"The Serve": EVOLUTION AND THE CHURCH
The Protestant Episcopal Church.
Catholic Church (def. Am. Heritage Dictionary) n.
The Roman Catholic Church.
Episcopal Church: The Bible, including Genesis, is not a divinely dictated scientific textbook. (The Episcopal Church)
Below the Episcopal Church answer questions that will help religious people to better understand that evolution is a fact of the REAL world, that humankind actually has learned something the last 2000 years since the Bible was written. If you are interested there are much more on the Episcopal Church's home page. The Episcopal Church accepted evolution in 1982. Although the Episcopal Church have not spoken officially on evolution, in a resolution passed by General Convention in 1982, the Church affirmed the ability of God to create in any form and fashion, which would include evolution.
Episcopalians believe that the Bible 'contains all things necessary to salvation', but the Bible does "not contain all necessary truths about everything else". "The Bible, including Genesis, is not a divinely dictated scientific textbook. We discover scientific knowledge about God's universe in nature not Scripture." Episcopal Church. Catechism of Creation, Part II: Creation and Science. Does the Bible teach science? Do we find scientific knowledge in the Bible? http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm (September 10, 2006).
"Is it proper to speak of an evolving creation? Yes. When astronomers look out into space they look back in time. Thus, they are able to see our universe at many stages of cosmic evolution since it's beginning in the Big Bang. Here on earth biologists, paleontologists, geneticists and other scientists are showing that life has evolved over four billion years, and are reconstructing evolution's history. None of these scientific discoveries and the theories that explain them stands in conflict with what the Bible reveals about God's relationship to the creation." Episcopal Church. Catechism of Creation, Part II: Creation and Science. Is it proper to speak of an evolving creation? http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm (September 10, 2006).
"Isn't evolution just a theory? Theories are not mere guesses or hypotheses, as people often suppose. When enough evidence supports a hypothesis that has been created to explain some facts of nature, it becomes a theory. A theory is a well-established concept that is confirmed by further scientific discoveries and is able to predict new discoveries. The Big Bang theory and cosmic evolution are confirmed by discoveries in physics ranging from the smallest known particles of matter to the processes by which galaxies are formed. Biological evolution is a web of theories strongly supported by observations and experiments. It fits in with what we know about the physical evolution of the universe, and has been confirmed by evidence gathered from the remains of extinct species and from the forms and environments of living species." Episcopal Church. Catechism of Creation, Part II: Creation and Science. Isn't evolution just a theory? http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm (September 10, 2006).
"What evidence is there that human beings are also evolved creatures? Fossil discoveries show that human beings and monkeys, chimpanzees, and other primates can trace their lineage to a common ancestor living about seven million years ago. We humans share almost identical DNA and key protein molecules with chimpanzees. We also are the most recent descendents of a line of hominid creatures now extinct. The earliest fossils of our human-like ancestors are about 6.7 million years old. The first modern humans appeared about 120,000 years ago." Episcopal Church. Catechism of Creation, Part II: Creation and Science. What evidence is there that human beings are also evolved creatures? http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm (September 10, 2006).
"Why are many Christians opposed and hostile to evolution? Many Christians have been taught to believe that evolution is opposed to creation, and that a believer cannot accept evolution and also believe in God. Neither of these assertions is true. Two alternatives to biological evolution put forth by some Christians are called "Young Earth Creationism" and "Intelligent Design." Episcopal Church. Catechism of Creation, Part II: Creation and Science. Why are many Christians opposed and hostile to evolution? http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm (September 10, 2006).
"What is 'Intelligent Design'? The proponents of the Intelligent Design Movement assert that it is possible to discern scientifically the actions of God in nature. They claim that certain features of living organisms are "irreducibly complex," too complex to believe that they could ever have developed through biological evolution. Therefore, they can be accounted for only by the direct action of an Intelligent Designer. Most advocates of "Intelligent Design" oppose biological evolution, which they equate with what they call "Naturalism." They define "Naturalism" as a philosophical belief system that claims that nature is all that exists, and therefore there is no God who acts in nature. To scientists, however, "naturalism" has a far different meaning: they seek to study and seek to understand nature using methods that make no claims either for or against the existence of God." Episcopal Church. Catechism of Creation, Part II: Creation and Science. Why are many Christians opposed and hostile to evolution? http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm
"If new species arise through evolution, then why do creatures exhibit features that look like they are designed? Theologians once argued that the structures of the heavens and the designs of living creatures provide evidences for the existence of God. We now know that the structures of matter and living things are actually the outcome of evolutionary processes. Design in living organisms is now understood to be an internal rather than an external process, their forms arising within the creatures themselves rather than being imposed from without. Theologically speaking, we can understand the powers and capacities in nature that produce evolving and emerging design in creatures as a sign of the giftedness of creation, and give glory to God for it." Episcopal Church. Catechism of Creation, Part II: Creation and Science. If new species arise through evolution, then why do creatures exhibit features that look like they are designed? http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm
Catholic Church: The formulation of a theory like that of evolution complies with the need for consistency with the observed data (Pope John Paul II)
Below is some information on or from the Catholic Information Network's home page and the translated speech, the John Paul II gave in French, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. However, first note that Pope Pius XII accepted evolution already in 1950 in Humani Generis, which is still relevant to the Church's position on evolution. Pope Pius XII often reconsidered previously accepted truth, and was also the first Pope to determine that the use of pain medicine in terminally ill patients was justified.
"In his Encyclical Humani generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points." Pope John Paul II. 1996. Magisterium is concerned with question of evolution for it involves conception of man: Message to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996. http://www.cin.org/jp2evolu.html
The pope display an amazing insight and understanding of biology with the following statement:
"Furthermore, while the formulation of a theory like that of evolution complies with the need for consistency with the observed data, it borrows certain notions from natural philosophy. And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution. On the one hand, this plurality has to do with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based. Hence the existence of materialist, reductionist and spiritualist interpretations. What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology." Pope John Paul II. 1996. Magisterium is concerned with question of evolution for it involves conception of man: Message to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996. http://www.cin.org/jp2evolu.html
The Pope continues:
"The sciences of observation describe and measure the multiple manifestations of life with increasing precision and correlate them with the time line." Pope John Paul II. 1996. Magisterium is concerned with question of evolution for it involves conception of man: Message to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996. http://www.cin.org/jp2evolu.html
-- Although not giving specific descriptive details, such as number of years (he just use the word "time line") in one line the Pope cover the evolutionary tree, common ancestry, and the age of the planet. You could almost think he majored in Biology!
Pope John Paul II. 1996. Magisterium is concerned with question of evolution for it involves conception of man: Message to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996. http://www.cin.org/jp2evolu.html
If the pope actually accepted common ancestry of Apes with this statement has been debated -- some have tried to say that he didn't accept any aspects of evolution. The cardinal archbishop of Vienna, C. Schoenborn acknowledged common ancestry in an article in the New York Times:
"Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science." (Schoenborn, C. Finding Design in Nature. New York Times. July 07, 2005. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/opinion/07schonborn.html?ex=1158033600&en=b849638ac489b014&ei=5070.
-- A powerful statement -- "common ancestry might be true", if one considers that the rest of the statement clearly supports Intelligent Design -- "overwhelming evidence for design in biology").
Creationism is the literal, biblical account of God creating man and the universe in six days. But now "Catholics can believe in evolution just as long as God's involvement is acknowledged, according to some top Catholic leaders." (The Christian Post. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050719/7632.htm) Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick stated:
"...a contemporary Catholic 'need not say that creationism is the only answer -- that in six days or seven days, God made the world'. This concept of "theistic evolution" agreeing with Darwin's evolutionary theory, given that one accepts God's guidance in the process -- was the view of the late Pope John Paul II."
Also don't forget the good bishop's comment:
"Also, the dedicated pursuit of scientific knowledge deserves our respect, and we should never be close-minded or dismissive of scientific claims if ever they seem to threaten our understanding of God's revelation to us." (Bishop Raymundo Pena)
Great! Now maybe even students offended by the thought of evolution can participate without being insulted and feel that their religion is threatened?
We have established that religious people can and have accepted evolution!
Copyright © 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, Jan A. Nilsson. Page created 10.IX.2005, last updated 19.VIII.2009, most likely during the wee hours of the morning on a G3 PowerBook owned by Jan A. Nilsson. Web page layout and design © and intellectual property Jan A. Nilsson. Content on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice may not be used for commercial purposes. All rights reserved. Except for educational purposes and 'fair use' (see below), reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited. If used for educational purposes and 'fair use', including photographs, source must be given. (Some clip art, texts and backgrounds used on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice downloaded for educational purposes and/or 'fair use' from Internet free domain has no source.)
-- Disclaimer: "Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice", at the time of writing located as a file under the South Texas College's (STC) web server with the general URL http://www.southtexascollege.edu/, is the intellectual property of Dr. Jan A. Nilsson, member of STC biology faculty. The content of Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice does not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of the STC faculty, staff, administration, and Board of Trustees.
-- Fair Use Notice: Web pages on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice are used for educational purposes; I understand the "fair use notice" below as the correct interpretation of the copyright law. Fair non-commercial use is necessary in order to maintain an open and free Internet -- as originally intended. As an educator I thank whom it may concern for allowing the use of material under the "fair use rule" for educational purposes to educate this and future generations.
The YouTube videos have been embedded using the provided HTML code on the YouTube site (http://www.youtube.com/). Also see fair use statement at the bottom of this page. (Sometimes these YouTube links disappear. Please let the instructor know if this happens.)
"This site [may contain] copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner."