Chapter

Evolutionary Biology in a Catholic Framework

Oliver Putz

in Teaching the Tradition

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199795307
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932894 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199795307.003.0016
Evolutionary Biology in a Catholic Framework

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How is evolution compatible with divine creation? How are creatures saved in Christ? Why does biological evolution entail such immense suffering? For Karl Rahner, matter and spirit are two aspects of the same reality; every being, not just humans, thus is either spirited body or embodied spirit. Creation is in a scale of being: the more self-presence or knowledge, the higher the being is in the order of creation; the more spiritual the being is, the greater potentiality the being has for a personal relationship with the divine. The potential for this type of relationship is what constitutes self-transcendence. Emergence occurs through an eductio (from matter) and a concursus (a pull from pure Spirit). God communicates being to entities. Humans question their being, and their ability to question everything is evidence that humans are embodied spirits. Every concrete human experience entails the mystery of God. The desire to be open to God is the basis for accepting the revelation of Christ. In order for God to love the cosmos as other than God, the cosmos had to develop on its own, which entails struggle and suffering.

Keywords: evolution; biology; anthropology; theology; philosophy; Karl Rahner; suffering; creation

Chapter.  9651 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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