“Creation vs. Evolution” was intended as a small booklet to share with friends, that covers the essentials of the origins debate from a Catholic perspective.
Copyright © 2002 by Eric Bermingham.
Table of Contents:Acknowledgements
AcknowledgementsI would first of all like to thank God for making everything very good. I would next like to thank my parents for begetting me and instilling a solid Catholic faith in me. I thank my mother in particular for reviewing the various stages of this booklet over an extended period of time. I also thank my Aunt Lenore Gray for providing the cover design and Robert Sungenis for writing the Foreword. Additionally I thank Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel and Rev. Daniel Mahan, STB, STL of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for the courage and consideration in granting an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. Finally, I am grateful for the intercession of Saint Therese of Lisieux, under whose care I have placed this booklet.
Today, much of the world’s educated population has been persuaded that their universe was not put in place by a kind and personal God; rather, it is said to be the product of a cold and impersonal explosion some 15 billion years ago. Even many Christians today, frightened by the boasts of scientists, have succumbed to thinking that God played only a small part in the universe we see today. They have been convinced to think that He merely wound it up and then went away to some unknown place to watch it unravel for 15 billion years.
Why is this topic so important for us to study and know the truth? Here’s a good example why: A survey conducted in the late 1970’s in Germany, searching for the reasons why people no longer went to Church, revealed the following statistic: Of all the many and varied reasons, a staggering sum of 47% attributed their spiritual apathy to the difference between the theological and scientific explanations for the origin of the world.
Unfortunately, the world has been sold a bill-of-goods by the scientific establishment, and they have been sold out by many of their church leaders who have unwittingly adopted the theory of Evolution. Despite the high-sounding claims of today’s scientific elite, there is no evidence for Evolution. In fact, all the scientific evidence denies the very tenets Evolutionists hold so dear. In addition, the tradition of the Church has always held to a six-day, instantaneous creation, from the Early Fathers, through the Medieval age, in the Councils, and up until today. Unfortunately, there are a number of theologians, beginning with the notorious Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in the 1940’s, who have rejected the Church’s traditional teaching on this subject. They are very forceful, and they are trying to convince the Pope of their aberrant ideas.
Recognizing these trends, Eric Bermingham has done us a great service in presenting the basic things one needs to know in order to become aware of the battle going on today between Creationists and Evolutionists. His arguments are cogent and convincing against the theory of Evolution, and they will make you want to delve even deeper into this very important subject. I highly recommend his book to you.
Robert A. Sungenis, M.A. (Ph.D. cd)
President of Catholic Apologetics International
The debate between Creationists and Evolutionists regarding the accepted explanation for the origin of the material universe continues to escalate with each side becoming firmer in their convictions. Creationists believe that the first several chapters of the book of Genesis should be taken literally. Evolutionists believe that the material universe can be explained without recourse to the supernatural. Another group, Theistic Evolutionists, would like to reach a compromise between the two by believing that God created using evolution.
What does the science of today have to say about these differing views and what are their implications? What do Scripture and the Catholic Church teach regarding this issue? What are we to believe?
The question of origins, of how things have come to be, has direct implications on our approach to the most basic questions concerning meaning and existence. Why am I here? Where did I come from? Is there a God? Who is Jesus Christ? Our answers to these questions affect every facet of our lives, how we view ourselves and others, and our general outlook on life. It is critical that we know the truth about origins if we are to approach these basic questions. Both faith and reason should guide us. As Pope John Paul II said in his encyclical letter Fides et Ratio – On the Relationship Between Faith and Reason, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself – so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”
“The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”
– Psalm 19:1
This document is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima – to whom God has entrusted world peace.
The Theory of Evolution started to become widely accepted after 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Although originally only intended to speculate how one species might evolve from another, the theory has expanded to become a complete explanation of the origin and development of the entire material universe.
Four basic principles of evolution theory are: (1) the Big Bang, (2) the formation of the stars and planets from the material released by the Big Bang, (3) the spontaneous generation of life on Earth, and (4) the evolution of all species from the first life. These four basic principles are taught to nearly everyone in school and are held by most of the scientific community. Questioning these four principles often leads to suspicion or ridicule. However, we should not be afraid to ask what faith and reason have to say about them.
The principles of natural science have to do with what is observable and verifiable either by scientific laws or experiments. All scientific laws and experiments concern the behavior of things that exist in the natural world. One known scientific law is the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which essentially states that the disorder (entropy) in a system always increases. For example, a ball held at a height above the floor has a potential energy associated with that height. If you drop the ball, it will bounce back to a lower height because some of its potential energy gets used in moving through the air, making a sound when it hits the floor, and deforming when it bounces. That is why it returns to a state of lower potential energy. In every system, energy is always being wasted, and much of the time this energy goes into merely generating excess heat, or waste heat, which cannot be recovered.
The universe can also be thought of as a system. The burning of stars generates a lot of heat, which cannot be recovered. Given enough time, all the stars would eventually burn out and the universe would end in what some have called a “heat death” with no way to get back to the beginning. The state of the universe today shows that it is not infinitely old. If it were, it already would have burned out. Therefore, the universe must have had a beginning.
However, there is no scientific principle for matter or energy bringing itself into existence from nothing, and it has never been observed. The principle of conservation of energy – that energy cannot be created or destroyed – prohibits it. This is the First Law of Thermodynamics. It would be inconceivable for even the smallest bit of matter or energy to bring itself into existence from nothing, yet the Big Bang theory proposes that the entire universe brought itself into existence as a first particle which then exploded into everything that exists today, all by natural means alone.
It is claimed that the chance of this first particle coming into existence from nothing by natural means was extremely small, but that it only had to happen once. The fact is that there is absolutely no chance of it ever happening. The Big Bang theory essentially starts with the proposition “first, a miracle happened.” A naturalistic explanation of the origin of the universe certainly requires this “miracle,” but no one has offered any natural cause. The first basic principle of evolution therefore rests on unscientific or non-naturalistic grounds.
Even if we allow for the Big Bang, the second basic principle of the formation of stars and planets contradicts scientific observation and laws. The force of gravity is supposed to have caused the formation of the stars and planets from the diffuse molecules expelled by the Big Bang. However, when gas molecules come close together, they bounce off of each other and heat up. At this point the pressure of the molecules bouncing against each other pushes them apart. This is evident when you blow up a balloon. The gas pressure that repels molecules apart is much stronger than gravity can overcome, about 100 times as strong.1 This is also evident by the fact that the gravity of the Earth does not pull all of the atmospheric gas down to its surface. If it did, none of us would be alive because the atmosphere above us is necessary for life.
Another theory for the formation of stars is that shock waves from exploding stars compressed the diffuse gas into new stars. However, this begs the question of what formed the first star. Additionally, explosions do not create order, they destroy it. Therefore, the natural force of gravity alone – even if assisted by explosions – could not have formed the stars and planets from diffuse molecules.
Even if we allowed for the first two principles, the spontaneous generation of life on Earth by natural means has never been observed, even in the laboratory, and violates the laws of statistics. Recent discoveries in biochemistry have shown that the cell, the basic component of life, is so complex that it could not possibly have come together by chance, even if given billions of years.2 Some have compared the cell to an entire city in its complexity. No chance accident of nature could possibly have put the living cell together.
Some like to imagine that matter is “self-organizing” and could have formed life from non-living compounds, but this is never observed and violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Life only comes from life. This is the principle of biogenesis. There are no known exceptions.
Others now recognize the complexities involved in living cells and admit that life could not have originated from non-living material on planet Earth. So they imagine that life was brought to Earth from somewhere else in the universe where natural laws are different. This is nothing but idle speculation based on lack of evidence. It is not science at all.
Like the Big Bang theory, a naturalistic explanation of the origin of life certainly requires a “miracle,” but again no natural cause can be shown to have produced it. Life could only have been designed by an intelligence much higher than our own.
The fourth principle of evolution, that of the evolution of all species from the first life, suffers the same fate as the third principle. It has never been observed, and there is no realistic chance of one kind of animal producing another kind by natural forces because of the complexity involved. Nature conserves itself. Mutations quickly die out. No useless organs, or organs in the process of becoming some other organ (nascent organs), are observed. Although adaptation within kinds (species) certainly occurs, there are no intermediate kinds of life. The gaps between single celled organisms, multiple celled organisms, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and man are too wide for nature alone to jump.
Conclusion: The four basic principles of evolution theory, as outlined above, have no basis in observable or verifiable scientific fact.
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The four basic principles of evolution as outlined – (1) the Big Bang, (2) the formation of the stars and planets from the material released from the Big Bang, (3) the spontaneous generation of life on Earth, and (4) the evolution of all species from the first life – have been shown to be in conflict with natural science. However, the four supernatural events as described – (1) the direct creation of the world from nothing by God, (2) the destruction of the world by a global flood, (3) the mixing up of language, and (4) the Incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ through the Blessed Virgin Mary – are not contrary to natural science and are even supported by it.
The implications of a disregard for the supernatural are disastrous for society. Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church are very favorable to a literal creation and unfavorable to a Theory of Evolution that can not stand up against the facts. Heaven has warned us of the implications of turning away from God. A compromise position with a godless, unproven Theory of Evolution is not only unnecessary but damaging to the Christian faith.
Faith and reason reveal the truth about the Theory of Evolution. It is not science but philosophy; a philosophy that proclaims that God is not necessary. St. Paul addresses such thinking in the first chapter of the Letter to the Romans: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1.18-20).
10 Most of the information from this section was taken from Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Papers Presented at a Conference Sponsored by the Wethersfield Institute, New York City, September 25, 1999, Ignatius Press, 1999. Authors Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski, and Stephen C. Meyer.