Creative Reason and the Breath of Life

Pope Benedict XVI, in his Easter Vigil homily, given April 23, 2011, asserts that “Creative Reason is the Fundamental Principle of the Universe,   and Man is No Mere Late Product of Random Evolution.”  Discussing the opening words of Genesis and the Gospel of John, the Pope states that the regularly recurring phrase “And God said,” and the Logos of John indicate a creative Reason that speaks and communicates itself.  He declares “It is not the case that in the expanding universe, at a late stage, in some tiny corner of the cosmos, there evolved randomly some species of living being capable of reasoning and of trying to find rationality within creation…If man were merely a random product of evolution in some place on the margins of the universe, then his life would make no sense or might even be a chance of nature.  But no, Reason is there at the beginning: creative, divine Reason. And because it is Reason, it also created freedom, and because freedom can be abused, there also exist forces harmful to creation.”

In his new book titled “Christianity in Evolution: Discovering the Harmony of Science and Faith,” (Cathedral Center Press, Los Angeles, 2011),  author Ralph Armstrong presents a work that strongly parallels the Pope’s homily.  Armstrong, a psychiatrist and former Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Counseling at St. John’s Roman Catholic Seminary, Camarillo, California, describes, through very close readings of molecular and evolutionary biology, a creation made intelligent and agentive by the Breath of Life.  In other words, the findings of scientific research intimate that Creative Reason, intrinsic to the Breath of Life,resides in each living creature, making Life capable of modifying itself to meet the exigencies of existence. Creative Reason, the Breath of Life, lies at the heart of the intelligence of all living.

Life, made intelligent by the Breath, by Creative Reason, has in the last seconds of geologic time evolved a humankind capable of knowing and loving God and each other.  And Life is free, and this freedom allows for conflict that extends all the way back to the first virus that attacked the first bacteria, all the way across the spectrum of living things, and all the way down to the genes, where genes are capable of acting selfishly, against the broader interests of genomes. 

Armstrong melds this worldview with orthodox Christianity as he shows how the Fall of Adam and Eve in the domain of Heaven translates into an Earthly domain rife with conflict.  He then describes how God, not about to idly stand by as his creation wars with itself, intervenes in the manner described in the Old and New Testaments.  In the last three chapters of the book, Armstrong discusses prayer, offers a novel and unique theodicy, and closes with a discussion of some very new science about how we relate to each other, and how this affects the future of Christianity.

The complete article regarding the Pope’s homily can be found at





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