From the Pastor: Creation With Evolution?
I recently came across this article about two Catholic arguments regarding how man and other living creatures on Earth were created. I believe it is worth passing on to you. Read this shortened version of it closely if you dare. Credit to William Briggs, https://www.wmbriggs.com/post/47573/
There are two basic positions, which are held by many, but which here I name by their well known champions.
Fr. Chad Ripperger:
…every essence is immediately created by God and could not be caused by any created substance [like a species]. The essential reason for this is that to create a substance requires the ability to bridge the gap between nothing and something. The gap between nothing and something that is being actualized requires an infinite power since the ontological distance between nothing and something is infinite….
Some theistic evolutionists hold that evolution is just a natural process used by God to bring about the various forms of life up to and including the bodies of the first human beings. Other theistic evolutionists hold that evolution is a case of constant miracles being used to bring about the various forms of life culminating in man.
As to those who hold it is a natural process, they introduce God into the issue to provide what might be lacking in the order of nature, such as the order that one finds in the universe, which may not be accounted for by purely natural causes and this introduces the above philosophical difficulty where only God can create a substance as well as a whole host of other difficulties…
If God is used to supply on the side [via evolution] of the principle of sufficient reason, it ends up violating the principle of economy because God must intervene to supply the sufficient reason at each step. This indicates that it is not strictly a natural process but requires the introduction of God into each step to be able to achieve the next higher species in the evolutionary process. This violates the principle of economy because what is ultimately being stated is that nature does not suffice in order to produce each individual species on its own. This is a true enough principle but theistic evolution requires God to be involved in each individual step since the laws of nature do not suffice.
At each step, therefore, God must suspend the laws of nature and add what is lacking in the order of nature. The definition of a miracle is: “something occurring aside the whole created nature”. Theistic evolution, whether it states that it is a natural process, which is really just a covert way of introducing constant miracles, or asserts outright that miracles are constantly necessary for the process, violates the principle of economy.
It violates the principle of economy because it posits a number of causes, in this case God intervening as a cause on repeated occasions, without a sufficient reason. In this sense, God creating directly all of the individual species including man in a short period of time without a large number of secondary causes more perfectly fulfills the principle of economy than any theory of evolution, theistic evolution included.
Mike Flynn & Kenneth Kemp
The Flynn-Kemp proposal is this. Suppose evolutionary processes gave rise to a population of several thousand creatures of this non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” sort. Suppose further that God infused rational souls into two of these creatures, thereby giving them our distinctive intellectual and volitional powers and making them truly human. Call this pair “Adam” and “Eve.” Adam and Eve have descendents, and God infuses into each of them rational souls of their own, so that they too are human in the strict metaphysical sense. Suppose that some of these descendents interbreed with creatures of the non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” sort. The offspring that result would also have rational souls since they have Adam and Eve as ancestors (even if they also have non-rational creatures as ancestors). This interbreeding carries on for some time, but eventually the population of non-rational but genetically and physiologically “human” creatures dies out [or is snuffed out], leaving only those creatures who are human in the strict metaphysical sense.
On this scenario, the modern human population has the genes it does because it is descended from this group of several thousand individuals, initially only two of whom had rational or human souls. But only those later individuals who had this pair among their ancestors (even if they also had as ancestors members of the original group which did not have human souls) have descendents living today. In that sense, every modern human is both descended from an original population of several thousand and from an original pair. There is no contradiction, because the claim that modern humans are descended from an original pair does not entail that they received all their genes from that pair alone.
So, which of these, if either, makes sense to you? Can their differences be reconciled? Briggs thinks so. Check out his article if you wish to go a little deeper.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka