Destroying the Faith through Evolution: A response to Stacy Trasancos’ article, “Evangelizing through Evolution”

When the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation is rejected and the myth of molecules-to-man evolution is accepted as a fact, all sorts of erroneous propositions logically follow.  Stacy Trasancos’ article, “Evangelizing through Evolution” is no exception to this rule. Indeed, many of her statements cannot be considered Catholic and thus it is necessary to publish a rebuttal to defend from impunity not only the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation, but also God Himself, His Holy Word, and the Catholic Faith.

Dr. Trasancos’ article posits that Catholics begin to lose their faith when they recognize that what they are learning in the natural science classroom conflicts with what they learned in Catechism class.  She concludes that this is not because of a problem with what is being passed off as natural science but instead that the problem lies with the Catechism! Why does she come to this conclusion? Because she accepts molecules-to-man evolution as a fact and rejects the traditional Catholic teaching on creation. Thus, she is forced to pigeon-hole her theology into the paradigm given to her by the agnostics, atheists, heretics, and apostates who have propagated the molecules-to-man evolution hypothesis.

Make no mistake: The evolution Trasancos believes in is not merely the change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation through such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.  Indeed, there really is no debate that organisms can change in some way over time—call it “microevolution” or, more accurately, limited variation within a created kind. The limited variation observed in finch beaks in the Galapagos Islands is a well-known example. Through a feat of wild and unwarranted extrapolation, Trasancos believes that from the moment of the alleged “Big Bang” until you and me, everything including the celestial bodies, the earth, the animals, and humans, formed just as the atheistic evolutionists say it did:  From goo to you via the zoo.[1] The only difference, of course, is that, in Trasancos’ version, God somehow played a part in the beginning of the universe; but, since then, God has allowed it all to develop through natural processes. According to this view, God exists as an uncaused First Cause, but, after He creates some material elements at the beginning of time, He leaves the cosmos to develop on its own.[2]

Trasancos takes issue with the idea that “God made everything,” and mocks this concept as childish and inadequate.  In doing so, however, she parts company with St. Thomas Aquinas and all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church who maintained that God created a beautiful, complete and harmonious universe for our first parents.  St. Thomas defines “the completeness of the universe at its first founding” as “the first perfection of the universe,” meaning that all of the different kinds of creatures, each one perfect according to its nature, existed together with man and for man in the beginning of creation.[3] Indeed, it would seem a rational step to many that if God didn’t make everything in the beginning, then perhaps He didn’t make anything, which is exactly the message impressionable students are getting from the evolutionists. In an attempt to proactively deflect criticism that her version of reality might conflict with the Apostles’ Creed, Trasancos suggests that the profession, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,” is not actually referring to the special creation of heaven and earth and all of the different kinds of creatures they contain.  In other words, she uses the same modernist exegesis of Holy Scripture condemned again and again by the Magisterium: Warp the text into saying whatever you want it to say and pay no heed to the authors’ original intent.

Does anyone truly believe that God, the primary Author of Scripture, and Moses, the secondary author (or at the very least the inspired compiler of the true ancient accounts that were handed down to him) did not intend to convey the timeless truth that Almighty God specially created the heavens and the earth out of nothing in the beginning? Likewise, does anyone believe that the framers of the Apostles and the Nicene Creeds did not intend to convey the same truth?  The Catechism of the Council of Trent, the gold standard for teaching and preaching the dogmas of the faith for 350 years, praised by more Popes, Doctors and great Saints than all other Catechisms in the history of the Church, clearly explains the first article of the Creed with these words:

The Divinity created all things in the beginning. He spoke and they were made.  He commanded and they were created.[4]

It goes on to explain that this is how God created all of the different kinds of plants, the heavenly bodies, the creatures of the air and the creatures of the sea, the land animals and the first human beings. It even reminds the pastors of the Church that if they want to teach their illiterate people how God created the heavens and the earth and all they contain, they need only refer to the “sacred history of Genesis” and teach that to their people.

Perhaps most importantly, the Roman Catechism emphasizes the fact that after God had supernaturally created all of the different kinds of creatures for man during the six days of creation, He “rested” from the supernatural work of creating new kinds of creatures on the seventh day.  In this way, the Fathers of Trent distinguished between the supernatural work of creation in the beginning and the natural order of providence which only began after the supernatural work of creation was finished on the sixth day of creation.  By underscoring the importance of this distinction, the Roman Catechism revealed why it is impossible for human beings to extrapolate from their limited experience in the present natural order of providence in a fallen world to explain the supernatural origin of man and the universe in the beginning—the very thing that the so-called Enlightenment philosophers, like Kant and Descartes, and the present-day theistic evolutionists, like Dr. Trasancos, attempt to do.

Just as the supernatural creation of heaven and earth and all of the different kinds of creatures is anathema to theistic evolutionists like Trasancos, so, it seems, are miracles—God’s supernatural interventions in the natural order that He created supernaturally in the beginning. The only exceptions appear to be the miracles that are fundamental to the faith, like the Virgin birth, and the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ.  In reality, as the Pontifical Biblical Commission decreed in 1909 when it was an arm of the Magisterium, the supernatural creation of all things by God in the beginning of time, the special creation of Adam body and soul, and the creation of Eve from Adam’s side are “facts” which no Catholic can deny, because they “pertain to the foundations of the Christian religion” (PBC decrees of 1909).  The extreme naturalism of the theistic evolutionist denies these facts and raises the obvious question, “If the creation of heaven and earth can be considered natural as opposed to supernatural, are there natural explanations for the miracles in Holy Scripture and Christian history?”

Dr. Trasancos attacks orthodox faithful who adhere to the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation for “using miracles where they think nature fails.”  Unbelievably, she even lambasts the intelligent design movement, saying that they, “conjure up miracles as needed to complete their stories,” and that, “We do not need to sneak God in the back door of nature.”  Yes, you are reading this correctly: Trasancos actually rejects the Discovery Institute’s Intelligent Design movement, the mission of which, according to their website, is:

to advance the understanding that human beings and nature are the result of intelligent design rather than a blind and undirected process.

She goes on to say, “Unlike Young Earth creationism and Intelligent Design theory, we are not asserting miracles to prop up a belief.”  Instead, when it comes to creation, she would rather leave God out altogether, except of course as the first cause when she presumably needs the deity to flick the big bang into motion.  Her distaste for the supernatural brings to mind a candid statement by evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

…To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen.[5]

A strange bedfellow indeed!

If God did not supernaturally create the heavens and the earth and all they contain, how did He do it according to Dr. Trasancos?  “…God could have created matter and energy to produce the diversity of life we see today…” How, you ask, could matter and energy be ascribed the power to create all things—a power that belongs exclusively to the Almighty?  The traditional teaching of the Church has always been that God created all of the different kinds of creatures including the first human beings ex nihilo as a work of creation distinct from yet totally dependent upon Himself. Some things He created immediately ex nihilo, like the light of Day One of the Hexameron; other things, He created mediately ex nihilo from matter that He had created earlier in the Hexameron—like the body of Adam which He formed from the slime of the Earth.  But as St. Thomas with all of the Fathers and Doctors reminds us, nothing in the matter that God used to create the different kinds of creatures during the Hexameron had any potential to become a new kind of creature on its own, remaining purely passive under the creative power of God.

When it comes to human origins, it is apparent that Dr. Trasancos believes that polygenism—the discredited hypothesis that humans evolved from several independent pairs of ancestors—may be a viable hypothesis to explain our origin.[6]  While she doesn’t come right out and use the term explicitly, she states, “Evolution is not a tool that can find two individuals who were progenitors of an entire species, because no species has ever been discovered to begin that way.”  With these words, Dr. Trasancos shows that she has confused speciation—or the formation of a new species through reproductive isolation from a parent population, a process that always results in a loss of genetic variability—with the evolution of new functional information in the genome of a plant, animal, or human to produce a more highly-ordered kind of organism—a phenomenon that has never been observed in nature or in the laboratory.  In addition, she states that while “Pope Pius XII said in Humani Generis it is ‘in no way apparent’ how to reconcile evolution with original sin,” she immediately adds, “Someday it may be apparent.” Note what Humani Generis states in paragraph 37 and ask yourself the question, “Was the intent of this paragraph to give any sort of license to Catholics to include the heresy of polygenism as a possible viable theory of origins?”:

When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

Make no mistake: There is no conflict between sound natural science and the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation.  A growing number of scientists are coming to recognize this, and genetics in particular is showing that the evolutionary fairy-tale of one kind of organism transforming into another is simply not, nor has it ever been, observed on any level, let alone the fanciful notion that inanimate matter spontaneously formed into life.  If we want to keep our children from losing their faith, we must teach them that we cannot compromise with faithless philosophies in the guise of science but must reject such fatal compromises.

Dr. Trasancos suggests that the only reason people like us believe in the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation is because of fear.  In a certain sense, that is true.  If, by the grace of God, we possess that reverence, or “fear of the Lord,” that “is the beginning of wisdom,” we recoil in horror at every attempt to deny the truth of God’s revelation of what He did when He created the world—as it has been understood in His Church from the beginning—and its replacement with a blasphemous, pseudo-scientific account that makes God use death, deformity, and disease as an arbitrary means of bringing forth His Creation, when in reality God brought these things into the world as a judgment and as a warning because of Adam’s sin.

We also fear the total destruction of the faith of the next generation if theistic evolutionists like Dr. Trasancos continue teaching them that God’s revelation to Moses is a “myth” and that God allowed His Church to teach a false account of the origins of man and the universe from the beginning.  Young people are not fools.  When teachers like Dr. Trasancos tell them that it was godless scientists like Darwin and T.H. Huxley who hated the Church and wanted to destroy Her who finally enlightened the Church about how God created the world, our young people conclude that Sacred Scripture is not the inerrant Word of God; that the Church is not an infallible teacher; and that it is the godless scientists who know what they are talking about. So, it is quite true that we “fear” these calamities.  But it is not through any fear of what sound natural science will discover.  Indeed, more than a hundred years ago, the First Vatican Council handed down a very important anathema against the false scientism of natural scientists like Dr. Trasancos in these words:

If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema (Vatican I, Faith and Reason, Canon 3).

At the moment that anathema was handed down, the Roman Catechism, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, was the gold standard for teaching and preaching the dogmas of the Faith throughout the world.  And, as we have already seen—and as anyone can see by consulting its explanation of the first Article of the Creed—it teaches that God created the heavens and the Earth, the seas and all they contain, including our first parents Adam and Eve, by fiat—not through any kind of natural process—and that when God had finished creating all things supernaturally for us in our first parents, He stopped creating new kinds of creatures, thus rendering it impossible for natural scientists to explain the supernatural origin of the order of nature by extrapolating from the natural order of providence in which we live.

It is especially tragic when Catholic intellectuals like Dr. Trasancos embrace the evolution deception, because St. Peter our first Pope warned against this very thing almost two thousand years ago.  In one of the most remarkable prophetic passages in the entire Bible, our first Pope was inspired to warn us against an all-out satanic assault on the fundamental doctrine of creation “in the last days” when “scoffers” would come into the Church of God saying

Things have always continued as they were since the beginning of creation (2 Peter 3:4).

With this prediction, St. Peter miraculously summed up the precise error that undergirds all of the modern deviations from the traditional doctrine of creation—all of which rest, to differing degrees, upon the false assumption that “things have always been the same from the beginning of creation” and that natural scientists can thus legitimately extrapolate from the present order of nature all the way back to the beginning of the universe to explain how and over what period of time all things came to be.   St. Peter goes on to explain in his second epistle why this is impossible when he writes that these “scoffers” will have to be “willfully ignorant” of the “fact”—not the pious belief—that:

the heavens were before, and the earth out of water, and through water, consisting by the word of God.  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (2 Peter 3:5-6).

In other words, in total contradiction to Dr. Trasancos and her fellow theistic evolutionists, St. Peter insists that it was the Word of God that brought the heavens and earth and all they contain into existence in the beginning—not a natural process like a supernova explosion.  And he predicts that the scoffers who will reject God’s revelation in Genesis will have to deny the fact of the global Flood in the days of Noah which totally destroyed the face of the Earth, so that we cannot even look at the world as it is today and know what it was like before the Noachic Flood—much less what it was like when it was first created!

With St. Peter and all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching, my colleagues and I reject evolution on scientific and theological grounds, even though many of us have received formal training in evolution from secular universities. Ironically, our experience in secular academia suggests that fear may in fact be the main motivator for many theistic evolutionists—fear that their faithless scientific cohorts will mock their belief in the supernatural, were they ever to embrace the reality of the supernatural origin of the heavens and the earth and all they contain, as did all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching.

Natural science does not speak for itself.  Historical science, especially, involves a great many assumptions and extrapolations and these are often driven by philosophical underpinnings.  In the cases of uniformitarian deists like Darwin, atheists like Dawkins, and theistic evolutionists like Stacy Trasancos, scientism, or the excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques, has led to all sorts of erroneous conclusions with serious metaphysical implications in direct contradiction to the faith handed down to us from Holy Mother Church.  Like it or not, Christianity, and specifically Catholicism, is a religion of supernatural acts of creation and miracles which stands in stark contrast to a naturalistic evolutionary “science” which has no place for the supernatural.

For all intents and purposes, evolutionists like Stacy Trasancos can be considered materialists in their approach to natural science.  Like the atheist Richard Lewontin, they cannot allow the regularities of nature to be interrupted so that miracles may happen.  Having adopted a framework that excludes supernatural action, they can never admit that in the beginning the God of all creation worked the most amazing feat of all, and that He even spoke from Heaven to give His holy prophet Moses a message for us all, confirming what the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church have always known and preached:

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them…  (Exodus 20:11)

In his encyclical Humani generis Pope Pius XII upheld fundamental tenets of the traditional doctrine of creation which exclude the evolutionary hypothesis.  These include the requirement that Bishops must teach that all of Genesis 1-11 is true history (HG, 38-39); that the Bible is inerrant in all that it teaches, not just in matters of faith and morals (HG, 24); that the metaphysical principles of traditional Catholic philosophy must be maintained in the examination of the evolutionary hypothesis (HG, 29); and that speculation is sterile, while investigation of the Deposit of Faith is fruitful (HG, 21)Moreover, in Humani generis Pope Pius XII explicitly stated that the Pontifical Biblical Commission refused to abrogate its prior decrees on Genesis at the request of the Archbishop of Paris, thus confirming that those decrees, cited above, are still binding on Catholics.

The only permission that Pope Pius XII gave to theistic evolutionists in Humani generis was permission to examine the evidence for and against the evolutionary hypothesis—a permission that has been “honored more in the breach than the observance,” since to this day there has not been an open and honest debate within Catholic academia between the defenders of the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation and the promoters of theistic evolution.   We would like to take this opportunity to invite Dr. Trasancos and her colleagues to join us in a public debate where the arguments for and against theistic evolution can be thoroughly examined in an open forum from the perspective of theology, philosophy and natural science.

As in the days of Joshua, the time has come for Catholics to “choose this day whom we will serve”—the death-dealing, destructive, deceptive god of theistic evolution—or the God of our Fathers—the all-loving, all-knowing, almighty God of life, love, and truth?  Indeed, Our Lord Jesus Christ seems to be saying to our generation what He said to the Pharisees of old:

“If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me, but if you will not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46)

Dr. Kevin J. Mark, D.M.D., Canada

Luis Ceballos, B.S. Industrial Engineering; M.S. Industrial Design, United States

Rachel Dilly, Geological and Geophysical Engineer, PhD Candidate, United States

Kevin D. Meyers, B.S. Botany; J.D. Law

Richard D. Mudd III, M.S. Occupational Therapy, United States

Hugh Owen, M.S., United States

Fr. Walter Pasicznyk, B.S. Chemistry; STB, The Catholic University of America; MDiv, The Catholic University of America, United States

Jean de Pontcharra, Ph.D., Physics, France

Edward Razz, M.S., Mechanical Engineering, United States

Fr. Chad Ripperger, Ph.D., Philosophy

Thomas H. Seiler, Ph.D., Physics, Germany

Michael R. Surrey B.Sc., COP, PG Dip. Sci. (Zoology, Microbiology & Biotechnology), New Zealand

References and notes

[1] For a thorough refutation of Big Bang cosmology, see the presentation by Dr. Thomas H. Seiler, Ph.D., Physics, at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diHHHtT3JL4&t=1103s and his article on “Cosmology, Thermodynamics and the Christian Doctrine of Creation” on the Kolbe Center website.

[2] For a refutation of the standard evolutionary geo-chronology, see “A Question of Time” and “Ariadne’s Thread” on the Kolbe Center website.

[3] “The perfection of a thing is twofold, the first perfection and the second perfection. . . Now the final perfection, which is the end of the whole universe, is the perfect beatitude of the saints at the consummation of the world; and the first perfection is the completeness of the universe at its first founding, and this is what is ascribed to the seventh day” (St. Thomas Aquinas. ST, I, q. 73, a. 1.) “The completion of the universe as to the completeness of its parts belongs to the sixth day, but its completion as regards their operation, to the seventh,” St. Thomas Aquinas, ST, I, Q. 73, reply to obj. 2.

[4] Cf. Catechism of the Council of Trent, first article of the Apostles Creed: http://catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/catechism/ApostlesCreed01.shtml

[5] “Billions and billions of demons,” a review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997, The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997.

[6] For a thorough refutation of the fossil evidence for human evolution, see “The Fossil Record and the Fall of Darwin’s Last Icon” by John Wynne on the Kolbe Center website. For a presentation of the evidence from genetics for the descent of all humans from one man and one woman created in a state of genetic perfection less than ten thousand years ago, see “God, the Family and Genetics” by Dr. John Sanford on the Kolbe Center website.

Featured image:  The Morgan Library & Museum, Armed Hero Grasping Kicking Ostrich; Worshiper Behind Two Fish Men with Pollen Baskets Flanking Sacred Tree; God in Winged Sun DiskCylinder seal and impression, Mesopotamia, Neo-Babylonian period (ca.1000–539 B.C.)
https://www.themorgan.org/collection/ancient-near-eastern-seals-and-tablets/84395
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Exhibition Highlights, Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age, September 22, 2014 – January 4, 2015.
https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2014/assyria-to-iberia/exhibition-highlights