Join Date: Sep 2009
Before I leave for the day, here is one more conversation between a Catholic and John Salza.
May I Also remind people that John Salzas day job is a Lawyer, which means part of his job is reading and exegeting text.
it's not easy to debate, but I'm with John on this one, I've heard many Catholic professors get it wrong too and talk jibberish, it would be nice to get another clear statement from the Church to clear things up and make it really clear, because as I've seen with most Catholics, you have to rub their nose in it just to get them to understand it isnt accepted.
as I said earliar, you cant teach a pig how to sing, it only wastes your time and it irritates the pig, and I've given up teaching pigs how to sing.
11. Evolution and “faith and morals” Patrick: Mr. Salza,
I would just like to say that I have been looking at your website for several years it seems, and I really like the many articles and scripture verses you have provided. Your site even helped in the conversion of a friend from Protestantism to Catholicism. Thank you for your service.
Also, I am a person who values scientific knowledge and research as a tool given to man by God. So many scientists, the vast majority in fact, have long since accepted the Theory of Evolution. Even the Pope has allowed this scientific theory, like gravity, to be true. While the method of evolution is and probably will always be debated, there is no doubt that the Earth is billions of years old, that certain organisms have evolved in specific ways, and that this "evidence" is a compilation of facts and scientific observences. From one point of view, it can be argued that there is more evidence for the evolution of man than there is evidence that Jesus Christ existed.
I believe in creation and original sin of course, but I believe that God made this happen through a more complicated means than simply snapping his fingers. God said, "Let there be light." The beginning of the universe is described as a "Big Bang," and explosion of light. God said that in the beginning the earth was desolate and formless. Science tells us that the earth was once a molten ball of lava and gas, without land or water.
Why must the first part of Genesis be taken literally? The writing style is different, more like a parable than a historical record. God on many occassions chose parables and stories to impart truths that we could not at the time understand. Only recently did our knowledge of the world allow us to understand that we are just a small part in God's great creation.
I am not trying to argue evolution vs creation, especially since I think both are 100% correct. But I think perhaps you should find out a little more about evolution and the creation of the world. Evolution does not have to discount God's hand. In fact, science says there is no observable reason why the big bang suddenly occured, we just know it did.
Anyway, thanks again for your site, it's a gem. I hope it's around for many more years.
J. Salza: Patrick, thank you very much for your email. It really encourages me to know that the site is helping win souls for His Church. I hope it continues to do so.
Regarding your comments on evolution. First, no pope has ever accepted evolution as a scientific fact. To the contrary, if you read the Magisterial statements on my website, you will see just the opposite. The popes have condemned the notion that God didn't create everything in the world ex nihilo (from nothing). Only Pope John Paul II allowed evolution to be debated as a theory, but that is it. It is only a theory, and theories can be true or false.
You say that "there is no doubt the world is billions of years old." Says who? The problem you have is that there is no scientific proof that the world is billions of years old. The scientific proof is actually against such a conclusion. Second, if you read the Scriptural chronologies which I piece together on my website, we instead conclude that the earth is only about 14,000 years-old. Again, in the absence of scientific proof to the contrary (which there is none), we as Catholics must stick to the Scriptures, the Fathers and the Magisterium, none of whom ever taught that the world is billions of years old.
To say that there is more evidence for the evolution of man than of the existence of Jesus Christ is an incredible statement, especially from a Catholic. Please let me put you to the test. Provide the evidence for the "evolution of man." There is absolutely no evidence that man evolved from apes, which evolutionary theory holds. It is contrary to every papal statement on the creation account. Yes, species adapt to environmental conditions, but there is no evidence that one species evolves into another species. If evolution were true, there would be millions of transitional fossils out there. The fact is, there isn't one. This is a fatal scientific blow to the false theory of evolution, and the evolutionists have so much as admitted it.
Regarding your comments on the "Big Bang," no, Scripture does not say that there was an "explosion of light." Scripture says that God said "let there be light," and "there was light." No evolutionary process. No billions of years. Nothing of the sort. Science can hypothesize all it wants about what the earth once was, but if it doesn't comport with God's revealed Word in Scripture, then it is false. Second, these "scientists" who hypothesize about such matters (most of whom are agnostics who abhor the Catholic faith and revealed religion) weren't there at the beginning. So they don't know any more than you or me about what actually happened. That is why God decided to open up His revelation with a detailed account of how He put things together. He knew in advance that atheistic scientists would attempt to discredit the faith with their scientific theories, and so revealed to us the creation account.
Regarding interpreting Genesis literally, all of the early Church Fathers did so (Augustine had an alternative interpretation that everything was creating instantaneously, never over millions of years). You should know that the Church dogmatically teaches us (Trent and Vatican I) that we are not to depart from the interpretation of the Fathers when there is a consensus, because the consensus means the Fathers' teaching came from the apostles. All the Fathers believed in a six-day creation, and thus no Father ever believed in evolutionary theory. This means that we are not to depart from their interpretation. The Church also teaches that we are to interpret the Scriptures in their literal and obvious sense, unless the interpretation is untenable. Interpreting Genesis literally is not only not untenable, it reflects the faith of our Fathers which are are bound to follow. That, coupled with the papal teachings against evolution, require us to reject the false theory of evolution.
I hope this helps. If I can be of further assistance, please write.
Thank you for your timely and elaborate response. It is obvious that you work diligently for the Lord and His Truth. You said you would like to "put me to the test." I accept, and I will be drafting a response to each point you made in your reply. This may take some time, but I will work on it as quickly as possible. Since I happen to be on vacation this week, perhaps I will be able to send it to you in the next few days.
Before I send you the response, please know that I have noted the following of your letter to me. I have heard your arguments, and I understand them, but I think that the problem is not that your arguments are false, but rather they are, for the most part, arguments about things that are irrelevant (pardon my word usage here). It would be like a Protestant arguing that Catholics worship the pope, and thus can't be right. The argument would hold weight if the premise, that Catholics worship the pope, were true.
Therefore, I will demonstrate each point and question with the upmost care to fully explain my point of view.
Thank you again for your response and arguments.
J. Salza: Patrick, I will be on vacation starting Friday until Sept 5, so I may not get back to you for weeks. However, before you do respond, please consider what I have written below.
The main point you have to understand is the dogmatic teachings of Trent and Vatican I which require us not to depart from the teachings of the Fathers when they are unanimous. This requirement to adhere to the unanimity of the Fathers is infallible, dogmatic Catholic teaching. As regards a six-day creation, the Fathers were unanimous. The Church has NEVER, in any papal or conciliar pronouncement, ever made any statements supporting the evolutionary theory.
To the contrary, Vatican Council I, the same council that bound us to the literal and unanimous interpretation of the Fathers, issued an infallible dogmatic statement with an accompanying anathema: “If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing, let him be anathema.”
Thus, the Church infallibly proclaims that “the world and all things” in it are the product of an ex nihilo creation. In addition, the Church, for the first time, adds the phrase “as regards their whole substance.” This phrase essentially prevents anyone from advancing the theory of evolution (that is, arguing that God made some parts, but evolution contributed to the other parts). Moreover, the Church affirms Lateran Council IV that both the “spiritual and material” were made out of nothing. Spiritual refers to the creation of angels, and no one has argued that angels were created by an evolutionary process. There is never any distinction between how God created the angels (instantaneously, out of nothing) and how God created humans (instantaneously, out of nothing).
If you would like to respond, please address the teaching of Vatican I and the unanimity of the Fathers, and why Catholics are free to dissent from same.
Patrick: John, the principal reason why the pronouncements from Trent and Vatican I don’t apply is because evolution does not involve faith or morals. If you read Trent and Vatican I’s teachings, they require us to follow the unanimity of the Fathers only when their teachings regard faith or morals. Evolution is about science, not faith or morals. Therefore, we are not bound by the Fathers’ interpretation on a six-day creation.
J. Salza: Patrick, in order to get out from under the Church's dogmatic teaching about interpreting the Scriptures with the unanimity of the Fathers, you have pursued the only road you could: trying to argue that the creation account does not concern "faith." Unfortunately, this is not going to work for you.
First, the creation account concerns the faith for a number of reasons. Here are ten:
1. It is where we get the doctrine of Original Sin.
2. It is where we get the doctrine of Marriage.
3. It is where we get the Protoevangelium.
4. It is where we get the doctrine of ex nihilo creation.
5. The NT teachings on the faith appeal to the creation account as true history (2 Cor 4:4-6; Heb 4:4).
6. The OT teachings on the faith appeal to the creation account as true history (Ex 20:11).
7. The Fathers and the medievals considered it a matter of the faith.
8. The 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission, endorsed by Pius X, considered it a matter of the faith.
9. Popes Pelagius I, Leo XIII and Pius XII considered it a matter of faith; as did Lateran IV, Cologne and Vatican I.
10. The Church defines faith as an assent of the intellect to the truths revealed by God. Since the creation account is one of the truths revealed by God, it is a matter of faith.
Second, the Church teaches us that we must interpret the Scriptures in their literal and obvious sense, unless the interpretation is unreasonable or necessity requires otherwise (Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus, No. 15, 1893; Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, No. 36, 1950; the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 116). Because science has not (and cannot) disproved a six-day creation and evolutionary theory, we must interpret the Scriptures literally. That means a six-day, ex nihilo creation.
Third, the Fathers were unanimous in their belief in a six-day creation period, and many of the quotes you provided prove my case. Only Augustine offered an alternative theory: that God created everything instantly, and fashioned it over six days so that the angels could comprehend His work. This is the antithesis of the evolutionary theory. Moreover, Augustine also viewed a six-day creation period as a legitimate interpretation of the Scriptures. In fact, it was from Augustine that the Church derived her literal approach to the Scriptures. The only Father that deviated from a six-day creation account was Origen, but he allegorized almost everything and so is an irrelevant exception to the rule.
Fourth, two infallible councils eliminate evolution as a legitimate theory of creation. Lateran Council IV stated that “God created both orders out of nothing from the beginning of time, the spiritual and corporeal, that is, the angelic and the earthly.” The Lateran Council infallibly proclaims that God created the spiritual (angels) and corporeal (humans, animals, plants, heavenly bodies) “out of nothing” (ex nihilo).
Unlike what you have argued, ex nihilo means "from nothing," not "from God alone." That God used dust to create Adam does not contradict ex nihilo creation, for human cells do not come from mud. That means Adam was created out of nothing, and God's use of dust wasn't necessary. In fact, God's use of dust has a theological, yes "Faith" element to it, for it prefigured man's destiny while in sin - that we return to the dust from whence Adam came.
In 1870, Vatican Council I issued an infallible dogmatic statement with an accompanying anathema: “If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing, let him be anathema.” Once again, the Church infallibly proclaims that “the world and all things” in it are the product of an ex nihilo creation.
In addition, the Church, for the first time, adds the phrase “as regards their whole substance.” This phrase essentially prevents anyone from advancing the theory of evolution (that is, arguing that God made some parts, but evolution contributed to the other parts). Moreover, the Church affirms Lateran Council IV that both the “spiritual and material” were made out of nothing. Spiritual refers to the creation of angels, and no one has argued that angels were created by an evolutionary process. There is never any distinction between how God created the angels (instantaneously, out of nothing) and how God created humans (instantaneously, out of nothing). Pope Leo XIII affirmed the same in his encyclical Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae. John Paul II has never (and could never) contradict this infallible teaching. Statements from the Pontifical Academy of Science (made up primarily of non-Catholic agnostics) have absolutely no authority.
Therefore, you are back to square one - explaining why we are not bound by the mandate of two infallible councils that we must interpret the creation account according to the unanimity of the Fathers, when they concern faith or morals.
MayGod give you His wisdom to hear the Faith of the Fathers, not the enemies of God and His Church.