HOME

 

 

    NEWS

INTERVIEWS

RESOURCES

ABOUT

View by:

 SUBJECT

 THEME

QUESTION

  TERM

 PERSON

   EVENT

1. Reformulation of ‘Body and Soul’

One approach is to preserve the terminology, but reformulate the meaning, of body and soul in light of evolution. In his 1950 encyclical, Humani generis, Pope Pius XII combined the evolution of the physical body, as discovered by science, with the special creation of the soul, as revealed by Scripture. In 1996, Pope John Paul II affirmed the theory of evolution as “no longer a mere hypothesis.” Unlike Pius XII, though, he precinded from the earlier body/soul dualism, referring instead to the “spiritual” in humanity, including self-awareness, moral conscience and freedom. Moreover, the transition in humanity to the spiritual does not conflict with evolutionary science since the spiritual is not observable using scientific methods. It is thus the role of philosophy and theology to discover humanity’s ultimate meaning.John Paul II, "Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences," in Evolutionary and Molecular Biology: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action, ed. Robert John Russell, William R. Stoeger and... George Coyne views the Pope’s argument as an important shift from the ontological dualism assumed by Pius XII. Coyne in turn proposes we think in terms of God’s continuous creation through the process of evolution. Rather than intervening, God gives the world freedom to evolve and participates in the process through love. Perhaps this approach can preserve what is special about the emergence of spirit without resort to interventionism.George Coyne, "Evolution and the Human Person: The Pope in Dialogue," in Evolutionary and Molecular Biology: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action, ed. Robert John Russell, William R. Stoeger...

Karl Rahner systematically developed the concept of spirit in light of evolution in a similar way. Evolution is a development of matter towards spirit through God’s continuous, immanent and creative impulse until, in humanity, nature becomes conscious of itself . Here spirit, the distinctively human feature, is both self-consciousness and consciousness of God as the absolute mystery of being. Rahner sets this idea a theological context reminiscent of Teilhard de Chardin’s writings, and draws from it crucial eschatological implications (see Part 2, E, 3, c below).Karl Rahner, Foundations of Christian Faith, trans. William V. Dych (New York: Crossroad, 1978), 181-83, 188; Karl Rahner, "Christology Within an Evolutionary View of the World," trans. Karl-H....Reflecting on Rahner’s work, Denis EdwardsDenis Edwards, Jesus and the Cosmos (New York: Paulist Press, 1991), 27-31.points out that a number of scientists have also suggested that ‘evolution is the universe’s way of becoming conscious of itself’, including Teilhard de Chardin, Carl Sagan, Arthur Peacocke, Paul Davies, and Thomas Berry.

Contributed by: Dr. Robert Russell

Topic Sets Available

AAAS Report on Stem-Cells

AstroTheology: Religious Reflections on Extraterrestrial Life Forms

Agency: Human, Robotic and Divine
Becoming Human: Brain, Mind, Emergence
Big Bang Cosmology and Theology (GHC)
Cosmic Questions CD-ROM Preview...
Cosmic Questions Interviews

Cosmos and Creator
Creativity, Spirituality and Computing Technologies
CTNS Content Home
Darwin: A Friend to Religion?
Demystifying Information Technology
Divine Action (GHC)
Dreams and Dreaming: Neuroscientific and Religious Visions'
E. Coli at the No Free Lunchroom
Engaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: An Adventure in Astro-Ethics
Evangelical Atheism: a response to Richard Dawkins
Ecology and Christian Theology
Evolution: What Should We Teach Our Children in Our Schools?
Evolution and Providence
Evolution and Creation Survey
Evolution and Theology (GHC)
Evolution, Creation, and Semiotics

The Expelled Controversy
Faith and Reason: An Introduction
Faith in the Future: Religion, Aging, and Healthcare in the 21st Century

Francisco Ayala on Evolution

From Christian Passions to Scientific Emotions
Genetic Engineering and Food

Genetics and Ethics
Genetic Technologies - the Radical Revision of Human Existence and the Natural World

Genomics, Nanotechnology and Robotics
Getting Mind out of Meat
God and Creation: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on Big Bang Cosmology
God, Humanity and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion
God the Spirit - and Natural Science
Historical Examples of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)
History of Creationism
Intelligent Design Coming Clean

Issues for the Millennium: Cloning and Genetic Technologies
Jean Vanier of L'Arche
Nano-Technology and Nano-ethics
Natural Science and Christian Theology - A Select Bibliography
Neuroscience and the Soul
Outlines of the Science and Religion Debate (GHC)

Perspectives on Evolution

Physics and Theology
Quantum Mechanics and Theology (GHC)
Questions that Shape Our Future
Reductionism (GHC)
Reintroducing Teleology Into Science
Science and Suffering

Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action (CTNS/Vatican Series)

Space Exploration and Positive Stewardship

Stem-Cell Debate: Ethical Questions
Stem-Cell Ethics: A Theological Brief

Stem-Cell Questions
Theistic Evolution: A Christian Alternative to Atheism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design...
Theology and Science: Current Issues and Future Directions
Unscientific America: How science illiteracy threatens our future
Will ET End Religion?

Current Stats: topics: >2600, links: >300,000, video: 200 hours.