A Note on Evolution
There does seem to be a problem in
This is not to say that it isn’t a
genuine problem and that there isn’t fault on both sides of the debate. But it needs to be put in context. There are
a lot of good Christian people around including in main-line churches in
I’m personally quite happy with
the idea that God said, “Let the earth
produce…” (Genesis) and that
· The consequence is that, while we have now to give up on any crude version of 18th or 19th century arguments from spatial order, the sophistication of evolutionary mechanisms themselves can be construed, if we desired, as contributing their bit
o To an Argument from Temporal Order, considering this as quite a sophisticated way of doing life in constantly changing environments
And maybe even
· To an Argument from General Providence e.g. an “inference to the best explanation” argument in favour of ‘Anthropic Theism’ (Peter Forrest), the evolutionary story doing its bit to contribute to the picture of a self-ordering universe in which the emergence of complex creatures is not only possible but also likely.
Whether or not the deliverances even of the biological sciences might be construed as part of an argument, according to this point of view that they might be construed as an objection or refutation is based on a faulty way of interpreting or mis-interpreting the Bible, which we Catholics got over about the middle of last century. Genesis = poetry with a point, the main points being:
· Everything is God’s creation,
· Everything is therefore good, good even without us,
· Even with us, it is very good; and
· Human beings have a special place and a special role to play in it all, a special responsibility “to tend the garden” so to speak.
It was this for the writers themselves, they didn’t think they were writing science, they assumed the best story available to them and adapted it for the sake of writing a fundamentally religious message. We should take it in the same spirit.
Or, as Galileo, nowadays quoted even by the Pope, said a long time ago: the Bible was written to tell us how to go to Heaven, not how the Heavens go. For that we go to the other Book, also written by God, namely the Book of Nature, whose language (according to Galileo) is the language of Mathematics.