Reconciling Faith and Science

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    [color=darkred:1s8i0otd]I thought it was worth sharing this post from a Catholic in another forum. Hope you enjoy. <img src=” title=”Smile” /> [/color:1s8i0otd]

    [color=darkblue:1s8i0otd]Let me start with a little background introduction. I was born and raised a Catholic and faith has always been a big part of my life. As I grew older and went to school I began to learn science and I enjoyed it. But the two seemed at times to conflict, especially the belief in God the creator and the theory of evolution. Without knowing much about evolution, and feeling that it took away from God somehow, I read about arguments against the theory. No proof of macro evolution, the reliability (or unreliability) of radiometric dating methods, etc. I was strong in my belief when the theory was weak. But then I took a philosophy class (in college) in which evolution was discussed as a topic. I began to see the flaws in my own arguments and realized that if I wanted to weaken the theory of evolution I would have to study the science for myself. That class and philosophy teacher where a big influence on my life. I went on to minor in geology specifically so that I could study the fossil record and evolution. I had another great teacher, a paleontologist. I took a class called ‘life of the past’ and another called ‘evolutionary concepts’ from him. To make a long story short all the walls finally came tumbling down. I had to admit to myself that Darwin was on to something, the evidence was overwhelming. Knowing that there can be no contradiction between science and religion I was stuck with a rather uneasy belief in a creator and a full acceptance of the tenets of the theory of evolution. I knew the two had to be compatible but I just didn’t know exactly how they where. I was not satisfied with this and for the past year or so I have been thinking about how the relationship could be strengthened between these two beliefs. I wanted to have a strong, logical, rational reason for why God created through evolution because I have come to believe that is how it was done.

    Finally let me say that what I came up with is no scientific theory or proof of creation. I think that any such thing is impossible because such proof would begin to infringe on free will and that cannot happen. The ideas that I will present represent my own thought on the matter although they are not necessarily new ideas I was heavily influenced by the philosophy and theology that I have studies. I have not discussed these thoughts with anyone and feel now that I have reached a point where I should begin to test these ideas in a public forum, so here goes….

    The first thing that one needs is a proper understanding of the nature of God as creator. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, etc. God is the ultimate reality. But if one is to prove that God is creator one must prove that God exists right? I came across the idea that God is not a being but being itself. This made me realize that asking whether God exists or not made no sense. When this question is put forth God is being reduced to a thing in the very asking of the question. If existence is a property that God either has or does not have, then it (existence) is more powerful than God, God becomes subservient to it. And it makes no sense to ask if existence exists since by the very fact that anything exists at all existence must be a necessary property of reality. What follows is that if time exists then it does so by partaking in existence and so existence is not subservient to time and is therefor timeless, eternal. In fact all things that exist, either actually exist or possibly exist from our perceptive, partake in existence. Unicorns have an existence even if it is only as a mental concept and not in physical reality. Existence is everywhere for everyplace that is, exists, even nowhere and nothing exist in some way. Existence is omnipresent So existence would have access to perfect knowledge of all things and by way of the arguments put forth by logical positivism this access would result in total perfect knowledge of everything, existence is omniscient. With total presence and total knowledge total power is not far behind. The more I thought about it the more clear it seemed to me, God does not exist… God is existence. The next question then is how does God give being itself, existence itself, to specific acts of being, specific existing entities like me and you and how does this relate to evolution?

    Having existence as the metaphysical root of reality I wondered where essence came into play. I thought that perhaps instead of thinking of essence as something that provided being, that perhaps it was something that merely limited God’s being. Think of essence as a filter through which God/existence flows through into specific being. Existence would flow out of God through the filter of the essence of, for example, our universe to become matter in space and time. Existence would flow through the filter of humanity to become a bipedal biological machine and then flow further through our individual essence, our own soul, to become our own particular act of being. In this way, God is a transcendent, all powerful, ungraspable, reality but at the same time is intimately connected to and personally knows each and every corner of all that is, was, and ever will be. God is both personal and transcendent. God is both creator of all reality and a the same time that which sustains it moment to moment, by continually pouring himself out into our reality. Like the psalm says:

    “Of old you laid the foundations of the earth; the heavens are the works of your hands. They perish but you remain; they all wear out like a garment; like clothing you change them and they are changed, but you are the same, your years have no end.
    ( Psalm 102 26-28 )

    Let me say again, this is not a proof, it is a logical system of reality that may or may not be the case. It is a philosophical theory of metaphysical reality. But I believe that it provides a solid foundation upon which God as creator is not only compatible with evolution, but necessarily follows from the nature of God as existence and the essential quality of the universe as matter in space and time. Holding a belief in God and accepting evolution, for me at least, is no longer an uneasy alliance of sorts. It seem as if there is no way for God to have created our reality without it being an evolving, constant pouring out of his being into our being. And the more I thought about it the more clear it was that the very nature of this universe is change, that everything evolves in some way. The very purpose of our lives here is to grow and evolve spiritually as individuals and as a species. Everything is on the path of becoming perfected at the end of time when God’s creative act has been complete. God’s act of salvation history is an evolution through Abraham and the patriarchs through Jesus and up to this day and into the future. And since God is so intimately involved in the unfolding of the natural world it becomes very easy to mistake the causal relations therein. One can see that evolution and even the initial emergence of life on earth for evolution to work on will necessarily appear as purely ‘natural’ events because they are! There is nothing wrong with that, it takes faith to see God’s part in this whole drama and it must be this way because as I said before, if we could see God and prove that he is then our free will becomes almost if not totally meaningless.

    Ok so what do you think, am I on to something or do I need to check into a mental clinic?!?!?![/color:1s8i0otd]

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