Religion and Evolution
There are two fundamental views of reality. One view centers upon God, the other centers upon matter. The God-centered view is based upon the Bible accounts which tell the reader there is but one God who is creator. The Bible accounts draw certain basic conclusions from the fact there is one creator God and not multiple gods. These are:
created the world, not a demiurge; the world did not emanate from God by a
natural process; it is not identical with Him in nature.
● By His spirit and His word God called the world into existence; He alone is almighty and omniscient.
● God existed prior to the world, and its beginning.
● Stars, plants and animals may not be offered veneration as divine since they too were created.
● The visible things about us are part of God's great plan of salvation; they are "good".
● Man is the crown of creation because he bears the divine likeness within him.
God first made
one man and one woman and destined them for monogamous marriage.
- Woman is sexually different from man
- Woman is equal in status with man
- Man and woman should be joined to one another in love
- Marriage is by nature monogamous and can never be dissolved
- Man is the head of the family
● The earth was made and equipped for man's benefit, he owes God gratitude and acts as its steward.
● Man is duty bound to sanctify the Sabbath by abstaining from work.
● Satan is opposed to man.
An understanding of the purpose of the Bible is made clear from these definitions:
● The Bible is the Catholic Church's official list of sacred writings in the Old and New Testaments collected into 73 books which reveal God's plan to draw all people to Himself in heaven. While they were written by men in their own styles, the religious messages they contain were inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore free from religious error.
- The Old Testament consists of the first 46 books of the Bible which record events occurring before the birth of Christ. These divinely inspired writings record how God gathered the Jewish people through whom his promises were completed. When seen in the light of Christ's redemption message in the New Testament, the meaning of the Old Testament is fully revealed.
- The New Testament consists of the last 27 books of the Bible which record how God's promises were completed through the life, death and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. These divinely inspired books set down the word of God as was revealed to the prophets and apostles by the Holy Spirit. They preach the Gospel, increase faith in Jesus Christ and gather the Church together. In the New Testament, the message contained in the Old Testament is made clear.
The message of the Bible is not one of scientific matters. It never crosses over into the field of science to make statements on scientific aspects relating to the origin of living beings, even of men. But one thing is clear, man is man because of his mind, not his body. It was spirit which transformed the living organism into a rational being. To date, no significant links have been found which bridge the gap between man and animals to give clear evidence that the human body is the last phase in a long evolutionary process. The human race is clearly begun with Adam, the first formed father of the world, and Eve, the mother of all the living. Science generally agrees that the human race appeared with uniform characteristics at a specific time and in a definite place, and the Bible makes no reference to pre-Adamites.
The Bible is a book of religious truths, not scientific ones. One must look to other sources to find if there are evidences of evolution.
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A second view of reality centers upon matter as the principle of life and the source for all other matter. As proposed by Charles Darwin, matter evolved over a long period of time into the more complex structures which we see today through the struggle for survival, or natural selection. His theory states that since those structures now living are more complex than those in the past, they must have evolved in some way making them more able to adapt to the demands of their environment. These are clearly superior to their ancestors, man included. Generally, scientists today do not hold the theory of Natural Selection.
This view of the world is based upon matter as the first creator. It is materialistic and does not recognize the reality of God as the first cause. This view is not accepted by the Catholic Church.
This view was proposed by both Darwin and Huxley in the mid-1800ís. Using the scientific method of measuring observable data to reach their conclusions, they created a social structure ideally governed by human reason, but certainly one which found no place for a supreme creator God who has revealed himself and his plan for our salvation in history through his Son and the Church which he founded. Their society envisioned the more intelligent and reasonable members using education to remove religious errors and superstitions in order to prepare its members to recognize the existence of a higher power which is compatible with the processes of human reason. This view is purely materialistic which is not acceptable to the Catholic Church.