Skip to comments.Exploring God(Creator)'s Handiwork(Creation) vs. Evolution(ignorance).
Posted on 03/27/2002 11:34:11 AM PST by f.Christian
FR. JAMES THORNTON
In the Book of Psalms we read, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handywork." To most men living in the time before the rise of modern science, to look up into the sky was to see irrefutable evidence of God's glory and of His boundless power. The daytime dominated by the majestic fiery orb of the sun, with its life-bestowing warmth and light, and the black dome of the night, with its mysterious moon and its millions of bright stars and many planets, could be logically explained in no other way. Wise men reasoned that these things could not generate themselves, that a Being of fearsome, infinite capabilities created them. But not everyone is moved by such logic. Despite evidence everywhere, some men deny the reality of a supernatural Creator.
From the beginning of recorded history, there have been men who believe that all comes from God, and men who reject that truth. At different times and in different places, there have been larger or smaller numbers of theistic believers, but always there have been some who wished to spurn the idea of God and of His involvement in that which He created, to reject God as the First Cause of time, space, matter, and life.
Seventeen hundred years ago, for example, St. Basil the Great admonished his listeners: "Do not say that anything automatically came into being by itself. Nothing springs out of disorder, out of infinity, just by chance. Nothing moves about the universe accidentally, or because of luck.... Such are but the conjectures of uncultured peoples. Nothing is without Providence; nothing is neglected by God."
Another giant of that era, St. John Chrysostom, observed, "To say that creation sprang from pre-existent matter, and not to acknowledge the Creator who created everything out of nothing -- this is a mark of the lowest form of stupidity." We see, then, that the notion that the universe came into existence through some process of self-generation, without the conscious act of an intelligent Creator, required refutation even then, in what we now regard as an Age of Faith, though in those centuries, and for many thereafter, non-believers made up an insignificant minority.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in our own time, has warned that the source of Western man's present difficulties is that he has forgotten God. That way of thinking gathered strength during the Renaissance, he points out, when educated people began to magnify man and his accomplishments, making them the focal point and center of a new worldview, and to diminish the importance of, or completely to exclude, God. Man became the measure of all things. Solzhenitsyn believes that this was a turning point for our civilization, and quite obviously he is correct. He writes, "The humanistic way of thinking, which had proclaimed itself our guide, did not admit the existence of intrinsic evil in man, nor did it see any task higher than the attainment of happiness on earth. It started modern Western civilization on the dangerous trend of worshiping man and his material needs. Everything beyond physical well-being and the accumulation of material goods, all other human requirements and characteristics of a subtler and higher nature, were left outside the area of attention of state and social systems, as if human life did not have any higher meaning." This seed of evil, planted so long ago, did not sprout, grow, mature, and flower all at once or even quickly. Rather, the process was exceedingly slow, almost invisible, creeping forward, snail-like, for a very long time. Yet, even from the start of this trend, certain men at least, some very bright and persuasive, had commenced to forget God and, what is worse, to disseminate their errors widely.
Philosopher Richard M. Weaver has pointed out that one of the features that distinguished the Middle Ages from the new age that rose up with the Renaissance was that the greatest minds of the Medieval world were focused on the larger questions of God, of the nature of the world, and of the relationship between God and mankind. These minds tried to conceptualize their ideas in the very broadest and deepest terms, to capture a vast "general synthesis" that would at the same time express eternal truth and assure the overall good estate of the Christian community. Thus, the ideal of that age was the philosophic doctor, the master of fundamental principles, whose "knowledge of ultimate matters conferred a right to decide ultimate questions." But with the worldview of the Renaissance, centered as it was on man, the best minds began to eschew the concept of a "general synthesis" and to focus exclusively on fragmentary knowledge -- that is, on extreme specialization.
Weaver notes that specialization develops only part of a man, and a man partly developed is, in a philosophical sense, deformed. Thus, one who is philosophically deformed is the last person to whom one should look for knowledge of basic principles, or for enlightenment about solving the problems of human societies. Another philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset, remarked more than 60 years ago that, beginning with the Renaissance, "in each generation the scientist, through having to reduce the sphere of his labor, was progressively losing contact with other branches of science, [and losing contact] with that integral interpretation of the universe which is the only thing deserving the names of science, culture, [and] civilization."
The 18th and 19th centuries witnessed the rise of the positive sciences, and with this an intensification in skepticism about God and the claims of traditional religion, especially among the educated classes. This inclination became most marked after the publication of The Origin of the Species and The Descent of Man, by the naturalist Charles Darwin. Darwin ascribed man's immediate ancestry to the anthropoids, supposedly through a process of gradual evolution. Man was no longer a creature made in the image of God, but merely a natural extension of certain lower forms of life, a refined gorilla, as it were. It was these circumstances, and this intellectual milieu, that led philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to declare that "God is dead" and to predict the rise of new and terrible manifestations of barbarism in the century that was to come. As he put it, "For ... we shall have upheavals, a convulsion of earthquakes, a moving of mountains and valleys, the like of which has never been dreamed of ... there will be wars the like of which have never yet been seen on earth." The non-believer Nietzsche would agree wholly with the Christian believer Dostoyevsky about one thing: Without faith in God, all horrors, all of man's worst nightmares, would become possible. And so they did. What men believe really does matter.
Are you accusing me of something I never said?
You: Are you accusing me of something I never said?
Why you feel the need to take my response to your post way over on this thread and post it here, without proper context or even a reference is beyond me. Your tactics belittle you, and I am not going to play. We are done.
2380 posted on 3/29/02 8:13 AM Hawaii-Aleutian by Condorman
and prophecy(future) too---the Bible!
In my dreams only could I write so eloquently and so down to Earth!
Glory to God!