As a believer in God’s biblical revelation and as a person who accepts the Darwinian concept of descent with modification -- another name for evolution -- I disagree with Elizabeth Herron’s contention (“Evolution and the Bible,” Telegraph Oct. 25, 2012) that one cannot accept both the truth contained in the Bible and the reality of evolution.
Herron’s belief that the Bible “discredits” and “contradicts” evolution is based on a false understanding of the purpose of Sacred Scripture.
Nowhere does the Bible claim to be a scientific text, given to us by God to explain the intricacies of genetic variation, the effects of environmental changes on living organisms, or the process of DNA replication.
Rather, the Bible is a description of God’s intimate relationship with the human race, our failure to respond in a loving way to God’s goodness and greatness and the divine offer of salvation.
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As to her claim that there exists an “absence of transitionary fossils” I would recommend the book “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters” by geologist Donald Prothero. Among the transitional fossils he discusses are Sahelanthropus tchadensis, an upright-walking chimp-like hominid, Pizosiren portelli, a “walking manatee,” and Gerobatrachus hottorni, a toothed amphibian that shows the common origin of frogs and salamanders.
No scientist claims the fossil record is complete. And while many creationists steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the reality of these transitional fossils, Herron’s assertion that no transitional fossils have been identified is completely erroneous.
As to the length of a biblical “day” I would remind Herron of the passage from the second letter of Saint Peter which, in the third chapter, explains that, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” The “days” mentioned in the creation accounts of Genesis are not necessarily the 24 hour periods she wants to understand them to be.
True faith and real science do not contradict each other. Each seeks truth, but each uses a different means to arrive at that end.
In an address to university teachers and students in Cologne, Germany, in November 1980, Pope John Paul II, referring to the work of Saint Albert the Great (d. 1280) who was renowned for his early work in chemistry, biology and botany, said, “For there can be no fundamental conflict between a reason which, in conformity with its own nature which comes from God, is geared to truth and is qualified to know truth; and a faith, which refers to the same divine source of all truth.”
Father Michael J. Kavanaugh is pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Macon.