"For we know that all creation groans and travails in pain until now" (Rom.8:22).
Seldom has creation groaned and travailed in pain as it does today. It is increasingly evident that it is "in slavery to corruption," and that it longs eagerly for "the revelation of the sons of God." In the Epistle for the Fourth Sunday After Pentecost (Rom.8:18-23), St. Paul refers to the day of the general resurrection, when the world itself will be renewed, as he says: "we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption as sons of God, the redemption of our body, in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The horrors we are seeing all over the world - terrorist killings, wars and rumors of wars, starvation, diseases, rumblings of the earth, strange phenomena in the skies - are the result of Original Sin. Even the earth was changed. God told Adam that because of his disobedience the earth would be a place of trial and suffering, bringing forth thorns and thistles (Gn.3:18). Human nature itself is weakened, so that we find it difficult to think correctly and understand truth clearly without the help of divine Revelation. Our wills are weakened, and there is within us the power of concupiscence, so that it is difficult to avoid sin. But with God's grace and our cooperation it can be done.
Of course, others have their explanation. What we are witnessing, they say, is simply the process of evolution. Matter has within itself all that it needs to evolve. When it reaches a state of sufficient complexity, intelligence emerges. By a gradual upward spiraling, we are destined to reach the highest point of convergence, the Omega Point. In the meantime, through the process of Noogenesis, a planetary thinking network, we are reaching a new and higher consciousness in which we will all participate. Don't get all upset about apparent setbacks like terrorism, starvation, and genocide.
These are the ideas of the Jesuit, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who died in 1955. "The human race," he said, "is nothing else but evolution become conscious of itself." His writings were suppressed by his order during his lifetime, but they were widely circulated in manuscript and were published after his death. Their influence was great, notably among seminarians and the younger Catholic clergy. We were like sitting ducks. Ordained in 1961, I also became a willing victim of the Teilhardian enthusiasm of the times. I should have listened to those with better judgment, like the Nobel Laureate, Sir Peter Medawar, who comments on de Chardin's work:
"The Phenomenon of Man is anti-scientific in temperů Teilhard practised an intellectually unexacting kind of science in which he achieved a moderate proficiency. He has no grasp of what makes a logical argument or of what makes for proof. He does not even preserve the common decencies of scientific writing, though his book is professedly a scientific treatise. It is written in an all but totally unintelligible style, and this is construed as prima-facie evidence of profundity."
Teilhard, who was also party to the notorious Piltdown Man hoax, which fooled the scientific community and the general public for forty-five years before it was exposed in 1953, did not simply accept the idea of evolution. For him it was a religion, something he believed without in any way being able to prove, hence we must speak of the religion of evolutionism.
"Is evolution a theory, a system or a hypothesis?" he writes. "It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforward if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow" (Wolfgang Smith, Teilhardism and the New Religion, Tan Books, 1988, p.2).
The Vatican actually published a "monitum," a warning about Teilhard's work in 1962:
"Several works of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardinů abound in such ambiguities and indeed serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine. For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers" (The Holy Office, June 30, 1962).
The "monitum" did not stop the spread of Teilhard's evolutionism. The contemporary "church" is still deathly sick with the virus of evolutionism. Not surprisingly, a symposium took place at the Vatican Observatory this very weekend (June 24-26) to reflect on the question: "Is there a purpose in evolution?"
"The purpose of this symposium is not to dispute this worldview," they said. Other questions they are discussing clearly reflect the influence of de Chardin: "How do levels of complexity emerge, and are they inevitable?" "What does convergence tell us about evolution?" and "What do we mean by intelligence? Is intelligence an inevitable product of evolution?" (June 20, 2004, Zenit.org).
Evolutionism is really a form of Modernism, which seeks to adapt the doctrines of the Church to the prevailing worldview and the spirit of the times. The heresy of evolutionism was given a shot in the arm when John Paul II announced a few years ago that evolution was "more than a hypothesis." Pope Pius XII had stated: "Some imprudently and indiscreetly hold that evolution, which has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences, explains the origin of all things, and audaciously support the monistic and pantheistic opinion that the world is in continual evolution" (Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, 5, Aug.12, 1950). Pope Pius also noted that the human soul, which is the seat of human intelligence, is created directly by God and can in no sense evolve from matter.
The doctrine of Original Sin is a big problem for the evolutionists. The reality is that this creation is doomed because of sin. Civilizations rise, but they also decline and fall, weighted down by pride, arrogance, lust, greed, and the whole gamut of the deadly sins. Salvation, and true human solidarity, do not come about as the result of a natural evolutionary process, but from the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ Our Lord, when He said: "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which shall be shed for you" (Lk.22:20).
Wolfgang Smith, in his book cited above, comments: "The Word 'became flesh.' Let it be said, however, that Christianity does not envisage this act as an evolutive process, but as a gratuitous intervention on the part of God. It is Christ who of His own free will took up human flesh, as it were, in order to breathe His Spirit into that flesh and transfigure it. And historically speaking, this redemptive and deifying Act was accomplished in stages, beginning with the Annunciation, and ending with the Ascension of the Risen Lord. Christianity perceives this entire sequence as a radical break in the natural course of events; it marks a new beginning, the advent of a new creation."
"Behold!" says the Lord, "I make all things new!" (Apoc.21:5). Either we become a part of that new creation through faith, repentance and baptism, or we die with the old, which is passing away. May the Lord grant us the wisdom and the grace to follow Him into eternal life!