Evolutionism and Christianity

Evolutionism and Christianity

Author: Mariano Artigas
Published in: Unpublished article
Date of publication: Zaragoza, 1997

Nowadays, scientists and theologians often admit that there is no contradiction between evolution and creation, and that evolution is not opposed to human spirituality either. Francisco J. Ayala, in his book "La teoría de la evolución. De Darwin a los últimos avances de la genética" (Madrid: Ediciones Temas de Hoy, 1994) explains that creation from nothing "is a notion that, by its very nature, remains and will always remain outside the realm of science", and adds that "other notions that are outside the realm of science are the existence of God and spirits, and any activity or process defined as strictly immaterial" (p. 147). On the other hand, Ayala takes up the view of theologians that "divine existence and creation are compatible with evolution and other natural processes. The solution lies in accepting the idea that God operates through intermediate causes: that a person is a divine creature is not incompatible with the notion that he was conceived in the mother's womb and that he is maintained and grows by means of food.... Evolution can also be regarded as a natural process through which God brings living species into existence agreement with his plan" (pp. 21-22). Ayala adds that most Christian writers admit the theory of biological evolution. He mentions that Pope Pius XII, in a famous 1950 document, acknowledged that evolution is compatible with the Christian faith. And Pope John Paul II, in a 1981 speech , has repeated the same idea.

Some Christian fundamentalists oppose evolution. These are very active Protestant minorities in the United States. Ayala alludes to this problem, which he knows well, because these groups have taken legal action to implant their ideas about the teaching of evolution in schools, and Ayala has had to intervene in these processes to clarify what belongs to science and what belongs to religion. He states: "American anti-evolutionists continue to seek ways to prevent the teaching of evolutionary theory, which they still regard as anti-religious, rather than simply 'non-religious', as is any other scientific theory" (p. 24).

In April 1985, the University of Munich organised in Rome an international symposium on "Christian faith and the theory of evolution". Pope John Paul II, in his address to the participants, said that "the discussion around the explanatory model of evolution does not encounter obstacles in faith, provided that the discussion remains in the context of the naturalistic method and its possibilities". After quoting verbatim the passage where Pius XII, in the 1950 encyclical "Humani generis", affirmed the compatibility of Christianity with the origin of the human body from other living creatures, he continued with these words: "no obstacles are created by a correctly understood faith in creation or by a correctly understood teaching of evolutionism: evolution, in fact, presupposes creation; creation, in the context of evolution, is posited as an event that extends over time - as a continuous creation - in which God becomes visible to the eyes of the believer as Creator of Heaven and Earth" (The text of this address, dated 26 April 1985, can be found in "Documentos Palabra", DP-122, 1985, p. 147). 147).

In a message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on 22 October 1996, John Paul II affirmed that the theory of evolution is today more than a hypothesis, adding that a philosophical interpretation of evolution which leaves no room for the spiritual dimensions of the human person would clash with the truth about the person and would be incapable of providing the foundation of his dignity ("L'Osservatore Romano", 24 October 1966, pp. 6-7).