Evolution and the Age of the
Earth

(2 Peter 3:8)  “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a
thousand years as one day.”   
Is one day strictly 24hrs? Genesis isn’t about how many days God created
the Universe  – it’s about the fact that God created everything we see and that God created man in His
own image to rule over the Earth.  

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.  Who determined
its measurements -- surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it?  On what were its bases sunk,or who
laid its cornerstone.” (Job 38:4-6)
We should keep in mind that with God there is no past or present - time
as we know it only applies to us.

(Gen 1:13-19)  “And there was evening and there was morning, a third day. And God said, "Let there be lights in
the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and
for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it
was so.  And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night;
he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, to rule
over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And
there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.”  
How were the first three days measured if God
created the sun and the moon on the forth day?  How long did these first three days take?  72 hours?  1
week?  4.5 Billion years?  Genesis is not a scientific account of how long it took God to create the
Universe as some people believe.  Again, Genesis was written to convey the truth that God created the
universe and man.  How he did it and how long it took we will never know.  Many skeptics point to this
verse and others and try to imply that the Bible contradicts itself so it cannot be considered reliable.
These people are reading the Bible out of context and obviously do not understand how to properly
interpret scripture.

“And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and
everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  Then
God said, "Let
us make man in our image
, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the
birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the
earth." (Gen 1:25-26)  
Beast of the earth were created before Man in this verse.

“Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So
out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air
, and brought them to
the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there
was not found a helper fit for him”  
(Gen 2:19-20)  
Man created before the beasts of the earth in this verse.

Something to think about:  Does the Bible contradict itself in the above two verses?  No.  Genesis 1 & 2 both
convey the truth, that God created all things visible and invisible.  They are not to be taken as a scientific record
of creation, that was not why they were written down.  The Biblical author (Moses) had no concept of evolution
when he wrote Genesis.  The story of Genesis merely conveys the fact that man was created by God to rule the
Earth and all it's creatures.  This story of creation had been passed down by the Jews long before it was ever
written down by Moses.

"And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he
rested on the seventh day from all his
work which he had done.  So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his
work which he had done in creation." (Gen 2:2)   
Did God really need rest?  No!  It is not possible for God to
get tired.  If we interpret these two verses out of context it is easy to miss the point that the human
author was trying to convey.

If you would like to learn more on the above subjects you will find the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well
as the above mentioned
Encyclical very helpful.
BACK to Defending the Faith.........
The Catholic Church is often accused of teaching that evolution is a fact.  This confusion often comes through the
misinterpretation of Church documents and statements.  The Catholic Church has
never made an official binding
statement which says that evolution is a fact and must be believed by all Catholics.   The Catholic Church neither
teaches that evolution is true or false, but simply that it is a scientific theory.  

The Catholic Church does allow for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under
Gods guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul.  Catholics are free to believe in evolution (under
God's creative hand) and they are also free to believe in the creation story found within the book of Genesis.  
Catholics are not free to believe that man was created by some random process and that God had no role in it.  
Doing so would go against the teaching of the Church which says that God created everything visible and
invisible.  Whichever we believe we should always remain within the teachings of the Catholic Church.  We should
also remember that the Catholic Church does not make infallible statements on matters of science only on matters
of faith and morals.  Exactly how man came about through God's creative hand has not been revealed to man by
God.  It's a mystery!

It's also important to remember that the Biblical authors had very little knowledge about science and that it was not
their intent to write a book answering questions concerning science.  We should always remember that there are
some things that we may never fully understand because God has not revealed them to us.  Lastly, the Catholic
Church teaches that true science cannot contradict the Faith.  As the
Catechism states: "Consequently, methodical
research , provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict
with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God ".
Does the Catholic Church teach Evolution as a Fact?
Here is a brief excerpt from Humani Generis on what the Church teaches about Evolution:

HUMANI GENERIS
(Concerning Some False Opinions Threatening to Undermine the Foundations of Catholic Doctrine)  
Pope Pius XII  - Encyclical Promulgated on 12 August 1950

36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present
state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both
fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body
as coming from pre-existent and living matter —
for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are
immediately created by God
. However this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that
is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness,
moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom
Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of
faithful. Some however rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human
body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been
discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine
revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.
Does the Catholic Church teach that the Earth is 6000 or 4.5 Billion Years Old?
Like the theory of evolution the Catholic Church has no official teaching on the age of the Earth.   Catholics are
free to believe that the Earth is 6000 years old or that it is 4.5 Billion years old.  The Catholic Church simply
teaches that everything was created by the of Hand God in His own "time" and design.  
Many biblical scholars (Catholic and non-catholic) have concluded from the Bible that the earth is roughly 6000
years old.  They have done this by going through Biblical genealogy (from Adam to Jesus to current) and
counting the number of years.  This  gives them a time span of approximately 6000 years.  Scientist on the other
hand have calculated the age of the earth by using radiometric dating and dating rocks from the earth, the moon,
as well as meteorites and other geologic deposits.  So who is right, the Biblical scholars or the scientists?  Well,
the Catholic Church teaches that we are free to believe either side of the debate as long as we stay within the
teachings of the Catholic Church.