For more than a generation in the fourth century, the dogmatic teaching of the Council of Nicea on the divinity of Christ was misinterpreted and perverted so that the majority of Catholic bishops tolerated or taught a false Christology. Something similar is happening in our time in regard to the Magisterial teaching on creation. The dogmatic teaching on creation of the Fourth Lateran Council—as understood for 600 years by the foremost commentators of the Catholic Church, including Doctors of the Church like St. Lawrence of Brindisi—has been given a new, deviant interpretation so as to make it compatible with evolution.[i] On the pretext that the natural sciences confirm the evolutionary hypothesis, the fundamental Catholic doctrines of creation and Original Sin have been set aside—in spite of the fact that breakthroughs in 21st century natural science have fully exposed the bankruptcy of the evolutionary hypothesis.
Today the evolutionary hypothesis is as popular as the Arian Christology in its day—and just as illogical. Indeed, how can there have been a first man Adam who committed the original sin of pride in collusion with the first woman Eve, if he had ancestors going back into the mists of time? How can Adam, the perfect creation of God, have been a grunting Neanderthal or other such hominid species? If he were, the Church has lied and its dogmas have no application to Catholic teaching. Yet, the “credo” of today’s science is that there was a gradual development from a hydrogen particle to man. The notion of a single man created ex nihilo is not envisaged.
As the Catholic Faith is undergirded by its basic doctrine of Original Sin, and this doctrine is the justification inter alia for Redemption, Baptism, and the Immaculate Conception, the Faith falls without them. Those mainstays of our religion, however, are now challenged on a daily basis within the Church. We have a Mass structured upon Tradition, but examination reveals it is a Tradition that has been fundamentally disabled. In a methodological way Original Sin has had its meaning removed and replaced by another. All the dependent doctrines have necessarily been affected.
Let it be clear. All speculation on Adam having had ancestors, in any form whatsoever, negates the teaching Magisterium of the Church. Of course there will be protests, but either the Church teaches truth or it has no place as the representative of Christ. The Church teaches definitively, (de fide), that in the beginning God created all things visible and invisible at the same time (“simul,” or “at once”) from nothing (Lateran IV). “At the same time” refers to the period of time during which all created things were brought into existence. It was the period immediately preceding the production of those laws governing the created things, and without which they could not exist other than by God’s Omnipotent Power. These include all natural laws such as thermodynamics, gravity and aerodynamics.
Simple reflection on the Council teaching of Lateran IV shows that no new beings or prototypes were produced after the natural laws governing their reproduction and maintenance were in place. If words have any meaning at all it follows that all created forms of life came before the natural laws which evolutionary science claims were instrumental in their production.
The astonishing situation within the Church today is that science is making claims that have no proof in flagrant opposition to the Church’s teaching. The Church hierarchy not only tolerates this but confirms it.
Students are taught systematically in Catholic colleges and seminaries that they descended ultimately from inanimate matter which itself descended from hydrogen gas. This pure speculation is not only without a shred of empirical proof, but in total contradiction to Christ’s teaching. Catholics (and most others!) around the world have come to believe it as if it were a message from God Himself. Unfortunately, this is no exaggeration and represents the greatest tragedy ever to befall the Church throughout her long history—the calamity of all calamities; our Faith reduced to a Darwinist caricature of itself! A mandate to teach all nations the good news: used to announce that our ancestors were apes evolved over time from methane gas?
By way of comparison, one can ask how it was that all those citizens of the USSR managed to conform to a regime that taught there was no God. To start with, the objectors were exterminated, but as time went on new generations became conditioned to the idea and accepted it. As frightful as the situation was, the extent of the evil was contained and eventually overcome. The world learned a lesson from such extremism. The possibility that Communist ideology could mutate slightly and go global was unthinkable. Yet that mutation, as if by the wave of a magic wand, has occurred. Now, in contrast to the practice of atheistic Communist regimes, the global elites who control the mainstream media and academia recognize a god—not the God of the Bible, however, but a fabricated one, a sort of imitation: not unlike a golden calf.
One has to pinch oneself to realise that this is true. A global church organisation continues to exist, and the sacraments continue to be offered. But they are administered by many prelates and clergy who have lost their faith in the fundamentals of the Catholic religion. Traditional Catholics know that something is very wrong, but many attribute the crisis to problems with the liturgy, catechetics, materialism, even evolution—but never to the underlying reason, which is that the Catholic Faith has been sabotaged by errors concerning the origins of man and the universe, introduced under the guise of natural science. Traditional Catholics cannot bring themselves to believe that so many natural scientists could be wrong—not to mention so many cardinals and bishops. So the situation continues.
Of course, there are those who have learned how it all happened and who know that the cancer has been identified, but it is so far advanced that those with any power either secular or religious are so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem that they throw up their hands in despair and defer to the crushing weight of the majority. If the entire religious and scientific establishments are in opposition, it would seem to be pea-shooting at a tank to challenge the status quo. When it is apparently a pure waste of time, no one says anything. That is where we are today. The powers of darkness appear well and truly to have won.
Notwithstanding all this gloom, ironically there is a very bright light at the end of the black, black tunnel. Perhaps it’s St. Michael’s gleaming armour. The fact is, providentially, the means of turning the disaster into victory have never been greater. Being aware of the drama is the first step (after all, from one man came all mankind). The scientific explanation of the origin of the cosmos has a well concealed Achilles’ heel. The flaw is the element of time. Time is used by the evolutionist as if it were an ingredient in a compound mixture. Of course, it is nothing of the kind. It is no more than a means of measuring movement. Two molecules of hydrogen mixed with one of oxygen produce water. The process can be measured by time but time is not an ingredient in the end product of water. Yet the myth has built up that given enough time the most impossible things can happen: dinosaurs changing into birds, cows into whales. [In fact, due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics the opposite is the case: with time entropy increases.]
Then there are those millions of years of time. Evolution is said to be observable in the fossil record. If one examines rock strata different kinds of fossils can be seen which are believed to show an evolution of species. The strata are dated primarily by the geological time-scale which affirms that strata lower down in a rock formation are older than those superposed higher up: often by millions of years. This principle of superposition has been taught since Nicolas Stenon, a naturalist clergyman from Scandinavia, published a book in 1669 (Prodromus) on his geological observations. It was never tested in the laboratory until recently when it was shown to be incorrect as a standard principle. You see, in the 17th century hydraulic laboratories for doing experiments were not available. When they were, it was too late, because superposition and other allied principles had been absorbed into the geological paradigm welcomed with open arms by materialist geologists because it gave them all the time they needed for their millions of years of evolution to take place: but the principle was shown to be wrong.
The experimental results published by the Russian Academy of Sciences demonstrated three significant facts: 1. strata do not form successively: 2. the lower strata are not necessarily older than those above, in many instances they are in reverse order, i.e. the higher strata are older than the lower; 3. strata sequences form rapidly and many of the fossilised organisms in them could have lived relatively contemporaneously. These facts have been confirmed by field analyses.[ii]
This fundamental research in stratigraphy adds to all the work in other disciplines associated with evolution: biology, chemistry, radiometry, physics, astronomy and so on. The overwhelming evidence against the hydrogen to man theory of origins makes one wonder how it is that our youth can continue to be indoctrinated with nothing more than evolutionary speculations financed by tax-payers money.
For over 150 years, without the slightest proof, the State has been obliging schools to teach what amounts to a materialist philosophy. They have been systematically teaching that God is the delusion explained to them by Oxford University Professor Richard Dawkin’s ‘et al’. The Church hierarchy has been led into denying the fundamentals of the faith they were ordained to teach. The colossal cost in terms of the souls lost by them over all that time is known to the Almighty alone.
The reason that members of the educational elite leave university convinced of the acceptability of an unproved naturalistic theory is simply because the scientific arguments against it are not allowed to be heard.
Unfortunately, the Protestant fundamentalist creationist movement carries some of the blame, because of its insistence upon mixing biblical arguments with scientific ones. The fact is it is rare to read an article from a Protestant source critiquing evolution that has not at least one biblical citation. Catholics, who have joined creationists as a way of expressing their concern over evolution, have ended up compromising themselves with Protestant interpretations of the Bible. Either way, joining forces with creationists or following their formula but acting alone, Catholics automatically distance themselves from dialogue with the scientific community and from the Church. They are obviously not in a win-win situation, and perhaps doing more harm than good.
Scientists within the Church who oppose evolution have been trying to remedy this weakness. They have held two conferences in Rome over the last six months, most recently the “Scientific Critique of Evolution” conference was held on November 3, 2008, at Sapienza University, Rome, the details of which can be found at: http://sites.google.com/site/scientificcritiqueofevolution/ They are planning others. The conference participants include highly qualified teaching and research scientists, none of whom rely on biblical references. Of course they are snubbed by the scientific community and the media, but for once they are presenting in a university setting the long withheld proof of the impossibility of naturalistic origins, and the proceedings of their conferences are being published.[iii]
Any one who reads these reflections who still believes that the problems facing the Church can be understood apart from the central conflict between a naturalistic account of origins and the Church’s dogmatic teaching on creation is, in the writer’s view, not facing up to reality. The most devout spiritual Lenten retreats preached by today’s greatest theologians can do nothing to alleviate the current crisis of faith unless the faithful wake up to what is happening and act accordingly. Does not St Paul’s charge (1. Cor. 13; 1-3) that faith without charity is a noisy gong or clanging cymbal evoke a comparison with the emptiness of faith in Christ without faith in His teaching on Creation?
[i] Cf. Peter Wilders and Hugh Owen, Creation and Time (Diocese of
[ii] Cf. Guy Berthault, ”Time Required for Sedimentation Contradicts the Evolutionary Hypothesis” (
[iii] Cf. “A Scientific Critique of Evolution,”
Slow down a bit.
A Catholic understanding of creation does not have to look like that of the Protestant fundamentalists whose theories are in reality rather recent reactions to Darwinian theory.
We do need to recognize the reality of original sin in the original human family, no matter how the ancestors of that first human family might be understood.
I'm not at all critical of improving and correcting our understandings on human origins to be in line with sound doctrine and better science. But lets not become Protestant fundamentalists by being too hasty.
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