With my recent article, “A Christian Rebuttal to Darwinian Evolution”, garnering so much feedback and debate, I have decided to post a second edition. After thinking it over, I believe the best rebuttal is to cite Scripture against that theory. This is a Catholic website after all. All Catholics have been taught that Scripture is God’s divinely inspired revelation to us. I certainly believe it. I think all Protestants believe it also. That’s about half the population on earth. Of course the verification that something is true is not based on the number of people who believe it: it is verified if God said it’s true.
That’s where I am. I would fail in my allegiance to God if I wavered in my defense of His revelation, and I would betray my fellow Christians by not vigorously defending God’s truth to those who argue against it and try to discredit it. So I’m going to reargue my position.
My First Attempt
My first attempt to argue against evolution was largely unsuccessful because I tried to debate the veracity of God’s revelation in the arena of anthropology and microbiology. I’m not an expert in those fields, and my opponents are not believers in the accuracy of God’s revelation. Actually there is very little common ground for a substantive debate between us. So the best strategy is to directly repeat what God revealed and show how it makes basic common sense.
I argued in my first article that Genesis contradicted Darwin’s theory on several major points.
First: God’s revelation to the human race began in the Garden of Eden, where He visited Adam and Eve daily and conversed with them (Genesis 2:15-16). This directly contradicts Darwin’s theory that humans slowly learned the skills of becoming human as they evolved from brute animals.
Second: God created Adam from the dust of the earth. I read that as a factual statement: namely, a statement about the ninety-two elements that make up every material thing in the universe. If scientists say that man evolved from apes, then are not apes also made from the same ninety-two elements as dust?
Third: When He created man, God added a special step: He breathed a spirit into the first man (Genesis 2:7). This is the critical point of origin for human beings. Adam’s physical body, infused with a spirit from God, became the first human being. Being endowed with a spirit made Adam a human being with free will and made in the image of the God who created him.
Fourth: God took a rib from Adam and fashioned it into Eve to be a helpmate for Adam (Genesis 2:21) thereby showing that Eve has the exact same origin as Adam. The two of them are the same flesh, as Adam exclaimed: “This is now flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone” (Genesis 2:23).
Fifth: I pointed out several major differences between man and animals. No animal has ever built a shrine or temple to honor the God who created him, but all humans, even in the most primitive cultures, display some recognition of who their creator might be. All human cultures have developed language. All human beings fashion some form of clothing for themselves. All human beings usually cook their food. No animal does any of these things.
The Role of Scripture
The Catholic Church teaches that Scripture is sometimes written in fanciful language like myths or legends, which add deeper meaning much better than historical accounts can; but all of it is still the inspired Word of God. Some of the teaching Jesus Himself employed is based on mythical accounts from the Old Testament.
Nobody should think that Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale for three days, but Jesus compared Himself to Jonah when He predicted He would rise from the dead: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).
Why would Jesus, whom all Christians believe is actually the divine Son of God, use such a mythological fable to predict His own Resurrection from the dead? I contend this verse, containing an element of etiology (an explanation of the origins of something), is still part of the divine revelation of God and is worded the way God wants.
I have no problem believing Church teaching on this, because I accept that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide His Church against error in explaining His Gospel to future generations. I think Protestants think this also but in a slightly different way. They believe that Jesus did send His Holy Spirit but to inspire believers individually as they read Holy Scripture. Yet, I don’t think that is happening, because if it were, there would not be so much controversy among different groups of Christians on what Scripture means and so much denial by non-believers when they read Scripture. This role of the Catholic Church plays out in my difficulties with evolution, as I will show below.
The Role of Tradition
But there is another directive Jesus gave to His apostles. He told them to preach. He did not command them to write like He told the Old Testament prophets to write. I think He told them to preach because the Church is where God now most fully reveals His divine presence on earth, unlike the Old Testament times where God maintained a physical presence within the Temple. This is a difficult point today because the Church has been divided for several hundred years. Those who separated themselves from the mother church eventually divided into hundreds of autonomous churches not connected to a central authority.
This preaching is called Tradition and is also preserved from error by the Holy Spirit. This is difficult for Protestants to recognize, but if there is no central authority (i.e., the Magisterium, which hands on and interprets Scripture and Tradition), there is no logical way for the Holy Spirit to guide them “to all truth” as there is in the Catholic Church. If we want to defeat those who try to undermine the credibility of Scripture, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Role of the Catholic Magisterium
Some of my critics said my thoughts did not agree with Catholic teaching. Bob Kurland in his comment on my first article, supplied documents that show Catholic teaching on this issue. Here is his quote:
“The Dogma of Original Sin and the Dogma/Doctrine of monogenesis are crucial in determining the present position of the Church on evolution. …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.” [emphasis added]
~Pope Pius XII, encyclical letter, Humani Generis
“Pius XII underlined the essential point: if the origin of the human body comes through living matter which existed previously, the spiritual soul is created directly by God….” [emphasis added]
~Pope St. John Paul II, Address to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “On Evolution”
So there you have it: I did not contradict the magisterial teaching of the Church. I argued that God took a special step in creating Adam (breathing God’s breath into him) and a special step in creating Eve (forming her from the rib of Adam). That makes Adam and Eve uniquely human. And all human beings descended from the same original pair of humans (monogenesis).
I think we all know that humans are a unique species. They cannot cross breed with apes or other animals. I think they are so special that scientists should have conjured up three kingdoms of life on earth: plant, animal and human. Humans are part physical and part spiritual. Their spiritual souls give them the power to be aware that they exist and that God exists. It makes them sovereign persons possessing free will and made in the image of God.
I am so glad God made His revelation about the origin of man four thousand years ago, and, when I got into trouble this year trying to defend the truth of His revelation, I’m so glad the Holy Spirit stepped in to encourage His Church to back me up. Alone, I might have faltered when faced with such a large and hostile opposition.
Commentators on my first article brought up questions of humans evolving from multiple species, and their children practicing incest. I think the Magisterium’s acceptance of monogenesis settles that question, but I got curious to see if scientists have found crossbreeding between humans and apes or other animals.
I decided to google the subject. I saw that all humans (Homo sapiens) are fully human: there are no half breed humans, but I was surprised that there have been many efforts to experiment with cross breeding of humans with animals. With the advent of stem cell research and the recent proficiency in manipulating genetic makeup, there is a lot of interest in experimenting with doing this, but none of it has succeeded as of yet.
Criticism of Science
In my first article, I criticized Dr. Roberts, author of Evolution: The Human Story. I wrote that I don’t know why so many authors either ignore God or actually argue that God may not exist. It would be much more edifying for all of us in our culture if these authors credited God for what God has done and try to encourage our fellow humans to learn how to love God and obey Him as God commands all of us to do.
If all humans actually believed God and tried to obey Him, we would have immeasurably less crime and violence in our world. But if these authors continue to teach that God may not exist and we are most likely highly evolve apes, then what would anyone expect from apes trying to find their place in this world that knows no God and no valid reason why they exist.
I still criticize our culture for this, and I think my warnings about refusing to teach about God are valid. Whether God created us or whether we simply evolved from animals is not an intellectual game smart people should play to exercise their wit in argumentation. There are two more players in this game: God and the devil, and both of them are playing this game for keeps. God expects all of us to believe Him. After all, He is God and His Word is good. Jesus told His apostles, when He sent them out to preach the Gospel. If they refuse to believe, they have already been judged (John 3:18).
The devil wants to defeat Jesus Christ and take over what God has created for Himself. God is never going to abandon His creation to a renegade angel. The devil is really the source of all resistance against God. If one is willing to believe God’s revelation, he will know this. If one refuses to believe God, he will find out about this truth when God brings all of us to judgment.
Apes vs. Ancestors
When I stated my objection to Roberts parading a whole string of apes and proto humans as my ancestors, one of my critics told me what Roberts said is true. I not only have a long string of apes in my ancestry, I also have a long string of fish. I looked this up as well. The word “ancestor” has three similar, but not identical, definitions (1) its primary definition relates one’s family line. (2) A secondary meaning relates to precursors to humans. The dictionary actually gave the example of evolutionary predecessors of humans. (3) A tertiary meaning has nothing to do with humans or animals. It refers to machines that are considered as ancestral to computers. Of course, when I am speaking of my ancestry, I am speaking of my human ancestors.
Human language is not perfect. One smart way to try to win an argument is to shift the meaning of words your opponent used and argue to defeat that shifted meaning. This is done all the time in politics. It is called spin. This website is not about politics; it is about God and God’s teaching. Nobody should resort to spin on this website.
I sum up the same way I did in my first article: we humans are not highly evolved primates. We, unlike every other animal on the planet, are created in the very image and likeness of God. We are sovereign persons with free will. No animal can match what we are. No animal, no matter how highly evolved it is, has the mental capacity to even understand what those claims mean.