The Science of Today and the Problems of Genesis

 Science of Today and the Problems of Genesis
Fr. Patrick O’Connell, B.D. Tan Books, 1959.
448 pages with Imprimatur
$21.00 + S&H






There are only a few Catholic books in circulation that defend the traditional doctrine of creation, fewer yet carrying an Imprimatur, and only a couple written by a priest. This is one of them and so it might be of special interest to those wanting to examine issues of creation and the Flood from a Catholic point of view. It was written in 1959 and therefore may not be up-to-date on some issues, but much of the information is as pertinent today as it was when it was written.

In the introductory part of the book Fr. O’Connell quotes from Leo XIII’s Providentissimus Deus, Benedict XV’s Spiritus Paraclitus, Pius XII’s Divino Afflante Spiritu and Vatican II concerning the inerrancy of Scripture in all of its parts. He also notes that, “At the time of Darwin, the theory of evolution was adopted by atheists as a weapon against the Bible and against Christianity, and they gradually gained control of the Press. Now the control has been extended even to Catholic publishers.” I can certainly attest to that!

The rest of the book is divided into four parts: 1.) The Six Days of Creation, 2.) The Origin of Man, 3.) The Biblical Account of the Deluge and 4.) The Antiquity of Man. There is a bibliography but no index.

In the first part, The Six Days of Creation, he starts off by detailing the difference in composition of the Sun and the Earth, and how that it would argue against the idea that the Earth came from the Sun. He then delves into each of the six days of creation and shows how science supports the literal interpretation rather than the concept of millions of years.

The second part, The Origin of Man, is basically an argument against the man-from-ape hypothesis. Fr. O’Connell show how several famous ape-men fossils were fraudulently purported to be human ancestors. He also argues that language, intelligence, morality and religion could not have been acquired by evolution. He demonstrates that the constant teaching of the Church is that Adam was made from the slime of the earth, that Eve was taken directly from his side, and that all humans are descended from them.

The third part, The Biblical Account of the Deluge, compares the Biblical account of the Flood and the many Flood legends from various civilizations. Fr. O’Connell shows that geological and anthropological evidence firmly supports the concept of a global flood occurring thousands of years ago. He proposes 7000 B.C. as the date of the Flood.

The fourth part, The Antiquity of Man, is an attempt to ascertain the earliest date of civilization. Various dating methods are discussed as well as archaeological evidence. It is proposed here that the Flood occurred at the end of the Ice Age. The book concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that the existence of mankind extends back more than 20,000 years.

Science of Today and the Problems of Genesis examines the question of origins and the Flood from a Catholic viewpoint and finds that true science supports the teaching of the Church on these subjects. Special treatment is given to the Flood and early man. Fr. O’Connell argues for a date of about 7000 B.C. for the Flood. Although many creationists offer compelling evidence for an even more recent date, Fr. O’Connell shows that a history of hundreds of thousand or millions of years for the existence of man is untenable.

Eric Bermingham
August 25, 2007