Theistic Evolution: A Modern Feat or an Old Foot?
by Joseph Gedney
“Nothing under the sun is new,” cries Holy Writ, “neither is any man able to say: ‘Behold this is new’: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us,” (Eccl. 1:10) The Holy Spirit, in this passage, wants to warn us against the prideful supposition that modern man’s “enlightened” concepts have not emerged at some previous point in history. “[F]or it hath already gone before us in the ages that were before us” (Eccl. 1:10). What about one of modern man’s supposed “greatest” discoveries, evolution? Early Greco-Roman philosophers such as Democritus and Epicurus believed in a form of naturalistic evolution, but what about “theistic” evolution, the popular compromise between evolution and Christianity? Could it be that theistic evolution is just an old heresy which uses the cloak of “science” to gain credibility? After some reflection and study, we will discover that theistic evolution has put a modern wrapping on one of the world’s worst dualistic heresies: Albigensianism.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Albigensian heresy was “A neo-Manichæan sect that flourished in southern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The name Albigenses, given them by the Council of Tours (1163), prevailed towards the end of the twelfth century and was for a long time applied to all the heretics of the south of France.” The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on to say that the Albigenses believed in the co-existence of two mutually opposed Principles or gods “one good, the other evil. The former is the creator of the spiritual, the latter of the material world. The bad principle is the source of all evil; natural phenomena, either ordinary like the growth of plants, or extraordinary as earthquakes, likewise moral disorders (war), must be attributed to him. He created the human body and is the author of sin, which springs from matter and not from the spirit. The Old Testament must be either partly or entirely ascribed to him; whereas the New Testament is the revelation of the beneficent God. The latter is the creator of human souls, which the bad principle imprisoned in material bodies after he had deceived them into leaving the kingdom of light.”
Of course, all beliefs have consequences and since the Albigensians considered the body evil, duly “[S]uicide is commendable; it was customary among them in the form of the endura (starvation). The extinction of bodily life on the largest scale consistent with human existence is also a perfect aim. As generation propagates the slavery of the soul to the body, perpetual chastity should be practiced. Matrimonial intercourse is unlawful; concubinage, being of a less permanent nature, is preferable to marriage. Abandonment of his wife by the husband, or vice versa, is desirable.1” (Catholic Encyclopedia) At this point you may be asking, “What does this long-forgotten, bizarre heresy have to do with theistic evolution?” On the surface there may appear to be no correlation, but compare them and a host of similarities emerge.
Remember that the main tenet of the Albigensian heresy was the co-existence of two mutually opposed Principles or gods, one good, the other evil. The former is the creator of the spiritual, the latter of the material world. On reflection, it is not difficult to see that theistic evolutionists believe in a similar creed. They hold that God flipped a switch and ignited an explosion: the Big Bang. Then a potency, which I will be referring to as the “god” of evolution, came into being and created the material world we see around us, along with all the plants, animals, and eventually even our human bodies. God then infused into our advanced ape bodies a human soul. In other words, God created the spiritual world; and the god of evolution created the material world. Let us compare that to the Albigensian heresy’s principle that, “The former (the good god) is the creator of the spiritual, the latter (the evil god) of the material world.” This sounds disturbingly similar.
The Catholic Encyclopedia explains: “The bad principle is the source of all evil; natural phenomena, either ordinary like the growth of plants, or extraordinary as earthquakes, likewise moral disorders (war), must be attributed to him.” The theistic evolutionists have always struggled to find an answer to the question of the origin of evil. Logically, if evolution is true, then evil, death, and disease must predate Adam’s sin, which means that Adam’s sin didn’t cause evil to enter into the world. So, if evil didn’t enter the world on account of Adams sin, what did? The logical answer? Evil is a part of the “god” of evolution’s plan to arrive at its goal. Evolution wouldn’t work if there was no struggle to survive. So evil finds its cause in the “god” of evolution. In conclusion, the “god” of evolution is the principal source of evil, disease, death, war and everything in nature. If we compare this to the Albigensian heresy’s belief that “The bad principle is the source of all evil; natural phenomena, either ordinary like the growth of plants, or extraordinary as earthquakes, likewise moral disorders (war), must be attributed to him,” we find it remarkably similar.
The Albigensian heresy also maintains that, “The Old Testament must be either partly or entirely ascribed to him (the evil god); whereas the New Testament is the revelation of the beneficent God,” according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Similarly, to believe in theistic evolution, a Catholic evolutionist must discard much of the Old Testament, especially the first book of the Bible, since, taken literally, as all traditional Jewish commentators and Church Fathers did, it clearly contradicts his beliefs. To justify his rejection of Genesis as understood in the Judaeo-Christian tradition for more than three thousand years, the evolutionist argues that “Ancient men weren’t evolved enough to understand the truth of evolution.” Thus, with a slight alteration, the words of the Catholic Encyclopedia regarding the Albigensians apply just as well to theistic evolutionists: “The Old Testament must be partly wrong, since humans weren’t evolved enough to know the truth; the New Testament is the revelation to more evolved men.” Just as Albigensians believed that evil men wrote the Old Testament, so the theistic evolutionist believes that less evolved men produced the first books of the Bible.
According to the Albigensian heresy, the evil god “created the human body” (Catholic Encyclopedia) so in turn it was looked upon as evil along with all the material world. That is why suicide was not only considered lawful but good, as was anything to stop the generation of more humans. Marital relations were considered unlawful, and the abandonment of a spouse was seen as a good thing. Concubinage, being of a less permanent nature, was preferable to marriage. Suicide, divorce, an anti-child, anti-family attitude, all of this is the basis of the anti-culture of death, whose principal dogma is evolution. But atheistic evolutionists, and even many theistic evolutionists, do not promote and practice these things because they think the body is evil, but because, to them, our body is just a product of evolution from a sub-human primate. Thus, we see theistic evolutionists at the highest levels of the Church promoting GMO food as a cure for hunger in Africa; “brain death” as the criterion for human death; contraception as a necessity in certain cases; and a limit of two children per family as an ideal for Catholic couples. It is no coincidence that the effects of the different causes, or false beliefs, of the evolutionists and Albigensians are identical. The root of both heresies seems to boil down to one statement, “God did not create our body directly; so we can do with it as we please.”
Let us reflect on what we have learned so far. Using the Catholic Encyclopedia, we have compared the Albigensian heresy to evolution, especially to theistic evolution. Through our review we arrived at a logical conclusion: theistic evolution seems to have put a modern wrapping on the old errors of the Albigensian heresy. Even though the theistic evolutionist doesn’t believe that the body is evil, he does think of it as a naturalistically-driven combination of chemicals, and it is no coincidence that both falsehoods have the same consequences for faith and morals. They both have two creators, an evil one and a good one. They both believe that the evil god made the material and the good one made the spiritual world. They both discard at least some of the Old Testament but generally cling to the New. Finally, all atheistic evolutionists, many theistic evolutionists, and all Albigensians seem to have adopted the same morality regardless of their different grounds for believing it. But the connections don’t stop here; the roots run deeper, for “nothing is new under the sun.”
The celebrated 20th century writer, Hilaire Belloc, wrote on the Albigensian heresy in his book The Great Heresies in which he states, “The false doctrine, of which the Albigensians were a main example, has always been latent among men in various forms, not only in the civilization of Christendom but wherever and whenever men have had to consider the fundamental problems of life, that is, in every time and place… For this permanent trouble of the human mind has swollen into three great waves during the Christian period, of which three the Albigensian episode was only the central one. The first great wave was the Manichean tendency of the early Christian centuries. The third was the Puritan movement in Europe accompanying the Reformation, and the sequel of that disease, Jansenism.” (The Great Heresies, Ch.V) In other words, the Albigensian heresy is just one of four great heresies that have threatened the Church over and over again throughout history and they all sprang from the ancient heresy of Manicheanism, a heresy of dualism positing the existence of an evil god and a good god. (Remember that when the Catholic Encyclopedia describes Albigensianism it defines it as “a neo-Manichæan sect”.) But, as seen above, it seems that a new, more poisonous form of a neo-Manichæan sect has engulfed the earth under the name of theistic evolution.
Belloc continues, “Now what is this general tendency or mood which, from its earliest name, was called Manichean, which, in its most clear-cut form with which we are about to deal, is called the Albigensian, and which we know in modern history as Puritanism? What is the underlying motive power which produces heresies of this kind?” (The Great Heresies, Ch.V) In other words, what do all these heresies have in common? One of Hilaire Belloc’s replies is, “Now the Manichean was so overwhelmed by the experience or prospect of suffering and by the appalling fact that his nature was subject to mortality, that he took refuge in denying the omnipotent goodness of a Creator.” (The Great Heresies, Ch.V) Theistic evolutionists believe that God created a potency in the beginning which used death, disease, and struggle to achieve the goal of forming the material universe. So theistic evolutionists believe that God indirectly created what we call evil today. How can a good Creator create evil? Like the Manicheans and Albigensians of old, the theistic evolutionist denies the omnipotent goodness of the Creator.
Taking all of this into account, it would be the height of folly for the theistic evolutionist to appeal to St. Augustine, one of the Manicheans’ greatest adversaries. St. Augustine wrote two books against these heretics entitled: On Genesis: A Refutation of the Manichees and The Catholic Way of Life and the Manichean Way of Life. In these works he condemned both the Manichean’s way of life and his beliefs. So how can the theistic evolutionist claim the support of a Doctor and Father of the Church who fought Manicheanism, an ancient form of theistic evolution? Thankfully for the Church (and for humanity) Albigensianism, in its medieval form, was eventually rooted out. Nonetheless, this proved to be no minor task; it took one of the greatest saints the world has ever seen, St. Dominic. In 1197 St. Dominic traveled from Spain to Denmark with an embassy to coordinate a marriage between a Danish princess and a Spanish prince. On the way they had to travel through southern France, then the capital of the Albigensian heresy. On the journey he saw the devastation that Albigensianism had wrought, and when the Danish princess died an untimely death, St. Dominic found his vocation, to bring southern France back to the truth. After fifteen years of preaching and converting the Albigensians, St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers or, as we know them today, the Dominicans. Through the joint efforts of the early Dominican Order and the Albigensian Crusade, Albigensianism was stopped in its tracks, for a time. But it seems as though the Albigensian heresy has been restored in a more deadly form, in the errors of theistic evolution, so that “the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first.” (Luke 11:26) Indeed, the much-vaunted “new feat” of “theistic evolution” bears the unmistakable mark of the “old foot”—the cloven hoofprint—of the father of lies!
Sadly, members of the Dominican Order may be some of the strongest supporters of theistic evolution, alias Albigensianism, within the Church today. The Dominican friars who run the website Thomistic Evolution, a Catholic Approach to Understanding Evolution in the Light of Faith, provide a sad example of those who support theistic evolution to the point of denying the historical truth of Genesis. It would seem as if the Order that was created to root out the errors of the Albigensian heresy has embraced them! As members of the Kolbe Center, all might seem lost, as we behold this error infecting almost the entire Church, including the very Order that should be leading the fight against it. No matter how eloquently we defend the true Catholic doctrine of creation, hardened hearts remain cynical. For as Christ said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.” (Luke 16:31) Today we are in a similar predicament to St. Dominic who at first labored without success when trying to convert the Albigensians. St. Louis De Montfort writes of this in his book, The Secret of the Rosary:
Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people’s sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse, where he prayed continuously for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of God. He used his discipline so much that his body was lacerated, and finally he fell into a coma. At this point our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” “Oh, my Lady,” answered Saint Dominic, “you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.” Then our Lady replied, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.” (The Secret of the Rosary para. 11)
Our Lady gave us the Holy Rosary to utilize as the “weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world.” Our Lady has given us the answer through St. Dominic: The Holy Rosary is the key to penetrating hearts and minds and converting them to the truth of the “sacred history of Genesis,” turning them away from the errors of Albigensianism and theistic evolution. When the Papal Legate, Castelnau, was murdered, presumably by order of Count Raymond of Toulouse, an Albigensian himself, Pope Innocent III called for a Crusade against the Albigensians. Without the Holy Rosary, the Crusade would not have been successful and western civilization would have been destroyed. St. Louis de Montfort testified to this truth:
It is almost impossible to do credit sufficiently to the victories that Count Simon de Montfort won against the Albigensians under the patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary. They are so famous that the world has never seen anything to match them. One day he defeated ten thousand heretics with a force of five hundred men; on another occasion he overcame three thousand with only thirty men; finally, with eight hundred horsemen and one thousand infantrymen he completely routed the army of the King of Aragon, which was a hundred thousand strong, and this with the loss on his side of only one horseman and eight soldiers. (The Secret of the Rosary para. 105)
The Holy Rosary was and is the weapon against the errors of the Albigensian heresy and theistic evolution! As members of the Kolbe Center we have the crucial key to victory, as Pope Blessed Pius IX stated: “Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” With the Holy Rosary, anything is possible! Our Lady, destroyer of all heresies, will watch over the Kolbe Center if we entrust ourselves to her care. According to St. Louis de Montfort, St. Dominic forced a demon in a possessed man to admit, “Who, of all the saints in heaven, is the one you fear most, who should therefore be the most loved and revered by men?” After much unwillingness the demons finally admitted:
[L]isten, you Christians. This Mother of Jesus is most powerful in saving her servants from falling into hell. She is like the sun which destroys the darkness of our wiles and subtlety. It is she who uncovers our hidden plots, breaks our snares, and makes our temptations useless and ineffective. We have to say, however reluctantly, that no soul who has really persevered in her service has ever been damned with us; one single sigh that She offers to the Blessed Trinity is worth far more than all the prayers, desires, and aspirations of all the saints. We fear her more than all the other saints in heaven together, and we have no success with her faithful servants.” (The Secret of the Rosary para. 101-104)
If we truly want to change hearts, if we truly want to become crusaders for truth, then, as Our Lady of Fatima requested, we need to “pray the Rosary every day,” for the success of the Kolbe Center, for the end of the damaging influence of the philosophy of evolution, and for the restoration of the true doctrine of creation as the foundation of our Faith. For, if we do this, Our Lady will surely bless our work, and, in the end, we will be victorious!
Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!
Joseph Gedney is a 16 year old Catholic home-schooled student from Littleton, Colorado. Besides studying the tragic follies of evolutionism, Joseph enjoys playing baseball and building robots.