Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
Creation is not a theory. It is a fact revealed by God. Evolution is a fact within certain restricted spheres, but a mere theory when made of universal application. We have to admit evolution in knowledge, or in growth from babyhood to manhood. As a universal theory, however, evolution from nothing is absurd. Yet granted that God created something, it is quite possible that God endowed His original creation with power to evolve. Did he create vegetables, and animals separately, or did He create a vast rotating nebula and give it the power to evolve into various forms of being and life? The latter idea has never been proved. It is a matter of speculation, with no certainty attached to it, save that science quite discredits spontaneous generation of life. Did man himself evolve from lower living beings? It is absolutely certain that his soul did not. The soul is an intelligent spirit, and an intelligent spirit cannot evolve from matter. Moreover, God has revealed that the soul is created immediately by Himself. Did man's body evolve from lower animals, God creating the rational soul when some lower animal had sufficiently evolved towards manhood? Despite conjectures in favor of this notion, the evidence is against it. The missing link is still missing, and reason discounts the probability that a purely animal soul could develop an animal body beyond its own powers, lifting it to the higher stage needed for a rational soul.
Yes, according to the right interpretation of that expression. God says that that is how things began, and He must know. Thus we read, "My son, look upon heaven and earth, and all that is in them, and consider that God made them out of nothing, and mankind also." II. Mach. VII., 28.
Yes. Granted absolutely nothing, nothing could ever be at all. Nothing could never become something. Nothing has nothing to work upon, and no faculties with which to operate. We are therefore forced to admit an eternal God.
That phrase must be correctly interpreted. God did not make the universe out of nothing as carpenters make tables out of wood. He did not make nothing into a universe. The sense is this: God made the universe, but did not make it out of any pre-existing thing. Apart from God, before creation, there was nothing. God willed, and there was something. Thus created beings began. God does not need any previous being to work upon. He simply wills a thing to be, and it is.
That would not be creation, but mutation of existent being. But God could not become what He was not before. Finite being cannot be made out of infinite being any more than infinite being can be made out of finite being.
Yes. But that does not mean that things are made out of God. It means that all things derive their beings from God's activity, are preserved by His continued providence, and exist always in His immense omnipresence.
Reason in no way discredits the account in Genesis. I am speaking of genuine and enlightened reason, not of the notions of people who think their own opinions always reasonable, whether they are so or not It is possible to interpret the Hebrew word for day as meaning a period of indefinite length. But there is no need to adopt this interpretation, and we can admit that Moses had in mind days as we know them, of twenty-four hours each. Did God, then, create and establish all things as they are within a period of six ordinary days? No. To arrest the attention and assist the memories of those for whom he wrote, Moses used the analogy of days, with mornings and evenings, as the people living at the time he wrote knew them. He used these days to typify the objective reality of God's creative work during long periods of time. This is a purely literary device quite compatible with inspiration, and above all, when we remember that the main purpose of the author was to show that God is the Author and Lord of all things. In its religious significance, the account makes use of the seven ordinary sections of the week, bidding men worship God and rest upon the seventh. Scientifically, each day applies to a long correlative objective period, required for the slow astronomical and geological formation. In other words, Moses dedicated seven consecutive days in honor of God's work, considered as having occurred in seven consecutive periods. And as, after the sixth day, God is described as having abstained from further labor, so after six days of labor man was to abstain on the seventh. Thus Moses impressed upon the people that the week must end in a day devoted to religious duties.
Moses had no intention of giving the exact order in which things were produced. It is obvious that he intended to re-arrange the order to suit himself. His order is logical, not chronological. He describes eight divine operations in general, confining them descriptively to six days, allotting two operations to the third day, and two to the sixth day. It is clearly an intentionally artificial arrangement. When a book has no intention of giving a scientific account, nor of recording the chronological order of events, it is absurd to quarrel with it because it does not. I could write the life of a man according to the chronological sequence of years, or with an arbitrary arrangement of time, dealing with him, say, as lawyer, writer, philanthropist, politician, etc.—the sections chronologically overlapping, or being subject to inversion. That would not interfere with the historical value of my work. Science has nothing to say about an arrangement of matter which abstracts from science, and follows the legitimate canons of literary structure.
It will take science all its time to clarify its own conclusions. But apart from that, no proven scientific conclusion will ever necessitate the rejection of a single jot or tittle of Scripture. Truth can never contradict truth, and the Biblical account is absolutely true in its own order. It does not profess to give a technically scientific account, but it does give the truth in a popular style adapted to the Hebrew mentality of the times when it was written.
I have never made that concession. We have to believe the Bible absolutely, but according to the exact sense intended by the Bible. If you think that we do not believe it absolutely because we do not subscribe to what you think ought to be the sense, that is no fault of ours. Nor is such an attitude of mind rational.
Genesis does not say that. It is impossible to calculate the age of the earth from the Book of Genesis. It could be millions of years old, without the Mosaic account being affected.
There is no evidence as to whether he knew or not. If he did know, he said nothing about it in his writings. Not intending to write a scientific text-book, he did not think fit to touch upon the subject.
I could not possibly tell you. God has not told us, and He alone was there when creation began. The earth probably existed some millions of years before it became habitable by man. It is possible that the first man appeared ten, twenty or a hundred thousand years ago. In this matter we have nothing very reliable. We have but the ever-changing opinions or conjectures of scientists to go upon.
It is probably as new as the evidence the sciences of astronomy and geology have been able to provide. Before the evidence of geological stratification was available men could but conjecture. Some were erroneously of the opinion that they could calculate the age of creation from the Bible, but the Church has never embodied anything dogmatic in her teaching on that question. It is a purely scientific question, not one of faith or morals.
It is not a matter of convenience. It is a question of the will of Christ, who gave as much jurisdiction as He thought fit.