The Big W in Evolution
By Fr. Robert J. Carr
If you have ever seen the movie, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the madcap comedy from the early sixties, then you are familiar with The Big W. A group of people, played by the era's top comedic actors learn that a lot of money is located under what is known as The Big W. When they reach the location they look for the W and cannot find it. As the camera shows them searching frantically, it also pans back, and there you can see four palm trees that form a huge 20 foot high W. The treasure hunters are not thinking big enough.
This reality is also playing itself in the evolution debate. The materialists, who have a hold on our universities, are doing everything possible to promote evolution. The evangelicals and other Christians are promoting a creationist based concept of reality. Both are acting as treasure hunters under the big W. They both misunderstand evolution, that is because they have it backwards.
Like the Shroud of Turin which was more revealing of a Christ figure as a negative image than a positive one, so too is the evolution debate the most powerful debate for our times when seen from an exclusionary point a view, than an inclusionary view. Scientists from both sides of the debate are trying to show evidence that proves their point. The point is either the creation account is real or human existence is the product of a series of random accidents. The problem is both concepts are untenable. There is evidence that exists that supports and discounts both positions. That is because people are looking at the evolution debate from the wrong perspective. The trick is to look at not what evidence exists, but what does not exist.
First, a good study of Genesis reveals that its most important elements are not what it says, but its deeper meaning. The first three chapters of Genesis are filled with a profound wisdom that goes deeper than anything you can find in any university regardless of position on evolution.
Genesis gives us the wisdom that leads us to understand why it is that humans do not automatically follow natural law but instead must make a choice to follow or reject it. It has profound teachings on not only why we do bad things, but what are the consequences of our bad things. It shows us how we are not gods and discounts, completely, paganism and anything but monotheism. However, Genesis teaches even more. In fact, I preach that if one can understand the first three chapters of Genesis, he can understand the whole bible.
Evolutionists discount Genesis because of the teaching that the world was created by God in seven days. Intelligent Design theorists use natural realities to indicate that our world itself demonstrates that it could not be created by natural forces in random happenstance. However, both positions define themselves through a body of evidence. If you want to understand the impact of evolution, you need to look at the reverse, the lack of evidence.
This may on the surface make no sense whatsoever, but bear with me. Evolution teaches that life evolves in a process of survival. Therefore, all the senses evolve to the level an organism needs to survive. Materialists make the argument that everything that exists is perceivable by humans in some form or another. Evolution refutes that claim out of hand.
If I evolve with only my survival as the driving force, then what exists that I do not need to perceive in order to survive? That is the question that is at the bottom of a faith understanding of evolution. That is also what is at the center of faith. Jesus, for example, teaches that God is spirit, which means neither matter nor energy. Yet, you and I can only perceive matter and energy. Materialists say that is because spirit does not exist. However, they cannot prove that statement. We can disprove the materialist assumption that we can perceive all that exists by pointing out the statement itself makes no logical sense. How can you prove to me that you can perceive all of reality? You can't because you would have to demonstrate to me how you can prove that everything you can perceive is all that exists. That is an impossible task. It just cannot be done. Add some still unexplainable phenomena such as miracles and do not have a leg to stand on in your teaching.
We have clear evidence that a spiritual world exists: there are miracles, there is human spirituality and prayer, and there is the bible itself--a treasure of profound wisdom that goes beyond mere human thought. One piece of evidence of the profound nature of divine wisdom in the bible is just how much the bible is rejected at universities. Some teach it as foolishness, yet those who comprehend even a small microcosm of the wisdom in the bible understand immediately what true foolishness is and even where to find it in human society. One place to find foolishness is in some of the classrooms in our American Universities. This is especially true for those of us in the Boston area, where people are paying close or even over $50,000 a year for an undergraduate degree based in an unprovable assumption.
This means, however, that those who understand this truth no longer need to even hear the words of those in our universities who discount faith. The experts sitting under television lights in some network studio in New York who dismiss our endeavor as foolishness are pitied by those who have come to understand the profound truths in our faith. Evolution gives us the avenue to reach that point. It shows us what others cannot see. It is not what proves evolution that counts; it is what evolution proves we cannot perceive that is key to the debate.
Our ability to perceive reality is limited by our biology. You will find that teaching from Genesis to Revelations. Now, it is also scientifically proven when we look at evolution in the exact reverse perspective as those fighting over what proves or disproves the science in the first place.
http://www.revrobertjcarr.com MA, US
Fr. Robert J. Carr - Catholic Priest, 617 230-3300
evolution, genesis, intellegent design
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