Questions for Evolutionary Creationists


(Razumov) #1

1-Is there a significant difference between the EC perspective and the position of the Catholic church on science and evolution?

2-Are there any aspects of the hard sciences or modern evolutionary theory that EC explicitly rejects?

3-How does EC reconcile the traditional Christian view of man’s nature with evolutionary science?

4-Does EC locate the fall within human evolutionary history?

5-How does EC understand evil?


(Dominik Kowalski) #2
  1. As a catholic: No. The church has no problem with the evolutionary concept per se. It is very similar if not the same to what ECs believe. As you can see here in this forum, there are still points where people disagree about the interpretation of some aspects of it, but we have at least some denominators that everyone here accepts.

  2. Neo-Darwinism, although I also don´t see too much support of this model be it scientifically or philosophically. But the concept that evolution bringing up human beings was completely random is certainly rejected by every EC.

  3. I would always refer to this lecture by NT Wright:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h0yEpqDEI8

  4. There are differences even among ECs and between christian denominations. The eastern orthodox church for example speaks of the “original blessing” rather than original sin. I personally would locate it at the time in history when the first human gained rationality and thus was able to distinguish between good and evil acts.

  5. There is disagreement and I´m not certain if I´m the right person to represent some of the views here. I don´t think that there is a problem of theodicy and I don´t call “God” as the first person of the Trinity good in the moral sense (Of course I don´t deny the goodness in God, he is the perfect good, but goodness in the moral sense is represented through revelation and ultimately Jesus). The reason is that God is not a person and thus mustn´t be set with the same standards that we would apply to other humans, since that would make us 1) checking god if he fits our standards and 2) make up a picture of God on our own. This is the reason why the evangelicals today look at God in another way than e.g. Augustine and Aquinas did. My personal view on the theodicy is, that evil is a privation and therefor the absence of a good. There isn´t some kind of symmetry, like saying that something is equally as bad as some other thing is good. The former just has less good within it, To make it a bit clearer, saying that God can be said to have done evil by creating it, would be similar to suggesting that Plato´s forms are evil.
    However where we all come together is in saying that the ultimate goodwill of God to us is shown in the resurrection. And my definition of evil might prove unsatisfying for you, so I would wait for other answers.


(Christy Hemphill) #3

@Razumov
I’ll come back when I have time, but EC is a spectrum, and people who accept that mainstream science presents an accurate picture of deep time and common descent come down in different places on many of the questions you pose.


(Dominik Kowalski) #4

That wasn´t directed at me, I suppose?


(Quinn) #5

I don’t really know much about the Roman Catholic view on science and evolution to give a positive answer so I will remain mute on it until I can better understand their point of view.

I would say the atheist social Darwinist perspective that all humans are nothing but animals and have no value to life which is contrary to the Bible as that humans are different and unique from animals and are made in the Image of God (Gen. 1:26) and that human life has value (Gen. 9:6).

I don’t think it reconciles or opposes the traditional Christian view of man. Man is a flawed creature that is sin stained and needs the hope of Christ to saved a wicked and dead being that is the human race.

As a person that takes to the idea that there were a historical Adam and Eve among other early humans, I feel it took place right around as early humans started to migrate out of Africa and took place somewhere in the Ancient Near East.

Many people have their way of understanding evil and debate if it’s normal or a foreign spiritual invasion. I take to the view that death was neutral but took on its evil form as it became a means of human separation from God. The other types of “evil” that exist only exist due to the presence of sin within humanity and as long as humanity is sinful and selfish there will always be evil.


(Christy Hemphill) #6

As I understand it, the Catholic perspective would fit into “the tent,” though not everyone there would agree with some of the theological particulars of the Humani Generis Encyclical.

I would say, just some of the philosophical slants that sometimes get imposed on science or associated with the worldviews of many scientists. EC would reject materialism and scientism. I think most (all?) ECs would reject the idea that apparently random processes in nature operate independently of God’s sovereignty/will/plan/desire/providence (people have different preferred terms for what it is that God exercises to rule over his creation).

I personally have a problem with some claims of evolutionary psychology that try to reduce human behavior to selective pressures and genes. I think there is a spiritual dimension to our humanity that makes us more than the sum of our evolved parts.

Speaking for myself, I don’t think it needs to be reconciled because science and Christianity are not speaking of the same things and they don’t contradict each other. Science speaks to human biology. Christianity speaks to humanity’s spiritual condition, purpose, and destiny.

Different people have different views on the historicity of Genesis 1-3. Even some who see the narratives as archetypal or true myth may affirm that the stories describe a historic reality. Personally, I am less concerned about whether or not there was one couple named Adam and Eve who fell at a specific point in time as I am with what I think is the main point; that humans are born into a sinful identity which they inevitably actualize by their own free will, and therefore everyone needs reconciliation with God.

Maybe there was one original set of humans in history that ushered sin into the world. Maybe the story has been recapitulated by every human group that God has revealed himself to and it just so happens that the Hebrew version constitutes our revelation. I believe God has been at work reaching out to those who seek him in many cultures throughout human history. Maybe “the Fall” is representative of multiple human stories of relating to God since the dawn of God’s revelation to humanity.

Some people throw ideas around, but most admit such an exercise is purely speculative and generally requires diverging from the biblical narrative.

I think people generally make a distinction between what is often called “natural evil” (birth defects, cancer, earthquakes, predation, etc.) which is often seen as part of the necessary freedom of God’s good created order, and sin. Sin is human rebellion against God’s rule.


(Mitchell W McKain) #7

Evolutionary Creationism is JUST a belief in the compatibility between the scientific theory of evolution and the belief that God created the universe. It is not a religion. It is not an ideology. Like atheism it is an answer to a singular question and does not necessarily have implications for answers to other questions.

  1. The Catholic church believes a lot of things but the official position is that those two things are compatible so they are evolutionary creationists.
  2. There is nothing about a belief in the compatibility between those two things that is opposed to any of the findings of science. Creation by God is not a falsifiable hypothesis and so the methods of science are inapplicable.
  3. You assume that traditional Christianity has such a specific view of man’s nature. I think you are buying into the unfounded claim by one sector of Christianity that they represent “traditional Christianity,” when there is probably nothing traditional about it. The only thing that defines the whole of Christianity is the creed of Nicea 325 AD, and there is nothing about the nature of man in that creed. The most Biblical view is that man is created in the image of God, created for a parent-child relationship with God. Evolutionary science is much more compatible with this than the childishly literal treatment of the Bible which sees Adam and Eve as nothing but golems of dust and bone created by the magic of an ancient necromancer. Instead of magic, evolutionary theory sees life as a self-organizing process, and thus something which rather than being designed by a deity is a product of growth and learning… just like a child.
  4. The compatibility affirmed by EC does not address that question. There are a variety of views on the subject. I personally believe in an historical Adam and Eve who are not genetic ancestors of all mankind and what we have from them is a memetic inheritiance instead. Their fall is an event involving only two individual people which clearly is not something that evolutionary science can make any comment upon.
  5. EC does not address the question of evil either. I personally understand evil to be the pursuit of desires at the expense of the well being of others. Avoiding this requires us to learn some regard for the well being of others before we acquire more power in the world. That is certainly the Christian emphasis. Other religions deal with this differently such as avoiding or minimizing human desires.

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