Van Popta – Vatican Makes Peace with Darwin

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Over on our articles page we have added a Clarion editorial from some years ago. In it Rev. George van Popta comments on one of several statements that the Vatican has made in support of the theory of evolution.

What drew our attention to his editorial was the description of how the pope at that time attempted to reconcile the message of Genesis 1 & 2 with evolutionary theory.

Although he wants to maintain that the spiritual soul is created by God without any means, the human body may well have had its origin in living matter which pre-existed  . . . According to him theology must explain the origin of the soul whereas science tells us about the origin of the body (74–75).

If this sounds familiar, that may be because it is basically the position taken by many evolutionary creationists in the evangelical camp. It allows them to assert that God did indeed create “Adam” by a direct and immediate act, for God directly created the soul that as such constituted Adam as Adam. But God also used a very long evolutionary process to “create” the body that would become Adam. The body that pre-existed was not Adam, but a body that lacked a rational soul. This is their clever way of adopting biological evolution into the Christian faith and claiming that it does not contradict Scripture.

The problem is that it is a bit too clever, for it doesn’t at all square with God’s Word. As van Popta also writes,

It is indeed remarkable that the man who claims to be the Vicar of Christ has closed the Word of God—or, at best, lets ideas which have progressively taken root in the minds of researchers control his interpretation of the Word of God (75).

Lord willing, we may in the future pay more attention to the Roman Catholic position on evolution. For now, you can read Rev. van Popta’s article.