Evolution as a Christian Theme

I had the great pleasure to meet Ernan McMullin. He is the godfather of a friend of mine.

Educated at Maynooth College in Ireland, where he received an undergraduate degree in physics and a bachelor of divinity degree in theology, he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest 1949. He went on to study theoretical physics on a fellowship at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Louvain in 1954. Joining the Notre Dame faculty as an assistant professor of philosophy that same year, he became a full professor in 1967 and was named to the John Cardinal O’Hara Chair in 1984.(ref).

My friend wanted to get us together because we are both interested in astronomy and science and he is a priest and I’m an atheist. We also both like to discuss and debate.

He gave me a pamphlet for a talk he had given in 2004 called “Evolution as a Christian Theme”. We also discussed this topic in person. He believe that the theory of evolution is completely consistent with Christian theology. I told him my line, that if intelligent design is true, the design is called evolution. He said, “Exactly right!”

In the “Evolution as a Christian Theme” pamphlet he concludes his argument rather concisely:

[T]hese proponents of what nowadays goes under the label of “Intelligent Design” implicitly assume the inadequacy of the original creation to bring about the Creator’s ends without further later causal supplementation on the Creator’s part…[T]hey appear to conflate the order of nature with the order of grace; they seek miraculous signs in nature of a kind that would seem appropriate, rather, to the order of grace.

Fucking brilliant. The ID folks look for God in nature without realizing that God is, apparently, smarter than them: he made nature purely natural. His intent was encoded, if you will, in his creation, from the moment of creation.

So the problem with the ID folks is that not only does their science suck, so does their theology! Their infantile misunderstanding of theology has led them to believe things that are completely absurd and they jump through incredible hoops to justify them.

I’m not a Christian. I don’t believe in the Creator the way Dr. McMullin does. But in terms of a theological argument, I haven’t heard a better one: science is never and could never be at odds with the will of the Creator.

Evolution as a Christian Theme

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