"We do not take the Genesis Account Of Creation at Face Value"
This past year the pope made news by making statements that were generally
supportive of the theory of evolution. It was suggested that this was nothing
new with the present pope, that historically, the Roman Catholic Church has
given the evolutionary theory a green light, at least this is so concerning the
its more recent history.
And that is correct. Samuel Dawson, in his book Denominational Doctrines, cites a Knights of Columbus publication from 1955 which shows this pope's acceptance of evolution is nothing new (the Knights of Columbus is a Roman Catholic service organization and public relations group).
The publication, entitled "God's Story of Creation", suggests that the writer of the Genesis account of creation was limited by the pre-scientific limitations of his time and that the book of Genesis reflects that. I would agree that Genesis is not written in scientific terms, but then the publication continues by saying "Today we have through the discovery of other ancient literatures a better notion of what the author of Genesis was trying to achieve in his account." (p. 12) and "Now all this is a very primitive conception of cosmogony, that is, the make up of the world. It is utterly unreal, unscientific. " (p. 14). Then, it is added, "The man who wrote the first chapters of Genesis did not know very much about the workings of these forces." (p. 18).
But, perhaps an earlier statement says it just the way it is: "The early Christians took this description at its face value. We do not." (p. 6).
So, if you ask the question, "Does the Pope, the Knights of Columbus, and those who agree with them believe as did the early Christians regarding what the Bible says, the answer would come back, "no." That's not my answer for them, that's their answer. I agree with it; they do not believe what early Christians believed.
But why did the early Christians accept these things at face value? It is because Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior did! For example, Jesus appealed to the Genesis creation account as "face-value" truth when He commented on marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). What the Knights of Columbus call "utterly unreal" Jesus called "truth" and based His teaching on it. In denying the creation account of Genesis, we not only deny some ignorant man who wrote Genesis, but also the Son of God! We will also deny the prophets, the Psalmists and the apostles because they all affirmed that the Genesis account is true. If it is "unreal", then so is Jesus' claim to be God's Son, because He said it was "real".
By the way, many non-Catholics in various denominations believe the exact same things. This is not meant to be a Catholic oriented issue, but much broader than that. It does not matter whether a person is Catholic or not, if he or she denies as being true what Jesus has already pronounced as true, then they are wrong because Jesus is right.
By Jon W. Quinn
The Front Page
From Expository Files 5.4; April 1998