Is Evolution a Sub-Category of Progressive Creation?

(Jon Garvey) #41

More likely to promote a fight with grammarians, it seems to me, who would ask, "What precisely is the difference between creation by creation and creation by evolution? Why isn’t it “evolution by evolution”?

To which the reply, in kind, might be, “Well, the first is a miraculous miracle, and the second a natural miracle.”

That is, if God does create by natural means.

(Guy Coe) #42

It is totally defensible to say that EVERY human being is “de novo.” I was pointing out that the description regarding Adam’s origin put him in continuity with all the other, prior, “imago Dei” humans (and not with “nothing”), without in the least detracting from his “de novo” character.
The saying, “made from dust” is idiomatic, and does not rule out a normal embryology and chilbirth:
‘Remember now, that You have made me as clay; And would You turn me into dust again?‘Did You not pour me out like milk And curdle me like cheese;Clothe me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews?‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your care has preserved my spirit. - Job 10:9-12 NASB

(Jon Garvey) #43

In Thomism, and hence Catholic doctrine, of course, that is asserted in the doctrine of the individual creation of each human soul. Here, once again, the distinction is between what nature has power to produce by its inherent powers (ie the human body), and the individual formative creation of God that enables us to say, with some implication about loving care, that he knitted us together in our mother’s womb.

So when Pope said, "God said, ‘Let Newton be, and all was light,’ his rhetoric migfht have been laid on with a trowel, but he was rightly saying more than that nature happened to do a good job - Newton’s unique genius was given by God to that generation for God’s purposes (and by implication, the same is true for each individual).

(Guy Coe) #44

It’s also true of each of our own unique genetic makeup. That’s how totally defensible it is --both physically AND spiritually.

(George) #45

And why would God AVOID natural means?

(Jon Garvey) #46

This is a philosophical/theological question primarily, on the nature of creation, and the nature of Nature… Creation is the direct act of God in bringing something new into the world that would not otherwise be there. The idea in the mind of God becomes something not already in the world - a new form, or a new nature.

Those “natures” have been given powers by virtue of their creation - for example, the power of generating their own kind, in the realm of living things. But those powers to change are downstream of creation, being its outworking. So, analogously, making an electric car is a manufacturing act, but allowing it to run is not.

But it is doubtful whether God gives these created nature the power to create new natures themselves, or nature itself would be a Creator. Theologically that will not fly because in the context of creation God insists it is his sole work, and says “I will not give my glory to another” (Isa 42:5-9). Philosophically it is because if “natures” (collectively “Nature”) are what God creates, it is hard to see how they can themselves be involved in creating what was not already part of their forms.

So is it is not about God avoiding natural means, but rather that natural means are the end product of creation.

And so George and Jon as human animals are products of natural generation, and that is not creation. But they are also unique spiritual individuals arising from the specific purpose of God (as the Isaiah passage says, “Who gives breath to the people on earth, and spirit to those who walk in it.”) That helps explain the Catholic doctrine of the special creation of each human soul. But despite the efforts of the gender warriors, nothing in our created nature gives us a capacity to become what we are not.

Now, in the matter of evolution, the question becomes whether God has in fact, given living things the capacity to change their natures through the natures of mutations, natural selection, etc. If he has, then it is not creation, but nature, acting by natural means. One then has to ask where the novelty existed in nature - we know, for example, that an oak is already in an acorn because of its genome, etc (which it got from another oak). But where is the potential whale in an arterodactyl?

It’s worth noting, at this point, that all theories of evolution since Darwin have insisted that there is no such potential to “unfold” in evolution - new forms are brought together from “out there” by blind search, and fixed by natural selection. To invoke natural teleology, then, is a radically different kind of theory from current science (though not without merit scientifically).

If God hasn’t endowed nature with such inherent powers, then he works in evolution by some act of creation within nature, such as bringing about some novel chemical change in a genome - in which case his creative power is acting upon nature, not by means of nature.

(T J Runyon) #47

Id say in the initial conditions at the beginning of the universe. The initial singularity or T=0 is the acorn and the biological diversity with see today is the oak. Everything the biological world needed to reach its current diversity was present in that initial acorn at the beginning of the universe.

(Jon Garvey) #48

Almost infinitely low entropy at the big bang, then?

(George) #49


Your mastery of circumlocution is now complete. But to what end?

If God uses evaporation to make rain he can use evolution to make species. End of story.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #50

Slow roll inflation assumes lowest entropy at the big bang but not zero. Entropy increases with the expanding universe. (Also no singularity at T=0, finite energy, finite energy density expressed as energy per unit volume with the volume of the universe the size of soccer ball at the end of inflation.)

(Jon Garvey) #51

The understanding of the distinction between God and what he has created.

(Jon Garvey) #52

Only in this case we’re to understand a soccer ball with the arrival of man programmed in.

(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #53

Certainly the possibility was there. In QM, all is possible.

(Jon Garvey) #54

Including, presumably, the possibility that none of it happens at all. In which case, one needs to know the factor(s) that give one outcome rather than another… one of those Newtonian rules somebody posted applies.

(system) automatically bumped #55