Viviano, an associate professor of theology at Loyola University in Chicago, explored creation by explaining to participants what Genesis says about creation, whether the creation accounts are history, science or myth and how evolution got a bad name. She concluded the weekend by explaining what the Vatican says about evolution and creation.
Cackie Upchurch, LRSS director, said the subject is important for Catholics to understand because "there is a lot of confusion about what the Bible really reaches about creation. The creation accounts in Scripture are there to help us understand who we are and what our relationship is to the Creator, not to tell us how and when God created the universe."
Upchurch said Viviano was able to show participants that creationism "is not science. This is not history."
Creationism is supported by many Christians who follow a literal interpretation of the Bible. It is a "school of thought that denies Darwinian evolutionary theory by denying that natural selection can explain either the origin of life or the origin of new species. Biblical creationism relies upon the authority of the Bible. Scientific creationism relies upon scientific argumentation to establish the necessity for belief in God as creator of the natural world," Viviano quoted from "Evolution from Creation to New Creation."
"Creationism is not the same thing as belief in creation," Viviano said. "All Christians believe in creation, I'm sure, or that God created the world."
. . .
"It's bad science," Viviano said. "They get a black and white view of religious truth ... They take scientific data and conclusions out of context and they apply it where they do not belong. ... Anything they don't agree with, they ignore. ... They ignore a lot of evidence."
"It's bad theology because they say things appear ancient because God made it that way as a way to test us. It's not giving you a good image of God."
Viviano cited two encyclicals, one from 1950 and one from 1996, and one address by Pope John Paul II in 1981, showing that the Church has not supported the use of Scripture to prove "how the heavens were made, but how to go to heaven." The documents explain that faith and evolution don't conflict.