Pope Benedict XVI, in an Easter vigil message at St. Peter's in the Vatican, made his strongest statement yet in defense of the Christian faith's inalterable insistence on the role of creation in the origin of the world and the development of mankind. The Holy Father's homily is sure to be welcomed by orthodox Catholics and other Christians, and especially by Christian proponents of "intelligent design", stressing as it does the theological imperative on a subject where intelligent design scientists and other scholars emphasize scientific evidence.
"If man were merely a random product of evolution in some place on the margins of the universe, then his life would make no sense or might even be a chance of nature," the pontiff said. "But no, Reason is there at the beginning: creative, divine Reason."
Christian accomodationists who want to avoid a conflict with Darwinism will not be so pleased.
The emphatic statement of the Pope expressly does not endorse "creationism", a literal reading of Genesis, nor does it deny any role for evolution--broadly defined--in the development of life on Earth. But it does seem to repudiate the notion that has gained currency in certain circles of the Catholic Church and its universities, as well as in some evangelical centers, that an unguided process of evolution like Darwinian theory is compatible with Christian faith.
Reports the Zenit news service from Rome: "The world is a product of the Word," Benedict XVI stated, "of the Logos, as St. John expresses it. [...] 'Logos' means 'reason,' 'sense,' 'word.' It is not reason pure and simple, but creative Reason, that speaks and communicates itself. It is Reason that both is and creates sense."
Such language resonates with intelligent design arguments based on information theory and new understandings of DNA. It shows also that the scientific case for intelligent design is fully congruent with a theological case for creative reason, whereas the accomodationist, "theistic evolutionist" viewpoint is not.
Indeed, the modernist, materialist project that deforms culture and intellect is grounded largely in a denial of purpose, reason and design in nature. If that denial were valid, there was no possible original Adam, therefore no second Adam incarnated as Jesus Christ, no resurrection, no salvation. However, many heterodox Christians and even some gullible orthodox Christians have been seduced by the fashionability of Darwinism and have turned a cold shoulder to challenges to purposeless, unguided evolution. Like "anti-anti-Communists" of yore, they have become "anti-anti-Darwinists."
Unfortunately, the Pope's views have not filtered down to all Catholic parishes, let alone universities and Catholic publications. There are even some confused souls loosely connected with the Vatican (the Pontifical Council on Culture, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, for two examples). But Pope Benedict XVI is not confused at all.
The best book you can read on the subject this spring is God and Evolution, a series of provocative and clear essays edited by Dr. Jay Richards. The theological case against unguided evolution (Darwinism) and for design is explained in terms of contemporary Catholic, Protestant and Jewish scholarship. It couldn't be more timely.