Contemplating Roman Catholicism?
Are you considering converting to Roman Catholicism?
If you are, here are some things you will need to believe about the origin of the earth
What the Roman Catholic Church believes about Origins...
A literal reading of Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 conveys the understanding that God created the entire universe in six solar days and rested on the seventh. That, however, is not what the Roman Catholic Church teaches. Nonetheless, if you wish to submit yourself to the teaching of the Church, you will be required to believe in some form of evolution. In fairness to the Church, the Church believes in guided evolution - Theistic Evolution, if you will. But in all honesty, the details of Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 do not permit any sort of evolution, whether guided or unguided. Nor does the Bible permit the vast reaches of time required by the promulgators of evolution.
The following quotations are taken directly from the document found on the Vatican website entitled, "COMMUNION AND STEWARDSHIP: Human Persons Created in the Image of God." The document is the product of the INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION. The history of the text of the document was appended at the very bottom of the article. It reads as follow:
As the text developed, it was discussed at numerous meetings of the subcommission and several plenary sessions of the International Theological Commission held at Rome during the period 2000-2002. The present text was approved in forma specifica, by the written ballots of the International Theological Commission. It was then submitted to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the President of the Commission, who has give [sic] his permission for its publication.
The following paragraph (#63) details the view of the commission regarding the "Big Bang," the genesis of life on our planet, and the vast spans of time required for each.
63. According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the “Big Bang” and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5-4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution. While the story of human origins is complex and subject to revision, physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 years ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage. However it is to be explained, the decisive factor in human origins was a continually increasing brain size, culminating in that of homo sapiens. With the development of the human brain, the nature and rate of evolution were permanently altered: with the introduction of the uniquely human factors of consciousness, intentionality, freedom and creativity, biological evolution was recast as social and cultural evolution.
With all due respects to the Commission and to then Cardinal Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI, it is impossible to square what Roman Catholicism believes about origins with the Biblical account.
My conclusion is this. If you are wishing to convert to Roman Catholicism, you will be forced to believe in some kind of evolution in contradiction to the Biblical account.
For an explanation of origins which squares with the Biblical account and does not contradict scientific fact (as opposed to scientific theory), see "How Did Our World Get Here?"
Published February 25, 2013