Religious Responses to the Science of Human Evolution
The evolutionary description of human origins may be seen as
a challenge to biblical literalism and as challenge to some definitions of
human dignity.Biblical-literalist Christians, scientific creationists and the great majority
of orthodox Muslims reject the evolutionary view.
The Catholic Church distinguishes between the evolution of
the body and the special creation of the soul. Jones summarises the Catholic
position by reference to Humani Generis,
the encyclical of Pius XII, arguing that the Catholic Church does not forbid
the theory of evolution as an explanation of the origin of the human body, but
rejects the notion that the soul was not created directly by God.This kind of language, however, poses problems in the debate with science
because it smacks of vitalism, the incorporation of an ingredient in our natures
which is not subject to scientific test.
In this account we have preferred to speak of a spiritual aspect
to human existence. We have, in effect, chosen to use soul as an adjective
akin to spiritual, an attribute of a living person, rather than soul as a
noun suggesting a separate entity.
To explore this area further see humans as made in the image
of God and the doctrine of the Fall.
link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate and Dr. Michael Robert Negus
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)