of those living organisms. To accept God means to accept a time when God created the heavens and the earth. To make God real there has to be a creation, and to have a creation there has to be a specific time for the beginning of that spectacular creation. When St. Augustine was asked “What did God do before he created the earth?” St. Augustine replied, that time was a property of the universe that God created, and time did not exist before the universe was created. With the logic of St. Augustine, the Catholic Church was the first religion to accept the Big Bang Theory as the time God created the heavens and the earth.
The bible tells us God created the heavens and earth in seven days, and on the sixth day God created man in his image. Science tells us this time frame was billions of years in the making. At the moment of the big bang the universe rapidly expanded, and at some point, in time that expansion began to slow down, but has not stopped expanding, and began to cool. At the moment in time when God set the big bang into motion God also defined the laws of science, a set of laws God has not since interfered with. God set the creation of the earth is a specific manner, according to certain laws. As the universe and the planets were formed God’s creation of a particular set of laws of science placed a planet, the earth, in orbit around a single star, the sun, at a distance that would eventually produce water, and sustain life of many origins. This first single-celled organism lacking a cell nucleus or cell membrane created from stardust appeared on this planet, we know as earth, billions of years ago. As this organism began to evolve into multi-celled organisms the process of evolution and the beginning of life was set into motion.
It was at the beginning of the Big Bang, when the universe was created that evolution was also created through a specific set of laws of science created by God. It was also at that very moment in time God became unnecessary, otherwise it is possible we would not be here.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #2

What do you mean by the Catholic Church. At the time of Augustine there was only one Church, but after his death the Eastern and Western Churches split in part because of his trinitarian theology. Still there was no Roman Catholic Church because there was no Protestant Christianity.

If God were only about science, I might agree with you, but God is also about the Kingdom of God.


(Christy Hemphill) #3

I agree with Roger. I thing the mission of God in creation is much bigger than human existence and even bigger than human redemption. It is ultimately about God’s glory and humanity certainly does not play the only part in that story.


#4

Still there was no Roman Catholic Church because there was no Protestant Christianity.

That is actually not correct. Catholicism wasn’t defined by the Reformation, the ‘Catholic Church’ goes as early as the 2nd century if I’m not mistaken. For example, in the 4th century Nicene Creed we read:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten (γεννηθέντα), not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.


#5

In 1951 the Catholic Church accepted the Big Bang Theory.


#6

As io9 pointed out when Francis was first anointed, the new Pope’s quasi-heretical claim isn’t anywhere near the first of its kind. The church first brought evolution into the fold in 1950 with the work of Pope Pius XII, writes io9. “At the same time, Catholics take no issue with the Big Bang theory, along with cosmological, geological, and biological axioms touted by science.”
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/pope-would-you-accept-evolution-and-big-bang-180953166/#mlDA3R8FvRAlEw5E.99


#7

There was a church in Rome, but it’s important not to confuse ‘Catholic’ with ‘Roman Catholic’ even though people use Catholic as shorthand for Roman Catholic. The word “Catholic” simply means “universal.” So when we recite the Nicene creed, we are confessing one holy, universal, and apostolic church. The Eastern churches have the Nicene creed but without the Filioque phrase.

So the Western Churches say,

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceedeth from the Father and the Son.

but the Eastern Churches say,

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceedeth from the Father

Here is the final form of the Nicene creed in the West:

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
_God from God, Light from Light, _
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
_he suffered death and was buried, _
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
_He ascended into heaven _
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.


#8

That makes sense. But the Catholic Church of the 4th century has a direct continuity with the current Catholic Church, no? I’m not a Catholic, by the way. It just appears as though the modern institutiton goes back early.


(George Brooks) #9

@Korvexius

At some point, the Vatican became emphatic about the “Roman” in front of the Catholic. It may have been as early as coming into conflict with the Celtic Church (aka the Culdees) of the British Isles… who used an older (some say less consistent) method of dating Easter.

The Celtic Church spread their version of the Gospel deep into Europe, from Germany into France and Italy.
But by 1200 CE or so, virtually all the Celtic bishops and priests that had been living on an income from their office were “pensioned off”, with the Roman church becoming supreme everywhere, except in the Holy Land and where the Orthodox communities continued to function.


#10

Looks like I have something to look into. Do you know any scholarly books for further reading here?


(George Brooks) #11

@Korvexius

Any book with footnotes will be worth reading on the Celtic Church.
In many ways they led the way in preserving the culture of Western Civilization!

They frequently married.
And they were frequently sitting ducks in the isles off of Britain, because they were used
to being the only ones with boats. And suddenly the Viking “marines” land!

If you google “culdee”, you’ll find lots of time spent on what the word “Culdee” meant… classic
church red herring. If you ask me, Culdee simply was a heavily accented form of “Keldi”…
or, “Celtics”!!!


(Jennifer Thomas) #12

One of the first books I read about church history – and one I still like and recommend – is The Catholic Church: A Short History by Hans Kung. He briefly covers some of the early history of the church, which was anything but simple and linear. There were many early heresies and many early councils and debates as church leaders tried to sort out their doctrines (orthodoxy). Few of the early Church Fathers who influenced orthodox doctrinal developments were, in fact, from Rome. Ignatius was from Antioch. Clement, Origen, and Athanasius were from Alexandria. Tertullian and Cyprian were from Carthage. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus, from Asia Minor, are known as the Great Cappodocians. And Augustine of Hippo was born and raised in Latin-speaking North Africa.

Although it’s true that the early church had important bishops in Rome, the situation became more complex when Constantine founded his new capital in the East. Constantinople, eventual capital of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire, was Greek-speaking and was also the centre of Christianity in the East. Tensions arose early between the church in Rome and the church in Constantinople, until finally there was a permanent schism between the two that took place in 1054. After the schism, the church of the West, based in Rome, went its own way until challenged during the Protestant Reformation. (Though George is right about the role of the Celtic church in the West. Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization is a fascinating read.)

A quote from Hans Kung’s book: “After the death of the emperor Theodosius, in 395, the Roman Empire was divided into an Eastern empire and a Western empire. For all the historical and symbolic significance of the old imperial capital, Rome, the focal point of the Catholic Church clearly lay in the East, which had a greater population and was stronger economically, culturally, and in military terms. Almost all the apostolic churches, those founded by the apostles, were here. All the ecumenical councils took place here, and the patriarchates, centers of learning, and monasteries developed here. Around the middle of the fourth century Latin Christianity still appeared largely to be no more than an appendix to Eastern Roman, Byzantine Christianity, which was the spiritual leader. And a good thousand years after the transfer of the imperial capital to the Bosphorus, the empire of the East would continue to hand down the ecumenical paradigm of the early church.”

So it’s all wonderfully complex.


#13

Certainly. There was an ancient church in Rome. But the church was born in the East, and the churches in Alexandria and Antioch were more influential. And remember that the gospels were written in Greek, not Latin.


#14

Perhaps, a more accurate way to say that is “a literal interpretation of the Bible tells us…”

So as not to unintentionally say, if you don’t believe in a 7 day creation, you don’t believe in the Bible.

Where did you get that from? Surely creating thousands of fish from 2 fish (creating matter) is just one example of how God “interfered” with “laws of science”.

I’m with @Relates and @Christy on that one.


#15

As someone familiar with modern science, it’s almost a foregone conclusion man evolved from earlier animals unlike humans of today.

The soul of modern humans is more endowed than other animals.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #16

Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk before he became a reformer. Augustine was the great founder of Western theology whose thoughts are not the property of any one church. He is a great Protestant theologian too.


(Daniel) #17

Blockquote

Hello, I am interested in your post here.
I agree with part of what you say, but I don’t think your statement quoted above is correct. I would argue that Science does not and cannot tell us anything about the origin or creation of the universe. Evolution on the other hand is a theory that can be used to explain origins.
In my mind Science and evolution are distinct.


(Christy Hemphill) #18

Evolution explains the diversification of life, once life exists. It has nothing to say about the beginning of the universe, or the beginning of life.


(Daniel) #19

Most scientists agree that evolution can explain the beginning of life.


(Christy Hemphill) #20

Umm… No they don’t. Where did you hear that?