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April 21, 1961     The Observer
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April 21, 1961

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EIDAY, APRIL 21, 1961 THE OBSERVER AGE 7 THEOLOGY FOR EVERY MAN O "9 O The ~oIFowi~y9 common, EsPy or~ the origi~ys o] man was pre- pared ~t St. John's Seminary, Brighton, Mass. It is reprinted from the Boston Pilot. The liturgies of Holy Week refer to Christ as "the new Adam," who on the "tree of the cross" redeemed mankind which was tainted with the original sin committeed by Adam and Eve at the tree of forbidden fruit. Do faith and reason, religion and sci- able expression in ancient times in the writings of the Greeks. The ancient Greeks were intelligent and curious. They were fascinated by the great problems that had been proposed by the older mythologies, especially by the suggestion of some of the myths of the relation between man and God. ONE OF THE MOST STRIKING observations of pro-Chris- tian l~ilosophy is found in the 'Golden Verse' of Pythagoras once agree on the origins of man? Are all men descendants of (c 550 B.C.). "Meditate, love and think those things that will set Adam and Eve? May Christians lend support to a theory whichlYour feet on the way of the divine nature. The race of man is involves the existence before Adam's time of some earthly race of divine, and holy nature reveals to them the most hidden rays- men ? tePEes." Q DO WE HAVE ANY RELIGIOUS INFORMATION REGARD- ING THE BEGINNINGS OF THE HUMAN RACE FROM WRIT- TEN SOURCES OTHER THAN THE BIBLE? A. Historians of religion find significant information regarding the origins of mankind in the ancient mythologies. They are thus led to postulate that man's reflections on his orig!ns began at an early date in human history. Even before the age of the great )hers, those who composed the type of literature char- stic of their age have recorded for posterity the convic- tions prevalent among their contemporaries. In primitive com- munities mythologies filled the roles to which both philosophy and science succeeded in later ages. Myths were regarded by those who were contemporary with their authors as represen- tations of the truth. The myth thus affords an explanation or in- terpretation of the institutions and traditions of the group with which it is related. Within the group the myth afforded satEs- faction /or intellectual curiosity; it served as a foundation for religious activity and as the starting point for the formulation of a rule of conduct. FROM THE EARLY MYTHOLOGIES we know that men have taken an interest in their origins and in the origins of the uni- verse. It is impossible, of course, to overlook the purely imag- in.ary elements in the ancient mythologies. For this reason we cannot regard the myths as purely historical documents which would present clear and critically formulated answers to the great problems of the origins of reality At the same time it is important for the purposes of history that the problems were actually proposed in the mythologies. Despite their imaginary content, the myths make it clear that men have always taken a great interest in themselves and in the universe of their ex- perience. It is clear too from the mythologies that men have always sought the ultimate answer to the problems of the origin of the universe in beings higher than themselves. For centuries, there- fore. the myths kept men in contact with the great problems cf life as they struggled for survival. Compared with the later speculations of the philosophers and the investigations of the scientists, myths are naive and highly credulous. They are not to be dismissed /or this reason, however, as completely without These words remind us of the saying of the poet Aratus (3rd Century B.C.) quoted by St Paul before the Areopagus: "Fer indeed we too are of his race " (Acts 17, 28). And Pythagoras d~ew from this idea the further implication, which Christianity was to purify and elevate, that all men are friends and brothers because they are of the race of God. AMONG THE ANCIENT GREEKS we :find too the beginnings of the materialistic explanations of the world which in modern times have been brought to such startling expressions. In the crass and over-simplified teaching of Democritus (c. 400 B.C.) that the universe is made up of indestructible and imperishable atoms, whose movements account for the infinite varieties of things, we find essentially the same kind of doctrine which in modern times has emerged from the progress of science. It was Plato (427-347 B.C.) who pointed out the difficulties of the materialistic approach typified in the teachings of Demo- critus, and who stressed the need of looking beyond the data of sense experience for the ultimate causes of man and the uni- verse. Plato regarded the world which is perceived by the eye as nothing more than a prison house in which the mind is held captive. By thinking men can escape from this prison and rise above the visible world to the ideas which alone are real. In the idea of the Good we find the ultimate cause of everything that we perceive as good, and the ultimate explanation of the truth which is dimly reflected in our sensations. ,PLATO'S GOOD OBVIOUSLY corresponds to what we call God. In man, Plato sees nothing but a spiritual soul; the body is only a prison in which the soul is violently detained. It was Aristotle :384-322 B.C.) who suggested the explanation of the inescapable relation in man between body and soul, and the reality of the body which receives its human character from the soul. It was Aristotle too who suggested the outlines of a reasonable inter- pretation of the universe which has been described as the na- tural metaphysics of the human intellect. We might go on to further summary of the efforts which man have made ,to discover their origins. Enough has been said, how- ever, to make it clear that reasonable reflection of itself can- not reach the ultimate answer. Reason has always sought confir- mation of its tentative conclusions in observation and experi- ment. Reason ha's likewise looked beyond the scope of its natural which we live is at least 3 bilhon years old. Geology, the science ot the structure, composition and history of the material world, has helped us to discover the period of the world's history at which human life first appeared. Geology shows us also that li,q. ing beings have become more and more complex from age to a~e. The best contemporary evidence would indicate that the living being we call man first appeared in the world around 600,- 000 years before Christ. The consensus of opinion among scien- tists of the present day is that the theoiw of evolution, insofar as it involves man's body, no longer admits of question. - There is wide disagreement, however, as to the manner in which this process of evolution took place. It is thought that the mammals, the class of vertebrate living beings to which mart belongs, appeared on the earth many millions of years before the genus Man. Whereas formerly scientists tended to think of man as "many species, today the prevailing view is that there is only one species of man. All who belong today to the species man are capable of uniting to produce fertile offspring; whereas fertility does not exist between man and animals. We have reason for supposing therefore, that all who are identified 'by anthropolo- gists as men belong to the human species, regardless of their differences from one another, z TWO QUESTIONS ARISE regarding the origin of the species man. (1) Did man come from only one? (2) As man began to develop, did they all come from a single pair of parents, or did they come from many pairs of parents? In other words, were Adam and Eve merely the first man and woman, or do all men trace their generation to Adam and Eve as their common par- ents ? The Church has rejected the opinion that Adam and Eve rep- resent a plurality of men and women. There is no conclusive scientific evidence that would contradict this teaching. The En- cyclical 'HumanE Generis' of Pope Plus XII is explicit on this very point While stressing that fullest consideration must be given to the findings of science which are related to matters of faith, he goes on to say that Christians cannot lend their sup- port to a theory which involves the-existence, after Adam's item,of some earthly race of men, truly so called, who were not descended ultimately from him, or else supposes that Adam was the name given to some group of our primordial ancestors. It does not appear how such views can be reconciled with the de, ctrine of original sin, as this is guaranteed to us by scripture and tradition and proposed to us by the Church. Original sin is the result of a sin committed, in actual historical fact, by an individual man named Adam, and it is a quality native to us only because :it has been handed down by descent from him. THIS IS NO DOCTRINAL INNOVATION; it has been the con- stant teaching of the Church Nor does it imply any restriction of scientific investigation; it is concerned with a matter whic~ falls under the church's competence. On the other hand, it is clear that the Church does not deal with this or any similar matter according ~o the methods of science. Science presents value or as entirely devoid of truth, investigations for supernatural sources of truth. We are thus led its conclusions tentatively and provisionally; they are always to ask two further questions: (1) What does science teach us ~,b;~c~ to c~a''~ mh~ truth~ o~ th-"lo r-s-n*-d -"'~ "~" Q HOW FAR CAN THE REFLECTIONS OF RE SON GO r' ins of man ' " about the o Ig,(2) To what extent does the revels O E O I mJtely estabhshed, even though we grant the possibility of ac- DISCOVERING ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS F TH R - tion of the Bible and the teaching of the Church strengthen and quiring new scientific knowledve of the facts which form their GINS OF MAN AND THE UNIVERSE? supplement what man can discover of his origins by reasonable context. " A. Some philosophers have held that the mentality of men who reflection. lived during the age of mythologies was essentially different Q WHAT:CAN SCIENCE TEACH US ABOUT THE ORIGINS Q, TO WHAT EXTENT CAN THE REVELATION OF THE BI- ." BLE AND THE TEACHING OF THE CHURCH STRENGTHEN from that of men who hve today The types of thinking revealed OF MAN" ' " AND SUPPLEMENT WHAT MAN CAN DISCOVER OF HIS ORI the mythologies, it ~s cloned was pro-logical" prlmmve men " " did not possess the elements of 'rationality which the human in- A. Just as philosophy succeeded to mythology in man's earlier GINS? telligence manifests- at the present time. efforts, to explain his origins, so, philosophy has sought the aid ,~.A ~.~m~'- qu--e-ti-ns~ v t~-r---oposed vy ~- rne mymomgles ann given van- of sconce m the present era ~vmny sclenusts exaggermlng me THIS ASSERTION LACKS substantial proof. It is impossible, . " ' " ' "r " h " a r ' "e ust tak ous answers by the l~hlJsophers do not find conclusive answers ,f n r a fro importance of th~s t ena ave sse ted that SCl nee m e he,ever, not to note a de i it t end way m mythological ' " ", "in scientific investigation, We have, however, another source of rtain od of hi to w t i tl~a pmce o~ pnuosopny n a aenmte answer to me promem ot i u " t r " explanatmns at ace per~ s ry. A ne ype of m nd " ' r " i'h fa " knowledge wh ch s rpasses all others m dep h and ce tamly man s origins is to De Iouncl ~clence IS conce nee w t c~s was developing which could not be satisfied with myths in its ", th con'e t'on of within the limits ~hich are appropriate for it in ages when the s wmcn are to ~e Dos ryes ana vermea it is e t n i quest for the truth. The repre.entatives of the new thinking were h h 11 n e ~he f rts " f sci heists to su lent progress of science was slow men tended to look to the Bible r ~ r on bl based pnuosopners w o c a e g t e m o e PP for more h called philosophers; they sought mo e sol'd and eas a y 7 t an the Bible was competent to say. In the condemns- explanations of the problems of man and the universe. The primE- t~em, mat ,t :s nor eno ugn to ooserve ~ac:~1 and~stO :;:.~ r~- tire mind, while governed essentially by rational principles, ~lons among ~ac~s wnicn can De lmmecua~e y c v a. e i1~ n ~ A #~ :=lndeJOt~:l~t2yOt~Y ~gi~l: ::d ~etYtt:~~ e::Janw~:~Sr:ahlchn ~mi::clnot~';CCrs:Ys:: alnt~m:~;c~a~ Wa~pr:::~c~:~u~yiei:~t ~U~K PA ~Lw3 ~ould be constrained to nuestion Ireasons for the existence and activity of the universe. I: - - t - - IT IS NEVERTHELESS TRUE that sdence has much to tell Grade "A" I The function of reason is to find the true causes of things. Phil about the orlgms of man and the universe that phdosoph~cal spec- osophy, as the science of ultimate causes, found Its most cap- ulation cannot discover Astronomy for example has given in S -- . " ~[modern times a picture of the universe indefinitely more vast ] ~'.".~1~ ~ ]] Wondering Who C~n | . . . ICFM S-onsors Ithan what philosophy has ever imagined. The solar system, once I I I so e You Without I [ ]~ [thought to embrace the entwe universe, is now known to form ] ~ :,~ ~n='~ ~ |[| ,'r- - " ,/ ] A,RORA A Newcomers' q I Ill THOMEWAY LINES I party held recently at Holy An. . II ROCK FALLS DAIRY Ill Als.a, .r I gels parish proved so successful J, ,m-,-m =,= . rAnlUUm I Phone Main 5-0913 [113os W 14tk Rock Foils I that similar parties are planned r.IMlll~l~ J 0 N E S ' " - -' at intervals throughout the year. Try Some Downtown Dixon The affair was sponsored by the cro~s Hybrid Funeral Home Illinois Finest Christian Family Movement of C=.Lor~estin Yield196! 24 Hour Service Holy Angels as its first parish --Lowest A b I In HARyARD Motor Hotel project .o o,o,0 m u ance terr*" Powers Representatives of all socie- Mo,sture MRS. ELIZARETH JONES rr t. 4tt t oom, ties Connected with the parish Content LEO A. MILES a Childre~ FREE participated in welcoming new- PATRICK JONES Harvard, Ill. BUFFET LUNCI;IE$ comers. They are: Legion of THOMAS L. JORDAN DAILY Mary~ Holy Name, Knights of in Columbus, St. Anne, Altar and Dixon--AT 4-4324 PHONE 3-1211 Cleaners & THE TRAIL ROOM Rosary, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 807 W. Third St. (Monday thru Friday) Confraternity of Christian Doc. Foe A !"'/ trine and Home and School ~ualil./ ,nd LOW COST uaunary DINNER NIGHTLY Mr. and Mrs. George Spieler in were general chairmen of the Diaper Service THE 18~7 ROOM event. The Rt. Rev. Msgr. F.F. Coil Rockford "Collect" ~$ NORTH AYER STREET WHitney 3,5415 s~,~ ~s ~.~.1 Connor is pastor of Holy Angels. WOodland 5-2625 215 S. Galena a Ph. AT. Serve Your Friendly Yoursslt Independent and Save Grocer IN an. DIXON "Insurance Exclusively" St. Charles IT'S FINEST IN MEATS SUNDAY 6:30 P.M. Memorial Works DIXON NATIONAL BANK ff/e "MAVERICK" s v BUILDING Brinton at Bradshaw Dixon, IlL and the surrounding area tion of Galileo the theologians certainly overstepped their boun- daries. More recently the conclusions of geology regarding the age of the universe were called into question because they seemed to contradict the chronology of the Bible. Other theolo- gians more cautiously, but without sufficient justification, at- tempted to establish a fundamental and far.reaching agreement between the date of science and the texts of the Bible, AS NEW DISCOVERIES WERE MADE it became more and ~ore evident that a new point of view was needed. The Bible cannot be interpreted as a book of science; its function is to point out to men the way tp save their souls. Today this point of view is universally prevalent. The Bible is not to be expected to provide answers in questions which require the application ot scientific method. Nevertheless we can expect to find in the Bible indications of the true answers to problems that the sci- ences deal with only superficially and provisionally. We have noted that the myth was the setting in which man's first an- swers to the problems of his origin were proposed. Mythologies led naturally to the solutions of philosophy and science with- out themselves being despoiled of their content of truth. It might be expected that the word of God would have adapted it- self to this primitive form of explanation. Beneath the literary forms, however, there can be a fundament of truth. It is in re- lation to this fundament of truth that the Church speaks au- thoritatively. It is divinely revealed; it must be studied as the Word of God, and interpreted as literature pertaining to the time in which it was writtexL Nothing that science tells us, or can ever be expected to tell us, if it remains within the limits proper to itself, can be in contradiction to the truth of divine revelation. Both science and revelation are concerned with the truth, each within its own order. Only when this fundamental principle 'is overlooked can there be any question of conflict. **** TWO LOCATIONS MONROE, WIS. MOTORS INC. PLYMOUTH -- VALIANT -- CHRYSLER DODGE IMPERIAL -- DODGE TRUCKS -- SIMCA Our Reputation Is Your Guarantee Monroe's Finest Dining Room & Lounge Enjoy Dining Here! Now MARCO'S is twice its former size cad eemplete/y redecorated. Conveniently located in downtown Monroe. Ac. commodotions for weddings end banquets, large or small. 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