Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection

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Hesstopher
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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Hesstopher » March 9th, 2016, 5:38 pm

Lily_Alex, the nice thing about being Catholic is that the official position is that evolution of the human species (with or without natural selection) is a permitted belief to hold.

The Catholic Church (Roman Catholic at least) teaches that you can hold just about any evolutionary theory so long as you maintain two points...

1) the soul didn't evolve, each was made individually by the creator, God.
2) humans didn't evolve by random chance, behind whatever method it occurred through the creator (God) intentionally willed it to occur.

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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Belinda » March 9th, 2016, 8:22 pm

Hesstopher wrote:Lily_Alex, the nice thing about being Catholic is that the official position is that evolution of the human species (with or without natural selection) is a permitted belief to hold.

The Catholic Church (Roman Catholic at least) teaches that you can hold just about any evolutionary theory so long as you maintain two points...

1) the soul didn't evolve, each was made individually by the creator, God.
2) humans didn't evolve by random chance, behind whatever method it occurred through the creator (God) intentionally willed it to occur.
Does God make the soul moment by moment as the souls live through time, or did God make the souls as complete entities outside of time? I mean, does a soul evolve as time goes by?
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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Hesstopher » March 10th, 2016, 11:02 am

According to Roman Catholic Theology, each human soul is created by God at the moment of conception so the person never exists without a soul. The soul, once created, does not die though-- it continues for all time. It does not evolve though, as the soul is not made of matter, it is a spiritual "organ." If you want more information keep reading, but this is the answer to the question.

The soul is not a physical object, it is metaphysical. It gets murky in the context of evolution because that is a discussion of the human body whereas the soul is distinct from the body and yet united. To make matters even more murky, in Catholic theology God exists outside of time and so while from our perspective a soul would be created at the moment of conception-- from God's perspective all of creation took place simultaneously, it always has been happening and always will be happening... because there is no time where He exists. That goes all the way back to the revelation of his name to Moses (Yaweh) which translated from the ancient Hebrew is "I will be who I am" or "I am who is" either way is a vague and jumbled tense of the verb "to be." Theologians (not just Catholics) have pointed to this as the first revelation to the fact that the Jewish-Christian-Muslim God (since all claim Abrahamic heritage) exists outside and apart from time.

So in a very literal sense, the Jewish-Christian-Muslim God does not exists... rather, He is "to exist" or "existence". (because He is outside of time, the verb tense properly should remain in the infinitive).

But that gets us off topic. To recap-- Souls are individually created by God (from our perspective) at the moment conception for each person so they never exist without a soul. The soul, being non-matter, does not evolve.

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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Gulnara » March 11th, 2016, 7:49 pm

If soul is like light, then our image ( the bouncing of light) keeps going through Universe exponencially, being a neverending information wave. Since the moment of concievement we exude the light that changes as we grow and change. In that sense fetuses that did not survive still left a trace of their image in the world.

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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Steve3007 » March 12th, 2016, 4:38 am

As I understand it, the current position of the Catholic church is that only humans have these souls that enter the physical world when sperm meets egg and leave when brain activity stops. Do you think at some point in the future they might extend this idea to some non-human animals? Starting with chimpanzees perhaps? Also, I'd be interested to know if there is any official position on whether earlier species of hominids, such as Homo erectus, had souls. I guess they'd be in the difficult position in which people often find themselves of drawing an arbitrary dividing line on a continuum.
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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Hesstopher » March 12th, 2016, 9:03 am

Steve, I believe you are touching on the rational/irrational soul division. Humans are the only creatures God made with rational should, according to Catholic Theology. I seriously doubt that teaching will change anytime in the next thousand years as a rational soul is a key part of being human.

I've never read that the Catholic Church has a position on exactly when the soul leaves. That gets dicey as medically speaking, a person isn't technically dead when brain activity stops.

As for the early species of humanity, I seriously doubt the Catholic Church will say they did or did not have a soul. At the end of the day, the Catholic Church is concerned with the faith and salvation of people today. There are teachings that rid explain how salvation might work for those early species if there did in fact have rational souls.

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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Belinda » March 12th, 2016, 11:26 am

Hesstopher wrote:
Steve, I believe you are touching on the rational/irrational soul division. Humans are the only creatures God made with rational should, according to Catholic Theology. I seriously doubt that teaching will change anytime in the next thousand years as a rational soul is a key part of being human.
I understand that this doctrine comes from Aristotle via St Thomas Aquinas who Christianised Aristotle's notion about forms . Thus for believing RCs the form of any particular human is one that includes an eternally unique rational soul. Aristotle was an experienced marine biologist, but he did his investigations long before Darwin's insight.

A Roman Catholic can believe in evolution by natural selection of every species excluding humans whose immortal souls don't evolve but are given, complete, at conception.

Hesstopher wrote on March 9:
1) the soul didn't evolve, each was made individually by the creator, God.
2) humans didn't evolve by random chance, behind whatever method it occurred through the creator (God) intentionally willed it to occur.
The exception being that God the Creator can intervene over an entire species or individually and "intentionally" will that evolution of the soul occur. Divine intervention in the natural course of history is what a miracle is. This RC doctrine therefore depends for its reason on the devotee's acceptance of miracles.

Being able to accept miracles, i.e. God's intervention in history, must be a great source of hope. As source of hope and courage the RC doctrine is life-supporting , contrasted with that frightening and hope destroying doctrine of the Calvinists, predestination.
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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Hesstopher » March 12th, 2016, 11:54 am

While God "can" have the soul evolve, RC teaches that He wouldn't as it would raise a number of problems in the established "order" that we live in. Metaphysically order is part of true beauty and disrupting it leads to less good.

You are spot on with the philosophical origins of the teaching BTW. I didn't know he was a marine biologist :)

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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Steve3007 » March 12th, 2016, 1:05 pm

I wonder. The RC church has shown itself to be at least a little bit amenable to change in the light of new discoveries. As research shows more and more that other animals are capable of being rational just as we are, and that the distinction between us and them is simply one of degree, perhaps they will reconsider their position on that in less than 1000 years. At least with regard to other apes.

Belinda, I was interested in what you wrote about Calvinist predestination and looked it up a bit (in the online encyclopaedia that dare not speak its name). It seems to me quite similar to the idea of the Newtonian deterministic clockwork universe, but with God taking the place of the laws of physics. I guess it's possible to say in both cases: "God/Newton has already decided my fate. What's the point in me trying to change it?". But I guess the answer is that whatever we do to try to change our fate is a part of that predestination.
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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Hesstopher » March 12th, 2016, 1:20 pm

Steve, they seem similar to me. I've heard (not confirmed) from friends in the military that Arabic areas often have a similar view. The influence of Islam has led to a culture where God/Allah is on total control... To the point where people in cars often don't use seatbelts because of Allah wills they survive they will, if Allah wills they die they will-- and nothing they choose to do will prevent the will of Allah.

I've encountered this Christian/Calvinistic mentality in my own life through friendships with non RC Christians. RC teaches it is an errorounious Theology, but at the same time there is an element of predestination because, as mentioned above, God is outside of time and therefore knows your destination (heaven or hell) already.

That's getting us off topic though :)

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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Gulnara » March 12th, 2016, 2:00 pm

Before people evolved into accepting any god at all, was God's attitude potencially merciful at them or what? It seems that God is a mark in one branch of human evolution and nothing else.

-- Updated Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:03 pm to add the following --

Does God evolve or people will overevolve him?

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Re: Reasons Behind the Theory of Evolution by Natural Select

Post by Hesstopher » March 12th, 2016, 2:17 pm

Gulnara, I think "evolved" needs to be clarified in your question.

From a RC perspective, God would be merciful to physically evolved humans (homo sapiens, with rational souls) who as yet did not understand (lacking a mental evolution of realization of the Divine or a self revelation of the Divine) Him out realize His existence.

Evolution could be read in two different ways in your question I think.

Regarding God as a mark on one branch of human evolution... Homo Sapiens are currently the pinnacle of human evolution. This reality dove tails with RC theology which is derived from Jewish theology-- both of which preceded the scientific theory of macro evolution.

As such, from a RC perspective, God created everything (the entire homo-family tree) for the purpose to bring about HomoSapiens. Looking at it from this way and understanding that in this theology only Homo Sapiens have a rational soul (needed to have a relationship with the divide) God would properly only be seen as a mark on that branch-- the reality is that He is the cause of the entire tree.

I guess a little like a seed dropped into a field by a passing bird. Later the bird comes to rest on the new tree that grew from that seed. (Lots of problems with that metaphor).

-- Updated March 13th, 2016, 12:53 am to add the following --

For God to evolve He would have to exist in fine and be changeable. For RC theology that is inherently problematic for many reasons. One, He is supposed to be perfect... So if he changes then he is either no longer perfect or want perfect to begin with. Two, if he is outside if time, can he change? Any change is dependent upon a chronological shift. Being outside of time removes the possibility of such a shift. There are other issues.

So, no. From a RC theological standing Good fires not evolve. Human understanding of divine revelation can from the RC theological standing though.

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