Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Popes and profs reconcile evolutionary science with faith

Popes and profs reconcile evolutionary science with faith

Trinity Western University biology professor Dennis Venema writes about a current controversy:
As population genetics information and its implications for interpreting Genesis have become more widely known among evangelical Christians, some apologetically-minded organizations and scholars have attempted to cast doubt on these lines of evidence.
Catholic Pacific College philosophy professor C.S. Morrissey has recommended the Thomistic approach to the theory of evolution that unites faith and reason:
As Fr. Nicanor Austriaco likes to observe, the explanatory framework of the theory of evolution is to modern biology what the doctrine of the Trinity is to Christian theology: i.e., one simply cannot rationally practice the discipline without adopting it.
The Thomistic approach sees no need for the miracles (i.e., God acting as a "magician") that creationism postulates on the level of secondary causality (i.e., God acting as a "demiurge," or craftsman, who alters the natural operations of secondary causality).

Rather, Thomism precisely distinguishes God's action as the primary causality that allows autonomous natural events like biological evolution to occur, as Pope Francis explained recently in remarks also reported by Morrissey:
“He created beings and he let them develop according to the internal laws with which He endowed each one, that they might develop, and reach their fullness. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time in which He assured them of his continual presence, giving life to every reality. And thus Creation has been progressing for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until becoming as we know it today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives life to all beings.”
Morrissey's columns appeared in The B.C. Catholic as "Dominicans reconcile evolution with Catholic faith" and "Media misses memo: Church not fundamentalist".

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