ISBN: 978-1597311335 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-59731-134-2 (cloth)
Few today recall perhaps what took place around the time of the Second Vatican Council when the posthumous writings of an exiled French Jesuit struck the Catholic world somewhat like a tornado. Suffice it to say that in its outer manifestations at least, the Church has never since been the same. Not that the theory of Teilhard de Chardin—that heady amalgam, supposedly, of Science and Christianity—has been accepted lock stock and barrel. What has gained well nigh universal acceptance however are two crucial notions: first, that “God creates” by means of Darwinian evolution; and secondly, that the Church itself “evolves” in that it proceeds from a primitive to an enlightened understanding of Christian truth. It is crucial to note, moreover, that the first demands the second: for as Wolfgang Smith points out, in the light of traditional Catholic doctrine “theistic evolution” is in fact outright heresy.
What as a rule has rendered theologians vulnerable to the Teilhardian tenets—apart from the fact that these conform to the neo-humanist tendencies of our age—is that the theory is clad in scientific garb: where Science speaks, it seems, even angels listen nowadays. It therefore takes someone thoroughly grounded in both science and theology to unmask such a teaching and get to the bottom of it. And that is where Wolfgang Smith comes in. He is that rare person who does possess such double credentials; and what he proves with virtually mathematical precision is that Teilhard de Chardin has in fact sold us a veritable science-fiction theology.
However, this book is much more than a masterful and indeed definitive refutation of theistic evolutionism: it is at the same time an incomparable introduction to long-forgotten metaphysical and theological truths, such as the omnia simul of Creation, the fundamental distinctions between time and eternity, mind and spirit, or reason and intellect. In language at once precise and lucid the author recalls teachings going back to the Greek and Latin Fathers, and explains their bearing on the problems at hand.
Praise for Theistic Evolution
“Wolfgang Smith broaches a vast range of subjects with a mastery that bespeaks an immense culture.” —Jean Borella
“Here is that rare person who is equally at home with Eckhart and Einstein, Heraclitus and Heisenberg!” —Harry Oldmeadow
“Wolfgang Smith is as important a thinker as our times boast.” —Huston Smith
About the Author
After graduating from Cornell University at age eighteen with majors in physics, mathematics and philosophy, Wolfgang Smith took an M.S. from Purdue, following which he spent three years at Bell Aircraft Corporation as an aerodynamicist. During this period he gained recognition for his pioneering papers on the effect of diffusion fields, which provided a theoretical solution to the so-called re-entry problem for space flight. After receiving a Ph.D. in mathematics from Columbia University, Dr. Smith pursued a professorial career in that field. Soon however his center of interest shifted from the pursuit of science to the critique of scientism and the rediscovery of metaphysics as a theological discipline. He has authored six books and numerous articles, and is today widely recognized as a leading authority in these twin fields.