Evolution and Creation VII – Spiritual Forces of Evil

From Hugh Owens The Traditional Doctrine of Creation

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. [This danger is to some extent real, but it is also to some extent unavoidable, and the opposite approach has its own danger. The more things that are explained in terms of natural causes, the more likely it is, other things being equal, that someone will think that all things can be explained in terms of natural causes alone. But should we try to bolster up our belief in spiritual beings such as angels, or divine miracles, by deliberately refraining from investigating the natural causes of things? On the other hand, the "all or nothing" approach has an even greater danger, that when it becomes evident that something which one believed to have only a spiritual cause, is shown to have some natural cause, one will reject all spirituality causality. Thus it happens that a person who believes that either evolution is true, or that God works in the world, may pass suddenly from belief in God to atheism, when he becomes persuaded that evolution is true] 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.

[On the whole, there is not such a specific correlation between belief in evolution and a lack of belief in evil spirits. There is more of a connection at a more general level. The belief in evolution fits in well with a materialist empirical approach to the world, and this approach often ignores or denies the work of evil spirits. In this sense there is the possibility of someone finding confirmation of this "scientific" approach to the world in theistic evolution. More on this idea of two "worldviews" later.]

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