Friday, March 04, 2005


All the angst over what is historical and what isn't in the bible seems a bit beside the point, doesn't it? Do I treat Genesis 1 differently than Luke 9? No. It's all inspired. Is it my business whether God chooses to teach through a story or through a historical occurrence?

• • • • •

I think it's relevent. It matters because Christianity is a religion of history. It also matters because the integrity of revelation and defined doctrine is in the balance. The problem with not reading Genesis 1-3 as history is that Genesis 1-3 is obviously written as history, and that the Church requires Genesis 1-3 be understood as historical.
Well the Gospels are certainly crucial in the sense of accepting Jesus did die, rise and that the miracles attested are true. But my understanding is the Church only requires Adam & Eve be accepted as actual historical figures; by the historicity of Genesis 1 I'm talking about matters like whether a day is 24 hours and whether it forbids some kind of evolution. My understanding is that the Church has given its okay to evolution at least the Pope has (I know you don't accept evolution).

I bring this up because many of the study notes for my New Jerusalem bible say things like, "this really didn't happen" (I'm talking the OT now). Even the most orthodox Catholic Scripture study I can find (Orchard's Commentary, from the early '50s) says that the Flood wasn't universal but limited to a geographical area. I've been reading TAN's "Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture" and it seems to worry more about applying lessons than in historicity. It's refreshing!
Found this:

"The Catholic Church has never had a problem with "evolution" (as opposed to philosophical Darwinism, which sees man solely as the product of materialist forces). Unlike Luther and Calvin and modern fundamentalists, the Church has never taught that the first chapter of Genesis is meant to teach science."
But TS, that last statement (no offense) is really, really lame. The Catholic Church has always had a problem with any theory of "evolution" that contradicts her own teaching and putting "evolution" in quotes doesn't change that.

There may be theories of evolution that don't oppose Catholic teaching, but in ten years of debating this subject, no one can tell me exactly what they are and how they manage to reconcile with Catholicism. So I have concluded that this mythical "Catholic-friendly theory of evolution" is the invention of Catholics, not scientists who believe in evolution.
The "Genesis doesn't teach science" routine is Red Herring. Genesis teaches history. It says that God created the world from nothing - in time. If scientists want to try and figure out *how* that happened, God bless 'em, but the *fact* that it happened is recored history and does not depend upon their findings. What Catholic evolutionists want us to believe is that some parts of Genesis, which are clearly intended to be history, can be understood as history (and are understood as history throughout all of Scripture including the New Testament), but that other parts must be mythologized away solely based on the purported findings of evolutionary science. This is a new and arbitrary form of exegesis that makes Scripture unintelligible apart from the latest opinions of the scientific establishment. And, of course, it is opposed to everything the Church has magisterially taught on the correct interpretation of Scripture.
My understanding is that the Pope doesn't have a problem with evolution. So I guess at least I'm in not so bad company.
True, you're not in bad company. But JPII has mostly avoided the specific controveries surrounding evolution, so I'm not sure what he believes about it exactly.
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