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Josef Schmidt SJ

Evolution and Faith in Creation

 

From: Stimmen der Zeit, 4/2009, P. 245-256
webmaster's own, not authorized translation

 

    In 2009, the 200 anniversary of Darwin's birth, the question of the relation between evolutionary theory and faith in Creation is the focus of attention. By looking back at the arguments rich in tension JOSEF SCHMIDT, professor of philosophical doctrine of God (natural theology) and history of philosophy at the Munich School of Philosophy leads deeper into the philosophical and theological problem.

 

The Protestant theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg writes, "The struggle against Darwinism is one of the most serious abortive developments in the relationship between theology and science." {1} According to Pannenberg the evolutionary doctrine tells us above all that the cosmos is not a static order but a developing whole - a statement in which the Christian faith could have found that one of its fundamental certainties, namely that of the historicity of the world and of man was reinforced. For the Catholic theologian Karl Rahner SJ the biblical doctrine of creation includes the concept of self-development in contrast with the artificial production, so that in this way a correlation to the theory of evolution results {2}.

These two recognized theologians represent the nowadays widely shared view (not only in academic theology but also among the faithful with a good all-round education) that the doctrine on Creation and the doctrine of the evolution of life do not contradict each other. Sometimes it is not easy for us today to understand that dispute which had been lasting for a long time and still continued during the life of the theologian and palaeontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ (1881-1955). In the following I will give the main reasons for it.

Firstly, the understanding of the biblical writings: One understood them literally in a way in which even the biblical authors and editors could impossibly have literally understood them. As is well known there are two creation stories: Gen 1 and 2; the second is the older. In the older second one the first human being is moulded from clay on the still barren earth, only then earth is made a garden into which the animals are created, and finally the female is formed round a rib taken from the male's body. In the first creation story the creation of man is the finale. A contradiction? But since even the Bible has no problems to accept both stories, why should we have them? And why should we struggle then with those contradictions to our modern world view, which we find in the first creation story? There, on the first day the light and the change of day and night are created, and only on the fourth day sun and moon. Already on the third day of Creation plants come out of the soil. They do therefore not need the sun. And the entire Creation is supposed to have happened in six days.

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker said that one could only take the biblical creation story either "seriously" or "literally" {3}.

 


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If one now takes it seriously (not literally verbatim), it contains the simple statement that the reason of the world is the God's creative power. The literary form, however, is not unimportant. In it interesting statements can be found: that e.g. sun and moon are created as mere "lamps" (Maór) in the sky points to the fact that they are no gods (as opposed to the Babylonian creation myths in which the light is made god); that the plants serve as food for human beings and animals together (Gen 1, 9 et seq) alludes to the paradisiacal peace between man and animal, of which the Prophet Isaiah will speak as mankind's future (Is 11, 6 et seq; 65, 25). These statements are important, but the key message is that of the God's creative power.

The second reason was that one from the creation story gathered a firm order that seemed to be created at the beginning as unchangeable for all times. One connected this with Aristotle's teachings about the constancy of forms [Wesensform] and the living beings formed by them. Charles Darwin's teachings on evolution affected here certain metaphysics with the help of which since the late antiquity Christianity was accustomed to express its rationality.

Thirdly, one understood the idea of evolution of life from simple to higher forms as a reduction of the higher to lower forms of life and thus as the dissolution of man's spirituality and dignity into forms of being which are below the spirit. This view was furthered by the fact that Darwin's doctrine, admittedly not by Darwin himself but by influential supporters, was used to propagate atheism, as e.g. by Ernst Haeckel ("The World Puzzle" in 1899, with many later editions). One can say that in Germany people mainly looked at Darwinism from Haeckel's point of view and rejected it.

The conflict has relaxed with a better understanding of the biblical scriptures, a parting with certain metaphysics on nature, and the insight that an evolutionary conception of the world does not per se mean an atheist one. With this, however, a new level is also reached for dialogue. Now the question can be put more calmly whether these two major views of the world have something to say each other, so that the one world view can benefit from the other one and reach a deeper conception of itself. Such a communicating is the task of philosophy. But it can only succeed if both sides are ready and in a position correspondingly to explicate their philosophical views. It is my intent to show a way for it. I will proceed in two steps. First, for this dialogue I will, by a biblical-theological explanation, put the concept of creation in a nutshell. Then, I will show that an in principle evolutionary world view can help to an understanding of reality that is exactly open for the faith in Creation.

 


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I. The Biblical-Theological Faith in Creation

How has the biblical faith in Creation emerged? It turns out that it follows a particular logic, which is crucial to the understanding of this faith. The great event in Israel's history was the liberation from Egypt. The collective memory of that saving act of God constituted the nation. So "Moses' Victory Song", in which he praises the rescue from the army of Pharaoh (Ex 15), belongs to the oldest texts of the Old Testament. God is the liberator. So God introduces himself in the introduction to the first commandment of Sinai and to the commandments at all: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me." (Ex 20, 2 et seq). The jointly adored God is thus identified with the God who is working in history. But since God has proved to be so powerful in history, he holds history as a whole in his hands and has on its long way always been thinking of those who had to be saved. He was therefore also the God of the ancestors. He has consequently already led the "Fathers". That God is therefore interested "in us". 'We are important to him', so people's certainty reads.

That's why a prehistory is told, first from Abraham, whom God has chosen and to whom he promised the country into which the people was to go after a long journey through history. Its major events are: the forced labour in Egypt, the trek through the wilderness, the conquest, and the establishment of the kingdom. In confrontation with the Canaanite and probably also Egyptian gods who preserve the world and nature, one had to wonder: On what terms is our God with those divine powers? If he is the one who holds the entire history in his hands, then he must also have a hold over nature as a whole. But the power over nature is only then radically thought if it is the ultimate power of the Creator. That's why, more clearly than in the surrounding religions, the God of Israel is regarded as the one and independent master of the whole world to whom it owes its existence and to whose power all events in this world are subjected.

That's why - about the ninth century BC - the creation story in Gen 2 was placed first to the tale about the forefathers. In it the tale is at once about man whom God forms out of clay in order then to breathe life into him. So God also forms the animals, and out of the first human being (Adam) he forms the second (Eva). The idea that God's forms his creatures out of a material and creates in this way, is kept up until the late passages of the Old Testament. In the Book of Wisdom (1st century BC) it therefore says, "Your almighty hand that formed the world out of an amorphous matter (ex amorphu hyles)" (Wis 11, 17). The Greek hylemorphism is obviously quoted here in order to formulate this old idea of Creation.

 


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The well-known creation story in Gen 1 is a much later text. It may date from the time of the Babylonian exile or after the exile (6th/5th century):

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. (Gen 1, 1 et seq.)

It is controversial whether it is here about a creation out of nothing. Has God first created the "tohu wabohu" and then the world? A strange thought. Or does God demonstrate his creative power by giving form and order to the chaos? In any case, in Gen 1 God is the sovereign Creator, even if the tohu wabohu is understood as a chaos that already exists. It seems that the Creation in Gen 1 could perfectly be understood as it is described in Wis 11, 17, namely as the forming of an already existing amorphous matter.

In any case, God's sovereignty is here more clearly expressed by the very way of working than in the older creation story in Gen 2. God creates through the Word, no longer in the way of a craftsman but in a more distant and sovereign way. But the Word reminds also of God's work in history. God has called Abraham, addressed Moses and revealed himself at the Sinai through the Commandments. The theology of the world's creation is considerably the result of a radicalization of the faith in God's work in history and is formulated as counterpart to it. Because God's word is the act that sets a beginning to every action.

 

Creation out of Nothing

The explicit concept of "creation out of nothing" is found only in the Second Book Maccabees from the second century BC (written in Greek). The context is as follows: The Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes - he reigned from 175 to 164 - wanted to standardize the religion of his empire. This plan was disturbed by the Jews (Palestine belonged to Seleucid empire). The temple was desecrated, under threat of death the people should be forced to violate the religious commandments (and e.g. eat pork). There is the story of a mother with her seven sons. The sons remain steadfast. They are tortured and killed, one after the other. The mother has to watch. Finally, only the youngest is left. Antiochus calls upon the mother, 'If you want that at least this one is left to you, then make him renounce your God'. But the mother addresses her child with the following words:

 


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""I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed (verbatim: uk ex onton: not out of things, with some sources: ex uk onton: out of no things). Thus also mankind comes into being. Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers." (2 Mac 7, 28 et seq).

The highly speculative idea of creation out of nothing is expressed in a very dramatic historical context. This binds it again to the divine work in history. You can trust in the God who has power over the world and over nature. Those who stand existentially before nothingness direct their confidence to the One whose power is not even limited by nothingness. The connection of the belief in the creation out of nothing with the hope of the resurrection from the dead is revealing. It too is not yet found in the older strata of the Old Testament (only in the 2nd century BC: Dan 12; Is 26, 19, and in 2 Mac 7, 9; 12, 44; 14, 46).

In the New Testament this connection is then also found: In the Letter to the Romans it says of Abraham that he "has believed against all hope in hope in the God who brings the dead back to life and calls the things that do not exist into being" (Rom 4, 17 et seq). The wording of the belief in Creation in 2 Mac 7, 28 was taken up in the Christian writing "The Shepherd of Hermas" (about 120): God is the one, "who did not make them out of things that existed" (I, 1). Irenaeus (2nd century) may quote them as he says about God, "omnia fecit ex eo quod non erat ad hoc quod sint omnia (he has made everything out of what did not exist, in order to make it exist)" (adv. haer. I, 22, 1). The classical doctrine on the "creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing)" was thus established.

Again the context: God is the Saviour, the Lord. He is the Lord of history and so of the world as a whole. The creation of the world is therefore also a kind of historical act, not a natural emerging but an act of freedom. Also the understanding that God does care about human beings and that they are not indifferent to him includes the idea that God freely turns to man. This idea leads then to the idea that Israel is chosen by God, an idea that runs through the entire Old Testament. You can rely on this God. But his nature demands to be recognized by man as the only God. That is the meaning of the First Commandment: God alone! He has rescued you. On him you can rely. But he makes you also discharge your duties, and only this God is able to make people completely discharge their duty. Only he is the last instance, which alone can ultimately command. The unconditional nature of the commandments, the unconditional nature of the conscience depends on God's unconditional nature.

At the same time it applies: To let this God make you discharge your duty means to rely on him, to put your trust in him, and to trust in him means to believe that he the God who has power over everything. The central themes of the Old Testament are therefore connected with each other: to rely on the God who saves, who works in history, who chooses, who absolutely obliges and who has created the world in freedom.

 


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And he has created it so that it came to itself and recognized and acknowledged its divine Creator in freedom. This God, who individually and collectively challenges people, is also the God on whom you can completely rely. But then he must hold the whole of our reality in his hands, also nature, of which we are a part, i.e. he is Creator in the strict sense {4}.

From this theo-logic, i.e. the logic of faith, a highly speculative idea results, namely the doctrine of creation out of nothing. Following the Bible it distinguishes the teaching of Creation of the "Abrahamic" religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Through the radical nature of its idea of creation it differs from the ideas of the surrounding religions and their myths but also of Plato's doctrine of creation as it is drafted in "Timaios", where the "Father of the Universe" as a demiurge forms a given matter according to the eternal order of the ideas. And it turns out that this idea certainly has something to do with the question of the compatibility of faith in Creation and evolutionary worldview.

Creation out of nothing means that the world is "placed into nothingness". It bordered only on itself, it adjoins "nothing". The positive meaning of this statement is: the world is related to itself. It is handed over to itself in order to develop out of itself. That means, the doctrine of creation out of nothing is the doctrine of maximum autonomy in the world; the greatest possible autonomy, i.e. although it is not absolute it is nevertheless made in such a way that an "external control" its not possible, because it borders on nothing. It is related to itself; as a whole it is given to itself. But in it both is given: autonomy and dependence. The world is given to itself, and it is given to itself. This idea of creation says both in one. The 'being in itself' as a whole [Beisichsein] becomes evident in it especially in the living beings and in the sphere of the spirit. Here its 'being in itself' is manifested. The world was able out of itself to produce life and spirit. It presents itself in these realities, is manifested by them. In other words, it gains consciousness. In the spirit it reflects itself.

The doctrine of creation out of nothing can therefore be connected quite naturally with a processual and evolutionary point of view on the emergence of complex forms in the world. The dispute between theology and the doctrine of evolution is therefore deeply regrettable, because it is totally unnecessary. The Bible cannot be brought up against such a connection. Because what matters in the biblical creation stories is only the central idea that the entire existence of the world is ultimately dependent on God. Today we know that the world in a long process developed to the present condition. But God has set it free for this process. This can be gathered from the creation story. God has given space to it so that it develops and gains consciousness. Nikolaus Cusanus (1401-1464) writes, "Et audit te terra et hoc audire eius est fieri hominem (and the earth listens to you and this its listening is the development of man)" (De visione Dei 10).

 


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II. The Relevance of the Doctrine of Creation for an Evolutionary World View

In the following I'd like to present a philosophical conception that has been elaborated in a prominent way by Karl Rahner, SJ, Adolf Haas SJ and Weissmahr Bela SJ {5}, and that - in contrast to the Aristotelian metaphysics - includes the idea of evolution in ontology, and on this way opens for the faith in Creation. Now it is characteristic for philosophy to look at the whole of reality with the intention to understand it in its fundamental structures (this is since the Pre-Socratics the task of metaphysics). But the doctrine of evolution too pursues this perspective in so far as it in the project of a "synthetic theory" wants to lead to an understanding of all areas of our life and once again gives the biological and spiritual life its place in the evolution of the cosmos. It takes up thus the classic philosophical questions about everything that exists, and to be precise, about being as a whole. I begin with the concept of life and its place in the context of all that exists.

 

The Peculiar Structure of Life

Life - how do we distinguish it from non-living things? We distinguish it by identifying it as something that does not only exist and develop like everything else in our world. We always try to explain the things in that area by attributing them to external conditions. On that occasion our scientific effort is aimed at deriving them from there according to mathematical laws. Living beings present themselves quite differently to our eye. They admittedly share apparently with the non-living things the material components and their laws and are with them in a dependency relation. But at the same time they have also a peculiar inwardness, which we do not find in this way with non-living things. A living being is related to itself. It is able to integrate those elements and processes of it which are related to the outside into a wholeness that it is itself. It exists and operates as wholeness and is thus able to relate to the environment and to maintain its position against it. The "Life Science", "Biology" describes this process as "metabolism" and "environmental differentiation".

We meet here beings of a certain structure, namely that of a relation to themselves. With this self-relation also the distinction between "good" and "bad" is given. For the living being something is beneficial or detrimental, good or not good, and it makes this distinction itself. It is not transferred into it by us. With mere physical or chemical processes we cannot seriously speak of such a distinction. Only life brings about the category "value". Another term for this is "goal" or "sense". The living being is oriented towards a goal and has goals.

 


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It is looking and striving for things and has the tendency to assert itself. It cannot be described differently. The processes within it have exactly this "sense". You can "understand" them from the goal of a living being. The aim is to relate to its wholeness and for it to "take into service" its external relations and generally to benefit from other things. Its working is therefore connected with anticipation. It is the anticipation of its wholeness, which, though it is already there as determining reality, does "not yet" exist and is therefore still to be implemented. That's why the striving of living beings for preserving their lives has to be distinguished from the law of inertia according to which, provided there is no external influence, the present condition is maintained.

 

Life as the "Meaning" of Existence and of our Universe

Life is not an outer ingredient to our world but emerges from it. In life becomes evident what our world can be, what it potentially is. For it obviously realizes in life its own inner ability. Has this "realization" to do with the world's actual reality? At first glance we can say that the world is for us the universe. It is simply anything that "exists". Is now this simplest and most general concept of "being" somehow related to that unity of world and life? Let us consider more in detail the concept "being"! What does "being" mean? It means above all: independence, a being of its own, a being in itself which becomes the object of our thinking. We say for instance, "This is not just imagined. It is really there. It exists." When speaking in this way we think that "beings" exist independently of us, even regardless of whether we are just thinking of them. So we can say: To be essentially means to be independent. A being exists in itself, is independent, is in itself and out of itself

However, at the same time the individual being is linked with other beings, also with us as intelligent subjects. It is not simply and totally independent and out of itself but is caused, is conditional, is in correlation and interaction with other beings, and can not at all be thought without those relations. It would not at all exist outside of those multiple relations, which therefore prove that it is not absolutely independent and does not exist out of itself. The very concept "being" is a general concept. It includes everything that exists and fits the individual being into this most comprehensive context imaginable.

Have we thus caused the independence of being, from which we took our starting-point, just to disappear again? Upon closer inspection, no. For being as a whole, the universe of beings has just the independence that we found in the individual being and that we can, despite all the links with other beings, by no means totally deny to it. The universe [das Ganze des Seins] is in any case independent. It exists out of itself. It does not come "from anything else". What would the thing be that differs from being? It would be nothingness. And thus it is clear: There is "nothing else" but being.

 


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It exists out of itself and it is boundless. It could only border on nothingness. It therefore borders on nothing. That means it is unlimited. Being as a whole exists out of itself and it has in itself the highest autonomy imaginable. This is by no means an external characteristic but its essence. But what does autonomy mean? It means: basically to be related to itself; to have the inmost of itself, its own existence out of itself; hence it means simply: to be itself.

 

The two Dimensions of Being - Finite and Infinite Being

Being is being in itself, and this being in itself presents itself at various levels. Ultimately, however, being means to exist purely in itself, to exist perfectly out-of-itself. But this is the concept of the in a strict sense infinite being, of the Absolute. In it there can be no separation, no outward relation, no different being, but only unity and pure self-relation. Why? - An otherness, a divergence always needs a further imparting and can therefore never completely constitute through itself the relation of reciprocity. If being was dependent on this external imparting alone, then there was ultimately no being that existed in itself, but also no being at all. For 'being' ultimately means to have and to impart the reason of one's existence in oneself [Selbst-Stand / Selbstvermittlung]. The idea of a sole outward imparting would actually exclude 'being', and that is impossible. But if we cannot think 'being' without thinking that it has the cause of its existence in itself [Selbstsein], then 'being' must ultimately be imparted by itself. Being as a whole must therefore ultimately, i.e. in its reason, be imparted from and through itself. But this complete 'being-out-of-itself', which must be pure 'being in itself' and pure 'imparting one's being to oneself', is a being that radically differs from our world with its constitutive 'being-outside-of-itself'.

It can easily be recognized that with this concept of 'being' the rational conception of God of the monotheistic religions emerges: the concept of 'being' in complete identity with oneself, in pure self-performance, "actus purus" (pure performance). Only with respect to this concept we can speak about a Being in which the standard of selfhood, i.e. the actual quality of 'being' is fully realized. However, if no being at all was able to exist without this complete Being, and if the existing universe radically differs from this Being, then its relation to It can only be thought in this way: It has its origin in this highest or deepest divine Being.

 

World and God - the Conception of Creation in Accordance with Evolution

The tradition of Western metaphysics (from Parmenides to Hegel) speaks of the fact that the world as the total area of finite beings has its reason in a Being that is in Itself and is no longer structurally finite.

 


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In the religion this idea was already a living belief, although not as a result of philosophical reasoning but as an intuition given to man or as a revealed message which is expressed in the belief in the Creation of our world by God. The three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) most consistently speak of the creation of this world by a god. According to their teaching God does not create by forming a given material but creates out of nothing. But this is just another expression for creating a world that is autonomous in itself, because it means that the world cannot be attributed to any pre-world but does everywhere only refer to itself through the conditions and relations which are recognizable in this world. That means for science that its looking for reasons meets always and everywhere only the world.

It is therefore impossible for this method to give a reason for the world. For in giving reasons the world refers always and everywhere to itself. In this sense it is founded on "nothing", because it is founded in nothing else but itself and is therefore not founded in anything outside of itself. This constitutes its autonomy. And yet in this its autonomy it does need a reason. Why? Precisely because of the 'inner' relations between the 'external' beings [interne Außenbezüge] and because of the way how the causes work. For they show that the world, both in its wholeness and thus also in the individual beings, is not completely related to itself. Its internal differences are real (e.g. I'm not the other person, and none of us has produced the other, and we are only brought together by a communication that is different from us), and these real differences can in no way be transformed into a perfect self-relation, to be precise: not into the one that alone is possible, in which nothing else is facing itself but the pure identity communicating with itself. The world's 'being outside of itself' admittedly takes place within itself, but it identifies it as a whole as being in need of being substantiated by that Being that totally differs from it: the Being that is purely in Itself.

But this substantiation through the totally different Being is a ground quite different in nature, it is no ground in the way of inner-worldly reasons. The totally different Being is not a "piece of the world"; it is not the first link. This makes up its radical transcendence, a transcendence however through which it can also be immanent and be the ground for the independence of other beings which then exist out of themselves even though their being has been given to them, i.e. they have in themselves the reason for their autonomy [d.h. einem "sich selbst" gegebenen "Selbst"-Sein]. The development of the world must therefore be seen as an autonomous development. If Creation is consistently thought it means nothing else but to give autonomy [Selbstsein] to the creatures and to enable them to form themselves [Selbstgestaltung]. Creation has reached its goal where independent beings become aware of their autonomy.

With this goal the creature has of course also got the task further to realize itself, i.e. to act on its own authority in accordance with its deeper dependence and that means to understand its own freedom as a responsibility that comes from its divine source.

 


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At the same time the certainty about one's responsibility includes a claim the unconditional nature of which founds as well as transcends the 'ego'. The Being that unconditionally obliges me can no longer be a conditional being that is subordinated to others. But here I also have a ground on which I can stand. I can rely on the fact that I am also protected by the power which so unconditionally obliges me. We saw that the biblical idea of Creation is based on this inner logic.

 

Created to be Oneself and to 'Create' One's Life

The doctrine of Creation's "evolution" is not only compatible with this conception of "Creation" but already included in it. For creatures are then enabled to be autonomous beings, and this means in a world of time and development: they are enabled to an autonomy of forming and developing themselves. Contrary to this conception of Creation is an understanding that one-sidedly orients towards technical production and rather reminds of Plato's myth of the divine demiurge (craftsman) than of the biblical word of the creation out of nothing. However, one has to admit that the Christian conception and theology has to a large extent oriented towards this model of technical manufacturing (and partly does it still today). As a result of which it may have promoted a technicistic understanding of nature and a corresponding dealing with it. It is important, however, critically to examine the conditions of this idea.

A belief in Creation still poorly rationally understood was connected with a certain use of antique terminology, i.e. with the terms "form" and "matter". Aristotle differentiated the things perceived by the senses according to these aspects. He explained them with technical examples (building plans and building materials). But according to him the two are united in the natural being. The form is not extrinsic to the being, on the contrary, it is essential for its development. But this development always remains also marked with a certain determinability and potentiality which constitutes the aspect of its being-not-yet-formed or having-no-form. And this 'being-not-in-form' [Außer-sich-Sein] is its materiality which can be distinguished from it. When the Christian philosophy and theology adapted these two Aristotelian terms the fact that they were too strongly oriented towards the technical explanation favoured a corresponding understanding of nature as a whole, namely its production by the divine Creator in analogy with technique.

In accordance with it God is the "designer" of the world, who forms and arranges it as a whole, but also every individual thing in it according to his purposes. However, this conception makes the point of the biblical idea of Creation disappear, which consists in the view that the world is created to be autonomous [Selbstsein], an autonomy that becomes most clearly there where the world "awakes" to itself in order to realize its potential in freedom.

 


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Here the actual principle of Creation becomes visible, i.e. the world has been and is created in order to be autonomous and to realize its potential. From this principle the whole development of the world has logically to be thought as a process in which the world develops and forms itself out of its own potential. Teilhard de Chardin aptly formulated this conception of creation, "Dieu fait se faire les choses" (God makes that the things make themselves) {6}.

According to this conception the history of the created universe is the history of its gradual awakening to itself on a way that is just as winding as it is leading to the goal and that let it (even relatively soon) achieve life, i.e. the living realization of itself, and in the tentative attempts of the further development of this life reach the immense wealth of its concrete forms. Creation has to be seen on its way to freedom and thus also from its origin in the freedom of God Creator who oriented it towards its freedom, as this became visible in the theological emerging and development of the belief in Creation. In this logic the confidence in the Power who is morally obliging me is also the belief in the Power who has founded the cosmos, enables it to be autonomous, and hands it over to the responsibility of that consciousness in which the universe grasps itself and its responsibility before the Creator.

We see that not only the doctrine of evolution makes the belief in Creation realize anew and deeper its own potentials and accordingly explicate them but that an evolutionary view of reality, where it becomes a holistic philosophical perspective, is in the position for philosophical reasons to open to the belief in Creation.

 

NOTES

{1} W. Pannenberg, Systematische Theologie II (Göttingen 1991) 143.

{2} K. Rahner, Evolution, Evolutionismus II, in: SM, volume 1 (Freiburg 1967).

{3} C. F. von Weizsäcker, Zeit u. Wissen (München 1992) 478 f.

{4} After weighing up the discussion Pannenberg says that this logic in the genesis of the idea of Creation remains valid even after the modifications in its exegesis, which for the first time was presented by Gerhard von Rad. See: Systematische Theologie II (A. 1) 28f.

{5} K. Rahner, Die Hominisation als theologische Frage, in: the same and P. Overhage, Das Problem der Hominisation (Freiburg 1961); K. Rahner, Die Einheit von Geist u. Materie im christlichen Glaubensverständnis, in: the same, Schriften zur Theologie, volume 6 (Einsiedeln 1965) 185-214. For a differentiating explanation of Rahner's conception see: B. Weissmahr, Gottes Wirken in der Welt (Frankfurt 1973); the same, Ontologie (Stuttgart 1985); the same, Kann Geist aus Materie entstehen?, in: ZKTh 121 (1999) 1-24; the same, Die Wirklichkeit des Geistes (Stuttgart 2006). For the concept of life see: A. Haas, Das Lebendige: Spiegel seiner selbst. Versuch einer naturphilosophischen Lebensdefinition, in: Schol 36 (1961) 161-191; the same, Der Mensch als Zielgestalt der Evolution, in this periodical 165 (1960) 424-433; the same, Zeugung u. Präsenz. Die beiden Grundakte des Lebendigen, in this periodical 172 (1963) 32-34.

{6} P. Teilhard de Chardin, La vision du passe (Paris 1957) 217.

 

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