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The biological evolution
Some apparent paradoxes of Genesis 2-3
The second account contains a lot of multiple references. This is why we will discover some apparent paradoxes, which are solved by separating the events the text is referring to. This is like the light decomposition of a body into its color spectrum. This so-called spectral analysis allows to determine the inner chemical composition of the body despite its outer appearance.
What attracts our attention first of all in this account is the anachronistic order of the evolution from matter to man. In fact, the creation of matter is mentioned first (Gen 2:4-6), which is correct, but then follows the creation of man (Gen 2:7); and only then the creation of the plants (Gen 2:8-9) and the animals (Gen 2:19). Consequently, the creation of man is quoted too early. This anachronism reminds us of those we have already met in the first account, that is, the apparent creation of the planet Earth in the beginning (see The big bang), the creation of the light and the plants before that of the Sun (see Night and day and Celestial and terrestrial plants), as well as the anachronism of the birds (see here). This is why the anachronism of man must be understood in the same manner: the term Adam does not only refer to the first man but also to an angel or to the angels in general. This is why the creation of Adam out of dust (Gen 2:7) is a kind of compromise between the creation of the angels out of nothing and of man out of a former species. We will approach this multiple reference of Adam in more detail below in Common descent.
The creation of the animals is somewhat surrealistic as well (Gen 2:19-20). Without excluding that celestial animals, herbivorous lions (Gen 1:30) and wolves living side by side with lambs (Isa 11:6) exist in the spiritual world, their mention in the description of the paradise must also be understood as a reference to an analogous hierarchy among the angels. This appears, for example, regarding the snake, which on the one hand is described as an animal but on the other hand is capable of speech (Gen 3:1-5). These two representations can only retain their validity if Genesis contains multiple references, hence, if the speaking snake represents both a fallen angel and an animal. If the snake stands for an angel, we have to suppose that the same is valid for the other animals. This therefore implies a similar analogy between the hierarchy of the animals and that of the angels, which can also be compared with that existing in human society.
This analogy between animals and angels also explains why Genesis 1:29-30 asserts that the primitive food of all animals and humans was composed of plants, more precisely of fruit trees and seed plants, which is inconceivable regarding some animal species that have always been carnivorous. Yet, this passage precisely refers to the celestial world composed of spiritual landscapes, rivers, birds, animals and angels, who exclusively eat a spiritual food produced by the fruit trees of paradise (see Celestial and terrestrial plants). In the beginning, they were “spiritual vegetarians”, until the day when they consumed the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. More about this below, in The life cycle of the angels and humans.
Monogenesis is the view that humanity stems from single parents, in opposition to polygenism. Monogenesis was sustained in 1987 by a sensational discovery in biochemistry showing that south-eastern Africa is the cradle of humanity. This means that hominization did not take place on a large scale, that is to say at several places on the planet, as the majority of paleontologists had supposed before, but that humans are descended from a small group of individuals, which is in accordance with the monogenism claimed by Genesis and the Church.
Monogenesis can be extended to the whole of evolution: the physical universe was formed from a very small point (a singularity) at the big bang; all planets were born from the same solar disk; the continents issued from a single one before their continental drift; life was only formed on Earth and nowhere else and from a single cell; new species emerged from a single couple of a previous species; Adam and Eve are the ancestors of humanity; Abraham is the ancestor of Israel; Christ is the first born of a new generation called Christians; and so on. It consequently seems that monogenesis, when something completely new enters into existence, is a universal law reflecting the image of the unique God.
However, Genesis comes along with an apparently insurmountable difficulty: “And the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Gen 2:7). Are we to take this verse literally, as do creation scientists, and to believe that species were created independently of each other? Not at all, because Genesis must not be taken literally and locally without considering the context in which it is placed. As we shall see in The incarnation prefigured by Adam, it contains numerous allegorical elements pointing, among others, to the birth of Christ, who is prefigured by Adam. This is why Adam was not created as an adult out of dust but was born like Christ by a woman.
As already mentioned, the creation of Adam out of dust (Gen 2:7) must also be understood as a kind of compromise between the creation of the angels out of naught and of man out of a former species. This has to be placed in the context of the whole material, biological and spiritual evolution making part of four levels:
The “average” between level zero (naught), from which the angels issued, and level two (fauna), from which man issued, is level one, that is to say matter. This is why Adam, according to the multi-reference, was formed with dust, because this figure not only represents the first man but also the angels, as figure 10 suggests.
Hence, the dust of the Garden of Eden is multi-significant and its sense changes according to the context to which it is applied. Thus, it designates the species from which humans descend, that is to say, a part of the genetic code necessary to the formation of the body, with a spirit directly created by God each time a new human being is formed in the maternal womb, according to the teaching of the Church. In fact, human DNA differs very little from the DNA of apes and other primates. In general, the DNA of all species varies very little from the DNA of their immediate ancestors, which shows strong evidence for the common descent of all species.
The dust, from which the first man was formed, therefore refers to a mother belonging to an anterior species of Homo sapiens but of the same genus Homo. This could be Homo erectus or Homo neanderthalensis depending on whether one considers the latter a species apart or a subspecies of Homo sapiens. In any case, the real first couple of humans were born of a mother who was capable of feeding, educating, and giving them the love necessary to develop behavior worthy of the first humans. The ancestors of humankind must consequently have been rather close to modern humans, probably capable of a primitive language, for instance. This argument also weights against adult creation because any living being must undergo a learning process in order to survive in a given environment. Arguing that God “preprogrammed” these capabilities with creation is not very convincing because it would be too tricky: the newly created species would have a false memory of events that never took place, would fear dangerous animals even though they never met before, and so on.
If this interpretation of Genesis 2:7 is valid for the first humans, it is also valid for all other vegetal and animal species because they were created out of the ground as well (Gen 2:9; 2:19). In other words, we can fully interpret Genesis in agreement with the widely accepted concept of common descent, according to which all species issued from previous ones in the course of millions of years of evolution.
The atheistic background
Genesis advocates discreet evolution, that is, distinct steps from one species to another. This contrasts with continuous, gradual evolution, or phyletic gradualism, sustained by the concept of natural selection, which is supposed to produce new species through the accumulation of small random mutations in the genetic code over millions of years. Such pure atheistic evolution is contested by all kinds of creationist beliefs, ranging from young-Earth-creationism to theistic evolution passing through intelligent design. It is not my intention to go through the pros and cons of all these theories, neither do I believe that I can close the debate with this section about natural selection. In any case, it is probably not possible to refute natural selection conclusively because the matter in hand is far too complex, even for the specialists in the field… I think that it is nevertheless possible to form a solid opinion about the subject using common sense in the light of faith and having a broad overview of the different opinions.
First, I would like to mention the argument, unrefuted over the decades, of the lack of intermediate forms between species in the fossil record. It is true that for some species there are apparently intermediate forms. A few examples, however, cannot support a theory about a process that is supposed to have worked globally. On the other hand, almost every species contradicts natural selection because they are nearly all very different from the closest ones.
Evolutionists have tried in many ways to counter this argument. For instance, one often argues that the discovered fossil record is far from being complete, which may be true. However, it shows that species appear abruptly and then remain stable over a long time, as suggested by figure 11. Even Darwin himself was aware of this problem, since he wrote in his famous work On the Origin of Species about Lingula, a genus of still living shells:
Species of different genera and classes have not changed at the same rate, or in the same degree. In the oldest tertiary beds a few living shells may still be found in the midst of a multitude of extinct forms... The Silurian Lingula differs but little from the living species of this genus.
He also wrote: “If species really, after catastrophes, created in showers […], my theory is false.” Neo-Darwinists then conceived a lot of theories like allopatric speciation and punctuated equilibrium and so on in order to solve these problems.
Despite these difficulties, natural selection is handled by evolutionists as a scientific theory on the same level as quantum mechanics or general relativity. This is completely fallacious because not only are these physical theories based on a coherent mathematical structure but they are also observed in nature innumerable times, whereas evolutionary theories neither have any solid mathematical evidence nor are they confirmed through observations.
This raises the question why the concept of natural selection could survive from Charles Darwin up to the present? The answer lies in atheism: since one expects of educated people that they should question the origin of humankind, atheists found themselves in the dilemma of providing natural explanations for the origin of species. Hence, because not all educated people believe in God, natural selection is still in discussion at the present day. While it is acceptable that, in the first place, one should investigate natural phenomena on the ground of possible natural explications rather than relegating them straightaway to the realm of supernatural forces, it is not scientific at all to postulate the non-existence of God and deduce from this that natural selection in any case must be responsible for speciation even though it is supposedly not yet proven.
Natural selection thus has nothing to do with science but with beliefs, that is, with anti-religion, which can reach high degrees of irrationalism. In fact, atheists are indoctrinated people trying to indoctrinate others using similar methods as some religious groups, looking in the first place for power and spreading their views rather than being enlightened by the truth.
The obsession with which Darwinists are subjugated by the idea of an inventive and life-generating nature closely resembles the medieval obsession to construct perpetual motion machines supposed to continually deliver more energy than they consume. However, this violates the laws of thermodynamics: the conservation of energy and increase of disorder (entropy). The Parisian Academy decided in 1775 never again to examine any proposals concerning plans of perpetual motion, which however did not prevent some people from inventing new projects again and again, even up to the present.
The same obsession is linked to the hypothesis of natural selection: just as perpetual motion reflects the desire to handle an inexhaustible energy as only God holds it, the idea of natural selection manifests the wish to possess creative forces as only God owns them. It represents the old wish to take the place of God (see The life cycle of the angels and humans), so it is just wishful thinking. Since the example of perpetual motion shows how far an obsession of this kind can go, one should be very critical in the face of any “scientific” theory claiming to explain the apparition of species, even if it is supported by otherwise competent persons.
As it happens, natural selection suffers from the law of increasing entropy: left to itself, nature generates more and more disorder and only intelligent beings are able to make order within a system. For instance, humans are able to construct sand castles on the shore, but the ocean cannot, on the contrary it destroys them. This is very simple and can be understood intuitively by everyone, there is no need to be a biologist, physicist or mathematician. The law of increasing disorder symbolizes the fact that everything under the heavens returns to death and decay. It is the physical expression of the corrupt human nature leading inevitably to social degradation (see The values of the metals of Daniel’s statue). Humankind constantly needs the intervention of God in order to be liberated from sin and renewed. On the level of biological evolution, this is expressed by divine intervention at every apparition of a new species because nature was thus repeatedly renewed.
Of course, evolutionists have also counter-attacked this argument arguing, for instance, that the Earth is not a closed system, that order can come out of chaos (see Can Order Come Out of Chaos?) or that natural selection is acting like Maxwell’s demon and so on. However, what is needed here is a healthy portion of common sense teaching us, for instance, that a complex system like the eye cannot be produced by coincidence. The evolution of the eye was mentioned by Darwin himself as being difficult to understand by natural selection. However, he could not prevent himself from theorizing how it could nevertheless have happened by indicating functional intermediate steps from light sensitive cells to a camera-like eye. As evolutionists usually do though, he did not radically apply the hypothesis of random processes because there is no reason to suppose that the different components of the eye were straightforwardly put together in the right way as he did with his biased assumptions.
There are no living beings in the fossil record that tried out eyesight, even though it evolved step by step. But these steps were always fully functional without any flaws. If chance is behind speciation, however, one should expect a completely random evolution, that is, species with useless lenses somewhere on the body, non-functional retinas somewhere else as well as pupils, irises, eyelashes, and so on. Finally, one should find species trying to combine these components, without speaking of the fact that they are already complex systems and that nature should have achieved the same task for a second eye both symmetrically placed on the head and linked to the most complex organ, the brain, without which the new seeing species would still have been completely blind.
The most striking differences between species is not their outer form but on the level of certain anatomical details. There are, for example, no intermediate forms between the scales of reptiles and the feathers of birds or the hairs of mammals, both of which stem from reptiles.
These differences are directly related to the fact that it is not by one single mutation that a new species is brought forth. Several changes are necessary, which causes an insurmountable problem to nature: DNA is a molecular language that contains entities comparable to those of scripture, that is, letters (the four nucleotides), words, phrases, paragraphs, sections, and so on. Random mutations within this language occur on the level of the letters. This is why it can intuitively be figured out that mutations are disturbing rather than favorable for an organism that suffers them, for DNA is a very balanced code in which the least changes are disadvantageous in most cases, as stated by biology professor Klotz.
Human DNA contains about five billion nucleotides, which would give 10’000 middle-sized books of about 500’000 letters each. When we compare DNA with a computer program and change any byte in the compiled code, there is a high risk that it will crash thereafter. By adding another function to the program, not just one byte but many bytes must be added or modified. Yet, successive changes of single bytes, although the good ones, of course, do not successively provoke the desired results because the new function only works with the complete code. Partial code produces nonsense. To demonstrate this even better, let us take an access code to a computer. It is evident that the computer only accepts the complete code. So it does not suffice that only one or more letters are right. Even if only one single letter is wrong the computer considers the entire code wrong.
DNA works similarly: mutations are like spelling errors. Humans are able to guess the meaning of a word or phrase containing errors, but the cell does not have this level of intelligence and is disturbed when they occur. So even if a mutation made part of a good code, which in itself is already improbable enough, it would mostly have disturbing effects, since errors in the biological language equal non-understanding and only the complete code makes sense. This is why the need to accomplish a very large number of mutations to produce a new species would have become deadly for intermediate species, since mutations occur singly in most cases. This is why over the number of needed mutations, they become lethal in any case and the probability of natural selection theoretically and practically reduces to zero.
Random mutations generate precisely the contrary of what they are supposed to generate from the Darwinist point of view: natural deselection, preventing species from transmission of disease and safeguarding the original genetic code, which was created by God. This is supported by the fact that the cell nucleus involves sophisticated processes with a view to safeguard the original code. For instance, the female X-chromosome proceeds to compare code after recombination and thus repairs defective code, say mutations. The male Y-chromosome, however, is limited in repairing code. This is why mutations accumulate over many generations so that, according to Oxford University geneticist Sykes, the human race will become extinct in about 125’000 years unless women find a way to reproduce themselves without men...
Apart from these scientific reasons, there are many others more difficult to prove but, in my opinion, not less convincing. Since the idea of natural selection is based on the survival of the fittest, life should only be in possession of features that are related to mere survival. Life, however, especially human life, overflows with characteristics that have nothing to do with survival. How can our ability for humor, or the fact that we like music and art, be related to natural selection? Or emotions such as love, which is easiest toward weak individuals like children and animals? Love and respect for others are “mechanisms” that bring no advantages for individual survival, but nevertheless we consider them the highest human characteristics.
One may argue that such virtues are good for social survival, which is more successful than individual survival. Therefore, abilities for social life as well as for art may have been developed by natural selection because they make us happy and willing to live. Also the love for children may just be something that has emerged from natural selection because otherwise nobody would want to raise children and the survival of the human species would have been compromised. The problem with this point of view is that love would only be virtual, just a means to an end, a kind of illusion. It would not be real. However, life only has sense if real love exists. This is why there must be a Creator: just as most people came into existence because their parents decided to have children as an act of love, also God created the world, all species and the human race through real love. Life only has sense if it came into existence through the real will and love of God.
Natural selection is the exact opposite of reality: since the aim of evolution was to bring forth humankind created in the image of God, it is evident that God’s will was to bring his creation increasingly to an independence reflecting his own at the highest possible level. In the domain of speciation, this independence implied that it was not the new species that had to adapt themselves to the environment, as supposed by Darwinists, but the environment, so as to offer an adequate base for life to a future species to come, in other words, so as to produce an ecosystem allowing the new species to live on its own. The rise of the oxygen-producing cyan bacteria, for example, prepared the environment for heterotrophic micro-organisms, which themselves later became an environmental component for another species, and so on. Thus creation does not at all exclude evolution, which inversely cannot be used to exclude God from the process of evolution. By professing this opinion, one does not entrench oneself “in a refusal of this or that scientific reality”, one is simply convinced that reality is not as simple as some people conceive it.
Because of its essentially philosophical dimension, the theory of natural selection may cause dramatic social behavior praising the law of the strongest following the example of nature. This so called Social Darwinism is the basis of Western imperialism and of most older or newer racial ideologies. It is also indirectly responsible for the two World Wars as various studies show. In Germany, the National Socialists were also inspired by it in their intention to “purify” the planet of the presence of the Jews. Such negative social behavior against life caused by the concept of natural selection by survival of the fittest is also a reason why it cannot have produced life.
The reason why God created the physical world
What is the difference between an angel and a human being? At the spiritual level we are certainly very similar to angels, which raises the question why God created humans, since he had already created the angels before us (see here). One is inclined to consider the angels as being of lesser importance, that is to say, to believe that they have no other meaning than to serve humans as messengers or guardians. However, all the spiritual goods that the first humans received, that is to say, their resemblance to God according to Genesis 1:27, their free will, their supernatural initial grace, and so on, had already been received by the angels. At this level, God created nothing new with humankind.
One can therefore assert that initially the creation of humans was not planned, since it does not make sense to create two beings, that are in fact different, but nevertheless equal on the highest level. So the need to create humans must have appeared in the course of time after the creation of the angels, independently of the fact that God certainly foresaw from the origin that this need would occur. In fact, God decided to create the physical world and humankind in order to save both the angels and humans through the sacrifice of the cross. This salvation was necessary because of the sin, first of the angels and thereafter of humans. For this purpose, God created human beings as spiritually similar to the angels, but physically vulnerable, in order to become one of them by the incarnation.
For some people, this viewpoint may be doubtful. However, why should God not do all that is in his power to save us? Why should God not have created an entirely new world especially for this purpose? His love has no bounds and exceeds all our imagination. Is it not written that “God so much loved the world that he has given his unique Son” (Jn 3:16)? We are living in such a complex world, requiring a considerable effort trying to understand it, that we defend our vision of the world too often simply to save the labor accomplished in pain and the beauty of the edifice that would collapse, so without much objectivity and asking ourselves whether it really stands on solid foundations. The creation of the physical world in view of our redemption is the sole “model” that can reasonably answer the simple question: “Why did God create beings of spirit and body if their spirit can live without the body?”
The creation is full of prefigurations of the incarnation and redemption. We have already become acquainted with the six levels, which end with Christ and increasingly announce him (see figure 8). We also discussed monogenesis, which is manifested by a singularity and spreads over the whole of evolution (see here). In this sense, the birth of Adam, father of all humanity, and of Christ, first-born of all Christians, may be considered singularities. Because of this parallel, common descent is confirmed because Christ came into this world as a baby born of a woman and not as an adult. This is why Genesis 2:7 refers to this birth, for the breath of life that God blew into the nostrils of Adam prefigures the Holy Spirit, by which Jesus was conceived (Lk 1:35). And the pure earth of the garden of Eden, out of which Adam was formed, announces Mary, the mother of Jesus. So evolution did not end with the first man but continued until the incarnation, which is the key event of the whole of evolution and is prefigured by many sub-events because God created this world in view of our redemption by the sacrifice of the cross.
Because of the same analogy, Mary is prefigured by the pre-human mother who gave birth to Adam. At the same time, she is prefigured by Eve, who is “the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20) and who is possibly born of the same pre-human mother. In this case, Eve would be the sister of Adam, despite their later conjugal relationship. This status of brother and sister, and their conjugal relationship prefigure the relationship between Christ and Mary, who is the Bride of God since the Holy Spirit, who is God, conceived Jesus in Mary (Lk 1:35). However, Christ is also God, more exactly God-man. This double nature of Jesus means that he is not only the son of Mary but at the same time her Spouse, which is prefigured by the conjugal relationship of Adam and Eve as shown by figure 12:
Mary thus became the Mother, similar to God the Father, of all humans born in the faith in Jesus, who is the First-born of this new generation (Lk 2:7; Col 1:15; Rev 1:5), the Eldest of a multitude of brothers (Rom 8:29) born and adopted by the Holy Spirit (Gal 4:4-7), the new Adam exempt from all sin (Rom 5:12-19). Finally, Mary is also a child of this big family because she has herself faith in her son. In this sense, Jesus and Mary are also brother and sister, like Adam and Eve. It seems that this way the word of Jesus “Whoever does the will of God, that person is my brother, and my sister, and my mother” (Mark 3:35) is perfectly realized.
By the way, the snakes effectively lost their paws according to Genesis 3:14, because their ancestors, the lizards, had paws.
Planetary systems outside our solar system are increasingly being discovered, such that an important part of the scientific community also gives an increasing chance of there being life outside our Earth. However, this belief is based on the atheistic view of natural selection, which is far from being a flawless theory, as shown in Natural selection. In addition, extraterrestrial life stands in complete contradiction with God’s whole design regarding incarnation and redemption, a theme that we will approach further on. This is why the angels are the only aliens who really exist. However, this reality exceeds all imagination.
Mathematically, the average of a set of numbers is calculated by adding them and dividing the result by the number of numbers. So here we have a set of 3 numbers: 0, 1 and 2. The sum of them is 3. Dividing 3 by 3 yields 1.
Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Humani Generis, 1950.
Niles Eldredge, Confessions of a Darwinist, The Virginia Quarterly Review 82, 2006.
Ernst Mayer, Change of genetic environment and evolution, in J. Huxley, A. C. Hardy and E. B. Ford, Evolution as a Process, 1954.
Niles Eldredge and S. J. Gould, Punctuated equilibria: an alternative to phyletic gradualism, in T. J. M. Schopf, Models in Paleobiology, 1972.
The evolution of the eye is also used by Michael J. Behe in Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution to refute natural selection.
John W. Klotz, Genes, Genesis, and Evolution, 1972.
Bryan Sykes, Adam's Curse: A Future without Men, 2005.
C. Montenant, L. Plateaux and P. Roux, How to Read the World: Creation in Evolution, 1985. This book is an exemplary presentation of theistic evolution separating God almost entirely from evolution. Hence its title is more than displaced and misleading. Unfortunately, theistic evolution is adopted by most Catholics.
For instance: H. W. Koch, Der Sozialdarwinismus: Seine Genese und sein Einfluß auf das imperialistische Denken, 1973, and The Origins of the First World War, 1984.
This view is supported by St. Andrew of Crete in his Discourse on the Nativity of the Theotokos (Greek word for Mother of God).
The analogy between the first man and Christ moreover answers the question of continuity or discontinuity of hominization because a prefiguration has similar principles to the key event it announces. As for the incarnation, the discontinuity is obvious because people, from the first humans to Christ, did not change increasingly to resemble Christ, although humanity traversed the spiritual evolution and the incarnation was announced by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are the first-borns and fathers of Israel. However, this is not in line with an increasing and continual evolution ending with the incarnation, which is a quite discontinuous event because God became man. As already seen, the environment during the biological evolution did constantly adapt itself in order to receive a new species. This is why pre-humans served to receive the first humans. The spiritual evolution therefore served to receive Christ, that is to say, to make humanity capable – at first the Jews and then the rest of humanity – to understand the event. Because of its close relationship with the incarnation, the creation of the first man was accomplished in a similar manner, which means, among other things, that hominization was discontinuous too. Yet this discontinuity implies monogenism, and because nature is similar in the large and small dimensions, like fractals, the rise of the species must have been discontinuous too, which implies that there was monogenesis and thereby intervention and intelligent design through God.
The Bride of God is a theme widely supported by Church Fathers (see for instance Mary, the Bride of God).
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