Fundamentalism

SPECIAL CREATION ALLOWED IN CATHOLICISM

Special Creation is the view that God created just as Genesis relates it in a literal sense. It is not fundamentalist to believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis provided that such an interpretation does not conflict with what the Church deems permissible, and that the other recognised senses of Scripture are not denied.

Professor Scott Hahn says that Catholics are not forbidden to believe that God created the world in 6 24 hr days; nor are they required to believe in a literal 6-day creation. Professor Hahn says that Catholics have never been required to believe that God created in 6 24 hr days but they are allowed to. Hahn underscores the fact that the Bible is absolutely reliable; once it is properly understood, it is without error (inerrant):

"St Thomas Aquinas once said in his famous Summa, 'Our faith receives its surety from Scripture, as Augustine says in epistle to Jerome, if but one untruth be admitted in the Sacred Scripture the whole authority of the Scripture is weakened...' With God as the principle author, there are no errors in Scripture once the Bible is properly understood and interpreted."

(Salvation History, see also tape series on inerrancy of Scripture, St Joseph's Communications.)

Hahn says that one holding to limited innerancy distances oneself from the definitive teaching of the Catholic Church. And Fr Echert (the Scripture expert on ewtn Q+A forum) says that the Church teaches that the Scriptures are without error and seeming discrepancies or apparent contradictions are resolvable, whether or not we may discern the solution at this moment in time. It is the teaching of the Church that the Word of God as expressed in Sacred Scripture is absolutely without error. This has been the constant belief of the Church. 3 popes of the 20th century affirmed the absolute inerrancy of Scripture as did Vatican Council II (Dei Verbum, see footnotes to chapter 3, article 11). God is the ultimate author of Scripture, even admitting human instruments who wrote under divine inspiration. God cannot be charged with error and error is incompatible with divine inspiration. Since early times it has been recognized that there are difficult passages in the Bible to reconcile but as St. Augustine noted, such is not error on the part of God but a limitation on our part to understand (or else it may be a bad manuscript or translation). We possess no original editions of any biblical works, but must depend upon handwritten copies, which date decades and centuries after the originals and contain many discrepancies and errors. The guarantee of absolute inerrancy applies only to the original editions, or autographs, and not to copies. Yet, in spite of bad copies, the Bible has been passed down to us with remarkable accuracy (eg Bible texts found in the Dead Sea scrolls such as portions of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea & the Psalms are among the oldest biblical documents preserved [250 BC " 68 AD] and are remarkably consistent with the same texts in the Bible we have today). Consider the following examples of apparent Bible errors that are resolvable:

- In Deuteronomy 14: 7 the hare is listed among those animals that chews the cud (ruminates). For years this Bible passage was put forward as a clear error in Scripture. However, it has been discovered relatively recently that hares do in fact chew the cud, only the manner in which they do so is different to other ruminants such as cows and camels. Hares actually eat their own excreted pellets nocturnally.

- In Joshua 10: 13 a miracle took place in which the sun was seen by human eyes to remain motionless for a whole day. Joshua's prayer (that night doesn't fall so as to secure the defeat of the Amorites) is answered: 'the sun stood still in the middle of the sky'. Do we know of a similar solar phenomenon in our own epoch? Yes, we do. Just after 12 noon, on 13th October 1917, the sun above Fatima in Portugal spun in the sky for 12 minutes. What happened that day was described in detail by an atheistic reporter for the Lisbon newspaper O Seculo. He had come to Fatima to disprove the apparitions that were happening there, but, on the front page of the October 15th edition of O Seculo was a headline that read: 'Bewildering Happenings! How the sun danced at Midday at Fatima.' The sun was reported to have spun on its axis sending out rays of multi-coloured light and plummeting towards the Earth in a zigzag motion before re-assuming its normal position. The previously rain-sodden clothes of the 70,000 spectators had become completely dry in that short period.

References:
Reference: Fr Brian Harrison, Bombshelter Theology in 'Living Tradition' " Organ of the Roman Theological Forum; The Guiness Book of Records, 1998, p. 90; Catholic Replies, p. 148; ewtn.com, Q+A; CNS / IAA

* Please note that this text should be read in the context of the whole work and in recognition of the appropriate paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church highlighted in the index.