We ended the last entry with the idea Vatican scholars believe there are two kinds of truth: one accessed by reason and evidence and the other by blind faith. If you pay close attention, it becomes easy to spot the truth-divide in the Jesuit scientists’ caustic criticisms of Intelligent Design and Creationism. For example, George Coyne, former head of the VORG, disputes the anthropic principle as evidence for Divine Creation:
To imagine a Creator twiddling with the constants of nature is a bit like thinking of God making a big pot of soup.… It’s a return to the old vision of a watchmaker God, only it’s even more fundamentalist. Because what happens if it turns out there is a perfectly logical scientific explanation for these values of the gravitational constant and so on? Then there’d be even less room for God.[i]
As you can see, following Aquinas, Coyne has divorced nature the particulars, from grace the universals. Coyne’s concept of God need not correspond to objective truths in the material world; rather, it is relegated to the upper story, grace, and need not be detectable. However, his scientific work inhabits the “lower story”—nature—and is accessed by logic and reason. In this realm, Coyne is no different than Richard Dawkins. His view of nature is governed by the laws of physics and chemistry and is therefore mechanistic and determined. Transcendent realities like God’s status as Creator and divine providence are in the “upper story” where grace resides. These are known only by faith and have no bearing on his science.
The reason it’s so important to thoroughly understand this division is that it is the single most potent weapon used by secularists for delegitimizing the biblical perspective. Obviously, it wasn’t always this way. Schaeffer describes how the situation progressed from Aquinas through philosophy, culminating in the twentieth century, when the concept of truth itself was formally divided—a development he illustrated with a two-story building. In the lower story are math, science, and reason, which are considered public truth, binding on all people at all times. Over against it is an upper story of emotional experience, which is deemed purely personal and subjective. This is why you hear people today utter nonsense like, “That may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” In this way, ethical claims regarding abortion and marriage are not taken seriously in the marketplace of ideas, because they are simply upper-story beliefs. When Schaeffer was writing, the term “postmodernism” had not yet been coined, but clearly he was ahead of the curve. Today, we call the lower story “modernism,” which still claims to have universal, objective truth—while in the upper story, postmodernism, reside spiritual beliefs and morality. Today’s fact/value divide is diagrammed like this:
VALUES = POSTMODERNISM
Subjective, Relative, Nonrational
FACTS = MODERNISM
Objective, Universal, Rational
The Jesuit scientists have bought into the divided-truth concept by relegating their faith to the upper story of nonreason while depositing secular, naturalistic science in the lower-story fact realm. This creates serious problems. When religious claims are hoisted into the upper story, they are not only immune from rational criticism, they can hold contradictions with the lower story. Post Vatican II theology thrives on this divide. For example, the division allows Vatican II era Catholics to advocate inclusivism. They celebrated Pope John Paul II leading a prayer vigil alongside witch doctors, shaman, yogis, Buddhists, Muslims and others without offering a single criticism of their beliefs.[ii] Unfortunately, all liberal theology is predicated on the divided-truth concept, and the nonbelieving world is completely in its grip.
The secular world is neither wholly rationalist nor postmodern; rather, it is deliberately divided along the fact/values split. Modernism rules the lower-story fact realm, whereas postmodernism has a stranglehold on the upper-story values realm. For example, the secular view of the human person divides human life from personhood. The body in the lower story (the fact realm) is viewed as a biomechanical machine, whereas personhood (the self) is consigned to the subjective upper story. This frames the debate on bioethical issues like transhumanism, euthanasia, sexuality, and abortion. For example, on the lower-story facts side, human life has been opened wide for disturbing experimentation. But in the upper story, scientists are given a wide berth by defining personhood in an unscientific, subjective way so bioethical limits are relaxed. Similarly, this explains why otherwise hard-nosed scientists are prone to believing in extraterrestrials. As Michael Crichton pointed out, SETI is a religious quest. In other words, he means it resides in the upper story and is immune to reason. The divide is why you can get a degree in astrobiology, a field with absolutely nothing to study. The Jesuits who embrace Neo-Darwinism and astrobiology while claiming to represent Christ are trying to have their cake and eat it, too.
The Jesuit scientists and Catholic theologians are far too politically savvy to claim the Bible is false. Exploiting the truth divide, they consign Scripture to the postmodern sphere—as poetry and myth—which takes it out of the realm of true and false altogether. In this way, they can assure us they have faith, while at the same time denying that it has any relevance to science. As Intelligent Design advocate Phillip Johnson puts it, the divided truth concept “allows the metaphysical naturalists to mollify the potentially troublesome religious people by assuring them that science does not rule out ‘religious belief’ (so long as it does not pretend to be knowledge).”[iii] In other words, as long as everyone understands that belief in God is merely a matter of private feelings, then it is acceptable. The two-story grid functions as a gatekeeper that defines what can be taken seriously as genuine knowledge and what can be dismissed as mere wish fulfillment. The world system celebrates the Roman Catholic embrace of its system.
The Templeton Foundation named Michael Heller, professor at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, Poland, the winner of the 2008 Templeton Prize for discoveries about spiritual realities.[iv] Whereas the Templeton Foundation purports to honor “exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works,”[v] Heller used the press conference as an opportunity to attack intelligent design:
Adherents of the so-called intelligent design ideology commit a grave theological error. They claim that scientific theories, that ascribe the great role to chance and random events in the evolutionary processes, should be replaced, or supplemented, by theories acknowledging the thread of intelligent design in the universe. Such views are theologically erroneous. They implicitly revive the old manicheistic error postulating the existence of two forces acting against each other: God and an inert matter; in this case, chance and intelligent design. There is no opposition here. Within the all-comprising Mind of God what we call chance and random events is well composed into the symphony of creation.[vi]
Manichaeism was a form of Gnostic dualism that gave evil equality with God. Our argument is not that chance has equal status; rather, we believe that it does not exist in the way naturalists believe. What does he mean, “There is no opposition” between Creation and randomness? This is hardly intelligible! For communication to have meaning, we must agree on definitions. “Random” and “created” are antithetical. Protestant theologian and philosopher R. C. Sproul explains:
If chance exists in its frailest possible form, God is finished. Nay, he could not be finished because that would assume he once was. To finish something implies that it at best was once active or existing. If chance exists in any size, shape, or form, God cannot exist. The two are mutually exclusive.
If chance existed, it would destroy God’s sovereignty. If God is not sovereign, he is not God. If he is not God, he simply is not. If chance is, God is not. If God is, chance is not. The two cannot coexist by reason of the impossibility of the contrary.[vii]
Sproul is absolutely correct, but do not misunderstand him. The word “chance” is used in different ways, and secularists often equivocate. In one sense, it simply denotes probability or possibility. Used in this way, it is an abstract concept describing a state of affairs. For example, when you flip a coin, you have a 50-percent chance of getting heads or tails and a 100-percent chance of getting either. However, no one actually believes that some magical force called “chance” causes it to land one way or another. Even so, atheists regularly deify and worship chance in the upper story of nonreason, and apparently Michael Heller has as well.
A coin-toss result is a complex relationship between forces and the environment. If we were to design a machine to precisely flip a coin the same exact way in a vacuum where no outside forces interacted with it, it would land the same way every single time. Chance cannot do anything, but atheistic naturalists regularly say that things happen by chance, implying causation. This equivocation is a leap into nonreason. No matter what Heller says, he cannot rationally believe life evolves by chance and divine intention; that’s nonsense. The Jesuit scientists who advocate evolution by random natural selection are denying God as Creator.
Opus De theologian Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti characterizes Roman Catholic openness to chance when he argues in respect to ETs, “We do not know if life is a universal and quasi-inevitable phenomena, reproducing itself everywhere that the conditions permit it to do so,”[viii] and then, “or if life is equivalent to a mere probabilistic number, the result of chance at the roulette wheel of cosmic evolution and a phenomenon that does not have any significance.”[ix] It seems the embrace of naturalistic presuppositions follows inevitably once the authority of Scripture has been abandoned.
Appearing with Richard Dawkins, Cardinal George Pell described the biblical story of Adam and Eve as a myth. Much to Dawkins’ amusement, he stated, “It’s a very sophisticated mythology to try to explain the evil and the suffering in the world.… It’s a religious story told for religious purposes.”[x] He said it was impossible to know if there was really a first human. The same heterodox view is evident in comments by the Jesuit astronomers. Coyne, who has also appeared with Dawkins, affirms God as the Creator, but qualifies, “I also know that I evolved, that my ancestors came crawling out of the sea, and that they wound up hanging from trees eating bananas.”[xi] On Genesis, he argues, “Scripture is made up of myth, of poetry, of history. But it is simply not teaching science.”[xii] The truth divide is obvious, but denial of Adam goes much farther than science, because Adam’s sin is a key component of the Gospel (Romans 5:12). If our sin nature is merely a vestigial leftover from our animal past, why would God hold us accountable for it? Worse yet, one wonders why one so inclined would worship Jesus Christ, who was necessarily mistaken in His belief that God created male and female at the beginning (Matthew 19:4). By relegating faith to the upper story of nonreason, these inconsistencies are simply brushed aside. This begs the question, “What is faith?”
Proper faith is neither blind nor wishful thinking, but rather earned trust based on evidence. Richard Dawkins argues that faith is merely “belief without evidence” or even a process of intentional nonthinking.[xiii] We find this to be disingenuous. We argue that biblical faith is more akin to an earned trust like that between a husband and wife. We have faith based on an earned trust in our spouses’ character. In the same way, we trust God and believe His word because of His faithfulness. A theological dictionary supports this by defining it in terms of both an “intellectual belief” and a “relational trust or commitment.”[xiv] Accordingly, biblical faith is based on a unified truth and is supported by evidence detectable in the material world. Ironically, the Jesuit priests have adopted Dawkins’ definition.
Guy Consolmagno argues, “The religious fundamentalists, basically, are scared that they don’t have faith, which is why they cling so tightly to what little they’ve got. The science fundamentalists, I think some of them just want to be taken seriously as scientists and they think, well I have to show that I’ve rejected anything else. So in that sense, science and religion are very separate.”[xv] While we are not arguing that the Bible is a science book, we do think it should be taken seriously. The Bible not only presents individual truths like God is Creator, the universe had a beginning, and man holds exceptional status over the animals, but it also teaches about the nature of truth. A student of Schaeffer, author, and apologetics professor at Houston Baptist University, Nancy Pearcey, argues, “Because all things were created by a single divine mind, all truth forms a single, coherent, mutually consistent system. Truth is unified and universal.”[xvi] Thus, God either intentionally created, or He did not; it’s not possible to coherently believe in random evolution and Creation. There is no excuse for this muddled thinking.
The apostle Paul tells us that God’s design is evident in Creation: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). But even without appeals to Scripture, we think intelligent design is a legitimate program of scientific inquiry. What we are dealing with is two conflicting definitions of science: 1) Science is based on impartial, repeatable observations and follows the evidence where it leads; 2) Science is dedicated exclusively to materialist explanations and philosophical naturalism. It seems that the former is more intellectually virtuous, but we are forced to accept the latter. Intelligent design theory simply states that some things are best explained as the product of a mind, by intelligent causation rather than appeals to chance. For instance, the SETI program is founded on the notion that they can detect design in a radio signal as opposed to random noise. The SETI researcher detects a pattern and makes a design inference and, in this case, no one faults him for it or argues that such an inference is beyond the reach of science. Yet, in other areas of science, such reasoning is not permitted. The Jesuit critics do not understand the design inference.
As a case in point, when Christopher J. Corbally, vice director of the Vatican Observatory, was interviewed at VATT for the German television show, In Focus, he displayed this ignorance:
Intelligent Design means yes there has been development…but there are certain sort of jumps in the development that cannot come through just the physics and the biology working. There has to be something else, an intelligent designer producing that new thing.[xvii]
It’s quite telling that the Jesuit critics do not actually understand intelligent design theory. The design inference is not an appeal from ignorance; rather, it is an appeal to the evidence for intelligent causation. Design is inferred because of positive arguments like irreducible complexity and fine tuning, not gaps. He is also assuming that intelligent design theorists and Creationists make no legitimate use of scientific methods for gathering evidence. As shown above, Dr. Hugh Ross and his team have presented volumes of evidence for design in Creation. This evidence needs to be addressed instead of summarily disqualified.
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Contrary to popular opinion, intelligent design is certainly a scientifically investigable cause. In his landmark book, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (1998), mathematician and philosopher William Dembski proposed an “explanatory filter” for processing three modes of competing explanations: regularity, chance, and design. This process demonstrates a rigorous methodology in which regularity and chance can be ruled out, leading to a reasonable inference of design. Yet, intelligent design critics never consider such a process. In this way, intelligent design critics are the ones that are closing off legitimate avenues of research and preventing investigation where it is scientifically appropriate. Darwinism is a science stopper.
In addition, the Jesuits commit the “either/or” fallacy by asserting that a view is either scientific or religious. The two areas often overlap. For example, Jesus either rose from the dead or He did not. Paul wrote, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Even so, as a scientific endeavor, intelligent design is not a religious position and makes no a priori demands. However, naturalism is an antireligious position and does make metaphysical demands. Opposition to intelligent design is not motivated by intellectual integrity; rather, it is motivated by a commitment to philosophical naturalism. Thus, it should not be too surprising that Jesuits have embraced belief in New Age mysticism and extraterrestrials.
Malachi Martin’s Exposé: The Mystical Darwinism of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Malachi Martin, former Jesuit and advisor to three popes, wrote a best-selling expose, The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church, accusing the order of systematically undermining Church teachings and replacing them with communist doctrines. Martin claimed there was a diplomatic agreement between the Vatican and the USSR, called the Metz pact. According to Martin, Pope John XXIII promised not to condemn communism in exchange for the participation of two Russian-Orthodox prelates as observers at the Second Vatican Council.[xviii] This sort of skullduggery and compromise with communism led Martin to leave the Jesuits in order to write books exposing their many heresies. In light of our present discussion, one individual’s influence stands above all others.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S. J. (1881–1955), more than any other Roman Catholic, typifies the modernist embrace of Darwinism and extraterrestrials. Martin believed the Jesuits “had been impregnated with his outlook,”[xix] undermining the Church in fundamental ways. Concerning Darwinism, Martin wrote that prior to Chardin:
Roman Catholics had always held that the emergence of Homo Sapiens was the direct act of separated creation by God, as outlined in the Garden of Eden account in the book of Genesis. For man, in Catholic doctrine, has a spiritual and immortal soul which could not “evolve” in any acceptable sense from material forms, even from “higher animals.” This is still the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. When Roman Catholic scholars who had accepted Evolution as a fact tried to reconcile official doctrine with Evolution, they assumed that God the Creator intervened at a certain moment in the evolutionary process and infused a spiritual and immortal soul into an already highly developed “higher animal.”[xx]
Pope Pius IX, the very same pope who declared papal infallibility, referred to Darwinian evolution as “a system which is repugnant at once to history, to the tradition of all peoples, to exact science, to observed facts, and even to Reason herself.”[xxi] Furthermore, the Pontifical Biblical Commission affirmed a literal fundamentalist reading of the first three chapters of Genesis in 1909.[xxii] The modern revisionism is remarkable.
The absurdity of Catholic claims to an infallible teaching magisterium aside, like the VORG, Chardin dismissed any historicity to the Genesis narrative whatsoever. He wrote, “It is irreconcilable with what we know from biology that our human species should be descended from a pair,”[xxiii] a problematic assertion given Jesus’ explicit teaching on that first pair (Matthew 19:5). Still yet, Chardin is famous for his synthesis of mystical religion, evolution, and ET belief. In The Jesuits, Martin wrote, “This man’s influence on Jesuit thinking and on Catholic theologians as well as on the thought processes of Christians in general has been and still is colossal.”[xxiv] This suggests that Chardin’s mystical evolutionary synthesis could be the demonic spirituality driving the VORG and the recent Roman Catholic embrace of extraterrestrials, a prospect we will take up in following entries.
UP NEXT: First Incursion Of The Chariots Of The (Fallen Star) Gods
[i] George Coyne, as quoted in: Margaret Wertheim, “The Pope’s Astrophysicist,” Catholic Education Resource Center, last accessed January 17, 2013, http://catholiceducation.org/articles/science/sc0047.html.
[ii] “Pope Leads World Prayer Day,” BBC News, January 24, 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1779135.stm.
[iii] Phillip E. Johnson, The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 148,
[iv] “Previous Prize Winners: Michael Heller,” Templeton Foundation, last accessed January 17, 2013, http://www.templetonprize.org/previouswinners/heller.html.
[v] “About the Prize: Purpose,” Templeton Foundation, last accessed January 17, 2013, http://www.templetonprize.org/abouttheprize.html.
[vi] Statement by Professor Michael Heller at the Templeton Prize News Conference, March 12, 2008; viewable here: http://www.templetonprize.org/pdfs/heller_statement.pdf.
[vii]R. C. Sproul, Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology, electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000, c1994), 3.
[viii] Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, “Extraterrestrial Life” Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science, last accessed August 21, 2012, http://www.disf.org/en/Voci/65.asp.
[x] “Pell says Adam and Eve Didn’t Exist,” The West Australian, April 10, 2012, http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/newshome/13381016/pell-says-ad/.
[xi]Jack Hitt, “Would You Baptize an Extraterresrial?” New York Times magazine, May 29, 1994, http://www.nytimes.com/1994/05/29/magazine/would-you-baptize-an-extraterrestrial.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm.
[xiii] Richard Dawkins, “Is Science a Religion?” The Humanist, January/February 1997, viewable here: http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/articles/dawkins.html.
[xiv] Stanley Grenz, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 50.
[xv] Henry Bortman, “Interview with Brother Guy Consolmagno,” Astrobiology Magazine, last accessed January 17, 2013, http://www.astrobio.net/interview/966/interview-with-brother-guy-consolmagno.
[xvi] Nancy Pearcey, Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning, Kindle ed. (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing), 25.
[xvii] Chris Corbally, “Faith Matters God’s Stargazers,” In Focus on DW-TV 2009; viewable here:“NASA And The Vatican’s Infrared Telescope Called (LUCIFER) PT 2,” You Tube video, 8:00, posted by migfoxbat, last updated April 13, 2010, last accessed January 17, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GCEl1-9LCw&feature=plcp, 2:33–3:34.
[xviii] Malachi Martin, The Jesuits (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1988), 86.
[xix] Ibid., 287.
[xx] Ibid., 287.
[xxi] Pius IX, Letter, 1877, as quoted in Maureen Fiedler and Linda Rabben, eds., Rome Has Spoken: a Guide to Forgotten Papal Statements and How They Have Changed through the Centuries (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1998), 178.
[xxii] “On the Historical Character of the First Three Chapters of Genesis,” as quoted in Maureen Fiedler and Linda Rabben, eds., Rome Has Spoken, 179.
[xxiii] Malachi Martin, The Jesuits, 287.
[xxiv] Malachi Martin, The Jesuits, 293.
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