Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Theistic Evolution

Christianity and evolution seem like two words that should be forever at odds.  Initially, maybe rightfully so, since evolution was atheistically supported and militant against Christianity and faith itself.  The empirical process with its many benefits to life brought with it a disdain for the spiritual.  This initial distrust of faith and religion, hence made evolution and Christianity natural enemies.  Evolution as a tool of  the atheist to explain the origin of the world without God became a powerful theory against religion.

How did creation come about? Is Theistic Evolution acceptable to the Christian faith or must everyone adhere to literal interpretations of Genesis?

 

Yet, truth is truth, whether discovered through atheistic eyes or devout eyes.   As time proceeded, science showed the earth was very old.  Carbon dating illustrated a far more ancient world than previously thought.   The study of the cosmos showed how far stars are and how long light takes to reach a certain point, again showing a greater age to creation itself.   As biology advanced, adaptation and how organisms change over time, especially with virus and bacteria opened new ideas how larger organisms could also change over time.

The idea of adaptation, older earth and an older cosmos seemed to challenge Scripture and old prejudices of the origin of evolution persisted in church circles.  Furthermore, misunderstandings regarding evolution itself, as well as how Scripture is to be interpreted continued to cause a divide.  Eventually, many mainstream Christian denominations became more open to evolution as a theistic mechanism void of its discoverer’s atheistic views years prior.

The only discord that exists to this day regarding Christian teaching and evolution is in fundamentalist circles who still suspect atheism within the theory.  These individuals many times also do not understand the deeper science of evolution.  In addition, fundamentalists tend to only interpret scripture to their own literal interpretations.

In this short essay, we will discuss the nature of theistic evolution and the dangers of always seeing scripture from a literal interpretation.  Obviously, science is not at odds with faith, for both reason and truth both point to God.  It is hence important that rationale beings who utilize faith, also understand the science of evolution from a theistic standpoint before dismissing it merely as an atheistic fairytale.

As Christians, we first and foremost stand against the concept of atheistic evolution.  Atheistic evolution proposes the ridiculous idea that life happened by chance or the ridiculous notion that nothing became something.  Obviously, those familiar with St Thomas Aquinas understand that every effect has a cause.  The first cause, the uncaused cause, which infinite within itself and not forever regressing, is God.  If God is a entity, a force, or whichever, does not matter, but the author of the universe must be acknowledged.  This is the basis for theistic evolution.   God caused the big bang, His infinite love for life, planted the seed necessary to create life in that moment of for the universe.  The design was laid out among the chaos.  Ironically, even Genesis points out to the darkness and disorder.

An idea of theistic evolution and God does coexist with the idea of theistic evolution.  In now way is it not plausible that God could create this way.  What matters from Scripture, is acknowledgement that God created life and the cosmos.  The story in Genesis if taken literal can lead down a path of many concepts that do not correlate with science.  However, if properly understood and interpreted, Genesis is not at odds with theistic evolution.

Genesis is not necessarily a historic narrative like modern history books.  It teaches a historic moment or series of historic moments.  It proclaims creation and most importantly the creation of humanity.  It speaks of how humanity fell and needed a Redeemer.  These are all facts, but it does so in analogical fashion.   I avoid the word myth here because Modernism looks to reduce Genesis to a myth.  Analogy is far different.  Symbolism is far different.   It still respects the history of Adam and Eve as true human beings, but how the story is told and how it illustrates a truth about them.  It is not accounted like a modern journal but through a deeper language that was handed down.  It does not dismiss the event as non historical like myth which only looks for a deeper meaning, but retains the historical reality of the event but in described differently.

When Scripture is interpreted only literally in every sense, then many contradictions can occur with science.  The books of the Bible while only pertaining to one author, the Holy Spirit, nevertheless are written by different people.  Within this school of talents, are also different ways of telling stories.  Some stories are historical, some are psalms, some are laws, some are prophecy, and others are lessons.   We must be clear to understand the form of the book within the Bible being read to understand its meaning, intent, style and audience of the time.

From this, one can see how literal interpretation of Genesis can create an unneeded confrontation with Theistic Evolution.  However, when one discovers Genesis teaches creation, but leaves out the science, one can then learn to incorporate both together.  “Humani Generis” by Pope Pius XII in the 1950s, helped lay a bridge between theistic evolution and Genesis.  While he stated at the time, one can choose to follow theistic evolution or pure creationism, he pointed out that Christians could adhere to theistic evolution in good conscience.   He however, warned against modernism which would look refer to Adam as mythical, or Adam as a tribe, or that the soul of Adam evolved from matter.

The other larger issue in fundamentalist camps is a misunderstanding of evolution.  Evolution is not something that happens over night.  The fossil record has confidently portrayed a world where adaptations occur within creatures.   Adaptation is merely extreme genes that do best in a certain environment that are passed down to future generations.  Individuals without these particular genes designed for better survival pass away.  Hence, the gene that is best adaptive to a given environment continues to develop and be handed down.  This leads to gradual change over time.  While it is impossible to see massive change in human years, we see these changes in the fossil record, and we also see them in microbiology where generations upon generations can mutate and adapt within years instead of millions of years.

So, this does not mean something magically changes and becomes something new, but it is a natural change within a species due to time and environmental changes that forces certain genetic qualities to pass away and new ones arise in others.  It is God’s long term design to allow a species to propagate and survive.

Another huge misconception in evolution is that humanity evolved from apes and monkeys.   The truth is that both apes and monkeys share similarities to human beings and are closely related from a physical standpoint, but they are not humanity’s ancestors but merely a sharer of a common ancestor.  These lines break off into what are today monkeys and apes and humanoids.

One may then naturally ask, since Genesis, although not literal, being historical speaks of only 2 human beings.  Science actually shows that humanity genetic pool goes back to a pair but the idea that humanity evolved through a series of tribes on a global scale is incompatible.  Many atheistic evolutionists contend this to be true, but Christians who believe in Adam and Eve, contend that Adam and Eve were the first conscious human beings to be endowed with a human soul in the image of God.  Other cousins of humanity may have possessed human qualities and great intelligence, but without God’s blessing, no one could possess what Adam and Eve possessed.

Adam as a special creation was granted a reprieve from this world of suffering.  He was granted an unfallen status.  Whether this paradise was a place or a state of being, he existed without suffering until he betrayed God through his choice to follow the will of himself and Satan.  Upon this, he was again thrust into the world that science has shown us to be temporal reality.

Did Adam and Eve’s children cohabitate with other humanoids of the time?  This is very possible and may apply to the verse in Scripture referring to the children of God sleeping with the children of man.  This was seen as something wrong, but it would pass upon these lesser humanoids, the gift of Adam, a human soul. Nevertheless, we know that the great Flood would forever change global geography and also the history of humanity.

The cosmos dictates a much older existence of the universe. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

How about dinosaurs?  Again, the temporal age and Adam’s special status in Eden show a historical separation in the fossil record but this does not mean that in the time frame of creation, dinosaurs and other creatures did not exist prior to Adam.  Genesis states Adam and humanity were created last.  Hence a series of animals could have existed well prior to Adam.  Either due to extinction or they evolved, they would not all exist at the same time humanity existed.  Many fundamentalists try to state dinosaurs existed side by side with humanity.  While other odd creatures may have existed during the writing of Scripture, as the fossil record indicates, the idea of classical dinosaurs existed side by side with humanity is far fetched.

So, yes, with evolution and with scripture, come many subjects of reflection.  Some aspects are issues due to stubborn literal interpretation of Genesis, but other things must be clearly reflected upon with a biblical understanding and not merely a scientific mind that pretends Genesis does not exist.

This is not to dismiss those who choose to hold on a more literal meaning and creationist account.  This is one’s own choice.  One needs to be aware of the issues this creates from a philosophical and scientific standpoint.   It does not damage one’s faith but it can lead to one demonizing others who hold to an equally valuable ideal about creation that does not distort Scripture.  There needs to be mutual respect on any disagreements concerning this issue among Christians.  Ultimately, in the end, all of these secrets will be revealed to humanity by Christ.

With so much reliable information about the age of the cosmos, earth and the fossil record, I find it very convincing that evolution was the vehicle that God utilized to bring about life.  If one returns to the Bible and Genesis and looks for clues, one can begin to find that the two can co-exist if understood analogically.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Christian Counselor.

 

 

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Qualities of Christian Counseling

Christian Counseling is a unique type of counseling.  It looks to point one towards Christ in all forms of healing.  It presents truth at all costs.  It does not look to the subjective realities of the world or immoral plans of the world, but teaches truth and expects individuals to conform to that truth.  Ultimately it is Christocentric.

Christian Counseling is Christocentric in nature
Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

 

The article, “3 Universal Truths for Counseling in Particular Circumstances” by Curtis Solomon takes a closer look at the unique qualities of Christian Counseling and how those qualities are applied.  He states,

“No matter who you’re counseling, no matter the particulars of his situation, you can and should be patient, show compassion, and point him to Christ. Applying these universals will guard you from becoming a jerk and, more importantly, you’ll model Christ’s character in each particular situation.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals looking to earn a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

Christian Counseling Certification Video on The Spiritual Exercises

The Spiritual Exercises by St Ignatius Loyola is a classic for any Christian interested in spirituality.  It delves deep into Christian meditation and creating a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  The exercises are in themselves Christocentric and focus on the life of a Christ as a starting point into deeper reflection about oneself and one’s relationship with Christ.  Choosing the banner of Christ is critical in the exercises.

St Ignatius uses many battle analogies in choosing this banner.  The exercises are also important for spiritual development and also helping others guide others through difficult spiritual troubles.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

 

Please also review the video below

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Alien Life and Alien Encounter

Within Christianity, the belief that God created two sentient type of creatures, namely angels and humans is universal.   By sentient, one infers that an individual is made in the image and likeness of God in that the individual or species has an intellect and will that can reason beyond physical problems but actually acknowledge the issue of existence itself.  In this understanding of to exist or not to exist, sentience allows one to truly understand good and evil and to also contemplate a higher power.

This is far more than mere solving of puzzles as one can see in primates or dolphins, but realizing the very essence of “to be or not to be”.   Despite the intelligence of many animals and emotional ranges, animals such as primates or dolphins do not write about existence itself.   Animals merely exist.  Abstract concepts of existence itself and the choice to adhere or not adhere to moral principles are of a higher cognitive level, which is referred to sentience.   Sentience makes one made in the image and likeness of God.  It gives one knowledge, choice, and self awareness.  It is spiritual in nature, but many  non sentient things can have spirit, but it is the spiritual qualities of humanity and the angels that make them separate from other creation.

Is one to conclude then that only angels and human beings are sentient?  From observation, no other creature on Earth possesses the qualities of sentience.  While many creatures on Earth display amazing intelligence, they do not illustrate sentience.  As a Christian, is it then fair to say only human beings and angels are sentient?

While it has yet to be proven or at least acknowledged, the limitless nature of the universe ultimately has other life.  Is some of this life sentient?  One cannot answer but one cannot also limit God’s creative power to the creation of other sentient life forms.   With the creation of other sentient life forms as a possibility, speculative theology looks at the role of Christ and His redemptive act coincides with other alien sentient beings.

The cosmos is so vast that we cannot limit God’s creation.

 

Once asked regarding what he would do if he met an alien, Pope Francis said he would offer baptism and the message of Christ.  This point may very well be true, but the appearance of another sentient life form offers many challenges and questions to Christian theology.   For some, aliens offer no crisis of faith to the Christian, while to others, it may very well make them doubt the universal importance of humanity in the cosmos and reduce the Christian faith to just a religion of a particular planet.

I would like to point out a few ideas that may reassure believing Christians that alien life is not necessarily detrimental to the message of Christ.  In fact, Christian theology can exist side by with other sentient life.

First, humanity exists within a temporal and fallen sphere.  Hence due to the sin of Adam, humanity fell from the grace of God and the protection of the Garden of Eden.  Humanity was thrust into a world of suffering, death and loss.   It is possible, that other sentient life has been created before and could be created after humanity.  Would this sentient form of life be immune from the sin of Adam since they are not human?  Angels and humanity were judged separately.  So if sentient life does exist in the universe, it could very well be immune from the temporal fall.  They very well may have “passed” their test.  If not,  did this form of sentient life also incur the sin of Adam or their “own sin”.   In this case, one of two options emerge.  First, Christ’s death was for all temporal existence, or Christ’s death was just for humanity, and the Trinity has other plans for the redemption of other fallen sentient beings.

Second, other sentient life forms will have a different form of revelation.  Revelation via scripture is for humanity and through the special incarnation of the Son.  Alien life may have a very different form of revelation.  This does not mean it is a false creed, but a different form of revelation from the Trinity.  It would be difficult to determine if the alien life adhered to a false creed or the universal creed found via the Trinity.  It would take investigation.   Aliens could also very well be atheistic.  One merely needs to look at the variety of false “isms” on Earth.  A larger collection of false “isms” could exist in other sentient cultures as well.

What do we make of alien encounters? Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

Hence the existence of aliens does not harm the faith of a Christian, but in fact opens one to the potential larger plan of God.  It again is only speculative but theologians should be prepared to try to re-evaluate Christianity under the lens of the possibility of alien life and how the faith would respond to such an event.

An important aspect to note.  One philosophy which has many heretical aspects are the ancient alien theories when applied to Scripture.  Assuming interventions and stories about God and angels were in actuality an alien encounter.  When these stories in Scripture are interpreted by ancient alien theories to dismiss the supernatural and replace it with the paranormal, Christians must dismiss those notions.  Did aliens appear in the past?  It is possible, but such stories cannot be used to confuse God’s communication with humanity with paranormal speculation.

As for those who are faced with alien encounters, counseling, especially Christian Counseling must approach the individual carefully.  The individual may be psychotic, on drugs, or not mentally well.  This is why it is important to refer anyone with such encounters to a professional counselor who can better attest if someone is suffering from delusion or a true event.

In such events as well, Christian theology teaches the possibility of demonic influence under the guise of alien presence.   Under such theories, the alien presence shares false ideas that weaken the faith, or push the faithful to doubt the importance of Christ.  Obviously it is very difficult to ascertain what is occurring to the individual when paranormal or supernatural events occur and this is why it is important to refer an individual to appropriate mental health professionals.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

 

 

Christian Counseling Program Video on the Interior Castle

St Teresa of Avilla laid out the a map for a closer union with God in her classic, “The Interior Castle”.  She details the numerous levels of spiritual union with God that a soul undertakes.  This is a long journey for many as they let go of the world and embrace Christ.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

 

Please also review the video below

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Just War and Putin’s Failure to Adhere

The recent war in Ukraine is an atrocity that screams to heaven for justice.  Vladimir Putin has disregarded all norms of civilized war and like the “Hitlers” before him has become an international war criminal hiding behind a large nation and army.  His war in Ukraine not only fails the standards of justification according to civilized nations and secular society but completely fails all standards of Christian conduct.

This is amazing since many right extremist Christians once hailed him as a good Christian man.  His own puppet regime church in Moscow quietly ignores his atrocities as he unfolds an unjust war in Ukraine and the true un-Christian mask is removed from the face of this dictator. Putin has no care for just war or anything remotely Christian and his behavior in past wars such as in Syria, Georgia, Chechenia and other regions also show the atrocities towards civilians and un-needed death that follows his immoral orders.

The just man and woman though ask questions how a Christian may take up arms against such monsters.  In WW2, millions took up arms against Hitler and were forced into bloody conflict.  Hence how does one retain Christian teaching of “Thou Shall not Murder” in response to unjust aggression.  It seems almost comical to call upon violence to stop violence within Christian teaching.  It seems contradictory but due to the fallen world we live in, we do not have the luxury of living in a white and black world and unfortunately, sometimes, force is needed to stop a greater evil.   This blog will review Aquinas’ theory on just war and also look to understand what it means to be a Christian during war.

What makes a war just? Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification

 

Self defense is a key concept.  One is always entitled to defend oneself within appropriate response as the matter dictates.  If one tries to assault another, oneself is entitled to resist and fight back, even if injury is incurred upon the aggressor.  The intent was never to hurt another person but to protect oneself.  The secondary result in defending oneself is the injury to the aggressor.  This falls within a remote and often unheard moral concept known as the Double Effect.  An action with good intention produces two ends, one good and one not good.  The good result is willed while the not good result is a byproduct.  Hence in self defense, one’s primary vocation to life which is self-preservation is undertaken.  In this endeavor, one seeks to preserve one’s life through appropriate force against an aggressor which results in one’s preservation but also the byproduct of injury to the other.

One often can become confused since Christianity if improperly interpreted produces a pacifism in all cases.   Christ did say to turn the other cheek and warned those who take up the sword will die by the sword.  Do these words contradict self defense and defense of the weak?  Christ never came as a political savior to the Jews despite the horrific treatment they received from the Romans.  Christ was a spiritual redeemer and presented no political doctrine.  What he intended to teach was how we deal with people in our daily life.  We are to accept wrong doing patiently from our neighbor.  We are to turn the other cheek rather than seek revenge.   We are not to take up the sword in revenge or fight with others over trivial things.

Christ, never presented self defense of Himself, in His holy passion.  He accepted the brunt of sin as the sacrificial victim.  It was His vocation.

This does not apply to closing one’s eye to cruelty in this world against the weak or self defense of ourselves.  As long as the intent is just and the force appropriate, then it is justified to help others with the use of force.  Sometimes helping one’s neighbor requires a rise of force.  Is this not true of the great Archangel Michael and his holy war against Lucifer?

Hence, the 5th Commandment rightly states, “Thou shalt not murder”, not kill.  The intent to kill is never primary but always secondary.  The intent is to defend oneself or others against great evil that causes greater harm if one would not act.

In case of WW2, we clearly see the allies response to Hitler as a just cause but lets review the criteria of just war from the Angelic Doctor, St Thomas Aquinas and apply it to both WW2 and war against Putin.

St Thomas Aquinas outlined the measures to justify force against an aggressor within Christian morality. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Program

 

  1. Aquinas points out that all violence against evil must be a last resort.  Diplomacy must be exhausted.  Other venues to avoid bloodshed must be examined before a defense is established.
  2. Aquinas dictates that the war must be pursued by legitimate authority against the opposing force.
  3. Aquinas requires the war to be a just cause.  Hence defense of oneself or others is a prerequisite for any violence
  4. Aquinas considers probability of success as also a notion, unless of course the war is for one’s very survival itself such as the case of Ukraine.
  5. Aquinas lists right intention as a key as well.  The intention is to restore peace and repel the aggressor.  Revenge is not sought but only justice
  6. Aquinas elaborates that proportionality be equal to the aggression.   Hence justice demands only the required violence to end the conflict and not punish beyond the initial offense of the aggressor.  This also mirrors modern laws which outlaw certain weapons.  This also includes mercy to surrendering combatants.
  7. Aquinas finally demands that the war and violence only be directed at military operations and not against civilians.  This mirrors modern day war which considers attacks on civilians to war crimes.

Like Hitler, Putin fails on every criteria.

Hence the WW2and today’s war against Putin is justified.  Christians must pray for an end of war, forgive their enemies, and promote peace, but if war is needed, good individuals must arise.  The quote attributed to Edmond Burke but truly stated from John Stuart Mill proclaims, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.   That is the rally cry to end pain and suffering when evil arises with the appropriate force of good Christian men and women to take up arms when history calls.

 

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling

 

Source

Wikiepedia: “Just War Theory”

Christian Counseling Certification Blog on Ignatian Communication

In sharing the Gospel,  converting others, defending the faith, or dialoging with others, communication is key.  St Ignatius Loyola understood the extreme importance and went to great lengths about the philosophy that guides conversation and dialogue.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.

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Christian Counseling Certification Video on the Culture of Death

The culture of death is a disregard for the value of human life from the womb to the dying and even to the battlefront.  People are used as objects to satisfy other human beings through sex slave trade and abductions of others.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Christian Counselor.

Please also review the video below

Christian Counseling Certification Video on Church Councils

There are many councils of the Church that detail the early teachings of Christianity in response to many of its early struggles in particular with Christological heresies.  Most churches accept the first Ecumenical Councils as critical parts of the Christian faith.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Christian Counselor.

 

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Christian Counseling Certification Video on Christian Apologetics and Ecumenism

 

Apologetics is an important skill to defend the doctrines of the faith.  Ecumenism is the ability to spread the faith and share it with others.  It is important to work with other faiths in a multi cultured world and spread the Gospel of Christ in a kind and charitable way.  Ecumenism and apologetics go hand and hand.

Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Christian Counselor.

Please review the video below