Why is God active in the world but we reject Intelligent Design?

Great answer! Thanks.

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Well, of course. To claim that God guided the evolution of life on earth in any way would upset all those atheists who rule the scientific community. Perish the thought!

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Ha! :grin: Can you advise, Steve @glipsnort, rebuke and/or educate?

Richard, I thought you might be interested in what the Catholic Church teaches on the matter of evolution. Here are some of the salient points, as I understand them:

The Church does not allow the faithful to believe - on theological grounds - that

(a) the history of life on earth is the result of any unguided biological process. Therefore the Church rejects the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution;

(b) that all life on earth evolved from a common ancestor (ie, so-called macroevolution);

(c) that human beings evolved from a creature not of the primate “kind” (the “kind” termininolgy is mine and not necessarily that of the Church). So the Church allows the faithful to believe that humans evolved from a lower primate.

I presume the reason for (b) and (c) is to not contradict what Genesis 1 says about the creation of “kind/kinds”.

The Church also allows the faithful to reject belief in any form of evolution and to believe in a literalist interpretation of Genesis, including belief in a young earth.

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I am not a Catholic but I would say that I have aligned myself to most of it.

I am not 100% with evolving from a lower primate. 2% of several million is still a large number.

And I would not encourage a literal view of Genesis 1.

The main thing I promote is a guided version as opposed to the scientific random generation.

I also think that the definition of what evolution can achieve with just one deviation needs to be clarified.

It does seem to me that the “secret” lies in the DNA coding. In theory all you need for any creature is the correct DNA sequencing and that could be achieved in one complete re-sequence instead of all this laborious changing one molecule at a time. Heredity then becomes irrelevant as the change is so vast.


Just reading some of the posts at Catholic.com, I don’t think your list is entirely accurate, though has some valid points. My reading is that Catholics have no problem with bodily evolution, but believe the soul was uniquely created. They evidently do believe in a literal Adam and Eve. In reading, their positions on a lot of non-essential things to the faith are fairly fluid. Adam, Eve, and Evolution | Catholic Answers Tract


I was looking at the same site…

Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.

Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that “the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God” (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.

Though this makes it look to me like the Catholic church has backtracked somewhat on the issue. Previous things I have read had the church in full support on evolution. Though it certainly remains the case that the majority (58% of U.S. Catholics) do accept evolution as the best theory of the origin of human life.

I, of course, do have a position in complete support of scientific theory. But I don’t see how this excludes the involvement of God whom I see in the role of the Biblical shepherd rather than the Desist watchmaker designer. So I am not in conflict with the Catholic position there.

As for the second part, I don’t believe in any “soul” let alone one created by God. I do believe in the “special creation” of the human mind not by magical powers but by divine inspiration (ideas) in what God has spoken to us. And the spirit rather than being a creation of God is our own creation by the choices we make, and this is why our ultimate destiny is a product of our own choices (which includes a choice to accept the help of God or not).

It’s not clear what you mean here. To claim that God guided evolution while writing a scientific report would upset everyone in the scientific community, including both atheists and Christians, because that’s not a scientific conclusion or hypothesis. To say such a thing while not actually reporting science would, with a few exceptions, upset no one, again including both atheists and Christians.


I’m hoping that ID Science will one day be able to do this. :slight_smile:

Do you mean you hope that ‘ID Science’ (an oxymoron) will be able to claim that God guided evolution or will be able to write a scientific report?

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Is there a smiley for tongue in cheek?

If Intelligent Design Theory can scientifically tell us that intelligent design was required at some points in the history of life, why can it not tell us, scientifically, whether or not evolution is intelligently guided? Why is their methodology applicable in one case but not the other? (This probably deserves an OP.)

Why is their methodology incapable of demonstrating the truth of theistic (oops, I mean intelligent design) evolution?

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That too is really an oxymoron, maybe especially if you preface it with “the science of…”, ‘the science of theistic evolution’. Maybe that is part of why BioLogos prefers ‘evolutionary creationism’, to clarify that it is a matter of faith and not science, although there are some here who might believe that there is such an animal as scientific theistic evolution. The conflation of science with theology, the methodological with the metaphysical, is something we definitely see.

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Remarkably, I was considering creating an OP on this very issue. Evolution is a scientific theory. Evolutionary Creationism is an oxymoron. The EC crowd seem to be Creationists in scientific clothing.

I don’t think necessarily so if it is understood correctly as those adopting the term intend. The science of evolution ‘as taught’ is affirmed and there is no conflation with theology. Those more familiar with its intended implications might help us out here. @moderators, is there an article here that deals with this specifically?

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If ID theory is ever able to say, well, anything about intelligent design, then yes, it might be applicable to studying the evolution of life. At this point, however, it doesn’t even have a working definition of either ‘intelligent’ or ‘design’, much less any coherent idea of how to formulate a test for intelligent design, should they ever be able to specify what that might be. To date, most ID proposals seem to constitute tests for Improbable Construction rather than Intelligent Design (and the probabilities are generally calculated badly).

Why is their methodology applicable in any case?


Indeed there is:


Evolution is a scientific model that explains some things we see in the world. It assumes natural processes because that is how science works. Science doesn’t have the toolkit to investigate God’s activity. But science also doesn’t answer every question.

The Intelligent Design endeavor pretends to play by the rules of science but pretends science can investigate God, who is outside the natural world that science is equipped to empirically test. That’s why people call foul. Either you are doing metaphysics or you are doing science. These endeavors draw on different ways of knowing.

So for Christians, the issue isnt’ “science proves God wasn’t involved.” It can’t. The issue is science can’t prove God was involved. Science can’t investigate God’s activity in the world.


In the BioLogos community we affirm the biblical miracles (most centrally the Resurrection), believe God answers prayer, and recognize that God works providentially through natural processes to accomplish his purposes. Natural processes and supernatural miracles both result in God’s handiwork.

On the science side, all ECs accept that common ancestry is true, but they might disagree about which biological mechanisms drive evolutionary change over time. Regarding the origin of first life, some ECs envision a supernatural miracle, while others see a variety of natural explanations, each under the providential guidance of God.



It’s assumed for the sake of the argument.

This is patently false. And coming from a moderator!