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No. 135 Roman Theological Forum | Article Index | Study Program May 2008


Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Chance or Purpose?
(translated from the German by Henry Taylor – San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007)

by John F. McCarthy

1. Christoph Cardinal Schönborn’s recently published book, Chance or Purpose? is a continuation of the debate opened by his short article in the New York Times of July 7, 2005, on “Finding Design in Nature.” The following page references, unless otherwise specified, regard his new book. It remains Cardinal Schönborn’s studied position that, while it is legitimate for those doing research “along strictly scientific methodological lines” to exclude the search for purpose, or finality, from their way of studying nature, it is illegitimate and, indeed, irrational for them to conclude from their findings that there is no purpose, or finality, in the world of nature. And so he reasons that the aggressive manner in which many working scientists have opposed the group of American scientists who are searching for more evidences of intelligent design in the natural world “does not have much to do with science” (p. 165). Common sense and reason tell the Cardinal that there is, indeed, order and planning in the universe, even though it may stand outside of the approach of the natural sciences. Thinking about the sublime beauty of creatures leads logically to the conclusion that there is a Creator. And so the Cardinal sees no difficulty in combining faith in the Creator with the theory of evolution (pp. 28-30).

2. In Chance or Purpose? Cardinal Schönborn does not concentrate on technical arguments against the reason­ings of no-design-advocates, but he does uphold the value of the research being done by hundreds of natural scientists into evidence of the intelligent design of the world. To the eye that is skilled to recognize it, every living species is a masterpiece of artistry and engineering. But the spontaneous insight of common sense or a sense of beauty into the order of Nature can be adequately defended only by those trained in philosophical science, and Cardinal Schönborn’s ability to explain this is undoubtedly due largely to his training in Aristotelian/Thomist philosophy. For instance, he utilizes the Aristotelian/Thomist philosophical principle: “Every agent acts for a purpose” (p. 165). On the other hand, the aggressive manner in which powerful exponents of the empirical-science community energet­ically oppose and reject the efforts of other empirical scientists to show the design in biological species and elsewhere in Nature stems at least partly from their lack of philosophical training and from the extremely close-up and narrow view presented by their method. This fact has been pointed out often in the past and again more recently by physicist/philosopher Anthony Rizzi in an extended treatment in which he explains how the widespread aversion of most empirical scientists to the recognition of philosophical principles is actually harmful to their empirical studies. 1 Rizzi points out that those who refuse to recognize any sound philosophical principles in their thinking about empirical science become the victims of blind religious, or more often anti-religious, opinion that ends up in a kind of religious fideism of their own having no foundation in reason. 2

3. A point that Rizzi brings out very clearly in his book is that Aristotelian/Thomist metaphysics is as much a science as are the modern empirical sciences and is actually a prerequisite for proper thinking even in the empirical sciences. 3 And he argues that the “big picture” of the universe, observable only from a metaphysical viewpoint, needs to be brought back into focus in scientific studies. 4 Important in this whole discussion is the notion of the hierarchy of sciences and the recognition that the reasoning of empirical scientists, in their broader thinking about the” big picture” of the reality in which they are immersed, is subject to the valid conclusions of philosophical and theological science. Hence, the proper distinctions are not between science and philosophy or science and theology, but rather between empirical science and philosophical science or empirical science and theological science.

4. Cardinal Schönborn accepts with qualifications the theory of evolution. “There is no doubt,” he says, “that our world is a world of becoming, in which the unfolding of the cosmos, and evolution, have made human life possible on our planet.” But the Cardinal also points out that what life needs in order to come into being is both the presence of certain material preconditions and “the creative act of God” (p. 82). He turns to the knowledge of common experience and of sound philosophy in averring that lower things cannot of their own power bring forth higher things (p. 81). Specifically, he says that the non-living cannot give birth to the living without the intervention of God. And we all know that it is the common experience of biologists since the time of Louis Pasteur that life comes only from the living. Hence, the idea that life has sprung from a non-living “soup” is contrary to the findings of modern biology.

5. According to Cardinal Schönborn, before the nineteenth century it was “widely believed” that each species had been separately created by God (cf. Gen 1:12), but Charles Darwin, “through an honest and intense intellectual struggle,” freed himself from this view (p. 53). It is Schönborn’s opinion that Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) was “a stroke of genius” in itself, but that afterwards the model of evolution became for many a key to the interpretation of everything , so as to give the theory “a strong general philosophic character” (p. 26). The Cardinal notes that everywhere today evolution, in contrast with the biblical account of creation, is presented as the true history of the world, because it bears “the enormously attractive, all-illuminating halo of science.” But many questions still remain open (p. 168). Whoever seeks to remove God from the process of evolution either “attributes a mythical creative power to evolution itself, or renounces any attempt whatever at rational comprehension” (p. 84).

6. Science is by definition “certified knowledge,” but secular humanists restrict this term to the results of empirical science alone. When philosophers, theologians, and even Church documents, not studiously but unthinkingly, go along with this narrow use of the word science, they seem to be implicitly acknowledging that their field does not present certified knowledge, but is one of opinion or aesthetic feeling only. Cardinal Schönborn accommodates to this narrow definition of science, and he too believes that evolution presents the true history of the world, while Genesis 1 tells us nothing about it. “It is not the aim of this text to give us information as to how this world originated. It is not a text on natural science” (p. 55). Again he says: “The Bible does not offer any theory about the origin of the world and the development of the species” (p. 56). But it seems that there is a big oversight in these last observations. For instance, it is true, as St. Augustine pointed out long ago, that Genesis 1 doesn’t tell us how many stars there are, or other details of empirical science, but the issue here is one of history, not of empirical science. Regarding the first three chapters of Genesis, the Pontifical Biblical Commission ruled on June 30, 1909, as follows: “Whether we may . . . teach that the three aforesaid chapters do not contain the narrative of things which actually happened, a narrative which corresponds to objective reality and historical truth . . . . Answer: In the negative (EB 325).

7. The first chapter of Genesis tells us that, in creating the world, God did a series of six things, that there were six successive divine interventions or groups of interventions. These events can be read literally as true interventions of God into the history of the world in a way that does not contradict the authentic findings of modern empirical physics, chemistry, and biology. Genesis 1 offers a concise history of the creation of the universe in six days. Again on June 30, 1909, the Pontifical Biblical Commission ruled that the Hebrew word for day (Yom), as used in the first chapter of Genesis to describe and distinguish the six days of creation, “may be taken either in its strict sense as the natural day, or in a less strict sense as signifying a certain space of time” (EB 331). For instance, Genesis 1 doesn’t teach the theory of the Big Bang, but neither does a literal reading of Genesis 1 exclude the theory of the Big Bang, as I attempted to show earlier in a series of six articles in Living Tradition. 5 Assuming for a moment that the Big Bang really did take place, and awaiting the refinement and correction of those more learned than I in the subject, I would say that on the first day (of seven “days” of indefinite length) there occurred the creation of the primal matter, then the Big Bang with the creation also of the extremely simple form of light. On the second day God made the “firmament,” that is, the rāqîa, a word which means “something that hardened as it spread out.” This was the expanse of the universe, “hardened by the law of gravity and other physical laws. God divided the waters from the waters, that is, the fluids (especially gases) from one another so that the whirling gases that would become the Earth were separated from the gases of outer space. On the third day the gas-ball of the Earth condensed into the seas and the dry land, and God had the earth bring forth vegetation. This was the creation of biological life and its division into various kinds. On the fourth day God positioned the heavenly bodies in outer space to divide the natural day from the natural night and to set up seasons, days, and years. This could have been accomplished simply by fixing the speed of the Earth on its axis (days), its tilt (seasons), and the speed of its revolution around the Sun (years). St. Augustine opted for a non-chronological interpretation of the six days of creation for the reason that he could not understand how the Sun could have been created on the fourth day, when the plants were created on the third day. But he made this choice reluctantly, and he said he hoped that a more complete and exact interpretation of the account of creation in Genesis 1 would be made some day. 6 I think that the answer lies in allowing that the Sun was formed on the second day and given its permanent position as a visible object in the sky on the fourth day. On the fifth day the water animals and the birds were created. And on the sixth day God created the lower land animals, higher animals, and man. These divisions would not necessarily be totally exclusive.

8. This brings us to the question of the origin of species. The Cardinal distinguishes “evolutionism as an ideology” from “the scientific theory of evolution” (p. 150). Three other distinctions are important here. The first is between those who accept the theory of evolution and those who do not accept it, where, by the “theory of evolution” is meant the idea that present living biological species are products of an ascending series in which the simplest were gradually transformed over long periods of time into the most complex. The second distinction is between those who hold that this evolution took place purely as a result of chance and those who hold that it is a product of intelligent design. Among the intelligent design advocates, one may distinguish between those who hold that all of the design was programmed into the world at the first moment of creation and those who admit divine interventions over the course of time. Before the nineteenth century, it was the common Christian belief that each species of animal and plant was separately created by God, allowing, however, that the notion of species was undefined and much broader than definitions used today. Whether Charles Darwin’s struggle to free himself from this view was as honest and unbiased as Cardinal Schönborn avers is highly questionable, but the Cardinal does bring out how Darwin did allow the idea of divine creation underlying the transformation of species where he says: “To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes.” 7 It should be noted also that the “theory of evolution” is not a scientifically proved conclusion but is rather a pattern that has been imposed upon scientifically proven data as a means of giving them a broader interpretation. Strictly speaking, that evolution ever actually occurred is an historical theory, not a theory of empirical science as such.

9. This production of species by secondary causes would imply that the power to transform a species into a different and higher species was packaged into the laws of nature from the beginning by the Creator, and there are those believers who hold this idea today. But it does not seem to me to be at all likely. How could the almost totally formless mass of primal matter have had packaged in it all of the forms that exist in the world today? How can such a package even be visualized (although St. Augustine favored this idea to some extent). Cardinal Schönborn points out that, for life to emerge, “the creative act of God” is required (p. 82). Now, this appears to be a profound insight. From within the magnificent synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas, can one say that creatures with lower forms may be given the potency to become creatures with higher forms? We know that hydrogen and oxygen have the combined potency to become water, a being with a more complex form, and we do not assume that the Creator intervenes each time that this event occurs. But there is a prior consideration. It seems that hydrogen and oxygen could never have become water, if the idea of water had not been previously conceived by God with all of its character­istics, and if this finality had not been given to hydrogen and oxygen. Could God have given to some pre-biological “soup,” under the influence of the laws of nature, the finality to become a living cell? This is a much more difficult hypothesis to visualize.

10. Genesis 1 tells us that “God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds” (verse 21), “and God said: let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds” (verse 24). Here it is clearly implied that God did not create these kinds of animals directly from nothing, but rather He drew them from the waters and from the earth. So there was a process that is not described here. I stated in the preceding paragraph that it does not seem reasonable to grant that a lower being can give birth to a higher being of its own power beyond certain limits. For the origin of species of animals and plants, I think that the genera or families of biological species have limits beyond which transformation could not go, but from within the existing DNA of each genus or family it may be possible for individuals of one species or genus to evolve into individuals of another species or genus, inasmuch as the ability to change would be pre-packaged in the genes of the parents of the major category.

11. On another level, Cardinal Schönborn notes that natural science’s way of looking at the origin of species is not the only approach to reality. Rather, he says, “there are various approaches to reality – philosophical, artistic, religious and scientific. Each is no less real than another ….” (p. 56). He questions whether the approach of poetry is less real than the approach of natural science. “Does the poetic/religious approach open up a different sphere of reality which has nothing to do with the one that natural science is interested in?” No, he answers, because “even the poetic/religious approach has to make contact with the scientific approach at some point” (pp. 73-74). It would be a good thing, he says, to look at the theory of evolution “in the light of the creative power of someone like Mozart” (p. 86).

12. These last quoted remarks raise serious questions regarding the concept and role of reality. The objects of Catholic faith stand within a univocal concept of hard and objective, not aesthetic or poetic, reality. For instance, the Catholic believer must believe that Jesus, from the viewpoint of historical science, really is both God and man, that Jesus really did rise from the dead, and that He really did ascend into Heaven, a place that really exists. The unfortunate fact is that in our day many Christian believers and even many Catholic scholars have succumbed to the idea that the objects of faith are in a different universe of discourse, and in a different kind of reality than that which is the object of empirical science and even of ordinary human experience. This pluralistic view stems from a subjectivist tradition that began with René Descartes and passes through Immanuel Kant down to contemporary Kantian philosophers, and this philosophy is having a heavy impact upon many Catholic scholars and their followers. The poetic approach includes feeling, fantasy, and the manipulation of words for the sake of effect, and so its “reality” is not the hard reality of empirical science. The most important thing here is to realize that the objects of Christian faith are in the one continuum of” hard reality” with the objects of empirical science and are events in the unbroken sequence of empirical history (as distinguished from some other kind of “religious history”). Thus, the incarnation of the Divine Word in Jesus the God-Man, and his resurrection from the dead are events of empirical history, as is his ascension into the place called Heaven.

13. Cardinal Schönborn is of the opinion that man’s body’s having been derived from lower animals is not in itself a problem either for faith or for reason (p. 108), since the nature of man, by its freedom and by its intellectual objectivity, is distinct from that of all the other animals (p. 120). He maintains that it is reasonable to assume that there is a mental or spiritual principle within man called the soul (p. 122). On the other hand, he says, the discovery of the vastness of the universe and of the old age of the Earth has replaced the biblical account of creation and turned it into a mythical story (p. 167). Considering what we now know from empirical science about the origin of the universe and of living beings, he maintains that creationism is no longer a choice in opposition to the Darwinian account, but we can go ahead with the coexistence of ‘Darwin’s ladder’ and ‘Jacob’s ladder.’” What he means is that, while admitting the strong arguments in favor of a gradual ascent from the most simple biological beginnings up to the complexity of the body of man, we can still place limits upon the autonomous activity of the creatures and leave room for the activity of “the divine creative Spirit which sustains this activity and makes it possible” (p. 169).

14. Hence, Cardinal Schönborn’s book leads up to an effort to show how the biological evolution of the human body fits in with the divine plan for man. On the side of “Jacob’s ladder,” he points out that the true goal of the “evolution” of man is to be formed in the likeness of Christ, a goal planned by God from the beginning (p. 138). He thus explains the coexistence of the two ladders. “The ‘Darwinian ladder’ has made available to us – thanks also to genetics – a marvelous insight into the way life has ascended, the way it has come into existence and has been shaped and developed. The ‘Jacob’s ladder’ that connects this ascending and descending movement of life with heaven, with the activity of the living God, of his Logos and his creative Spirit, cannot replace the labors of research in ‘climbing’ up the ‘Darwinian ladder.’ It does not tell us how the Creator made his works, how he has sustained them and guided their development. However, it does tell us with absolute certainty, more certainty than any scientific theories, that it is his Word, Christ, the Logos, through whom and toward whom everything has been created; and that his Spirit, who was moving over the face of the waters at the very beginning (Gen 1:2), and who is love, is moving in all created things and gives them meaning and purpose” (p. 175).

15. Here and elsewhere in his book, the Cardinal clearly presents the viewpoint of a theistic evolutionist, but it is odd that he accepts so confidently Darwin’s claim of the descent of man from lower animals while, at the same time, admitting that, concerning the validity of the theory of evolution, “so many questions still remain open” (p. 168). One is reminded of the admonition given by Pope Pius XII to those Catholics who study arguments for the theory of evolution as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body that this study “must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation, and measure” and not approaching this question as though “there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution” (Humani generis, no. 36).

16. Cardinal Schönborn’s project for theologians today is not to try to defend a literal reading of Genesis 1, but rather to formulate the reconciliation of the objects of faith and an interpreted reading of the Scriptures with the imposing knowledge of biological evolution. He sees the recognition of intelligent design in the evolution of species as a step in that direction. Some others, he says, have undertaken this grand theological project, but hardly anyone else more than Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin has tried to reconcile the knowledge of Christ with the idea of evolution, and the efforts of this paleontologist/theologian have raised hopes in the minds of many that the two can be united, because, in the view of Teilhard, the entire universe is stamped with the character of Christ, and Christ becomes the energy of the cosmos itself. “His love for Christ made him into a kind of ‘mystic of evolution’” (pp. 141-142).

17. But Teilhard appears to be a most unfortunate choice of a model, even for this dubious work. In a master­ful analysis of the writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin, Wolfgang Smith notes that for Teilhard evolution was not only a fact, it was “the all important fact.” 8 Whoever is seeking a concise idea of what Teilhard really said and what he really meant by what he said can do no better than read Smith’s analysis of Teilhard de Chardin’s vision of the world. Thus, as an expert on geometrical spaces, Smith finds erroneous in Teilhard’s pseudo-geometrical vision of the cosmos:

    Smith points out that Teilhard’s aim was actually to found a new Christianity, and to accomplish this he transposed and falsified virtually every traditional Christian conception, beginning with the concept of man. 13 Teilhard’s notion of a gravitationally convergent universe is scientifically obsolete, and his “Law of Complexity” is neither mathematical nor scientific. 14 It is Smith’s studied opinion as an empirical scientist that Teilhard’s Omega Point “was nothing more than a quasi-theological notion, masquerading in scientific dress.”15 Teilhard rather openly admitted that he was preaching a form of pantheism, and Smith shows that his approach could not be anything else.” 16 At a certain point the Teilhardian God ceased to be simply the “Evolver” and became at least partially a product of the process of evolution, and finally it is Jesus Christ who is saved by Evolution and not the other way around. 17

18. Teilhard’s faith was rooted in love for this world, as he himself openly declared: “If as a result of some interior revolution, I were to lose in succession my faith in Christ, my faith in a personal God, and my faith in spirit, I feel that I should continue to believe invincibly in the world. The world (its value, its infallibility, and its goodness) – that, when all is said and done, is the first, the last, and the only thing in which I believe.” 18 In his rejection of the historicity of Original Sin, 19 Teilhard was actually taking away Christian hope in the merits of Jesus Christ. 20 Not only did Teilhard, with his Omega Point, exclude the Christian commitment to strive upwards toward Heaven, but he also rejected the Christian concept of divine revelation, 21 and claimed that the Incarnation and the Redemption are not historical facts. 22 In the final analysis, Teilhard deified evolution and turned it into a religious cult in which there was no place for humility or detachment. 23 He declared that “a religion of the earth is being mobilized against the religion of heaven,24 and he epitomized his work for this new religion in a letter to Léontine Zanta: “As you already know, what dominates my interest and my preoccupations is the effort to establish in myself and to spread around a new religion (you may call it a better Christianity) in which the personal God ceases to be the great neolithic proprietor of former times, in order to become the soul of the world; our religious and cultural stage calls for this.” 25

19. Teilhard de Chardin is remembered by his devotees as a poet, priest, and scientist. But, as Wolfgang Smith points out, his acclaimed “Logos approach to Christianity” 26 was actually the mere neo-logos of an evolving universe. 27 As a non-degreed “scientist,” he turned out to be a brazen deceiver with his participation in two anthropological frauds: the hoax of Piltdown man and the false fabrication and announcement of the so-called Peking man. As Father Patrick O’Connell, a competent anthropologist, relates: “That (Piltdown man) was a forgery is now universally accepted both by those who support and those who reject the theory of evolution.” The specimen of Piltdown man, announced in 1912, had the skull and jawbone of an ape, but teeth that looked like human teeth. Teilhard de Chardin in 1913 “discovered” a missing “human-like” tooth. Fifty years later it was finally proved that these were simian teeth stained and filed down to look like human teeth. And Peking man was also a pure fraud. Teilhard de Chardin was working in China with the team that “discovered” and announced the specimens. Father O’Connell was in China at the time and was able to follow the case from close by. Most of the so-called evidence soon disappeared, seemingly on purpose, but the skull-cap that remains and is now on display in a museum in Peking does not conform to the description of it given earlier by Father Teilhard de Chardin. 28 Finally, anti-theologian Teilhard presents as the key to life, not the grace of the Holy Spirit, but the secrets of matter and nuclear energy. His life-work was to construct a cosmic fantasy under the driving inspiration of erotic love, as he implicitly admitted when he declared that passion is “the inspirer of genius, the arts, and all poetry.” 29


by John F. McCarthy

The passage reads as follows: “ . . . and stooping to look in, he [the other disciple] saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes (Jn 20:5-10, RSV).

What did St. John the Apostle believe? According to St. Augustine, both John and Peter then believed, not that Jesus had risen from the dead, but that the body of Jesus had been removed from the tomb. This teaching was followed by St. Gregory the Great and St. Bede the Venerable. On the other hand, according to the two Sts. Cyril and St. John Chrysostom, both St. John the Apostle and St. Peter the Apostle then believed that Jesus had risen from the dead. Cornelius a Lapide holds that what this passage means is that John, after having seen the burial cloths and the napkin rolled up and set apart, remembered that Jesus had predicted his resurrection from the dead, and he began to believe in the resurrection of Jesus, but Peter came to believe only later.

Let us consider Cornelius’ opinion. Actually, people do not “believe” what they have seen with their own eyes; rather, they know it. Peter and John saw that the tomb was empty of the body of Jesus, and so they knew this. Therefore, strictly speaking, they did not believe that the body of Jesus had been removed from the tomb. The Gospel is here certainly implying that they witnessed the empty tomb, but that does not seem to be the principal point that it is making here. The Gospel does not say that they entered the tomb and saw that the body of Jesus was not there. Rather, it says that John came first and stooped down and saw the linen cloths lying there. Then Peter went in and saw the linen cloths lying there and the napkin folded up in a place apart. Then John came in and saw and believed. What did he see? Most directly he saw the linen cloths and the napkin folded up and lying is a place apart. What is all this intended to mean?

Cornelius explains that third parties who might have come to carry the body of Jesus away would not likely have paused to take off the linen cloths and almost certainly would not have taken time to neatly roll up the head-cloth and set it in a place apart. So what John probably concluded was that Jesus Himself had taken off or emerged from these cloths, and, therefore, he believed, or at least began to believe, that Jesus had risen from the dead. For Cornelius, Peter did not yet begin to believe, but we note that he too is described as having seen the head-cloth folded up and set apart. Did he too begin to reason from this to the Resurrection of Jesus, as John Chrysostom maintains? It does seem reasonable to interpret the words, for as yet they did not know the scripture that he must rise again from the dead to imply that, nevertheless, beginning from this moment, St. Peter and St. John, or at least St. John, began to understand it.

An array of interpreters have read this passage in John to mean that it records the first witness to the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Thus, Francesco Spadafora, in a restudy of this episode, affirms that the central point of this account of the “empty tomb” is the link between what the two Apostles saw and observed in the tomb and an act of faith in the Resurrection of Jesus, expressed here for the first time, before any recorded apparition of Jesus had taken place. 30 Among the Latin Fathers, St. Leo the Great used this passage as evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus, and most of the Eastern Fathers did the same. 31 Thus St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. Cyril of Alexandria. 32

Some more recent exegetes, following the lead of M.-J. Lagrange, understand from the account that what Peter and John saw was the linens lying flat on the ground, still tightly wrapped as they had been on the body of Jesus that Good Friday afternoon, but without the body inside, giving the impression that the body of Jesus had simply evap­orated or otherwise come out of the wrappings without disturbing them. Similarly, the napkin that had been wound tightly around the head of Jesus was lying there still wound up and in no way loosened, but empty inside. Spadafora and others see the description of the headpiece, “lying, not with the linens, but apart, rolled up into one place” (literally in the Greek) as meaning that it was lying apart from the linen wrappings, because it had been wound separately around the head of Jesus, and was now lying untouched in the same place as when it was on the head of Jesus. According to Spadafora, the Greek phrase “into one place” can also mean “in the same place as before,” or “in the same position as before.” 33

And so, according to Francesco Spadafora and others, including some Fathers of the Church, what Peter and John saw in the empty tomb was physical evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And this passage in John is, therefore, a witness of the historical fact seen by them. This Gospel, it is true, tells us only that the Apostle John “saw and believed,” but the structure of the passage highlights what Peter also and primarily saw and ascertained, and Luke 24:12 reports that the Apostle Peter “went home wondering at what had happened.” This could well mean “wondering at the marvel that he had seen” in the tomb, namely, the winding cloths still tightly wrapped up while the body was gone and while it would have been humanly impossible to remove the body of Jesus without unwrapping the winding cloths and headpiece. Hence, Luke may be telling us here that Peter from this moment began to relate this experience to the prophecies that Jesus would rise from the dead. 34


1 Cf. Anthony Rizzi, The Science Before Science (Baton Rouge, LA: IAP Press, 2004), p. 9. See my review of this work in Living Tradition 123 (May 2006).

2 Cf. Rizzi, ibid, p. 19.

3 Rizzi, ibid, p. 4 et passim.

4 Rizzi, ibid., p. 232.

5 See my interpretation of the first four days of creation in Living Tradition 45-50 (March 1993-January 1994).

6 Cf. A. Augustine, De Gen. ad litt., VII, 28. See my analysis in Living Tradition 47-48 (July-September, 1993).

7 Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (2nd ed. reprinted, 1971), p. 462, quoted by Schönborn on p. 64.

8 Wolfgang Smith, Teilhardism and the New Religion (Tan Books: Rockford, Illinois, 1988), p. 14.

9 Smith, p. 34.

10 Smith, p. 80.

11 Smith, p. 118.

12 Smith, p. 123.

13 Smith, pp. 23, 34-35.

14 Smith, pp. 81, 167-168.

15 Smith, p. 109.

16 Smith, pp. 111-112, referring to Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution, p. 171.

17 Smith, p. 118, referring to Teilhard, The Heart of the Matter, p. 92.

18 Smith, p. 129, quoting from Teilhard, Christianity and Evolution, p. 99.

19 Smith, p. 138, referring to Teilhard, Christianity and Evolution, pp. 70-80.

20 Smith, ibid.

21 Smith, p. 120.

22 Smith, p. 123.

23 Smith, pp. 219, 221.

24 Smith, p. 208, quoting from Teilhard in his Science and Christ, p. 120.

25 Smith, p. 210, quoting from Teilhard in his Lettres à Léontine Zanta, p. 127.

26 Smith, pp. 119-120, quoting from Walter Kasper, Jesus the Christ, pp. 17-18.

27 Smith, ibid., quoting from Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution, pp. 180-181.

28 Cf. P. O’Connell, The Origin and Early History of Man (Houston: Lumen Christi Press, 1966), pp. 54-57.

29 Teilhard de Chardin, Human Energy, p. 129, quoted in Smith, ibid., p.175, note 30.

30 F. Spadafora, La resurrezione di Gesú (Rovigo: Istituto Padano di Arti Grafiche, 1978), p. 125.

31 Cf. Spadafora, p. 135.

32 Cf. Spadafora, pp. 132-133. St. John Chrysostom, hom. 85 in Ioan. no. 4 (PG 59, p. 465); St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis 14, no. 22 (PG 33, p. 853; St. Cyril of Alexandria, in Ioan. (PG 74, p. 683).

33 Cf. Spadafora, p. 137.

34 Cf. Spadafora, p. 127.

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