General Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Does evolution disprove the claims contained in the book of Genesis?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) March 16th, 2016

Specifically the claims regarding spontaneous generation or other similar creationist theories

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26 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

No.

The Catholic Church, more specifically, Teilhard de Chardin, has expressed that the Theory of Evolution is supported by and supports the narrative of Genesis.

Where do you see spontaneous generation in Genesis?

ibstubro's avatar

Logic prohibits a literal interpretation of Genesis.

Once you abandon literal interpretations of creation in the Book of Genesis in favor of allegorical and theological interpretations there’s no proving or disproving anything, as it’s a matter of belief.

Rarebear's avatar

Of course it does.

Pachy's avatar

Science always trumps fiction.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

No. Not according to the way I understand it: even The Church began to reconcile with the Theory long ago. The research done by it’s own, such as Catholic scientist Lamarck and Augustinian monk Mendel caused Pope Pius XII to redefine the role of the Doctrine and science in his encyclical, Humani Generis in 1950. From there, the flood gates were opened and by the end of the Second Vatican Council in 1964, with the input of Church theologians such as Hans Küng, the Church had reconciled with the Theory, with caution. This made way for other recalcitrant Christian sects to do the same. Only the fundamentalists, by definition, remain married to the literal interpretation.

Interestingly, Hans Küng later became the Church’s top theologian. Conservative Pope Benedict, a former roommate of Küng’s at the Gregorian University in their salad days, banned Küng for life from speaking in Catholic institutions after Küng (always the rationalist and reformist) published papers questioning the infallibility of the Pope and priestly celibacy To the relief of many of the old guard, Hans Küng recently died of old age.

An Interesting Guy

marinelife's avatar

It is possible to take the creation story as allegory and to accept the scientific process of evolution as being guided by the hand of God.

kritiper's avatar

Yes, logically and scientifically speaking.

ucme's avatar

Yes.
Besides, what the hell does Phil Collins know about it?

NerdyKeith's avatar

@zenvelo

Genesis 1:20
” And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

This clearly did not occur from an evolutionary point of view. Birds would not have existed early on as life began to form on earth, but rather much later as evolved ancestors of prehistoric dinosaurs. When life was beginning to form on earth, the sea didn’t instantly have any swarm of creatures. There was a single cell organism. It mutated, speciation occurred and over time each speciation evolved into separate organisms then finally creatures. Many of these marine creatures evolved to be land mammals.

The narrative in the bible makes life on Earth sound as if everything popped into existence. I don’t buy it and I don’t agree that there is no contradiction.

ragingloli's avatar

Not just “popped into existence”.
“let there be light” <- that is an incantation. Magic by definition.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@ragingloli Unless you are Captain Janway of the Starship Voyager giving the computer a command lol

However “light” is a separate issue to evolution, as evolution is about the origins of species.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^Edit: I meant to say YES, if Genesis be taken literally. But the process the Church went through to reconcile the Theory with the Doctrine is interesting to me. I otherwise have very little interest in religious rationalizations or the Book as truth. My interest lies in the history of institutions that have influenced the history of man and the Book as possibly the most influential document in Western culture. That’s about it. I’m in a real fucking fog this morning.

Strauss's avatar

@NerdyKeith The narrative in the bible makes life on Earth sound as if everything popped into existence. I don’t buy it and I don’t agree that there is no contradiction.

According to Catholic theologians, the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, but are not necessarily to be interpreted literally. Pope Francis, addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on October 27, 2014, stated:

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so…”

The Church has long taught that many books of Scripture are allegorical in nature, and it is incumbent upon mankind, through the scholars of the Church, to arrive at a rational exigesis of the Scriptures.

stanleybmanly's avatar

By now this is a frustrating and tiresome discussion. A better question concerning established religions and in particilular that embarrassing failure of a book is: what possible validity can there be to a belief system and its instruction manual perpetually forced to reverse core pronouncements and doctrines in the face of discovered facts?

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Yes, I know that every Christian has their own interoperation of the bible. To me that is sort of like post rationalising something that doesn’t really fit with nature. There is actually a lot of division amongst Christians to what parts are symbolic and what parts are not. There really isn’t very much objective symbolism in the bible.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Evolution only disproves a literal interpretation of Genesis. Then again, Genesis itself disproves a literal interpretation of Genesis. After all, the book opens with two mutually inconsistent accounts of the Creation. Biblical literalism is a non-starter on Biblical grounds.

Once we reject the view that the Bible is a science textbook or even a history textbook (as opposed to a semi-historical collection of a previously oral tradition), the evolutionary argument against Judaism or Christianity (as opposed to the evolutionary argument against certain versions of Judaism or Christianity) pretty much dries up.

Refuting all versions of Judaism and Christianity is never going to be the result of one simple argument or discovery, and the intellectually rigorous non-believer ought to relish the opportunity to engage in a detailed critique rather than to shirk it off in favor of the shallower fare so often criticized when offered up by the opposition.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’m not sure that Genesis is claiming anything. It’s a story, perhaps an allegory, but the text of genesis doesn’t really mean much more than a couple of guys sitting around making up a tale.

The problem is not genesis per se – the problem is that people read it as fact (“the word of god which cannot be questioned”) and not as a story, which is what it is.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But that’s just the problem. I have no problem with the book as a table of allegories and fables. It is the tendency of so many believers to insist that the equivalent of Mother Goose is the foundation on which all societal realities must be anchored.

stanleybmanly's avatar

All of us recognize the grim uses to which the book has been applied. Who here can demonstrate that the thing came into existence for reasons beyond its obvious and clearly manipulative purposes?

Zaku's avatar

Agh! The whole freakin’ Bible is metaphoical, allegorical, etc.

”And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.””

Translates to: “what happened in the universe involved water and many living creatures including birds coming to live on earth.”

None of it is literal, ok? Biblical literalists are inept at their own religion.

Seek's avatar

If one takes Genesis literally (as the church I was raised in did) you have a universe in which the sky is a solid dome holding up an ocean.

It’s disproven long before evolution even becomes a factor.

I also used to get visiting evangelists hot under the collar when I asked if God was incapable of creating or destroying water, and where the “waters” originally came from. Of all the things that God spoke into existence, at the beginning of the story the water is already there. And when he needed to make a world, he didn’t do away with the “extra”, he could only move it and put air in the necessary space – making a “firmament in the midst of the waters”.

Never did get a good answer for that…

SecondHandStoke's avatar

The combination of the science of evolution and the concept of biblical Genesis is bizarre to me.

Science is in the business of establishing fact.

What the heck is a record like the bible supposed to do with that?

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know Genesis well enough to comment directly to your question, but my feeling is believing God created the universe is not in conflict with evolution or the Big Bang for that matter.

LogicHead's avatar

Well Redi disproved abiogenesis and he was trained by the Jesuits so your perverse implication that this iis a science vs religion thing is silly. And why do you say ‘creationist’ as if all evolution theories take species as a given?? You are really perverse in how you distort things.

If Darwin explained the development of species he never said where the first ones came from. Plus, logically, there is a grave illogicality in his theory (one you seem to hold):

from Aristotle to Darwin by Etienne Gilson

”” A more accurate title for Darwin’s book, according to Gilson, would be the Origin of Varieties. Darwin’s use of the word “species,” however, is contradictory. “To say that species are fixed,” Gilson writes, “is tautology; to say that they change is to say that they do not exist, Why does Darwin obstinately say that they transform themselves, rather than saying simply that they do not exist?” (pp. 140–144)”

LostInParadise's avatar

The title “Origin of the Species” is appropriate. We are all descended from a single common ancestor. Doe that mean that people, flowers and bacteria are all varieties of that one species?

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