A Philosopher said...I've always thought the obvious position for Catholics to hold on this matter is the following: the Fall is an event whose causal ramifications extend backward and forward in time. As a result, the entire history of the universe is altered via the Fall -- we switch from a universe which has always been faultless, to a universe which has always been fallen. In the new timeline, death has always been a part of the natural order, and life develops through the evolutionary mechanism. There is, as the standard scientific story holds, no clear point at which the human species begins. But that's not a problem, because we've already located the unique moment of the Fall on the original, unfallen, timeline. As a side benefit, you get a better answer to the problem of evil, too -- the ultimate redemption of creation is also an event whose causal ramifications extend backward and forward in time, and the fully redeemed creation will be not only without evil, but without ever having had evil, so there's no evil to be explained.
Can't say I've ever seen that answer adopted by anyone, though. I'm not sure there's a coherent theory of time that allows it to avoid contradictions, but I suspect with a bit of work and metaphysical cleverness, something could be rigged up.
Darwin said...Hmmm, kind of a Schrodinger's Fall solution, eh?
It strikes me as at least as ingenious a solution, with a modern flavor, as Aquinas' attempt to deal with the problem of how things could have changed their natures from immortal to mortal because of the fall.
Which also serves to emphasize, I guess, that reconciling the early chapters of Genesis with informed opinion (whether now, Aquinas' time, or in Augustine's) has always been hard.
January 13, 2011
Darwin Catholic post on Genesis and original sin:
Posted by TS at 4:14 PM