Creation and Evolution
Science can never truly understand the world because when it looks at it what it sees is a reflection of its own way of looking. The information it gleans from the world can't go beyond the limitations of its reason based approach because all that approach can uncover is the part of life that is open to it. Higher levels of existence that are not accessible to reason and sensory observation simply can't be detected. So it is not that science sees what it wants to see but what it sees is all it can see because what is observed is determined by what is observing and how it observes. A fly sees the world according to the limitations of its mind and so does a scientist. The difference is that the fly can't help it but the modern scientist imposes these limitations on himself because he denies a faculty higher than reason. Now, reason is certainly not a false faculty. It is God given, but when it is taken as man's highest faculty and its existence is used to reject higher spiritual principles then the servant has become master and so reason becomes a tyrant that insists the world is seen according to its own limitations.
If we note how modern science started we can see the near inevitability of its descent into spiritual ignorance. For nature to be regarded solely as an object of study and exploitation it was separated from its roots in the spiritual world, a world not open to investigation by the new methods. As time passed and the new approach proved highly successful in material terms it came to be seen as the only way in which the world could be understood despite the protestations of people like William Blake and writers and artists associated with the Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. When science through Darwinism came up with its own theory of human origins its triumph was assured, and we now live with the spiritually disastrous results of that. Even much spirituality nowadays, such as it is, has to accord with science if it is to be accepted as realistic, the very opposite of what should be the case.
Anyone taking the line I have here will inevitably be asked if (for example) he uses computers or avails himself of the advantages of modern medicine. In other words, if he uses some of the many benefits that science has brought. If the answer is yes, he will be charged with hypocrisy. However it's not that simple. We all live in the 21st century and, unless we take to the woods and become hermits, we have to do so. No one disputes that modern science has brought many material benefits. It would never have made the impact it has if it had not done so, but the point is it has brought them at a spiritual cost. If we live in the modern world then we more or less have to use the products of science, and we can legitimately do so though I would suggest we should do so to a limited degree if we wish to avoid being contaminated by the mindset behind them, that being the idea that fundamentally man is little different to a machine. This is the great and largely unrecognized risk that our ever increasing dependence on technology brings with it. It is not too much to say that this dependence is actually restructuring our minds and rendering them less and less susceptible to spiritual influence. The more we use machines the more we become like them.
Thus I say that, while science has brought some good things on the material level (it has brought many bad and unholy things too), these don't compensate for the spiritual destruction it has wrought. And yet it is not science per se that I am attacking but a science not pursued in the light of the reality of God and the hierarchical supremacy of revelation and spiritual insight to unsupported reason. If science acknowledged that there are truths, deeper foundational truths, beyond its reach then it might begin to acquire a wisdom it currently lacks and which we so desperately need. If it pursued knowledge not for its own sake or even humanity's sake but for a fuller revelation of God then it might start to discover something really worthwhile.
The question of Man’s origins is one on which science has pronounced. Although a belief in God is just about compatible with full acceptance of the theory of evolution a good deal has to be given up, and the religious person immediately puts himself on the back foot. Once there he is on a downward path, forced to concede more and more because he has accepted the framework of his opponent. But there is really no need to do this for the theory of evolution only addresses outer, material things and makes many unproveable assumptions. In truth it can really only be believed by someone who wants to believe it or else someone who, deferring to the professionals, simply assumes that science knows what it is talking about.
I regard this question of our origins as something of a litmus test for spiritually interested people in that it examines their response to the wisdom of this world plus their ability to remain connected to higher truths when these are not conventionally accepted: indeed, when they are actively rejected by most people. Often each side in the creation/evolution debate totally dismisses the position of the other but, for my part, I don't regard evolution and creation to be inherently incompatible though obviously, in that case, neither can be taken in the exclusive way their materialist and fundamentalist proponents would take them.
The way I approach this matter is through a combination of intuition and ordinary thinking, the one supporting the other. However, for me, intuition always takes precedence as that is based on direct perception and goes beyond a strictly reason based approach which can only examine truth from the outside looking in.
I think we must start from the position that there has obviously been some sort of evolutionary process at work over the ages. The findings of science leave little room for doubt on that score. From there, though, to conclude that this is just driven by random mutation and survival of the fittest is going way too far and suggests that the wish is father to the thought, which is not to say that these play no part in the process, particularly in the non-human kingdoms. Only that they are not the primary mechanism. Even if we set intuition aside common sense and reason should tell us that natural selection, alone and unaided, simply cannot account for the world and everything in it however long one allows it, and that means that evolution is not blind. It has a purpose and it has a goal. As for mankind, we are not just intelligent apes but a creation that was deliberately brought about to reconcile and integrate the two opposites in the universe of spirit and matter or consciousness and the phenomenal world, the world within and the world out there. Breath and dust as one might say. An animal lives exclusively in its natural environment. It cannot separate itself from that, but our glory (and the source of our short term misery and suffering) is that we live in two worlds. Even though we are part of nature we have an inner life and through that can eventually unite spirit and matter in full consciousness and, in the process of doing so, become fully conscious participants in a creation which is differentiated but one. All this is not the product of a directionless evolution, but an evolutionary process helps to bring it about.
What this means is that I see evolution as a blend of intelligence, purpose and will on the one hand - there is a plan and there is a goal - and what we may call chance on the other as the laws of nature work out in the ways currently envisaged by scientists. That is to say, overall there is direction by a Divine Intelligence but within that there is a good deal of flexibility and room for variation in line with the accepted principles of contemporary evolutionary understanding. Consequently I see the human form as brought to its current state (doubtless from pre-existing material) as a specific vehicle for spiritual beings to gain the experience needed for the growth of their consciousness. It has not come about purely by chance. I see no contradiction between the idea that the forms we use have their prototype on an archetypal level and that they come into being on this physical level through a mixture of natural process and spiritual direction. So we might think of our original form as initially precipitated onto this plane from a spiritual one but then adapted once it is here.
I also see men and women as descended spiritual beings in human form rather than having ascended up through the animal kingdom – even though the forms they use may have done just that. And I draw a clear distinction between animals and human beings seeing the latter as possessing the spiritual self-reflective principle while the former does not though it may well be evolving towards a state in which it does, in which, metaphysically speaking, it earns a soul.
So evolution as we understand it today is a half truth. As an explanation of how life forms change and develop, it has much to recommend it. As an explanation of life itself, of consciousness and of the origin of human beings it is completely wrong if not downright deluded.
Thus we can say that evolution is a good explanation for the profusion and variety of many of the animal forms to be found in nature but does not account for the basic template which exists as something like a Platonic archetype and then manifests in the physical world according to various means, some of which are those described by modern science. (This is actually hinted at in the Biblical account of creation in Genesis when it says "Let the earth bring forth living creatures" i.e. it is the earth or natural forces that do this not the Creator directly.) Hence I regard evolution principally as an unfolding (which, after all, is what the word actually means) of an intrinsic and always present pattern just as the tree unfolds from the seed and in some way is already present in the seed. This does not rule out the variations on a theme which would come about in the way we know, but these are the workings out in matter from a pre-existing divine template. They concern substance not essence, outer forms but not Form itself, the inner divine pattern.
To sum up in a sentence, natural selection clearly has a part in the evolutionary process but it is very much secondary to the unfolding from within of pre-existing spiritual pattern.
Despite its insights modern evolutionary theory is a classic circular argument in that it assumes a conclusion, materialism, in order to reach that conclusion. In fact, it has become little more than a creation myth for atheists, materialists and those who don't want to think too seriously about their origin. As seems to be increasingly the case nowadays in many branches of life, it takes an aspect of the truth and makes of it the whole truth. It elevates a part, relatively minor at that, to the whole, and this it clearly does because of an unadmitted desire to cut free from the perceived limitations of religion. But this desire has blinded many evolutionists to the partiality of their position and the fact that ultimately it rests on the frankly ludicrous supposition that given enough time anything can happen.
The fact is that God works in the world through a mixture of freedom and necessity just as he does on the individual level through free will and destiny. This means that he sets up basic laws and parameters and lets them take their course. These laws don’t determine the fundamental building blocks of existence but they allow for an element of chance which makes the whole process more interesting.