“And God created man to his own image” … or did we evolve from apes? That was the topic at hand for tonight’s lecture given by Fr. Saunders, Pastor at Our Lady of Hope in Potomac Falls, Virginia and frequent lecturer for the Institute of Catholic Culture. What does the Church teach about the story of Creation and the theory of Evolution?
In this day and age the modern tendency is to separate Faith from reason and reason from Faith. But Father Saunders argued that Faith and reason cannot be separated and that they must remain linked. When considering the question of Creation versus Evolution, the Church takes the middle of the road approach and maintains the possibility of evolution under the divine direction.
The story of Genesis is the unfolding of creation: a movement from the formless wasteland to an ordered and designed creation that is good. Each day a new part of creation was ordered and created until finally on the sixth day, God created Man in His own image. The creation story spans over seven days. But Fr. Saunders rhetorically asked where the Bible says that a day was a 24 hour period as most Protestants believe. Referring to the Psalms and other parts of the scriptures, a day to the Lord is like a thousand years (Ps. 90:4; 2Peter 3:8).
What truths then are conveyed by the book of Genesis? First and foremost, the truth expressed by the creation story is the truth that Man is created from nothing by an all powerful and loving God and that we are created in His image. This simple yet profound truth leads to other deeper and more profound insights. Fr Saunders pointed out six basic truths of Genesis: 1) the dignity of the human person 2) life is sacred from conception to natural death 3) marriage is sacred 4) a child has a right to a mom and dad and to be raised into a family 5) all people have a right to basic things that will help improve themselves 6) that we care for the suffering and dying.
Turing our attention to evolution, Fr. Saunders simplified the evolutionary process into big bang, formless matter, primordial slime, simple animals, complex animals, and then finally Man. The key points of evolution are mutation, chaos, chance, natural selection, and selection of the fittest. Each of these points is essential to the evolutionary process. The modern evolutionary system proposes a system bereft of God. If Darwin is correct and survival of the fittest is the nature’s modus operandi, than it makes sense to “get rid of the imbecile.” Darwin was a proponent of eugenics and eugenics is the logical conclusion of the Darwinian evolutionary moral system. The best and fittest must survive.
But as Fr. Saunders points out, evolution requires a certain amount of specificity for it to work. The planets have to be just right so that each spins around the sun. The earth has to be tilted on its axis perfectly, otherwise it would be too hot or too cold to support life. There has to be the right amount of oxygen and plants and animals, or Man would not survive. Nature has to be precise or it would not amount to life as we know it. It has to be ordered and directed by God
When we observe nature and the world around us, we do not see chaos. Rather, we see a world that is perfectly designed and ordered by God. The world does not operate by chance. Pope Benedict said “only where God is seen does life truly begin; only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know when life begins. We are not the meaningless product of chance or chaos; we are willed by God.” When considering the topic of Creation vs. Evolution, it must be remembered that the truth must be sought and that truth must include God.
Submitted by James Blankenship