Chapter 5 Creation and EvolutionPocket handbook of Christian apologetics (2003) Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli
A lot could be said - here Kreeftaddresses 5 essential questions:1. Is creation possible?2. What difference does creationmake?3. Is evolution possible?4. What difference doesevolution make?5. Does evolution contradictcreation?
Is creation possible?Initially the idea (of Jew andChristians) that the universes cameout of nothing was thought absurdand irrational by Greeks as, “out ofnothing nothing comes”.The response goes like this:1. That is a law of nature - but thelaws of nature cannot bind thetranscendent creator of nature.
2. All nature and powers in natureare ﬁnite - God is inﬁnite - aninﬁnite power can produce theinﬁnite change from nonbeing tobeing3. The idea of God creating out ofnothing is not irrational as it doesnot claim that anything came intobeing without rational cause. Goddid not pop into existence andnature had an adequate cause -God!
2. What difference does the doctrine of creation make?The doctrine of creation affectsthe way we think about God, ifhe is creator then he must be:1. Inﬁnitely powerful2. Immeasurably wise3. A great artist4. Totally generous (since the allsufﬁcient perfect being couldn’thave created out of need)
It also affects our concept ofnature. If nature is created byGod then it is:1. Intelligible (notablyscience arose in the theisticwest not the pantheistic east)2. Good (Christians haverejected as heresy Gnosticismand Manichaeism)3. Real (eastern religion hasoften rejected nature as anunreal illusion created byunenlightened consciousness)
Deﬁnition: Gnosticism was aDeﬁnition: Manichaeismsecond century heresy claiming that(Manicheeism) be dualistic, gnostic,salvation could is agained throughfaith based on the teachings ofsecret knowledge. Gnosticism isthethird century Parthian word gnosis,derived from the Greekprophet Mani(the "Apostle of Light").meaning "to know."Manichaeism, which that thatGnostics also believedholds thethere is struggle between good andmaterialaworld (matter) is evil andevil, only the spiritlight, showsthat darkness and is good. Theyinﬂuences of other God andconstructed an evil religions, beingsincluding Judaism, Christianity, theof the Old Testament to explainandZoroastrianism. Redemption iscreation of the world (matter), andpossible through an ascetic life.considered Jesus Christ a whollyspiritual God.
Deﬁnition: Gnosticism was asecond century heresy claiming thatsalvation could be gained throughsecret knowledge. Gnosticism isderived from the Greek word gnosis,meaning "to know."Gnostics also believed that thematerial world (matter) is evil andthat only the spirit is good. Theyconstructed an evil God and beingsof the Old Testament to explain thecreation of the world (matter), andconsidered Jesus Christ a whollyspiritual God.
The doctrine of creation affectsthe way we view ourselves. If weowe our existence to God then:1. We have no rights over God -how can a character have rightsover the author of the book theyappear in?2. Our existence is meaningful aswe have been put here by Godrather than being the product ofevolution3. If we are made by God, we owehim everything.
Is evolution possible?There is great difference of opinionbetween scientists and philosophersas to whether evolution is possible -does the nature of species make itan impossibility? There are many oneach side who are totally convincedas to their own point of view.God is more than capable ofmaking a world where species evolvefrom each other by natural means -we have to acknowledge that it ispossible.
The question for theologians and scientists is did ithappen, did evolution take place?Kreeft suggests that it is undecided and then goesfurther to suggest that the theory of evolution is introuble at this time - but gives no evidence tosupport this view.
What difference does evolution make?Kreeft deals with 3 meanings ofevolution:1. Evolution is simply a theory aboutwhat happened - more complexspecies appeared on earth as shownby the fossil record.2. Evolution is a theory about howthis happened - by natural selection,the survival of the ﬁttest.3. Evolution is the absence ofdesign - no God was involved in theprocess.
Kreeft suggests idea 3 is notscientiﬁc theory, it is philosophicaland theological. Ideas 1 and 2 areevolution in the scientiﬁc sense.If we evolved by chance - our liveshave no overarching meaning, noplan of God upon them. Meaning,purpose and values have to beinvented for ourselves without anyreference to a higher authority orstandard. What you personallydesire then determines what set ofethics you choose.
Kreeft, “There is no logicalcontradiction between Gen1:1 and the thought thatonce species were here onearth they evolved bynatural selection.”Science is like studying the innerecology of a ﬁshbowl; the Bible islike a letter from the person who setup the ﬁshbowl. The two ideas arenot exclusive - and can easilyinclude or suggest each other.
Kreeft says Gen 1:24 does notsuggest each species was createdindividually by God but that theearth brought them forth.Evolution based on observablescience does not know if, or if not,there is a creator or designer behindit. (Kreeft says: “though the evidencesuggests design”)Again Kreeft suggests there is nological problem with saying the soul(image of God) is breathed into usby God and the fact that scientistssuggest our body evolving fromlower forms - he says Gen 2:7suggest this double origin:
Kreeft says Gen 1:24 does notsuggest each species was createdindividually by God but that theearth brought them forth. God Then the LORDEvolution based on observable the formed a man fromscience does not know if, or if not, dust a creator or designer behindthere is of the ground andit. (Kreeft says: “though thehis breathed into evidencesuggests design”) breath of nostrils theAgain Kreeft suggests there is no life, and the man soullogical problem with saying the became a living being.(image of God) is breathed into usby God and the fact that scientistssuggest our body evolving fromlower forms - he says Gen 2:7suggest this double origin:
Does evolution contradict creation?The universe was created by God - ifhe did not create it there wasnothing else for it to evolve from,and not any time in which for this tohappen.But what about life evolving? DidGod create organic life directly orfrom inorganic life by a naturalprocess? Kreeft argues that therewould appear to be no certaintyhere.
He goes on to say as human lifeis organic then God could haveallowed its development bynatural selection. Incomparison to creating thewhole universe doing thiswould be a very small task forGod. Again Kreeft suggeststhat nothing we know fromGod or nature says that thiscould not have taken place, butthat also direct creation couldhave occurred too.
The soul could not have evolved- spirit cannot come frommatter. No matter whatmolecular lineup you have youcannot get thought,consciousness, reason etc. frombits of matter. The knowledge ofa thing is not one of the thingsparts - it is transcendent to thething, coming from without.