Sunday, January 1, 2017

Evolution and Creation: Preliminary Thoughts for Consideration

"To begin with, let us define a few terms. Science is the study of the nature of the physical world, matter and energy. Philosophy is the study of reason or wisdom. Faith is the apprehension of reality through revelation.

"Science, by its nature, will not produce a philosophy of life. Its job is to observe what can be seen, tested, or deduced from evidence. Science, by itself, will never prove or disprove the existence of God. God, considered simply as a concept, is beyond the purvey of science, out of physics into metaphysics. The existence or non-existence of God is a philosophical problem when examined through reason. It is not, by definition, a scientific problem, but a matter of interpretation, at this level.

"The present state of science sees that the physical world, particularly the biological world, is in a state of change and development. (This, by the way, is an advance over the solid state theory that science held in the 18th Century, that is, that the world and its creatures were always the way they were and there was no reason to think they had ever changed or come into existence.) This is basically what evolution is: the idea that life changes.

"Historically, this has caused friction between some proponents of science and some proponents of faith. If humans developed from some ape-like ancestor (as the fossil record suggests) then divine creation need not factor into the equation. If evolution denies the hand of God in mankind's origin, then science must be mistaken or evil. So the followers of Scientism and Fundamentalism dance around in a circle, their hands at each others throats.

"But God is the God of truth, and He reveals Himself (besides of special revelations like his appearance to Moses or the Incarnation of Christ) also in the physical world. The truth of Reason (physical facts) and the truth of Faith (the revelations of God) are not incompatible. Perhaps it can best be explained by an analogy.

"A child asks the question, "How was I born?" A scientist might answer with a long technical description of eggs and sperm, DNA, cellular development, and gestation periods. His parents might answer, "We loved each other very much, and so we had you." Both replies are true; the parents explanation is not verifiable by empirical means, but may convey the more important truth about the child's existence.

"Now the Bible, in the earliest parts, tells the truth about God, man, and the universe in what we might now term a poetic or metaphorical or even mythological form. It is a way of imparting a simple but important truth, understandable to even a primitive or a child: God created the world and mankind. As the Bible goes on (and the Bible is a collection of books in many different modes; poetry, history, wisdom literature) it comes into clearer and clearer focus as God reveals Himself in history, culminating in the Incarnation.

"Consider this conjectural interpretation of the events in Genesis. God uses years and years of evolution to develop the human race from more primitive forms. Mankind becomes more and more evolved; they might have speech, tools, even art; they might be scientifically indistinguishable from modern humans. But at some point, God creates Man by infusing him with a soul, an immortal part, yearning for something beyond the world. God raises him out of "the dust," the physical world.

"Scientifically speaking, these new humans might be biologically indistinguishable from all the human animals that came before them, but they are new special creation. The story of the creation of the world in Genesis might even be the story of how they began to perceive the world as a phenomenon somehow separate from themselves, God creating this new "system of things" (kosmos) between the observer and the observed.

"According to Christianity, this special creation continues today, every time a new baby is formed: we are born in the Old Adam. One becomes re-born, re-created, a new creation, restored, enhanced, when one enters into a relationship with Christ, the New Adam."

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