God Works Through Secondary Causes
Blogged by James Preece on 29th November 2012
Let's theology for a change... Mark Shea writes...
From a Thomistic perspective, I’ve never seen much of a problem with the proposition that God–using secondary causes ranging from the manufacture of carbon atoms in the heart of exploding stars, to the development of the mouth-to-anus gut tract during the Cambrian Explosion, to the creation of live birth reproductive systems and the mammary gland, to the Cretaceous Extinction Event to my own father and mother–created me. God *usually* uses secondary causes. Evolution has always seemed to me to be a way of saying “Grace perfects nature” and “God made man from the dust of the earth reeeeeeeeeeeeeally slowly.” And “grace perfect nature” is a statement that reaches it apotheosis in the proposition that God raises bread and wine to transubstantiation into the Body and Blood of Christ, just as he raises a race of hairy fanged primates to be children of God through God the Son, who became a risen and glorified hairy fanged primate for us and for our salvation.
Read the full post...
I'm a bit puzzled by the whole "evolution proves God false" argument.
All evolution has ever proved wrong is a particularly narrow protestant interpretation of the book Genesis that, frankly, is proved wrong by the book of Genesis itself. The book of Genesis contains two contradictory accounts of creation. Serious biblical scholars have known this for centuries!
Augustine of Hippo wrote a whole book about it in 408 - over fifteen hundred years ago. The modern scientific method hadn't even been invented yet but Augustine was able to recognise that the scriptures contain factual innacuracies about the stars, eclipses, kinds of animals etc.
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience.
Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.
The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.
If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?
Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7].
This doesn't mean the scriptures are wrong, it simply means that they are not intended as scientific encycolpeadias. They use symbolic language, poetry and metaphor. The point of Genesis is not to provide us with all the technical details about how God made the world, the point of Genesis is to tell us things far more important than that. Not how but who, not what but why...
Far from disproving God, evolution suggests that the universe itself is ordered towards His divine plan. A plan that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, at calvary, at every Mass.