To Catholic Creationist
How about this: God created the universe and everything therein, for to assume that things evolved all from the Big Bang presupposes

a) That God was not an active Creator (which the Bible itself affirms He was). That is, God actively created, and it takes no interpretation of Genesis to see that. He did not let things create for Him. This is in conflict with the idea that things just came to be because of the Big Bang, evolution, or otherwise.

b) That either material things can cause material beings with immaterial souls, or that God imbued an evolved species of ape with a spirit. We know that only the latter option could possibly work; God did fashion man from dust, but that he imbued apes with souls just doesn't sound right.

While the days mentioned in the Bible could very well be literal, they could also illustrate the phases of Creation.
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(04-06-2020, 06:53 PM)ServusDei Wrote: How about this: God created the universe and everything therein, for to assume that things evolved all from the Big Bang presupposes

a) That God was not an active Creator (which the Bible itself affirms He was). That is, God actively created, and it takes no interpretation of Genesis to see that. He did not let things create for Him. This is in conflict with the idea that things just came to be because of the Big Bang, evolution, or otherwise.

b) That either material things can cause material beings with immaterial souls, or that God imbued an evolved species of ape with a spirit. We know that only the latter option could possibly work; God did fashion man from dust, but that he imbued apes with souls just doesn't sound right.

While the days mentioned in the Bible could very well be literal, they could also illustrate the phases of Creation.

The problem here is again the word "evolved". What does that mean? If it means a Darwinian Process, then absolutely. If it means something else then this does not follow, and that's the key when we use an equivocal term like "evolution." It means widely different things to different people. To try to umbrella all under one label makes the necessary distinctions impossible.

The Darwinian "evolution" implies three things : (1) Descent from a common ancestor, (2) Natural selection, (3) Random mutation.

"Evolution" without that qualification could simply mean : Descent from a common ancestor, or natural selection, or guided change over time, or simple change over time, or the progressive active influence of a supernatural power causing change over time.

In short, depending on what is meant, your conclusions might not follow. For instance take the following :

1. "Evolution" : Guided change over time


If "evolution" merely refers to God choosing, or guiding natural processes towards the production of a new species or form, then:

Speaking to your (a):

This kind of change is not properly "Creation" because it is taking already existing matter and simply producing what is already possible to it, even if it is a new (substantial) form. As St Thomas Aquinas says (Summa Theologica, I, q.45, a.8) when a new form is produced, it is not "Creation", because these forms already pre-exist in matter, because the matter can potentially become these.

The potency of matter had to be actively determined, so in fact, God is still actively "Creator" of these new forms. Were he not, matter would not be able to become these things.

St Thomas makes a distinction (as would St Augustine) between Creation and Production. To Create is to bring something into existence where no previous thing or subject existed. So there was nothing, and then from no thing, came some thing. Creation. (Summa Theologica, I, q. 45, a. 1) Whereas Production is when something is turned into another thing.

Only God can Create (Summa Theologica, I, q. 45, a. 5), and a creature cannot even be an instrument for Creation. So it is impossible that God could "let things Create for Him." However it is perfectly possible that He could let natural processed produce things, as he does all the time.

As we plainly know when we cook food, or make a table from wood, a creature can change created things into other things which are possible and did not previously exist (at that place and time in that way). So, a man can turn a tree into wood, and wood into ash, and the tree can then turn the ash sprinkled on the ground back into a tree (itself) through taking up the minerals. Creatures can manipulate creation to produce new things, but only possible things. Man can't turn wood into a tree. Wood in itself, is not able to become a tree, but the man can make ash from it, and then the tree can take ash and make it part of itself. The matter becomes part of a tree. So creatures can only substantially change other creatures into what they are disposed to become. Only God could skip steps in Production (which is properly a miracle). And only God can Create the creation to begin with, in which he gives to each form what is is disposed to be changed into.

So, if it such natural changes are not "Creation" as St Thomas holds, then the idea of a development of species over time which was planed through God's Providence, is also not "Creation", but Production.

As Regards (b), I totally agree that this does not sound right, but it's an objection of fittingness. It's a good one, but it does not create a absolute impossibility. In fact, this is why I don't like this theory, and I think it is the Achilles' heal.

To be clear, I do not profess this theory.

2. "Evolution" : God producing new creatures at certain intervals without a gradual process : Progressive Creationism

If "evolution" refers to God intervening directly in time to produce a new creature, not be a developmental process, but simply directly,

Speaking to your (a):

This kind of change would be "Creation" unless it is God directly producing by changing a pre-existing creature which in itself could not become the new creature produced. If the former, it is clearly active. If the latter, it follow what we said above, so God is still an active Creator, because he has to produce a miracle to skip steps.

Speaking to your (b):

There is no issue here, since God is creating or actively producing at every step, and the production of man is at the least the taking of matter (the dust/slime of the earth and putting into him a human soul). In fact, God need to create every human soul, so a Progressive Creationist would argue that this describes how every man is produced. To matter which is disposed for it, God breathes in a soul.

Where I find this school of thought weak is it still fails a fittingness argument with the amount of time that would seem necessary to fit the scientific data. It also to needlessly multiply the intervention of God directly into nature, which is generally a thing theologians find repugnant in any theory, because it seems to undermine the Providence and Wisdom of God if he needs to micromanage and tweak.

To be clear, I also do not profess this theory.

Addendum : The Big Bang

I would note that most people who use this term do not understand that it is a pejorative created by the atheistic physicists in the 1920s as an attack on Fr Georges Lemaître. 

The priest and physicist, after looking at Einstein's relativity equations and Hubble's data, showed that the data suggested the original equations of Einstein were correct, and his adjusted equations were wrong. The original equations predicted that at some point in the past all energy and matter was compressed into a singularity. Einstein "adjusted" these with a cosmological constant, so that the result was the were "steady state" and presumed an eternal universe, which was the going atheistic theory.

Lemaître showed that Hubble's data showed red-shifted stars, meaning they were accelerating away, and if you ran the clock backward, this would mean all matter was long ago compressed into a singularity. "Big Bang" was the atheistic mockery of this ideas that suggested that at one point, there was a "Beginning".

I always find it quite humorous, since the whole point of the theory was to show that the data argued for a "Beginning", that people speak of "The Big Bang" as an atheistic rejctin of Creation and the idea by which scientists are pushing "evolution". It was never anything of the sort. The Evolutionists and atheistic scientists of the 19th and early 20th century generally did not accept a "beginning" and thought that the universe was eternal, and thus, the time necessary for such outrageous changes was easy to explain, or if they did profess some beginning as Deists (and Darwin seems to be among these), they though cells and genetics were extremely simply and easy to change, so these processes they proposed were relatively quick.

Now, I'm not saying that the "Big Bang" is necessarily correct, or we should all profess it, or that I do, but to suggest it's an anti-Creation idea is very silly, and yet it is the seeming mantra of YEC folks.

"Big Bang" was the mockery of a man who showed that the science showed a "beginning" and now YEC folks used it as a mockery for those who think that there was a "beginning" but do not profess their viewpoint, as well as the atheists who denied the "Big Bang". It's terrible irony.

In closing, and to be clear let me say, that while I am throwing these ideas around, I do not profess either Progressive Creationism or Guided Evolution, nor a YEC viewpoint. I don't have any theory on which I hang my hat, and I, generally, think it is quite silly to worry about accepting any theory so long as the Faith is preserved. This is why I am happy to let a YEC accept things, just as much as a Progressive Creationist, provided both do good natural science, philosophy and theology, and do not dogmatize their view, when the Church has allowed wide latitude on these questions for a good reason.

I feel the need to say that because over and over again on the forum, and elsewhere, when I take the time to explain these things, YEC folks almost universally then accuse me of being an atheist, or a Modernist, or of promoting evolution, or being a Progressive Creationist, etc. I think this is why I probably tend to write a lot on the subject and have such a gut reaction to the YEC viewpoint.
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