Dear Mr. Bloom,
Although I am not Catholic, I am a Christian, and I would like to say that your website is very helpful. I have read your evolution section, but one question remains. I have never come across a bible verse, or been told one, that states a direct opposition to the theory of evolution. Isn't it possible that God created us through evolution? One example is dinosaurs. There is nothing in the bible that states that dinosaurs were members of the Earth before humans. And yet the evidence that dinosaurs did exist is nearly unarguable. So how did dinosaurs exist? Evolution. After all, one of the leading theories about the disappearance of dinosaurs is that they evolved into birds. Wouldn't these two puzzle pieces, dinosaurs and evolution fit perfectly together?
Thank you for the email and the important question. The first problem with evolution is that the word is used in different ways. Before saying if it fits with the Bible, we need to sort out various usages. In a review of Darwin on Trial I mentioned three different ways the word is used:
1. Evolution as fact.
2. Evolution as story.
3. Evolution as philosophy.
Everyone can accept the "fact" of evolutions - that different species change and pass those changes on to their descendants. An obvious case, which the Bible alludes to, are human adaptations - we have darker and lighter skins according to how close to the equator our remote ancestors lived.
Evolution is also used as a story (or "myth") to explain some of our behaviors. For example, you will hear it said that we males are promiscuous because that trait gave our forebears an advantage in spreading their genetic material as widely as possible.
The real problem, from a Christian point of view, is evolution as a philosophy. Many proponents of evolution assume a mechanistic, materialist approach which rules out God, as well as the spiritual nature of man. This is often presented as a conflict between science and religion. In reality it is about two different philosophies - as Pope John Paul II pointed out in his Address to the Academy of Scientists on the question of evolution. Many scientists today are saying that the old theory of random selection does not adequately account for all the data and that a more adequate theory would involve intelligent design. Do you see what I am saying?
Anyway, Colin, do let me know what you think. I get the impression that you are a student and may be able to make a real contribution to this subject.
Fr. Phil Bloom
Homily on the Moral Law
Hawking, Galileo and the Pope