Saturday, November 1, 2014

Evolution Embraced

     It has been in the news that the Pope endorsed evolution saying "evolution is not inconsistent with the notion of creation."  Some people are surprised by that because they assumed the Catholic Church also opposed the idea of evolution as do many of the Evangelical Protestants--not so--as far back as 1950 Pope Pius XII said there was no opposition between evolution and Catholic doctrine.

     The evidence of Science is irrefutable, evolution is regarded as fact rather than a theory; any threat to religion arises from the popular interpretation that Darwin's theory denies God a place in creation.  It is possible to see evolution as God's plan.

     As we search to discover our origins we ask, "Are we of earth or of God?"  There seems to be a conflict:  Scripture says clay and God's breath brought us into being while Science argues that our being is merely a happenstance result of random blind choice.  A narrowness of vision closes the possibilities: 1) either in literal interpretation of Genesis, God fashioned man out of clay, breathed upon him and, poof! magically there was man fully formed and perfect; 2) or out of primeval ooze over eons of time elements, then cells, happened to combine simply because of proximity thus forming different species until finally, by randomness, man emerged.  Both possibilities in this simplistic view seem equally absurd!  Eliminate the absurdity (implausibility) in each choice: 1) many of the Old Testament's stories are symbolic.  Symbolic, not untrue, not a lie, but pointing to a truth beyond that age's ability to comprehend; and 2) evolution is more than random happenstance, the long view shows pattern and direction; that of complexification and the rise of consciousness.

    A brilliant Jesuit Paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, while studying ancient fossils in the deserts of China was able to realize that regarding evolution, besides either/or choices, there is also 'AND', thus opening a new portal of understanding.  Science and religion are not in conflict.  Evolution is God's plan for Creation.

                                                                     - - -


We are born as either/or people.
    Jesus, the Christ,
       is the beginning of 'and' . . .
       Of clay and sky we were fashioned.
       We've chosen to follow the nature of our birth
                        earth's clay we can touch--
                        God's breath is not palpable--

       The finite and material
               we can manipulate, can measure.
       The infinite and eternal
               we cannot grasp, cannot contain.

       So we elect to negate--
               choose one or the other:
                        either/or, either/or . . .
       Finite man locked in 'choosing limits'
               rendering choices that create our reality
                        either/or, either/or . . .
       These decisions skew the balance,
               there is weaving together to be done
                        --open to 'and'.

                            - - -

We are finitely mortal,
    God--infinitely expansive;
       through Immanuel those poles are joined.

                   Son of God; Son of Man

       Being itself unfolds gradually to consciousness
       First, survival and discovery--individuality and freedom
       Then, a New Law--love and unity.

       Because we are limited
       we have limited what can be--
                        a shell of narcissism
                        locks out the greater reality.
       Finite man choosing between
                        either/or, either/or . . .

                   Come, O Come, Immanuel!

       Because time cannot contain eternity,
       Eternity enters time--
              And asks us to see what cannot be perceived
                       hear what cannot be understood
                       know what cannot be comprehended
              to burst out of those limits into which we are born

                   to become the people of 'And'.


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