Marya Tipton

Mr. Hugh Owen, Director
The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation

To whom it may concern,

As a Byzantine Catholic, catechist and chastity educator, I would like to express the sincerest gratitude to Hugh Owen for his presentation on the Church’s teaching on special creation and would recommend him to speak for any other parish or group. His expertise on the teachings received from the Apostles through the Early Church Fathers is a gift to the people of faith the world over.

As a Byzantine Catholic, I belong to a community that most feels the pain of the separation between the Eastern and Western “lungs” of our Church, as John Paul II called them. If we are to answer the call to Christian unity and the New Evangelization, it is imperative to approach our efforts with a mind toward ressourcement, a return to earlier sources, traditions and symbols of the early Church. The work that Hugh Owen is doing through the Kolbe Center for the Study on Creation is exactly what the Church Universal needs to answer our Lord’s prayer “that they may be one.” In the early liturgy, iconography, Holy Scriptures, and writings of the Church Fathers, we can find common ground and common wisdom in the midst of great confusion on the issue of origins in the world today.

The expression “Lex orandi, lex credendi” tells us our liturgical worship reveals what we believe about our Christian faith and our mission in the world.

Byzantine worship and the writings of the Church Fathers clearly tell us that:

“We are brought forth out of nonexistence into being” (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom)

“The universe sings Your glory.” (Vespers hymn, O Joyful Light)

“ I am about to speak of the creation of heaven and earth, which was not spontaneous, as some have imagined, but drew its origin from God.” (St. Basil the Great, Homily 1 of the Hexaemeron)

“The Lord has reigned, he is clothed with beauty; the Lord is clothed with strength and has girded himself. For He has established the world which shall not be moved.” (From the rite of preparation, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom)

The verses that describe the Universe and all living beings as being created and governed specifically by God, the Giver of Life, are too numerous to mention. But never have I come across any text from Holy Scripture or the liturgy that describes God’s creative powers as “random” or “by chance.” I could only imagine that it would sound something like:

“O, Lord,
In your wisdom you rolled the dice of life,
And we came into being. Our beginnings were lowly, Lord,
But through your gift of randomness
We outgrew our simple, previous forms
to achieve sophistication and glory.”

If I were to encounter such a hymn I would believe it, because I trust that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, guides and protects the teachings of His Church.

In every culture everywhere, the story of how human beings came into being guides the identity and morals of that people. Today, Judeo-Christian morality, based on the dignity of the human person made male and female in the image and likeness of God, is undermined by the neo-Darwinist version of origins. More specifically, the value of human love, marriage and family is undermined. We believe that God created human beings male and female for two reasons: so that we may image the love of the Most Holy Trinity as a community of persons, and that we may image the marriage between Christ and His Bride, the Church. The value of human sexuality is constantly degraded by the narrative that we arrived at our humanity, not through a specific act of a loving God, but through random, unguided processes. This is one of the biggest challenges I encounter as a chastity educator and youth minister today.

As Catholic Christians, we are in a privileged position to show that science and faith are not at odds with each other, but in fact faith and reason are married to each other in Truth. Especially in light of the latest scientific discoveries which point to intelligent design, we are in a unique position to proclaim special creation to the world, if only we are duly instructed. The efforts of Hugh Owen and the other scientists and theologians associated with the Kolbe Center are much needed if we are to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven and the Civilization of Love here on Earth.

Sincerely in Christ,
Through the Theotokos,

Marya Tipton
May 19, 2008