August 09, 2005
Ch. XII. Q. 75. Order of Mediate Creation
Q. 75. ORDER OF MEDIATE CREATION.
ALL available indications show that mediate creation, or development of the cosmos and of its contents, has taken many ages, and has been progressive. The advance seems to have been from the simple to the complex, and, in the visible order, from the lower to the higher, from the inorganic to the organic and living, and from the irrational to the rational and moral.1
2. The Church has never required a literal interpretation of the creation narrative in Genesis, and efforts to harmonize its language with the results of scientific investigation presuppose a scientific aim and bearing which it does not exhibit.
2 But the principle of orderly progress is not less emphasized in it than in the accepted conclusions of natural science.
3. The traditional material embodied in this narrative seems to have come from heathen sources. But under an "inspiration of selection," it has been recast; and in its biblical form and context teaches that all things have been created and developed by the will of God.3 This doctrine requires us to assume that whatever has been evolved in the cosmos has been previously involved therein by the Creator. The factors of evolution are admittedly not wholly within the range of human discovery; and the doctrine that evolution presupposes divinely caused involution is in no danger of reversal.4
4. It is now generally agreed that the existing visible order has developed from relatively simple forms of inorganic matter, these primitive forms being genetically related to a still more ancient and all pervading ether. In obedience to the laws of force and motion, matter has been distributed into a stellar universe; and, in accordance with laws which still operate, the earth has become a suitable' sphere of organic life.5
5. Prior to the nineteenth century the fixity of organic species was accepted scientific doctrine, and biblical exegetes were inclined, as a rule, to read this doctrine into the creation narrative of Genesis. Owing to the labours of Charles Darwin and others, however, the theory of a natural evolution of species by variation and survival of the fittest has become the working hypothesis of biological science.6
6. After a period of hesitation, theologians have very generally adjusted themselves to the changed situation, and now rightly regard the theory of evolution, both inorganic and organic, as the best description of the method of mediate creation which existing human knowledge affords. But no description of mediate creation may be given the authority of saving doctrine, for while theological science continually adjusts itself to growing knowledge, the fundamental dogmas which it postulates remain unaltered.7
1 Creation: ch. iii. 6-8; J.O. Dykes, Divine Worker, chh. i, iii-vii; F. B. Jevons, Evolution.
2 Darwell Stone, Outlines, note 10: S.R. Driver. Genesis pp. Ixi-lxx; E.B. Pusey, Unscience not Science, Adverse to Faith.
3 H. P. Liddon, The Inspiration of Selection (Univ. Serms., 2d Series, xx.); the writer's Authority. pp. 209-211, 225-236 (where numerous references are given); S.R. Driver, pp. 19-33; Bp. Ryle, Early Narratives of Genesis, chh. i-ii.
4 Evolution pp. 89-95; W.C.D. Whetham, Recent Devel. of Phys. Science, pp. 16-20; V.F. Storr, Development and Divine Purpose, pp. 168-186; Sir Oliver Lodge, Life and Matter, passim; W. Profeit, The Creation of Matter, ch. xi.
5 Creation ch. iii. 6. On ether, Encyc. Brit., s.v. "Aether." On the evolution of matter, W.C.D. Whetham, ch. vii. On astronomical evolution, F.R. Moulton, Introd. to Astron., ch. xv. On the evolution of this earth, R.H. Lock, Recent Progress in the Study of Variation, etc., pp.24-28.
6 The Darwinian form of this theory has been modified. See Evolution, lecs. i-iii; Chas. Darwin, Origin of Species; A. R. Wallace, Darwinism; V.L. Kellogg, Darwinism Today; R.H. Locke, op. cit.; V.F. Storr, op. cit.
7 Evolution, pp. 26-36.
Posted by AKMA at August 9, 2005 08:47 PM