Of course they did.
This modern notion of limited inerrancy - namely that the literal sense of Scripture and the spiritual sense of Scripture contradict one another - was completely unknown to them.
“It cannot seriously be claimed that Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Basil of Caeserea, Cyril of Alexandria and the other great saints of the Eastern Church did not believe that man was directly formed by God out of the mud of the earth.”
Perhaps not...but it is quite clear that the Fathers did not take every “jot and tittle” of the OT literally, quite the contrary. In fact, they actually write about how the OT says things “for effect” on a fairly regular basis. You should know that, w! I’m surprised.
Right, and they probably held other beliefs about the natural creation that were inaccurate. These were not about faith and morals, so their consensus on them is not dispositive.
A good Catholic may believe in the literal text of the first chapters of Genesis, or he may take into account the frame of mind of the inspired writer and allow for his lack of knowledge or interest in the mechanics of the Creation. Even better, he should simply acknowledge that the Bible is inerrant but he has limited ability to understand the message. Maybe "made from mud" is a way the ancient writer meant to say "allowed to evolve from dead matter". Then maybe not. We don't know. No matter how convincing the evolution hypothesis becomes through research, we won't know. The book of Genesis describes a miracle of creation. That it is, a miracle. It is pointless to look for natural explanation of miracles when they exist, and it is equally pointless when they don't.
I personally, by the way, think that evolution between species is simply a hoax.
Here's the view I am very comfortable with:
What Does the Catholic Church Teach about Origins?
- God created everything in its whole substance from nothing (ex nihilo) in the beginning. (Lateran IV; Vatican Council I)
- Genesis does not contain purified myths. (Pontifical Biblical Commission 1909 1 )
- Genesis contains real historyit gives an account of things that really happened. (Pius XII)
- Adam and Eve were real human beingsthe first parents of all mankind. (Pius XII)
- Polygenism (many first parents) contradicts Scripture and Tradition and is condemned. (Pius XII; 1994 Catechism, 360, footnote 226: Tobit 8:6the one ancestor referred to in this Catechism could only be Adam.)
- The beginning of the world included the creation of all things, the creation of Adam and Eve and the Fall (Jesus Christ [Mark 10:6]; Pope Innocent III; Blessed Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus).
- The body of Eve was specially created from a portion of Adams body (Leo XIII). She could not have originated via evolution.
- Various senses are employed in the Bible, but the literal obvious sense must be believed unless reason dictates or necessity requires (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus).
- Adam and Eve were created upon an earthly paradise and would not have known death if they had remained obedient (Pius XII).
- After their disobedience of God, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. But the Second Person of the Trinity would subsequently pay the ransom for fallen man (Nicene Creed).
- Original Sin is a flawed condition inherited from Adam and Eve (Council of Trent).
- The Universe suffers in travail ever since the sin of disobedience by Adam and Eve. (Romans 8, Vatican Council I).
- We must believe any interpretation of Scripture that the Fathers taught unanimously on a matter of faith or morals (Council of Trent and Vatican Council I).
- All the Fathers who wrote on the subject believed that the Creation days were no longer than 24-hour-days. (Consensus of the Fathers of the Church)
- The work of Creation was finished by the close of Day Six, and nothing completely new has since been createdexcept for each human rational soul at conception (Vatican Council I)
- St. Peter and Christ Himself in the New Testament confirmed the global Flood of Noah. It covered all the then high mountains and destroyed all land dwelling creatures except eight human beings and all kinds of non-human creatures aboard the Ark (Unam Sanctam, 1302)
- The historical existence of Noahs Ark is regarded as most important in typology, as central to Redemption. (1566 Catechism of the Council of Trent)
- Evolution must not be taught as fact, but instead the pros and cons of evolution must be taught. (Pius XII, Humani Generis)
- Investigation into human evolution was allowed in 1950, but Pope Pius XII feared that an acceptance of evolutionism might adversely affect doctrinal beliefs.
For more information contact:
The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation 952 Kelly Rd., Mt. Jackson, VA 22842, (549) 856-8453 www.kolbecenter.org; E-Mail- firstname.lastname@example.org 1 In 1909, the PBC was an arm of the Magisterium and dissent from its decisions was tantamount to dissent from the teaching of the pope himself.
What Does Molecules-to-Man Evolutionism Teach about Origins?
- In the beginning there was neither heaven nor earth, just concentrated primeval matter.
- This matter expanded and exploded.
- The explosion produced gas, mainly helium and hydrogen, which expanded. Over billions of years, clumps of the gas contracted and formed stars. One of these stars was our sun.
- Part of the sun detached itself and became planet Earth.
- Radiometric dating strongly indicates that the earth is more than four billion years old.
- Given enough time, random interactions of matter will produce spontaneous increases in specific complexity in randomly-formed units of matter.
- When the planet cooled, chemicals reacted together to form amino acids.
- Primitive living cells resulted from combinations of the amino acids.
- A process of evolution led to the primitive cells developing into complex cells.
- Over millions of years the cells transformed into higher organisms.
- Gradually the organisms divided themselves into flora and fauna.
- All the known species of plants and trees evolved over immense periods of time, perhaps from some primitive form of algae.
- Similarly, man evolved from simple marine life, transformed over eons of time from some form of bacteria into all the aquatic, land and air species that have ever existed.
What Does Cutting-Edge Science Teach about Origins?
- Molecules-to-man evolutionary theory violates the second law of thermodynamics by positing spontaneous increases in order through random interactions of matter.
- Matter from explosions does not condense to form objects like galaxies.
- Chemicals do not react together randomly to form amino acids through natural processes.
- Amino acids do not randomly interact to form living cells through undirected natural processes.
- Molecules-to-man evolutionism violates the Law of Biogenesis: Life does not come from non-life.
- The specific complexity of genetic information in the genome does not increase spontaneously. Therefore, there is no natural process whereby reptiles can turn into birds, land mammals into whales, or chimpanzees into human beings.
- All organisms are irreducibly complex. Therefore, in order for any kind of organism to exist, all of the essential parts of that organism must be fully functioning from the beginning of its existence.
- As now used by evolutionary scientists there is virtually no value in radio dating as an objective source of prehistoric chronology.
- Many worldwide natural processes indicate an age for the earth of 10,000 years or less. These include population kinetics, influx of radiocarbon into earths atmosphere, absence of meteorites from the geologic column, and decay of earths magnetic field.
- Sedimentological research has challenged the principles upon which the geological time scale is based.
- There is no gradualism in the fossil record, no intermediate types.
CONCLUSION: Natural science offers no evidence that would contradict the plain and obvious sense of Genesis 1-11, the consensus of the Fathers of the Church, or the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church on creation and the origins of man and the universe.