Evolution and Creation V – Hope or Despair

From Hugh Owens The Importance of the Traditional Doctrine of Creation:

Comments are in red.

5. The traditional understanding offers hope for the future of mankind. Theistic evolutionism fosters either a false hope or a deep despair.

The traditional understanding of Genesis confers hope. It gives Christians confidence that the same beautiful harmony that existed throughout the whole universe “in the beginning” will be restored “in the end” through the working of the Holy Spirit. [That seems logical. If it was that way once, it can be again.] It also strengthens men’s faith in the credibility of the prophecies of numerous canonized saints who have foretold a future flowering of Christianity before the final judgment and the end of the world when many of the characteristics of the first created world will be restored. [Is this good or bad? Should men's faith in private revelation be based upon how plausible the content seems to them?] The Christian who comprehends and believes in the patristic understanding of creation also has the capacity to reconcile the occurrence of death-dealing natural disasters with the absolute goodness of God who wills no evil. [Is this the answer to the problem of evil? God really didn't want things this way, but it wasn't up to him…] In light of the traditional understanding of Genesis, the faithful know that destructive natural disasters do not reflect the natural order as it came forth from God’s hands. [If "destructive natural disasters" means disasters harmful to the human race to descend from Adam, this is true. If it means natural disasters harmful to other living beings, it needs qualification–perhaps that was a common opinion, but it doesn't seem that it was generally held as part of the meaning of the text. Also, though not stated, it seems to be suggested that it had to be this way, that God couldn't have a created a world in the state in which it is now. This is a misunderstanding of the fall. Fallen man is not nature minus something that belongs to nature. He is man in the state of nature, without the gifts of grace that were planned for him in Adam. The Church even condemned the position that "The integrity of the first creation was not an exaltion of human nature not due to it, but was its natural condition," (Denz. 1026), and taught that God could have created man in the same state in which he is now (Denz. 1055), subject to death, pain, etc.–in such a case it would not be fallen nature, since it wouldn't have been previously elevated.
with natural evil before sin, a position condemned in 1567 (Denz. 1055)]
Moreover, they understand that such disasters result directly or indirectly from the sins of mankind, and that they have a twofold purpose—first, to correct sinners, and, second, to bring them to repentance. [The supposition that such events belong to nature as such, and occurred before sin, does not remove them from God's providence. God is Lord of nature, and does use nature to correct sinners and bring them to repentance. To supppose that "natural disasters" have to be unnatural in order to be instruments of God's providence is to make a grave mistake.] According to the traditional doctrine of creation, the first created world operated in perfect harmony and subordination to Adam and Eve, so long as they in turn remained subordinated to the Divine Will. The course of nature as we know it today resulted from a curse imposed on nature by God after Adam’s fall. With this in mind, the traditional understanding inspires a fervent hope that each repentant sinner and divinized saint brings the world one step closer to the day when the wolf will lie down with the lamb. [The original claim has become stronger. Not only does it give confidence, but inspires a fervent hope. Our hope, though, is not primarily based upon a conviction about the original state, and the possibility of what already was, being once again, but upon God's promise of a new heaven and a new earth.]

Theistic evolutionism cannot conceive of an original harmonious state of the universe, and thus either dismisses prophecies of a future restoration of the world before the final judgment or misinterprets them as referring to some kind of Teilhardian evolution of consciousness. In general, theistic evolutionism leads its adherents to believe that God deliberately ordained a struggle for existence and a process of natural selection as his means for producing the human body through secondary causes. For the theistic evolutionist, man-harming natural disasters, such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes, are just part of the ordinary course of nature as created by God from the beginning. [However the beginning was, such occurences are now part of the ordinary course of nature, according to the Catholic understanding, which again, does not mean they are outside providence.] Consequently, the theistic evolutionist does not see the connection between natural disasters and men’s sins, and thus fails to interpret “the signs of the times.” Faced with the painful reality of natural disasters, he either lives in a constant state of denial that God uses such events to accomplish his purposes without regard to human sin, or else he falls into despair at the contradiction between such a god and the God of love revealed in the Bible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.