Can Catholics be Young Earth Creationists?

Yesterday I was told I was delusional because I am a Young Earth Creationist. Not surprising, it happens all the time. Interesting thing though is that in over 20 years I have never been called delusional because I am YEC by anyone other than evangelical non-believers. No person of faith has ever, although disagreement does exist, had a serious issue with me personally over it, not once, and faith is something I talk about all the time.

What did surprise me about this conversation is that I was also told that there is no way a Catholic could possibly endorse YEC, or creation at all really, because it undermines their faith.

I understand that many Catholics, and even some popes, have endorsed some form of theistic evolution over a literal historical interpretation of the creation account in Genesis 1. But, is evolution the official historical position of The Catholic Church?

Both the Council of Trent and Vatican Council I taught that no one is permitted to interpret Sacred Scripture “contrary to the unanimous agreement of the Fathers.” In the words of Fr. Victor Warkulwiz:

The Fathers and Doctors of the Church unanimously agreed that Genesis 1-11 is an inerrant literal historical account of the beginning of the world and the human species as related by the prophet Moses under divine inspiration. This does not mean that they agreed on every point in its interpretation, but their differences were accidental and not essential. Pope Leo XIII, following St. Augustine, affirmed the Catholic rule for interpreting Sacred Scripture, “not to depart from the literal and obvious sense, except only where reason makes it untenable or necessity requires.”

For the first five centuries of the Church, all of the Fathers believed and proclaimed:

  • That less than 6,000 years had passed from the creation of the world to the birth of Jesus.
  • That the creation of the cosmos took place in six 24 hour days or in an instant of time
  • That God created the different kinds of living things instantly and immediately
  • That Adam was created from the dust of the earth and Eve from his side
  • That God ceased to create new kinds of creatures after the creation of Adam
  • That the Original Sin of Adam shattered the perfect harmony of the first-created world and brought human death, deformity, and disease into the world.

Also…

In 1950, in the encyclical Humani generis, Pope Pius XII gave permission to Catholic scholars to evaluate the pros and cons of human evolution. But this permission in no way abrogated authoritative teachings. Permission to investigate an alternative view is not tantamount to approval! On the contrary, it is often a means to expose an error root and branch. Pope Pius XII also called the German philosopher Dietrich Von Hildebrand a “twentieth century Doctor of the Church.” Commenting on a Catholic catechism that spoke favorably of theistic evolution, Von Hildebrand wrote the following:

A grave error lies in the notion of “an evolutionary age” – as if it were something positive to which the Church must conform. Does the author consider it progress, an awakening to true reality, that Teilhard de Chardin’s unfortunate ideas about evolution fill the air? Does he not see that the prevailing tendency to submit everything, even truth – even divine truth! – to evolution amounts to a diabolical undermining of revealed truth? Truth is not truth if it is ever changing. The “courageous response” called for is precisely the opposite of yielding to evolutionary mythologies.

Nowadays many Catholics reject the “traditional” Catholic doctrine with respect to the special creation of man, the creation of Eve from Adam’s side, and other doctrines derived from the literal historical interpretation of Genesis 1-11 on the grounds that the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium in recent decades has “moved beyond” and “corrected” certain errors in its earlier pronouncements on these subjects in the light of scientific advances. However, in the passage quoted above Dr. Von Hildebrand has given the simple reason why the special creation of Adam and the creation of Eve from Adam’s side, among other doctrines derived from Genesis 1-11, are authoritative and unchangeable Catholic doctrine. He reminds his readers that “Truth is not truth if it is ever changing.” Therefore, it is impossible for the Magisterium to have taught these doctrines as authoritatively as it has in the past and then to contradict that authoritative teaching.

This would not be a “development of doctrine,” like the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception or Papal Infallibility, but a deformation of doctrine.

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Categories: Apologetics, Christianity

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25 replies

  1. I’m a YEC, but I am LCMS Lutheran, not Catholic. I’ve also been told that I’m some form of unintelligent and/or crazy for being a YEC. Did you see the recent movie “Is Genesis History”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • YEC is reasonable and a lot of people believe it.

      I have not seen the movie but I may check it out.

      In fairness, I think Christians can be YEC, OEC, some form of deist, or people who don’t think about creation much at all. We all have different interests and are all at different places in our walks.

      Besides, it’s what we think about Jesus, not whether the Earth is 10,000 years old or not that really matters.

      Thanks for stopping by Rebecca:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OK, I have to ask, is this authored by James, James who is a Roman Catholic? I am a OEC myself and a Protestant. I am not trying to be disrespectful, just kind of surprised on the Roman Catholic statement. I know you have other contributors so just wanted some clarification.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find it odd that the people of the Christian faith argue over such matters as would and do divide them, but such is the plight and choice of man. God created the heavens and the earth,we are told

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually don’t find it that odd at all. Before the Internet it may have but nowadays people have to argue about something and can’t be wrong so…

      It is sad though that we can’t seem to put Jesus first.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Putting Christ first is what we as follower of the way are told taught and asked to do. As I listen to the banter I find myself asking a simple question with huge ramifications WWJD. He told I give to you this command do as I have done. Then I look at the books and read, what I find is a man, my lord my savior and my God, great and awesome. So I question Peter, Paul, Matthew and more as I know you are well aware. I thank you and I thank God for you

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Where exactly from Trent and V1 do you quote that they “taught that no one is permitted to interpret Sacred Scripture ‘contrary to the unanimous agreement of the Fathers.’ “? This is article raises a very valid claim on the consistency of Catholic view. I just want to know the exact quotes though.

    Like

  5. I am also of extremely YEC leanings as you know. I only say leanings because I may very well learn I am wrong some day.
    I know many Christians who reject yec and might actually think I am wrong. Like you I have never found it to be a huge problem

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As you will delete this comment of mine, I will be brief. You all believe in different ages of the earth and in your own versions of evolution and reject many scientific facts. These are hugely important issues to the world and atheists, but religious people seem to casually accept this and not worry about it, and like everything else you believe it is built on faith and hope without evidence and logic, however you commit your life to it. This attitude to me is unbelievable and I must say it is deluded.

    Like

    • Hi Steve
      You seem to be very comfortable speaking as a representative of atheists worldwide, as you constantly say things like “we.” Odd, for a content free system of simple non belief, really. But, that is another topic altogether.
      The only reason I raise the point is because you do make rather clear claims to speak for atheists in general. This matters because of this: “but religious people seem to casually accept this and not worry about it, ”
      You realize that most of your buddies get all up in arms over the fact that Christians claim to understand truth. You have done this yourself. In fact, “I don’t know,” is commonly used by non believers to explain the origin of the universe, yet here you are getting on to people for more or less saying, “i don’t know.”
      I am pretty convinced that any word coming from my mouth or James’ mouth is instantly wrong simply becase of the off chance it might be fueled by faith.
      Here we see proof.
      Christians claim to know truth. Bad Christians.
      Christians say “I don’t know.” Bad Christians.
      Final point, Be very careful about posturing as a spokesman for a content free “belief” system. That implies content, and we all know atheism has no content, right? You might consider checking in with one of the atheist handlers to insure you adhere to proper doctrine LOL.

      Liked by 2 people

    • @sky
      Deluded? Uh hello?
      Delusion is thinking that a carpenter’s table was made by a kid throwing up a handful of sawdust and presto, a work of art. This is an example of godlessness, and this is precisely your world view which borders on craziness.
      Then there is the alternative: that God made the wood tree so man can make the wood table, for you see, creating things is the imprint of God who made man after His image.
      But you go right on enjoying the delusion, but I suggest you read scripture to cure that illness of mind. The facts of life belong to God.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Steve,

      I am not sure who you are talking about when you say “you all…” when I, for example, don’t believe in evolution in any form.

      As far as age of the Earth goes, Christians can believe it’s either old or young and not go against Scripture either way so we are safe.

      As far as denying science facts goes, what facts are we denying? I have been doing this for over 20 years and have examined as many scientific facts as anyone. Since you don’t know anything about my background, can you even say with any certainty what I know about science? Or, do you just paint all believers with a broad brush regardless?

      Now, why are these important issues to you? Why do you seem to need to know how old the Earth is?

      I have my thoughts on how old it is but it doesn’t really matter to me in the least and it shouldn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

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