Evolution and Catholic Dogma


Anthony Gonzales

Our generation was raised upon the idea that evolution is the most logical and scientific way that the origin of living creatures can be explained. With complete confidence in what they taught  us  we were repeatedly told that our origin as human beings did not come about in an instant but rather that we  are the present product of  millions  of  years  of  evolution . According  to  the hypothesis proposed by "scientists" beginning with Darwin; our  primordial  ancestors were microscopic organisms which eventually evolved into air breathing animals capable of walking upon  dry  land. From the various species which developed, we can  trace our  first  real  mammalian  ancestor  (we are told) to tiny little shrew like creatures which existed nearly 65,000,000 years ago during the final stages of the Mesozoic era called the Cretaceous period.


We can define the general theory of evolution as the development of material things from the most   simple of creatures to the most complex of creatures provoked by the necessity of adaptation.  In other words, all living things developed from very simply living beings through a process of either slow or sudden mutation.  This evolutionary process is call natural selection. From this process we get the term "survival of the fittest".


Pope John Paul II gave a speech in October 1996 to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences where he in essence affirmed the possibility of evolution as a legitimate scientific explanation of the creation of the world.  In  this speech he referred to the fact that there are "theories" of evolution and it would be wrong to say that evolution could be relegated to a single theory. This, of course, was  picked up by the press  and made to sound like the Pope had just  come out  to  affirm evolution as a "scientific" fact.  What  in  fact  Pope John Paul said was  merely a reiteration of what Pope Pius XII  had  said  in 1950 with the publication of his  Encyclical  letter Humani Generis . But John Paul's statement was much stronger in its implication that  supposedly the scientific research in evolution seems to lend more credence to its possibility. This is what Pope John Paul II said:


"Humani Generis, considered the doctrine of evolutionism as a serious hypothesis, worthy of a more deeply studied investigation and  reflection on a par with the opposite hypothesis. ...Today , more than a half century after this encyclical, new knowledge leads us to recognize in the theory of evolution more than a hypothesis. ...The

convergence, neither sought  nor induced, of  results  of work done independently one from  the other, constitute s in  itself a significant argument in favor of this theory."



In  Humani Generis  Pope Pius XII  basically said that the concept of evolution was not in and of itself completely inimical to the Catholic Faith.  Nevertheless, it had to be understood from within the context of the Revelation of Christ.  This means  that certain principles must be maintained  for  a  Roman Catholic to accept as possible the theory of evolution.


#1.  Nothing comes from nothing. Therefore, God's supremacy  in the creation of matter and in design of the universe must  be acknowledged. He is the first principle of all that exists.


#2.    That God, if He used evolution, did so not out of necessity imposed on Him by nature itself (as if the nature He created had authority of its own) but rather  because He chose to  do  so  out of His infinite wisdom.


#3.    That the human spiritual soul is not the product of evolution but is created directly by God and infused into the human  body at the moment of conception.  Therefore, the spiritual  souls  of  Adam and  Eve were created by God and infused into  them when the natural evolution of the human body had reached its present state.


#4. That there is no such thing as polygenism, that is, multiple pairs of humans  throughout  the world.  According to revelation there were only two progenitors of the human race whom we call  Adam and Eve. To  accept  polygenism is  to  reject the dogma  of original sin and  consequently the need for a Redeemer.



According  to  Pope  Pius  XII,  as  long as one  remains within the parameters  of the  above mentioned  4  limitations  imposed by the  knowledge of divine revelation, then real  scientific  investigation   can  speculate about  how God chose to create the universe.


Intentions of Pius XII


This position of Pius XII was very well thought out and prudent.  He did not wish to condemn as absolutely impossible the concept of evolution, first  because the Sacred Scriptures were  never meant  to be  a scientifically based journal on the creation of the universe  in  general  and mankind in particular.  They are rather the inspired  insights  given  to man by God to reveal certain truths  about Himself and His creation that  we  might come to  know and love God more profoundly.  In other words, the Scriptures are about man's relationship to God and  His relationship  to us.  It is not  supposed to be National Geographic .  Second, because he wanted to avoid making  the same mistake that his   predecessor  made when  condemned  the writings of Galileo.

(Note: A clear and objective reading of  history shows that in reality Galileo was not condemned because of his scientific findings but rather because the Church wanted time to synthesize his findings with statements in Scripture which seemed to contradict scientific data. He published his findings as an "in your face" challenge to the authority of the Papacy.  The Pope had no choice but to act in the way he did, his hand being forced by the disobedience and imprudence of Galileo.)


The subsequent  fallout  over the Galileo incident from the scientific community and enemies of the Church who distorted the real intentions behind the Pope's condemnation have been a sore point  even since. Finally, Pope Pius XII wanted to clarify the most  important  teachings  of Genesis and to  correct errors which the theory  of evolution had evoked due to the materialist and atheistic bent of those who proposed it as the only solution to the existence of the universe. In other  words, Pope Pius XII wanted to address the reality of the spiritual nature of humanity and the sovereignty of God over His creation.


Thus in 1981 Pope John Paul II addressed the same Pontifical Academy of Sciences with the following words:


"The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and  its  makeup, not  in order to  provide us with  a  scientific treatise but  in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with  the universe.  Sacred scripture wishes simply to declare  that the world  was  created  by God,  and  in order to teach this  truth it expresses  itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer.... Any other teaching about  the origin and  make up of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible,

which does not wish to teach how the heavens were made but how  one goes  to heaven."


To add  further  to  this line of thought it must be noted that Roman Catholic doctrine has  never  said that we must take the story of a magic tree and talking snake to be literal  historical events but that the how of creation and the particulars of Adam and Eve's sin can be seen through stories developed to explain the fact that God is  Creator  of all that exists, that He established and directs the order of His creation, that He created spirit  directly and infused it into matter thus creating a first  man  and woman  from whom all  other humans  come, that  these  first  human's were  innocent  and  filled with knowledge and the life of  grace from God  Himself  and that  finally  they  used their individuality  in opposition to God's will and sinned.  Whether  or  not  the devil  spoke through a snake or  appeared to them as  an angel of  light  it  doesn't  matter.  Nor  does  it  matter  if  they  ate a forbidden fruit or  stepped  on  forbidden grass  or   simply  chose  their  own will over and above God's.  The point is that they chose self rather than God and did so deliberately and with the malice of pride.


Darwin's Concept of Evolution


The Darwinian  concept of evolution is based purely upon the premise that the whole process of creation was not started or directed by an Omnipotent  God but rather was the product of random chance with no direction or  design.  For the materialistic  atheist    "design"  is  simply the product of adaptation  nothing more or nothing less.


The Darwinian theory of evolution has some incredibly difficult problems to  overcome  for  it  to  be taken seriously  as  a theory  based on fact. This will be discussed further on in this article.  Nevertheless, it  is  important to note that whether or not  evolution was a process of imperceptible mutations which contribute to the natural selection of the species or was a process of sudden mutations which produced new species   it  still  does not account for how the  being  now  known  as  Homo  sapiens   learned how to be human. From whence came their sense of culture?  The  ape  ancestors  of  the Darwinian humans  could not  have possibly passed on human culture, speech, and human behavior  to their  mutant offspring!  So, how  did man learn to act like man and not just another ape?


Christian Theories of Evolution


I would like to  make it crystal clear that I do not subscribe to any theory of evolution presently given as an explanation for  the  origins  of  living  matter. I will give my reasons below.  However, it  is useful to understand what  those Christian "scientists"  say  who speculate  that God may have used evolution as the means by which He created the universe and ultimately man.  By understanding their hypotheses  I believe  it is much easier to show how even these theories are contrary to the  revelation given  to us through Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition.


Both Pope Pius XII and Pope John Paul II have come out to specifically address the problem of evolution as a scientific theory which has  been used by  atheists  to  promote  atheistic thought  and  to  give  a "scientific"  explanation of the universe that those who do not believe could have some basis for their unbelief.


Christian evolutionists have tried to synthesize the theory of evolution with Christian doctrine.  Today the Modernists do not even try to make this blending of apparently opposing view points but what the Popes have said is that in order to remain Catholic you must follow the above mentioned principles when postulating the existence of evolution.  So what would that look like.  Well  there  are several ways those theories  could be presented, but let's look at a brief scenario:


When God created matter He did so in a natural form of chaos. He then "molded" it  into  the stars,  planets  and the whole physical universe through natural mechanisms which He had woven within all things. This was a slow process in time and space. When the earth had been formed and was ready God created the first forms of life. By His direction of the long process of evolution and the various stages of mutation within each original species and their subsequent species God ultimately  brought  to  completion the creatures  He had intended to create from the beginning.  The ultimate goal of evolution was to be found in Man. Once  evolution had  developed  the physical bodies  God  designed  to receive a human spirit  then He  chose  two of this new  species (male & female) and  infused into  each one  a human spirit; that is a spirit with the ability of self-reflective and abstract thought. In other words, a creature who knows and knows that he knows.  At that moment humanity was born.  Now since He gave them a soul that reasons and is not simply moved by instinct God would at the same time have to infuse them with intellectual  knowledge to know whatever was necessary.  Otherwise they would have simply imitated  the animals with which they were surrounded. Also without this  infused knowledge they would not have been able to communicate with each other through language. They were also filled with God's sanctifying grace because they were innocent  and  God's  desired for them to be in intimate union with Himself through  their  own free choice.  It  is  from  this first pair of humans that all humans would have descended.


The Philosophical

Problems of Evolution


At  a  first  glance  the  Christianized concept   of  evolution,  when  looked at  through the eyes  of  Christian  revelation  seems  to  dovetail nicely with the supposed progress of science in the many different areas where it seems to accept the concept of evolution as a fact. It allows Catholics to look both educated and sophisticated when it comes to Mankind's progress in  science  and technology. For many scientists the idea of "creationism" as opposed to evolution is tantamount to believing that the world is flat or that  the earth  is the center of the universe. Experience tells us that everything in this  world is in flux and constant change which also lends a certain amount of credence to the concept of evolution.  In fact, we use the word evolution about a variety of changes where we recognize the development from one form to another even within the same  individual.


Nevertheless, there are some apparently insurmountable problems associated with the theory of evolution particularly from a Christian stand point. The First and primary problem is the fact that God as the Infinitely All Powerful and Perfect Being cannot bring forth imperfection  from Himself.  In other words, it  makes no  sense  that God who is  omnipotent  would  choose to create things outside Himself incomplete  and through stages of development  instead  of  what He originally  intends them to be in the first place. It  must  be  remembered that  for  the evolutionist  no living thing  is  ever completely what  it  seems  to  be  but  everything  is  actually  in  a  constant   state of becoming something  else. So we can only  be  considered Homo sapiens now  at  this  present  epoch but what humanity will evolve into can only be speculated upon by the  evolutionists.  We have no experiential knowledge of evolution only a hypothesis or theories of evolution. It has never been observed that one species has evolved from another different species.


Only perfection can come from perfection. Therefore, when He Who Is Infinite Perfection itself created a finite creature His creation would have been by virtue of His nature perfectly what He intended to create.  For instance, when  He thought  of  creating a tree God thought  of  that  tree in all its perfection. The perfect  oak tree, the perfect  cypress tree, the perfect redwood, every  variety  of  tree was created immediately and perfectly as it was  thought  to be in the infinite mind of God before anything other than God existed.  Finite creation therefore was created  originally to perfectly express the thought within the mind of the Creator. What came first the chicken or the egg? The chicken, of course, the egg has to come from a chicken  because an egg cannot reproduce itself.


According to evolutionist theories the process of creation to produce the first trees was an almost infinitely long process that when considered reasonably just doesn't make any sense. Even if God was directing evolution it would be contrary to the nature of infinite perfection to bring  forth His  creation  in a state of imperfection and corruption.  God  can do anything. If it was God's intention to create human beings as the pinnacle of His creation does it make any sense that the All Powerful and All Mighty God would start with a microscopic amoeba? 


By  reason  we  can  know that God exists  and we can ascertain His attributes  from the things He has made. We can determine by reason, for instance, that God is infinitely good and that he is the author of life.  If we accept the  general theory of evolution we would also have to say that He is the author of death, corruption and violence.  Evolution  assumes  a violent cause to the universe and an incomplete result. Everything  is  always  in  the  process  of  becoming  something  else.  Therefore, according to the theory of  evolution, whatever  God may have originally intended to create has not yet become what it is supposed to be.


There is a natural evolution,  as  I stated  above.  But this evolution is not from one species to another but just a matter of development from within the species itself. Thus the Zygote becomes the embryo, the embryo becomes the fetus, the fetus the infant, the infant  the  toddler, the toddler the child, the child the adolescent, and finally the adolescent becomes the adult.  The adult  is  in essence the exact same individual as the zygote the only difference is that the adult has reached the full perfection toward which the design was intended.  True evolution then is simply development  and  adaptation from within the species itself, not an essential change in the species from one to another as claimed by the evolutionist.


The Theological 

Problems with Evolution


"Therefore as through one man sin entered  the world  and through sin death, and  thus  death  has passed  unto all  men because all have sinned."      

                                       (Romans 5:12)

"For creation was made subject  to vanity not by its own will but by reason  of him who made it subject--in hope, because  creation itself also will be delivered from its slavery to corruption into  the  freedom   of the glory of the sons of God. For we know that  all creation groans and travails  in pain  until  now.               (Romans 8:20-22)


Note  what has been quoted above. According to divine revelation not only man but  all  of  creation which had been made subject to man was forced  into  futility, corruption and death by the sin of Adam.  In other words, THERE WAS NO DEATH in the world before the disobedience of Adam and Eve.  If you are a Christian evolutionist you are forced to contend with this obvious dilemma.  Because evolution is based not on life but on death, corruption and mutation.  Everything to the evolutionist  was  created  in  violence and through death.  From the beginning of creation each creature vied with the other  to  dominate  and  to survive.  Each fed upon the other.  In the  world of the evolutionist  disease, corruption, death, mutation, pain  and suffering have been the constant lot of every living  creature  as  it  supposedly wrestled to become something other than what it was created to be in the first place.


It   is  a dogma of the Faith that there was no death until the sin of Adam and Eve and without  death there can be no evolution unless it happened after the fall in what  might  be called the post-  cataclysmic age. But if that is the case evolution becomes a very complicated theory indeed and you will see that the whole theory does not stand up to the weight of evidence against it. Nevertheless, to postulate death before the fall is heresy and violates Canon 1. of  the Council  of  Carthage 418 and Canon 2 of the Council of Orange II 529. It also violates Sacred Scripture:


"Do not invite death by error of your life, nor bring on destruction by the works of your hands; because God did not  make  death and  He does not delight in the death of the living. "(Wisdom 1:12-13)


"...but through  the devil's envy death entered the world..." (Wisdom 2:24)


It  is  the constant  teaching of the Catholic Church that  all of creation was originally made perfect and what God intended it to be in itself.   God created all things out of nothing and brought forth living creatures in their finite perfection exactly as they were conceived in His infinite mind from all eternity. There was no death, not because they could not die but because God is the author of life and not of death. What He created to live He created to stay alive. The original creatures were in pure act.  All of their potential was  immediately and perfectly actualized in the moment of their creation.


Another  theological  problem that must be faced by the theistic evolutionist is that because man is in a constant  state of becoming something else, according to the main premise of evolution. So one could say that Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, united His divinity with a lower species of humanity than what humanity is destined to become. Of course there are those theistic evolutionists like Teilhard De Chardin who  espoused the idea that Jesus was the pinnacle of human evolution toward which all mankind is moving.  The problem with this  theory is that it looks  at original  sin as merely a condition of humanity's present state but that we are some how capable  of evolving past this apparent "glitch" in humanity's present state of evolution.


Wrong!!! No  matter what fantasies the Modernists may present for an explanation of their bastardized theology their Siren's songs cannot negate the truth of the Gospel. Humanity cannot evolve beyond the devastating effects of original sin anymore than it can grow wings  and fly. Humanity has been wounded and the only remedy for that wound is the healing balm of Christ's Redemption. Our humanity will be permanently healed in the resurrection of the dead on the last day. Until then we will continue to struggle to conform ourselves to the human nature God originally intended.


The Evidence?


To even begin to expose the web  of  lies and false scientific "finding" that have been used to promote the fantasy of evolution in such a brief article as this would be impossible. The real truth is that evolution has been promoted by those who are atheistic and wish to  have  an  explanation of the universe that does not depend upon an Omnipotent Creator.  In fact, even though Darwin at the end of his book The Origin of the Species tries to soften the blow of his theory by saying it would only give more glory to God if we found He created everything in this manner, he nonetheless, soon after the publication of his book publicly renounced Christianity  and  proclaimed  himself  an atheist. With  evolution as their dogma three terrible evils came into the world: Marxism with its various forms of socialistic communism; Secular Humanism with its various forms of social liberalism; and Modernism.


The Second Law of Thermal Dynamics


The theory  of evolution  is  based  upon the  predication that all living things  are  constantly  becoming more complex and more superior to  their ancestors. Yet we know that the whole universe is ruled by certain physical laws such as gravity. For science to ignore gravity would be folly  since it rules  the  movement  and  stability  of the  celestial  bodies,  as well as  what  is on those bodies. A physical law which pertains  directly to evolution is the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

This law states:


"Any system that is subject to random agitations will eventually  attain  its most disordered condition....The entropic progress from order to disorder may then be viewed as an example of the general tendency of chaotic disruptions to disturb organization and structure. ...The tendency toward equilibrium is so fundamental to physics that the second law is probably the most universal regulator of natural activity known to science."                                                          (Encyclopedia Britannica 1989)


The Second Law  of  Thermal  Dynamics  is considered the most  fundamental  law  of physics.  It says that everything  by  nature  seeks balance and once this balance is disturbed the natural tendency is to go from order to disorder.  This is in direct conflict to the theory of evolution.  It means that science  has always observed things falling apart not becoming more complex.


For example: In cases of intra-family marriages or the children of incest the tendency is not toward greater genetic purity but rather just the opposite. In fact, during the reign of kings in Europe many of their children were frequently stricken with  genetic deformities  or genetic diseases. Hemophilia or bleeding disease was quite frequent amount the offspring of royalty.


So in truth when observing the material universe science observes things "winding down" or falling apart rather than becoming stronger and better. We actually have empirical evidence of devolution not evolution.


Adaptation vs Evolution


In looking at the above law of thermodynamics the evolutionist will retort that we can see the process of evolution in the simplest living creatures known to man; viruses and bacteria.  It would seem to be the case, because science is observing how bacteria and viruses which we thought we had conquered through antibiotics and antiviral medicines are now returning more virulent and destructive than ever.  It  seems  that  these creatures have evolved to protect themselves from our chemical warfare. In actual fact they have not evolved in the Darwinian sense but have rather adapted to the new environment into which we have placed them. Adaptation is not evolution in the Darwinian sense at all.  These viruses and bacterium have remained viruses and bacterium.  If they had evolved they would have changed into something completely different than what they remain.  "Micro-evolution" is simply adaptation and there is no evidence that it leads to so called macro-evolution from one species to another.  =


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