Theology IV: Honors
26 November 2012
First Trimester Project
A worldview, which is a basic set of beliefs from which decisions are made, is a concept that every human has and uses throughout their life to make choices. People use these beliefs and experiences to develop existential questions, or questions about reality. These questions are what ultimately influence one’s beliefs. Whether it is the concept of evil, evolution, or pure spirituality, questions about our purpose here on Earth have been studied and examined for thousands of years. Until 1858, when Charles Darwin released his Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection, few people questioned the Church’s teachings on the creation of Man and Original Sin. Most accepted the Catholic Church’s interpretation of Genesis 3 as fact with no real tangible evidence. This all changed after Darwin’s Theory, when people began to question the Church’s teachings on the creation of man. Christian philosophers such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin thoroughly analyzed Darwin’s Theory in correlation with the Church’s teachings and began to request the reform of the Catholic Church’s interpretation of Genesis 3. “Our Christology is still expressed in exactly the same terms as those which, three centuries ago, could satisfy men whose outlook on the cosmos it is now physically impossible for us to accept.” (Teilhard p.77). It is clear that Teilhard had come to terms with this ever changing evolving universe and had come to terms that teachings such as the interpretation of Genesis 3 had to be revised. In his work he also seems quite fed up with the lack or revision on the particular issue. “To my mind, the whole internal vitality (and in consequence the whole diffusive power) of Christianity depends today on finding a solution to a problem that has always been shelved” (Teilhard p. 76) Teilhard quotes in his piece, Christology and Evolution, “…a primary disorder cannot be justified in a world which is created fully formed; a culprit has to be found. But in a world which emerges gradually from matter there is no longer any need to assume a primordial mishap in order to explain the appearance of the multiple and its inevitable satellite, evil.” (p.83) This quote is a prime example of how Darwin’s theory of evolution has impacted the Catholic World and how we view evil and Original Sin. Due to scientific study, people tend to no longer accept that two people, a woman and a man, are the sole reason why we humans are corruptible beings, as Genesis 3 proclaims. Evolution has now altered our whole perception of evil because if humans were indeed evolved from previous ancestors not of our biological equivalence, then evil has to have existed before the homo sapien evolved. Teilhard explains how evil was not just formed, but has existed throughout time. “In these circumstances, evil is not an unforeseen accident in the universe. It is an enemy, a shadow which God inevitably produces simply by the fact that he decides on creation.” (Teilhard p.84). Death, a form of corruption, has been a part of life assumingly from the begining of life itself. If this is so, the Church’s interpretation of Genesis 3 is evidently outdated because the story of Genesis 3 describes that evil was created when Eve ate from the tree. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5). Referring back to Teilhard’s quote, (p.83), in an evolving universe there is no fixed evil (Genesis 3 describes a fixed evil that was created), but evil simply exist, without there being a “primordial mishap”.
Darwin’s theory of evolution also gives way to the debate of Original Sin, which is inclination to evil, inherent in human nature. Original Sin is also defined, by Daryl P. Domning, “as the need for salvation by Christ that is universal to all human beings and acquired through natural generation.”(web.ebscohost.com). Referring back...