God or Darwin?
The following was written by the Rt. Rev. Harry Shipps, retired Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia for Spiritus Gladius, the weekly newsletter of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah:
There is considerable discussion these days concerning creation, evolution, and religion, and what should be taught our children in public schools in the nation.In the King of Peace archives are religion columns for the Tribune & Georgian. One is on the Scopes Trail, Teach your children well and another considering why It doesn't have to be Science vs. Religion.
Much depends on how one understands the Holy Bible of Christians and Jews, and how it relates to scientific inquiry. Creationism is the belief, usually held by evangelical Christians that the Genesis account of the Bible is literally accurate, that God is Creator and that the earth is approximately 4,400 years old. Intelligent design, a recent version of creationsim, holds that creation evolved through a divine designer, God, but that scientific inquiry is apporpriate. This is "faith-based" science. Evolution, first set forth by Charles Darwin in 1859 in "The Origin of the Species," holds that through mutations and natural selection, the human species evolved from lower forms of life. The 1925 Scopes trial in Tenessee found in favor of Creationsism but nonetheless opened the discussion of so-called Darwinism throughout the nation.
Recently the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vienna wrote: "Necessity and chance" and "Neo-Darwinism" cannot explain creation. "Unguided evolutionary process—one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence—simply cannot exist."
How should science, biology, and philosophy classes handle these subjects in public schools? Can various propositions be presented objectively, with the student deciding as he wills? Eventually our courts will decide, but not easily or quickly.
Creation, in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, calls for an "unmoved mover," which we call God. The undersigned Christian believes that the scientific explanations of the "Big Bang" fourteen billion years ago, and the emergence of life four billion years ago on this piece of rock we call home, are entirely consonant with Christianity. Science tells us "how." Religion tells us "why." Rather than mutually exclusive propositions, both "how" and "why" are necessary for understanding creation.
There is also the sermon Thoroughly Postmodern Paul which considers related issues.