Science and Faith: Episode 2 – Creation or Evolution – Do we have to choose?

Written by on 20/02/2021

Radio Maria England Science and Faith

Episode 2:  Creation or Evolution – Do we have to choose?

Broadcasts: Sundays at 5pm, Wednesdays at 2am, Thursdays at 11am and Fridays at 9pm.

A major breakthrough in 1859, the publication of On The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin lays the ground for evolutionary biology. In episode 2 of our Science and Faith series, Dr Denis Alexander told us about Darwin’s life, his famous voyage aboard HMS Beagle and his faith. 

Following the brief introduction to the birth of evolutionary biology, Dr Alexander and Fr Nicanor Austriaco (who insisted we call him Fr Nic as his students affectionately do), delighted us with their comprehensive explanations of the theory of evolution and the principles of the various mechanisms underpinning it. 

Our theology section was split into two overarching themes. Firstly, our experts discussed the way we ought to interpret the book of Genesis particularly events surrounding Adam and Eve. The latter prompted questions about Original Sin and the Doctrine of The Fall in light of evolutionary biology. Then, we explored whether it is fitting for God to “simply create through evolution”, what the purpose of it might be and whether Darwin’s theory of evolution leaves room for human uniqueness and God-bestowed gifts.

Can someone be a Christian and believe in creation and evolution?

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Dr Denis Alexander

Dr Denis Alexander


Dr Denis Alexander’s book Creation or Evolution- do we have to choose? Special Price at £9


Fr Nicanor Austriaco

Fr Nicanor Austriaco


Fr Nicano’s Amazon shop:



Vatican Observatory Foundation

Christians in Science

Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

Interactive Science and Faith workshops

Thomistic essays on Evolution


Reader's opinions
  1. Fr Robert Verrill OP   On   06/04/2021 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It’s very important for us to think about how God’s revelation relates to our natural understanding of reality. As Catholics we believe that two truths cannot contradict one another. Therefore, if the book of nature or the book of God’s revelation appear to contradict one another, then we need to investigate which book we are misinterpreting. Currently, most scientist in their interpretation of the book of nature would say that the claim “Everything had to be in good working order straight away otherwise life could not feed or breathe” is false and they would put forward counter arguments against this claim. This raises the question as the title of our Radio Maria episode suggests “Creation or Evolution: Do we have to choose?” Do scientists who dispute the above claim have to reject God’s revelation? Historically, Christians have been keen where possible to show that the ideas of non-Christians are compatible with God’s revelation – e.g. see Acts 17:28. As another example of engaging with non-Christian thinkers, St Augustine of Hippo in his work the “Literal meaning of Genesis” writes the following:

    “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

    Following St. Augustine’s advice, as Catholic believers, we should therefore be very cautious in putting forward hypotheses which contradict the established views of experts in various scientific disciplines, for we may be making it that much harder for them to discover the truth of God’s revelation.

  2. jennet Christie   On   25/03/2021 at 2:01 pm

    Hoping all is well and that you are not too frantic over Easter. Well done what you are all doing.
    Regards Jennet Christie

    • Charles Wilson   On   25/03/2021 at 7:53 pm

      Dear Jennet . Look forward to catching up over the Easter weekend. I agree there is a wonderful order in this amazing world.

  3. jennet Christie   On   25/03/2021 at 1:57 pm

    Hello.. Mr. Wilson. Looking forward to seeing you again on Good Friday.
    Scrolling down my emails I have just found this slot in an email to put my case re evolution.
    Can I please throw out some new to me thoughts?
    There are two kinds of science: one is observable and testable and provable,… but “origins science” is not.
    For life to start there needed to be oxygen for creatures and carbon for plants already finely tuned to allow photosynthesis. This would have needed gravity. Gravity can not exist unless there are two lots of matter pulling against each other at the right strength. This means the planets and moons already needed to be the right size and rotating around each other at the right speed. For this he oceans needed the tides to be at the right strength so oxygen from plankton could counteract the strength of the carbon being released from plants. Plants had to be there for the first creatures to have something to eat. The plants needed soil with the right organisms in it in order for the plants to grow. I like to think that the worms also had to be already there to oxygenate and irrigate the soil…..I think even Darwin siad we would not be alive without worms!….. You see what I am driving at: Everything had to be in good working order straight away otherwise life could not feed or breathe. They also all needed a fully working digestive and respiratory system straight away. Unless they were sexually mature in the first life time they certainly could not produce the next generation…. This is a very muddled off the cuff thinking that I hope we can talk about one day….! If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny. Best wishes from Jennet (Christie)
    PS Forgive me if this is cheeky and out of place….
    Jennet Christie.
    9a Mount Pleasant Cambridge CB3 0BL

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