Objection: Hasn’t the theory of evolution been scientifically proven as plainly as Newton’s Laws of gravitation have been demonstrated?
Response: Evolution is not a fact of science nor can it be claimed to be true with a high degree of certainty despite its wide acceptance in our culture.Objections to the theory are largely squelched as “religious” and are not taken seriously. Our public education system presents only evidence in favor of the theory while scientists are silenced and punished if they speak out against the theory (See the movie, “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed” – available on DVD).
Another difficulty with this statement is that it confuses historical science with empirical science. Historical science deals with events of the past that can not be repeated in a laboratory. It is much less certain than empirical science and not as easily influenced by the scientist’s personal beliefs.In the historical sciences, men attempt to put together a story by observing natural laws today and extrapolating them into the past in order to draw conclusions about the past. Both the Catholic doctrine of creation and the evolutionary hypothesis deal with stories about the past that involve non-repeatable events without human observers. In the light of this truth, nether creation nor evolution can be asserted as a fact and therefore only statements of plausibility can be made.
Objection: Catholics don’t believe you should take the Bible literally.
Response: This is a false. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraphs 116 and 117 below.
CCC 116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal”—a quotation from St. Augustine.
CCC 117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.
Following the example of St. Augustine, Catholics first must properly understand the literal sense of Scripture. The fact that Scripture has other senses wherein further and deeper meanings can be derived does not discount or eliminate the literal sense.
Objection: The Church’s teaching on creation is of secondary importance.
Response: This is not true according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
(CCC 282) Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves:”Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What is our origin?” “What is our end?” “Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?” The two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.
Objection: I believe in both God and evolution, so I really don’t see the issue.
Response: It’s good that you have retained your faith in God as Creator, but please understand that our culture is becoming increasingly anti-Christian and secular, and many today are walking away from the faith because of evolution.
- belief in a role for the Creator. (Evolution asserts that design and order we see in nature is the result of random and natural processes.)
- belief that Sacred Scripture is the revealed word of God. (If God got Genesis wrong—what else in the Bible needs correction?)
- belief in revealed doctrines that are based in the book of Genesis (the indissolubility of Marriage, Original Sin).
- belief that physical death is a consequence of Adam’s sin. (God-guided Evolution would mean that God used death, the elimination of the weak, as part of His creative process—so, death came before Adam’s sin.)
- belief that all of mankind needs a Savior. (If Genesis is a myth, then what historic event disrupted our relationship with God to cause our need for a Savior?)
Objection: It doesn’t matter for Catholics “how” creation took place as long as you conclude that God is the ultimate Source.
Response: It does matter “how” because the theological meaning is derived from those details. Consider the teaching example given by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. In Matt 19:3-6 (RSV), we read:
3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
In Genesis we learn that God created Eve from Adam’s side recalling the historic and literal origin of the “one flesh” union of Adam and Eve. Notice that Jesus refers to these events to derive the Catholic doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage from it.He uses the “how” of creation to provide a deeper theological meaning.
Genesis also teaches us that God took the dust of the earth to form the first man. We are reminded of this historic reality on Ash Wednesday during the start of Lent when ashes are placed on our forehead and the words “From dust you were created—to dust you shall return” This only make sense from a literal understanding of these words. When we die, we return to the earth and decompose into the elements from which we were made.
Also, in the New Testament, Saint Paul confirms the historicity of Genesis chapter 1 in 1-Timothy 2:13, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” In 1-Corinthians 11:8, “For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man.”The historic formation of Eve from Adam’s side makes her unique among women. From this point forward, all men are born of a woman.