GOD AND SALVATION
Can we believe in evolution?
Scientists have proved that the earth and waters were formed by a catastrophe in the universe, that we originate from the apes or cells from the seashore. I believe in God.
So do I! I also believe that there was an evolution of nature created by God. Of course, not all of it is clearly understood, particularly when we try to discover what really happened millions and thousands of millions of years ago, in prehistoric time. Certain theories are well established while others are still hypotheses.
I can believe in the theory of plant and animal evolution. I can even believe, up to a certain point, in the evolution of the human race. Yet, at the same time, I do not have to venerate distant ancestors who might be friendly chimpanzees with hunched backs.
Evolutionary theory does not conflict with biblical doctrine as long as it respects faith in God's creation. The Bible reveals that God is the Creator of all things; it tells me that He formed human beings in a special way, to His image and likeness (Gn 1: 27-29). God gave freedom to man and woman. They sinned and the Lord saved them. They are invited to a sublime and personal relationship with God. The Second Vatican Council has emphasized such human dignity (Gaudium et Spes: 12ss).
The Pope is surrounded by a group of experts and scientists and he keeps himself informed of scientific research. In the Vatican there is an institution called the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
On October 22, 1996, the Pope repeated what Leo XIII had written: "The truth cannot contradict the truth" the truth of science cannot contradict the truth of faith. John Paul II is pleased that there are studies on the origin of life. But there are different theories of evolution, some of which are materialist and exclude God.
There are explanations for the apparent contradictions between scientific discoveries and biblical statements.
Certain documents of the Church have already discussed the evolution of humanity, for example "Humani Generis" published in 1950. Pius XII asserted that, if the human body derives its origin from a pre-existing living substance, its spiritual soul is created immediately by God (Lc 6: 36). If certain theories on evolution maintain that the spirit also comes from forces of living matter, such theories are to be rejected since they are incompatible with human dignity. There is an ontological difference between humankind and simple matter.
This helps us understand the major motive we have for respecting human life, as recommended by the encyclical "Evangelium vitae".
One day, we, beloved children of God, created by Him in a special way, will be with Him forever.
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