The Difference it Makes: The Importance of the Traditional Doctrine of Creation

The Difference it Makes:
The Importance of the Traditional Doctrine of Creation
by Hugh Owen

“Teach All That I Have Commanded You”

In Matthew 28:16-20, Jesus gave the Great Commission to his Apostles. “Go into the whole world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And lo, I will be with you always, until the end of the age.”

Although they lacked professional training, great learning, or even outstanding human virtues, the eleven Apostles succeeded in carrying out the greatest evangelization that the world has ever known. They succeeded not because they made maximum use of their own gifts and abilities but because they were totally obedient to their Master’s commands and received the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Our Lord took pains to emphasize that any evangelization accompanied by the fullness of his power must include ALL the Truths that He had entrusted to the Apostles. It follows that any proclamation of the Gospel that omits or even downplays essential elements of the Good News will be lacking in power. This would be especially true if any fundamental element of the Gospel, as proclaimed by the Apostles and early Fathers, were to be omitted or perverted. The doctrine of creation and the Fall forms the foundation for the Church’s understanding of Redemption and Sanctification. In the light of this truth, it may come as a shock to many to realize that the understanding of creation and the early history of man proclaimed by all of the Apostles and Church Fathers differs drastically from that which is being proclaimed in most contemporary Catholic institutions of learning from kindergarten to the post-graduate level.

Whereas the Apostles and Fathers of the Church believed and proclaimed the literal historical truth of the early chapters of Genesis, the vast majority of contemporary Catholic evangelists and catechists believe and proclaim theistic evolution—the doctrine that God used billions of years of natural processes to produce the various kinds of living things, including man. Since God’s commandments do not change, the restoration of the literal historical interpretation of Genesis holds a key to success in the new evangelization. To build a new evangelization on the foundation of theistic evolution would be like trying to build a high rise building on a foundation of sand.

Nowadays one often hears educated and devout Catholics ask the question, “What difference does it make whether God used six days or billions of years of evolution, as long we believe that He did it?”

This little booklet answers that question. It does not expose the bankruptcy of molecules to man evolution as a scientific theory—that has already been done very effectively.[1] Instead it focuses on the spiritual devastation that theistic evolutionism has wrought in the souls of the Catholic faithful.

The Difference It Makes

It will be helpful to begin by defining our terms: theistic evolutionism (TE) and the traditional doctrine of creation (TDC).

Theistic evolutionism holds that God created matter in the beginning, and then used billions of years of natural processes, including death, destruction, mutations, and disease, to produce the various kinds of living things, including the human body. Generally speaking, theistic evolutionists deny the historicity of Genesis 1-11 and believe that Noah’s Flood was a local flood, that the Tower of Babel incident never actually happened, and that human languages evolved from primitive to more complex over long periods of time.The traditional, patristic, magisterial doctrine of creation holds that God created all of the different kinds of creatures during a very brief creation period at the beginning of time by an act of his Divine Will. According to this understanding, God created a perfectly harmonious world for our first parents, Adam and Eve, a few thousand years ago. He created Adam first, and then created Eve from Adam’s side. There was no human sickness, death, disease, harmful mutations or man-harming natural disasters before the Fall. Prior to the Original Sin, all of nature was under the dominion of Adam and Eve and was subservient to them. Even after the Original Sin, early man was physically and mentally superior to modern man, and the early patriarchs actually lived to the long ages ascribed to them. There was a global flood in Noah’s day which killed all of the people and land animals except for those on Noah’s ark, and all of the basic language-families complete with their unique grammars and modes of thought were instantaneously created by God during the Tower of the Babel incident.

So: What difference does it make which of these two interpretations of Genesis one believes in?

We will argue that it makes a world of difference. And we will offer eight reasons why TE should be rejected and the TDC restored to its rightful place as the foundation of the Gospel.

Reason #1

Theistic evolutionism fosters contempt for Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and undermines confidence in God and his Word. The traditional understanding of Genesis fosters a love and appreciation for Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and strengthens trust in God.

Theistic evolutionists and defenders of the traditional doctrine of creation both agree that the literapronouncements l historical interpretation of Genesis was upheld by all of the Fathers, Doctors, and magisterial of the Catholic Church for more than 1800 years. According to this common doctrine:

God created all of the different kinds of creatures ex nihilo in six days or less.

Adam was created before Eve who was formed from Adam’s side.

God created a perfectly harmonious world for Adam and Eve. There was no human sickness, death, disease, harmful mutations or man-harming natural disasters prior to the Fall.

Prior to the Original Sin, all of nature was under the dominion of Adam and Eve and was subservient to them.

Original Sin brought human death, disease, harmful mutations, and man-harming natural disasters in the world.

There was a global flood in Noah’s day which killed all of the people and animals on the earth except for those on Noah’s ark.

Early man was physically and mentally, superior to modern man. The patriarchs lived to the long ages ascribed to them.

All of the basic language-families complete with their unique grammars and modes of thought were instantaneously created by God during the Tower of the Babel incident.

Like Jesus, who taught that the Scripture “cannot be broken,” all the Apostles and Fathers of the Church taught and believed that Scripture was “God-breathed” and free from all error, and that the Holy Spirit moved the sacred authors to write exactly what He wanted them to say. Later, at several ecumenical councils, the Church recognized the unanimous interpretation of the Fathers as a certain rule of Scriptural interpretation. Without exception, the Apostles and Fathers believed and proclaimed the literal historical truth of Genesis 1-11, including all of the particular ideas mentioned above. Consequently, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, backed by the authority of an ecumenical council, authoritatively taught this interpretation of Genesis and interpreted the words of the Apostles Creed and the Fourth Lateran Council on creation in accord with that interpretation.

It follows that if theistic evolutionism is true then God permitted his one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church to teach authoritatively—if not in every instance dogmatically—a completely erroneous account of the creation and early history of the universe. Moreover, He willed that the correction of this error come not “from the contemplation and study of believers” and the teaching of the bishops—as Dei Verbum says that it should—but from the speculations of non-believers whose theories eventually fomented a revolution in the conventional wisdom within the Catholic Church. If this is true, who would trust such an incompetent, self-contradictory “god”?

Theistic evolutionism not only proclaims an incompetent god who contradicts himself, but breeds contempt for any kind of wisdom handed down from the “primitive” past. Since theistic evolutionists believe that the world is in a state of continuous evolution, they hold that man’s knowledge is continually superseded by “new developments.” The following story illustrates the devastating effects of this evolutionary mentality.

A Jewish rabbi recounted the following exchange on an airplane between his rabbi mentor and the communist head of the biggest labor union in Israel. After the plane took off, two young men appeared at the row of seats occupied by the rabbi and the communist, and began to assist the rabbi with his needs. The young men replaced the rabbi’s shoes with slippers since his feet swelled when the plane flew above 30,000 feet. Later they brought him a bag of homemade sandwiches and then they came with drinks. After observing all of this, the communist official remarked:

“Rabbi, I’m very impressed that your sons are so attentive to you.” So the Rabbi said, “Sons? No, those aren’t my sons. Those are my disciples. If my sons were here they would really be looking after me.” And the communist official began to weep a little bit. The rabbi said to him, “What’s the matter?” And he said, “You know, I’ve got four sons and in all the years – my four sons are grown – in all the years they’ve never done anything for me. And you’re telling me that in the short space that we’ve been together so far, in spite of what I’ve seen your disciples do, your sons would be doing even more for you! How can I not weep?” And so the rabbi said to him, “You shouldn’t weep. Your sons are as faithful to your teachings as mine are to mine.” The communist official said, “What are you talking about? I didn’t teach them not to ever do anything for me.” The rabbi said, “Maybe not in so many words, but didn’t you teach your children that human beings come from apes?” And the communist official said, “Well, of course! That’s the truth. I told them where we come from. I sent them to schools that taught that method.”

The rabbi said to him, “So then you must understand that each successive generation is one generation more removed from this ignoble beginning of apes. Therefore you are a little closer to the apes than they are. They are more developed than you are, because you’re a generation back closer to the apes. Therefore it’s only appropriate for a lesser life form to respect a higher one. And therefore if you’ve always served and taken care of your sons, you’ve done exactly what’s appropriate in accordance with your life view. But I chose a different approach. I taught my sons that we’re descended from God. That means every generation is a generation further away from this glorious origin. And therefore it’s only appropriate that my sons should respect me, not because of what I am, but because I represent one generation closer to the source.”[2]

This story poignantly illustrates the way that evolutionism—even in its theistic form—fosters contempt for Sacred Tradition, for cultural traditions, and for the wisdom of our fathers.

Reason #2

Theistic evolutionism fosters an anti-hierarchical vision of reality, including the Church and the family; the traditional doctrine of creation supports a hierarchical vision of reality, including the Church and the family.

The traditional understanding of Genesis conveys a hierarchical vision of reality, including a hierarchical understanding of the Church. Theistic evolutionism fosters an anti-hierarchical understanding of the Church. By envisioning the emergence of the first man and woman from ape-like parents, theistic evolution denies any kind of hierarchical relationship between Adam and Eve—although this flatly contradicts the traditional understanding of Genesis. According to patristic understanding, Adam was literally created before Eve. As dogmatically decreed at the Ecumenical Council of Vienne, Eve was literally created form Adam’s side, forming a type of the creation of the Church from the side of Christ on the Cross. In this way the creation of Eve mirrored the eternal generation of Christ by the Father. As Christ is “eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God . . . one in being with the Father,” so Eve was brought forth from the side of Adam, and shared the same nature as Adam. And just as the Holy Spirit is the endless living Love who proceeds from the Father through the Son, so the offspring of Adam and Eve were intended to be the fruit of their parents’ love, thus completing, in the human family, a perfect finite reflection of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

By denying the supernatural creation of Eve from Adam’s side, theistic evolutionism denies the Trinitarian and hierarchical nature of the human family. For the theistic evolutionist, Adam and Eve both arise from the lower animals by a process of natural evolution. The sexual act through which human children are propagated is thus reduced to an animal activity rather than a reflection of the Trinitarian mystery. According to the patristic understanding of Genesis, Adam was created to be Eve’s mediator, teacher, and protector. [For this reason the Hebrew words for “guard and to keep” connote the activities of a priest.] Adam alone receives the divine command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And the Fall does not take place until Adam—seeking to please his wife rather than God—joins her in disobedience to God’s command.

By denying each human father’s God-given responsibility to teach, govern, and sanctify his family, theistic evolutionism has contributed much to the emasculation and degradation of Catholic men. No longer reminded of his duty to teach, discipline, and spiritually direct his wife and children, the Catholic father now cheerfully abdicates his most important responsibilities, leaving his wife and his children’s teachers to teach, discipline, and sanctify his sons and daughters. But—since no one can take the place of a father—this is a burden they cannot bear. And so his abdication sets in motion the total disintegration of society.

The effects of this deviation from Tradition extend far beyond the human family to the very Household of God. By denying the divine design for the human family, theistic evolutionism challenges the hierarchical structure and male character of Church leadership. If Adam was not created before Eve but evolved at the same time as she did from ape-like creatures, then he has no special role in relation to her. And, since the Church is the “household (or family) of God,” if there is no divinely-designed hierarchy in the family placing man at the head, then why should there be a hierarchy in the Church, and why should men hold any special role as priests of the Church, since men and women have both “evolved” from the apes through natural processes? Indeed, if man was not created by God to be a priest to his wife and children, then why should the Church insist on a male priesthood? Why should the leader of the Church be a “Holy Father” instead of a “Holy Mother”?

Reasons #3

Theistic Evolutionism confuses and undermines the distinct divinely-instituted roles of men and women and indirectly contributes to the confusion of sexual roles. The traditional understanding of Genesis defines and strengthens the God-given roles of men and women and protects the dignity of both sexes and the leadership role of men.

According to the patristic understanding of Genesis, human sexuality is a gift from above, a reflection of the Trinitarian mystery. According to this traditional understanding of human sexuality, contraception, homosexuality, masturbation, and bestiality are all sacrilegious sins, in that they defile the life-giving reflection of Trinitarian divine love and render it sterile. According to theistic evolution, however, human sexuality came up from the apes. Homosexuals even argue that homosexuality is “natural” since certain species of apes and baboons practice homosexual play. Since man’s body evolved from animals of this kind, they argue, it is foolish to argue that homosexuality is against our nature.

The identification of the priesthood with masculinity after the pattern of the first Adam and of Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, led the Church Fathers to strongly condemn effeminacy and homosexuality in priests and monks. For the Holy Fathers, the identification of the priesthood with manhood was so strong that priests and monks were expected to be more manly, more courageous, and more ascetical than laymen. Not surprisingly, the rise of theistic evolutionism has coincided with a dramatic increase in homosexuality and effeminacy among the Catholic clergy along with a relentless feminization of the liturgy characterized by such things as female altar servers and inclusive language.

It is significant that the only treatise on clerical homosexuality by a doctor of the Church, St. Peter Damian’s Book of Gomorrh, specifically cites the Genesis accounts of divine judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrh and Onan in his devastating indictment of these crimes against nature. Summarizing St. Peter Damian’s treatise, author Randy Engler writes:

Damian decries the audacity of men who are “habituated to the filth of this festering disease,” and yet dare to present themselves for holy orders, or if already ordained, remain in office. [13] Was it not for such crimes that Almighty God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and slew Onan for deliberately spilling his seed on the ground? he asks. [14] Quoting St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Eph 5:5) he continues, “… if an unclean man has no inheritance at all in Heaven, how can he be so arrogant as to presume a position of honor in the Church, which is surely the kingdom of God?” [15]

The holy monk likens sodomites seeking holy orders, to those citizens of Sodom who threatened “to use violence against the upright Lot” and were about to break down the door when they were smitten with blindness by the two angels and could not find the doorway. Such men, he says, are stricken with a similar blindness, and “by the just decree of God they fall into interior darkness.” [16] If they were humble they would be able to find the door that is Christ, but they are blinded by their “arrogance and conceit,” and “lose Christ because of their addiction to sin,” never finding “the gate that leads to the heavenly dwelling of the saints”. . . [17][3]

Is it conceivable that homosexuality and clerical sexual abuse could have spread as widely as they have done in an atmosphere charged with faith in the literal historical truth of Genesis?

Reason # 4

Theistic evolutionism perverts the relationship between man and nature. The traditional doctrine of creation fosters a right relationship between man and nature.

According to theistic evolution, all creatures, including the human body, have arisen out of lifeless matter through billions of years of natural processes. This perspective harmonizes very well with the popular pantheistic slogan, “The earth does not belong to man. Man belongs to the earth.” Such a slogan would have been anathema to the Apostles and to the Holy Fathers of the Church. Within the context of their understanding of Genesis, it would have been blasphemous to suggest that the earth in any sense gave man his existence. All of the Holy Fathers recognized the literal truth of the Genesis account of the special creation of man, in which God alone used material elements to form man’s body but fashioned that body and infused his soul by a supernatural act of his Divine Will. According to the traditional understanding of Genesis, God created the whole universe for man. All things in heaven and earth are entrusted by God to us, as the stewards of creation.

The patristic understanding of Genesis fosters a deep reverence for the sacredness and mystery of life, including each particular kind of life. The traditional understanding of Genesis recoils at the thought of tinkering with the DNA of any kind of living thing, except to repair a known abnormality or genetic defect. The traditional understanding fosters a profound skepticism in regard to the safety of genetically modified foods, mindful of the purposeful God-given design of plant foods and the grave dangers inherent in tinkering with that design, especially when the genetically modified substances are ingested by human beings without rigorous testing in advance of the interaction between the GMF’s and the human body.[4]

According to theistic evolutionism, billions of years of death, destruction, mutations, and disease, have been the very means God has used to create the various kinds of creatures. To theistic evolutionists it is not at all unthinkable that man create clones, chimeras, or GMF’s, since, in their view, man is just imitating his “Father” who used random mutations and natural selection to “create” the first human body from the bodies of countless generations of ape-like creatures.

Reason #5

The traditional understanding offers hope for the future of mankind. Theistic evolutionism fosters either a false hope or a deep despair.

The traditional understanding of Genesis confers hope. It gives Christians confidence that the same beautiful harmony that existed throughout the whole universe “in the beginning” will be restored “in the end” through the working of the Holy Spirit. It also strengthens men’s faith in the credibility of the prophecies of numerous canonized saints who have foretold a future flowering of Christianity before the final judgment and the end of the world when many of the characteristics of the first created world will be restored. The Christian who comprehends and believes in the patristic understanding of creation also has the capacity to reconcile the occurrence of death-dealing natural disasters with the absolute goodness of God who wills no evil. In light of the traditional understanding of Genesis, the faithful know that destructive natural disasters do not reflect the natural order as it came forth from God’s hands. Moreover, they understand that such disasters result directly or indirectly from the sins of mankind, and that they have a twofold purpose—first, to correct sinners, and, second, to bring them to repentance. According to the traditional doctrine of creation, the first created world operated in perfect harmony and subordination to Adam and Eve, so long as they in turn remained subordinated to the Divine Will. The course of nature as we know it today resulted from a curse imposed on nature by God after Adam’s fall. With this in mind, the traditional understanding inspires a fervent hope that each repentant sinner and divinized saint brings the world one step closer to the day when the wolf will lie down with the lamb.

Theistic evolutionism cannot conceive of an original harmonious state of the universe, and thus either dismisses prophecies of a future restoration of the world before the final judgment or misinterprets them as referring to some kind of Teilhardian evolution of consciousness. In general, theistic evolutionism leads its adherents to believe that God deliberately ordained a struggle for existence and a process of natural selection as his means for producing the human body through secondary causes. For the theistic evolutionist, man-harming natural disasters, such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes, are just part of the ordinary course of nature as created by God from the beginning. Consequently, the theistic evolutionist does not see the connection between natural disasters and men’s sins, and thus fails to interpret “the signs of the times.” Faced with the painful reality of natural disasters, he either lives in a constant state of denial that God uses such events to accomplish his purposes without regard to human sin, or else he falls into despair at the contradiction between such a god and the God of love revealed in the Bible.

Reason # 6

Theistic evolutionism breeds indifference to the Lord’s Day and a wrong view of natural science. The Traditional doctrine of creation fosters appreciation and reverence for the Lord’s Day and a correct view of natural science.

Theistic evolutionism denies the primordial institution of the Sabbath “in the beginning.” For the theistic evolutionist, the seven day week is something that developed after man’s emergence from the apes. It was not something instituted by God for man from the very beginning of creation. This view contradicts the universal belief of the Church Fathers in the divine institution of the Sabbath and of the seven day week in the beginning of creation. The theistic evolutionist view also contradicts the very words of Our Lord who said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Indeed, implicit in these words is the idea that the Sabbath was “made” by God, for man—not just for the Hebrews—and must therefore have been made for him from the beginning. This same understanding is reflected in the ancient liturgies which speak of Sunday, “the first day of the week,” as the “first day of creation.”

The first public apparition of Our Lady in modern times with a message for the whole Church took place at La Salette, France, in 1846. Profanation of the Sabbath was one of the two main sins that Our Lady lamented at La Salette and she identified them as the cause of a severe famine and a terrible plague. Yet today the Sabbath is trampled upon everywhere and rarely, if ever, is mention made of this sacrilege from the pulpit.

Is it a coincidence that the sharp decline in Catholic Sunday observance coincided with the rise of theistic evolutionism in the Church? Consider this: Who is more likely to observe a strict day of rest from business, money-making and shopping, a Catholic who believes that God “rested” from his labor of creating new kinds of creatures on a literal seventh day, or a theistic evolutionist who believes that the seven day week was a man-made idea that arose after the evolution of the human body from inorganic matter through billions of years of death, disease, and random mutations? By analogy, would the practice of abstinence or some other kind of mortification on Friday increase or decrease if “scholars” succeeded in convincing the faithful that Jesus did not really die for us on a Friday?

Unfortunately, the consequences of the theistic evolutionist denial of a divinely-instituted Sabbath extend far beyond a failure to “keep the Lord’s Day holy.” Theistic evolutionists also reject the notion—shared by all of the Fathers and Doctors without exception—that there was a clearly defined creation period after which God ceased to create new kinds of creatures and allowed secondary causality to operate within the framework of natural laws. Consequently, the theistic evolutionist empties the notion of the Sabbath rest of the Lord of all of its meaning. According to the traditional understanding of Genesis, the Sabbath marked the end of the creation period, after which God ceased creating new kinds of creatures.

Abolishing the distinction between the creation period and the period of divine providence has led to major confusion about the limitations of natural science and the proper relationship between theology and the natural sciences. This in turn has led to a colossal waste of time, money, and energy on the part of governments and academic institutions which have tried to extrapolate from presently-observed natural processes all the way back to the moment of creation.

Reason # 7

The Traditional doctrine of creation fosters a realistic understanding of the spiritual forces of evil and attributes the evils of the world to man’s cooperation with them. By denying the literal historical of Genesis 1-11, theistic evolutionism blinds its adherents to the supernatural dimension of life, reduces many of the supernatural actions of God, angels, and demons, to natural causes, and thus makes its disciples unfit for spiritual warfare.

In the first chapters of Genesis, all of the Apostles and Fathers read a realistic account of the spiritual seduction of our first parents by Satan, the Prince of Darkness. Without exception, they understood the Christian life as spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of darkness. They lived their everyday lives with a keen awareness of the supernatural world, and of the constant struggle between good and evil spirits that raged within them and around them. For the Fathers of the Church, the Genesis account of the temptation and the Fall was an endless source of meditation and instruction in spiritual combat, which kept them in a state of constant vigilance and readiness to resist the wiles of the devil. Like the Holy Fathers, those who now embrace the traditional interpretation of Genesis find themselves attuned to the supernatural dimension of life, forewarned and forearmed for the spiritual combat, and more capable not only of protecting themselves from spiritual harm, but also the souls entrusted to their care.

By denying the historical truth of the first chapters of Genesis, theistic evolutionism has fostered a preoccupation with natural causes almost to the exclusion of supernatural ones. By denying the several supernatural creative acts of God in Genesis, and by downplaying the importance of the supernatural activity of Satan, theistic evolutionists easily slip into a naturalistic mentality which seeks to explain everything in terms of natural causes. Once this mentality takes hold, it is easy for men to regard the concept of spiritual warfare as a holdover from the days of primitive superstition. Diabolical activity is reduced to material or psychological causes. The devil and his demons come to be seen as irrelevant. Soon “hell” joins the devil and his demons in the category of antiquated concepts. And the theistic evolutionist easily makes the fatal mistake of thinking that he has nothing more to fear from the devil and his angels.

According to Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the chief exorcist of Rome, there is a tremendous increase in diabolical activity and influence in the formerly Christian world. And yet most of the bishops of Europe no longer believe in the existence of evil spirits and many no longer have even a single exorcist in their dioceses. To the Fathers of the Church who believed in the truth of Genesis, this would be incredible. But in view of the almost universal acceptance of theistic evolution, it is hardly surprising.

Reason # 8

The Traditional doctrine of creation fosters an intimate relationship between Christians and God, their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Theistic evolutionism erodes this intimacy.

According to the traditional understanding of creation, God created the entire universe for man at the very beginning of creation, about six thousand years ago. According to this interpretation of Genesis, there is nothing in the entire world that does not exist for man. Man has always been at center stage. Moreover, in the beginning, God and man lived in such intimacy that there was perfect communication between them. Adam’s every thought, word, and deed, unfolded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Adam saw God in all things, and all things in God. From this perspective, it is easy to believe that every human life is worth more than the entire material universe, and that the whole purpose of the universe is to provide a place for intimate union between God and his human children. From this perspective, the most harmful effect of Original Sin was the alienation from God that it produced, and all of the evils of human life—death, disease, mutations, violence, and selfishness—stem from the original loss of intimacy between God and his children.

In contrast to this traditional doctrine of creation, theistic evolutionism denies that man has had any special place in the history of the universe. According to the evolutionary time scale, for most of the world’s alleged 15 billion year history, man was nowhere to be found. Having evolved from the apes during the last 1 % of cosmic history, man is only a blip on the screen. Even then, he evolves into a state of nature characterized by violence, disease, mutations, natural disasters, and a relentless struggle for existence, all of it intended by God from the beginning to be part of man’s experience. Instead of a beautiful, perfectly harmonious universe, the first human beings awoke to—or evolved into—a world of bloodshed and misery. Moreover, God willed that man endure hundreds of thousands of years of violence, disease, crippling mutations, natural disasters, and a relentless struggle for existence, in the darkness of false beliefs, until God saw fit to reveal the rudiments of the natural and divine law to the Hebrews a few thousand years ago. According to this view, God preserved no accurate record of the vast bulk of human history, but simply inspired the Hebrews to re-fashion various pagan myths and legends into morally uplifting myths about 600 years before the Incarnation of Jesus.

Theistic evolutionism has spawned a host of novel interpretations of Genesis, most of which clash violently with the unanimous interpretations of Genesis made by the Church Fathers. Perhaps the most popular of these novel theories is known as progressive creationism. According to its proponents, the absence of transitional fossils in the fossil record indicates that God created the prototypes of the various kinds of creatures by an act of creation at various points in geological history.[5] However, through their unwillingness to challenge the evolutionist chronology of billions of years, the progressive creationists end by accepting all of the anomalies mentioned in the preceding paragraph—except that they believe that God shone a light in the darkness of geological ages by creating new kinds of creatures from time to time. According to progressive creationism, however, God did not perform these creative acts for the sake of man, who was not created until somewhere between 50,000 and 1,000,000 years ago, but for His own inscrutable purposes, which had nothing to do with creating a harmonious and welcoming home for his first human children. Needless to say, such attempts to “reform” or “save” theistic evolutionism and to reconcile it with the Catholic Faith bear little if any resemblance to the Faith of the Apostles, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church.

The New Evangelization

During his pontificate, the Holy Father Pope John Paul II asked the Church to devote all of her energies to a new evangelization. Moreover, he often voiced his conviction that the Church is about to enter into a “new springtime” which he identified with the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” and a “new holiness” which will “make Christ the heart of the world.” But it would seem that before the Church can respond to this prophetic call to devote all of her energies to proclaiming the Gospel, she must first resolve to teach all that Jesus has commanded, especially in regard to the fundamental truths of creation and the early history of man.

Hugh Owen

[1] For a devastating critique of macroevolution, see the first section of Dr. Walt Brown’s In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood (Phoenix, AZ: Center for Scientific Creation, seventh edition, 1995-2005). The entire text is available on the Internet.

[2] Rabbi Daniel Lapin, “Men and Marriage,” audio/video tape produced by Our Father’s Will Communications, 1995.

[3] Randy Engel, “St. Peter Damian’s Book of Gomorrah”

[4] Ronnie Cummins, “Hazards of Genetically Engineered Food” (requires registering at the web site)

[5] For an introduction to the geological revolution that persuaded many Catholic theologians to embrace Darwinian evolution and the geologic time scale, see Dr. Dominique Tassot’s paper “Influence of Geology on Deviations of Catholic Exegesis” at http://www.kolbecenter.org/ For a refutation of the principles underlying the geologic time scale, see Analysis of Main Principles of Stratigraphy on the Basis of Experimental Data and Misleading Geological Column also at http://www.kolbecenter.org/