Thursday 21st September 2017

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Did Demons “Help” God Create The World?

September 6, 2017 Featured Today No Comments


My old friend Philip Trower recently contributed a very stimulating defense of theistic evolution (“Creation, The CCC, Evolution and Angels,” The Wanderer, July 13, 2017, p. 8B). To his credit, he makes a serious, and I think quite original, attempt to address a serious problem that the vast majority of Jewish and Christian evolutionists either seem blissfully unaware of, or sweep under the carpet.
The problem is this: How can our belief in a perfectly good and loving Creator be reconciled with a scenario in which, for scores of millions of years prior to the Fall of our first parents, billions of innocent sentient creatures suffered terror and excruciating pain from lethal predatory attacks and agonizing diseases?
The traditional Judeo-Christian response to this challenge has been to point out that, while we will probably never understand fully during this mortal life why the innocent (humans without the use of reason as well as animals) often suffer terribly, the Bible makes it clear that this suffering is not in fact part of the Creator’s original plan. Rather, it is an effect of the mysterious curse that was unleashed all over our planet when its first divinely appointed human administrators were induced by the Evil One to disobey a divine precept, thereby opening the door for him to invade the earth with legions of fallen angels and so become “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
Now, Sacred Scripture tells us that before the earth came under this enemy occupation, no animals were carnivorous: “God said,…‘To every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food’” (Gen. 1:29-30).
This is reinforced by later prophecies of the “new earth” that is to accompany the “new heaven.” These clearly envisage a restored Edenic harmony between all living creatures: “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, . . . and the lion will eat straw like an ox;. . . the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain” (cf. Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25).
Pre-Adamic suffering is also incompatible with the Book of Wisdom, where we read, “God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living; for he fashioned all things [i.e., sub-human animals as well as men] that they might have being, and the creatures are wholesome” (1:13-14, emphasis added).
However, Mr. Trower does not read these Scriptures in their straightforward, natural sense because he takes for granted the evolutionary dogma that the earth is billions of years old, even though, as your correspondent Dr. Kevin Mark rightly pointed out (The Forum, August 3, 2017), “cutting-edge research” in natural science is rapidly undermining that worldview. While some observations seem to suggest a very ancient earth, there are now many more that strongly suggest the opposite: see “101 evidences for a young earth” at and articles on the Catholic creation site
Assuming that the vast graveyards of fossilized dinosaurs and other carnivorous beasts must all date from many millions of years before man evolved and fell from grace, Mr. Trower suggests a very audacious solution to the theological problem raised by this scenario. After dismissing briefly (and rightly) the bizarre and unbiblical idea that those creatures were suffering the curse of Adam’s sin for millions of years before he committed it, Mr. Trower suggests that perhaps it was the Devil, and not God, who brought savage pain-inflicting beasts into earth’s history aeons before the Fall of man.
Using as a springboard Abbot Vonier’s Thomistic view (derived from Greek philosophy rather than Scripture) that the heavenly bodies are moved by intelligent powers (cf. ST, I, 70, a.3c), Mr. Trower hypothesizes that God appointed the angels to be in some way engineers of biological evolution. He suggests that they “were to have much more than a supervisory role” in the cosmos and were empowered “to influence the evolutionary or transformative creative process.”
And when some of the angels rebelled and became God’s enemies, He did not then terminate their role as agents of evolution any more than He terminates that of tyrants like Hitler and Stalin as agents of human history. Rather, Mr. Trower suggests, God allowed Satan and his cohorts to stay on the job, injecting their perverse, diabolical malice and cruelty into the evolving animal kingdom, presumably in competition with good angels doing their best to steer it in the direction of health, enjoyment, tranquility, and beauty.
I am afraid I see several serious theological problems with this novel and highly conjectural scenario.
First, Mr. Trower tries to make this supposed pre-Adamic suffering more theologically acceptable by blending it with post-Adamic evil into a single grand evolutionary process: creation itself is depicted as an unfinished project in which good and evil together somehow prod the cosmos onward toward ultimate perfection. “Creation,” Mr. Trower asserts, “is not something that came to an end or its climax with Adam and Eve. It is still going on.” But how can this Teilhardian/Hegelian-sounding thesis be reconciled with the Genesis account, according to which the creative process long ago reached a very definite “end” and “climax”?
We read in Gen. 2:1-2: “Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day” (emphasis added). And according to Catholic teaching, these early chapters of Genesis, while written in a simple, popular genre, are an ancient form of genuine history (cf. DS 3512-3519 = Dz 2121-2128; DS 3898 = Dz 2329).
Likewise, Mr. Trower’s scenario underestimates the central importance of the Fall: instead of the unique primal catastrophe that carved a sharp “before-and-after” division into our planetary history, Adam’s sin now becomes just part and parcel of an ongoing dialectic between good and evil. This view conflicts with Gen. 2:17-18, where God declares the earth “cursed” through Adam’s disobedience, since it depicts the earth as already cursed for millions of years previously — and for reasons that had nothing to do with Adam.
Mr. Trower seeks support from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which indeed speaks of a universe created in a “state of journeying” (n. 302) or “process of becoming,” and adds that “physical good…also exists [with] physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection” (n. 310). However these CCC articles don’t tell us whether that “physical evil” began before or after the Fall of Adam.
Indeed, Mr. Trower acknowledges that the Catechism is not entirely supportive of his thesis; for he notes that further on, in treating of the Fall, it implies the traditional belief that earth was originally a paradise in which physical evil began only after Adam’s sin, and because of it. In n. 400 we read that, as a result of the Fall, “Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject ‘to its bondage to decay’….Death makes its entry into human history” (emphasis added).
Indeed, the Catechism manages to assert both seemingly incompatible scenarios — a perfect vs. an imperfect creation — within a single short sentence: “Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth totally complete (prorsus absoluta) from the hands of the Creator” (n. 302). Unfortunately, the standard English version of the Catechism omits any translation of prorsus (“totally,” “utterly”), and this tends to sharpen the apparent incompatibility.
I believe the Catechism’s doctrinal teaching can be read as being consistent both with itself and with Gen. 2:1-2 if we understand it to mean that the earth was created “finished” or “complete” (with its “proper perfection”) in the sense that God brought it into being with its full potential already in place. But creation wasn’t yet “totally” complete because much of that potential still needed to be developed, realized, actualized.
And this was the task God gave to the intelligent human couple He had created, giving them “dominion” over the earth and its sub-rational creatures in order to “replenish” and “subdue” it (cf. Gen. 1:28).
In short, I think Mr. Trower’s overly homogeneous depiction of creation as an unfinished, ongoing process needs to be corrected by this recognition of a clear cut-off point in the remote past between God’s “finished” creation of the world and man’s subsequent historical realization of its potential through art and technology, science and culture.
Another problem with Mr. Trower’s thesis is one we have already touched on. How can his scenario — a world already terribly disfigured by the cruel malice of demons (animal terror, agony and predatory bloodshed) for age after age before the Fall of Adam — be reconciled with the biblical testimony that, prior to the primeval catastrophe of man’s disobedience, God repeatedly pronounced His work of creation to be “good” (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21), and indeed, when completed, “very good” (v. 31)? Very pointedly, these last and strongest words of divine approval come immediately after the Lord’s declaration that all land animals and birds are to be vegetarian (v. 30).
It would be hard to imagine a clearer textual indication that God would not have deemed “very good” an originally carnivorous creation of the sort theistic evolutionists try to reconcile with Genesis. A perplexed young Catholic once told me he was accosted by an atheist fellow-student who contemptuously spat out these words in his face: “A God who would freely create beasts programmed to terrorize, tear apart and devour other creatures would be a cruel sadist! In fact, he’d be the Devil!” The young Catholic was left shocked — lost for an answer. And if Mr. Trower’s evolutionary scenario were correct, I doubt if there would be any answer.
Finally, there is not the least hint in either Scripture or Tradition that God used angels as His agents in the actual process of creation. Quite the contrary: The Genesis account — the basis for all subsequent patristic and magisterial teaching — clearly presents God as creating the components of the universe, both inanimate and living, by His own all-powerful word exclusively — His almighty fiat. Indeed, ascribing to intelligent spirits (fallen or unfallen) the delegated but awesomely god-like power of determining the detailed anatomy of birds, fish and animals (their types of teeth, claws, paws, beaks, digestive systems, etc.), will run up against the Church’s Magisterium. The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts that “God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create” (n. 296, emphasis added).
Indeed, the central feature of Mr. Trower’s novel hypothesis — namely, that evil spirits produced the world’s savage, pain-inflicting beasts — was in effect condemned back in 561 as a Priscillianist error by the Council of Braga when it declared: “If anyone believes that the Devil made some creatures in the world (aliquantas in mundo creaturas fecerit),…let him be anathema” (DS 458 = Dz 238).
As an undergraduate I was a theistic evolutionist like Mr. Trower and the vast majority of contemporary Catholic bishops and scholars — not to mention recent Popes in their non-binding expressions of opinion. But as I wrestled with the huge difficulty of trying to square the long-ages evolutionary scenario with an honest reading of Scripture, while simultaneously coming to learn about new scientific observations that increasingly call that scenario into question, I gradually became convinced that this was like trying to square the circle, and that St. Paul and the classical Fathers and Catholic theologians — “young-earth creationists” almost to a man — had gotten it right after all. Perhaps Mr. Trower too might come round to having second thoughts.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Popular priest disinvited from Catholic University’s seminary after protests over his LGBT book

The Rev. James Martin, a popular priest who published a book earlier this year encouraging a bridge between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church, has been disinvited from giving an address at Catholic University’s seminary. Martin, who was planning…Continue Reading

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary _ without pope

Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis. Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of…Continue Reading

Pro-gay Vatican adviser gets Catholic group suspended from Twitter

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A faithful Catholic lay apostolate was suspended by Twitter last week after Vatican adviser Father James Martin complained about a tweet that teasingly stated the pro-gay Jesuit had been bested in a theological…Continue Reading

Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges

Washington is currently embroiled in one of its “gotcha” controversies, which often arise when minor missteps are blown into major crimes. It’s a game both parties and a variety of activists play whenever they see political advantage in it. The…Continue Reading

Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

Vatican City, Sep 9, 2017 / 08:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke ‘treasured’ work with deceased dubia Cardinal to oppose ‘gravely harmful confusion’

ROME, September 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke paid tribute today to fellow dubia signer Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on his passing after a long illness. In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Burke said he was “deeply saddened” by the 79-year-old’s…Continue Reading

Some Personal Reflections on the Late Cardinal Caffarra

As Steve Skojec reported this morning, our beloved Cardinal Carlo Caffarra died today, in Italy. Our hearts are broken over this news since he was such a lovable and charitable and truthful man for us. Just to know that he was out…Continue Reading

Remarks by President Trump at Signing of Day of Prayer Proclamation

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Americans have always come to the aid of their fellow countrymen.  Friend helping friend, neighbor helping neighbor, stranger helping stranger — we’ve seen it perhaps more so than at any time, so vividly at…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider: The Pope who ‘seems to’ permit adultery bears a ‘grave responsibility’

POLAND, August 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia “seems to” go in the direction of a pastoral “discernment” that “allows the adulterers to continue in adultery,” says Bishop Athanasius Schneider. The consequences for many could be…Continue Reading

REPORT CARD: Faithful college praised for financial aid; Praying for Notre Dame; ‘Pride Prom’ at Marquette

With college affordability becoming an increasingly prominent (and problematic) issue, Thomas Aquinas College’s recognition by The Princeton Review’s national Financial Aid Honor Roll is especially refreshing. “We are pleased that, once again, The Princeton Review has featured Thomas Aquinas College in its annual guide,”…Continue Reading


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. ( – The flagship school for the diocese of Jefferson City has updated its handbook with clear Catholic instruction to counter the LGBT agenda being foisted on schools. Just in time for the new school year, St. Joseph…Continue Reading

Australian priest rips confession proposal as government ‘intrusion’

An Australian priest has called the Royal Commission’s recent proposal to enforce law requiring that clergy face criminal charges if they do not disclose details of sexual abuse revealed in the confessional a breach of religious tolerance. Fr. Kelvin Lovegrove,…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Today . . .

Pro-Life Speaker Ben Shapiro Answers Pro-Abortion Student’s Question With an “Epic Takedown”

Popular conservative author and speaker Ben Shapiro continued to impress his audience Thursday at UC Berkeley when he rapidly refuted a young man’s abortion arguments. Shapiro’s speech at the liberal California university drew massive media attention because of the violent protests that have broken out on campus during past conservative speakers’ talks. The university and local police increased security, and several people were arrested Thursday. Inside the sold-out auditorium, Shapiro received a huge applause when…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah: Reverent liturgy is essential to fighting the culture of death

ROME, September 15, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One of the chief antidotes to a world “marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism” and an “advancing culture of death” is to restore primacy to God in the Catholic liturgy, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, said Thursday. The cardinal was speaking to an international gathering of cardinals, priests, religious and laity at the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum…Continue Reading

Pope to new bishops: ‘Discernment’ means avoiding ‘rigid’ answers to moral questions

ROME, September 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis told a group of newly ordained bishops that “authentic discernment” cannot be reduced to repeating “rigid” moral formulas to persons whose situations “can’t be reduced to black and white.” Discernment, the pope said, “can’t be reduced to repeating formulas such as ‘high clouds send little rain’ to a concrete person, who’s often immersed in a reality that can’t be reduced to black and white.” He cautioned bishops…Continue Reading

Catholic leaders defend Trump after Pope challenges his pro-life views

September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Catholic leaders are defending President Trump against Pope Francis after the Pontiff questioned Trump’s pro-life views, despite the fact that Trump has racked up major pro-life accomplishments during his short time in office. “If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” said Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto…Continue Reading

Sex, sanity, and beliefs that ‘live loudly’ within us

“I do not know any country where, in general, less independence of mind and genuine freedom of discussion reign than in America.” — Tocqueville, “Democracy in America” Alexis de Tocqueville was the great French chronicler of the early United States.  Nearly 200 years ago, he spotted a basic tension in our national character.  It’s this:  Americans place a big stress on individual rights.  But we’re also big conformists.  The dynamic of self-assertion and fear of being…Continue Reading


Who Were The Colombian Martyrs Beatified By Pope Francis?

By ELISE HARRIS ROME, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) — During his six-day visit to Colombia, Pope Francis beatified martyrs Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve and Fr. Pedro Maria Ramirez Ramos, who provide testimony as the country heals from decades of conflict. Bishop Jaramillo was killed by Colombian Marxist guerrilla forces in 1989, while Fr. Ramirez was…Continue Reading

20 State Attorneys General Lauded… For Opposing Pro-Abortion Judge Orrick’s Gag Order Against CMP

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — “It is definitely very encouraging, and it’s great news” that 20 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to oppose the gag order against videos by pro-life investigators, an official with one of the law firms representing David Daleiden and the California-based Center for Medical…Continue Reading

Preparing To Enter Into The Awesome Mystery Of The Mass

By JAMES MONTI For every Catholic, there can be no more important event in one’s spiritual life than Holy Mass. For in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist we encounter our God in a more intimate manner than in any other sacrament, sacramental, or form of prayer. I recall hearing of a modern writer who…Continue Reading

Moral Judgments — Facts Or Opinions?

By ARTHUR HIPPLER (Editor’s Note: Dr. Hippler is chairman of the religion department and teaches religion in the Upper School at Providence Academy, Plymouth, Minn.) + + + Allan Bloom began his Closing of the American Mind with this memorable observation: “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the…Continue Reading

The Complete Thinker

By DONALD DeMARCO “The Complete Thinker” is borrowed from the title of Dale Ahlquist’s 2012 book, the subtitle of which is The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton. “Thinking,” for Chesterton, “means connecting things.” Ahlquist regards G.K.’s thinking as “complete” in the sense that it deals with a wide variety of subjects and integrates them in…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Professor Josef Seifert… Amoris Laetitia’s “Immense Threat” To The Moral Teaching Of The Church

By MAIKE HICKSON (Editor’s Note: In light of Professor Josef Seifert’s recent essay examining some of the dangerous logical consequences of Amoris Laetitia — an essay for which he was dismissed from his teaching position by the archbishop of Granada — Dr. Maike Hickson of reached out to the Austrian philosopher to ask him some additional questions about not…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Can Division In Worship Bring Unity Of Faith?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis has given authority through a new motu proprio, Magnum Principium, issued this month, to local bishops’ conferences to approve translations of the liturgy from Latin into local languages. By doing so he hopes to accomplish a couple of things. First, as we know by now Pope Francis places full trust and confidence in…Continue Reading

God The Sanctifier Of Men… Other Christs

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In a previous article, I mentioned that sanctifying grace makes us brethren of Christ. It is, by the way, one more reason to have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and Mother of us, our common Mother. The reason is quite simple to understand: Christ is the Head of the…Continue Reading

The Effects And Fruits Of Anointing Of The Sick

By DON FIER The proper time for receiving the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick for a baptized Catholic “has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1528). However, as we saw last week, the sacrament is not exclusively for those who…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Please clarify 1 John 5:16-17. Does this refer to mortal sin? What is meant by not praying for one in deadly sin? Isn’t deadly sin a top priority for prayer? — P.S., Indiana. A. The passage in question reads: “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Thomas Villanova

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord drew amazing men and women from the population of Spain to protect that country from the ravages that swept through Germany and the Scandinavian countries in the Reformation era. Two events marked by Augustinian monks sparked these events. In Germany, an apostate Augustinian monk who fell from grace led hundreds of thousands into error —…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Simon De Rojas

By CAROLE BRESLIN The subject of this article lived in a time of great saints, great Spanish saints, so it is not surprising that he is little known. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) who wrote the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) who reformed the Carmelites and wrote The Interior Castle, and St. John of the Cross who wrote…Continue Reading