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Theistic Evolution

Theistic Evolution

The Teilhardian Heresy

By Wolfgang Smith

270 pp

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About the Book

Few today recall perhaps what took place around the time of the Second Vatican Council when the posthumous writings of an exiled French Jesuit struck the Catholic world somewhat like a tornado. Suffice it to say that in its outer manifestations at least, the Church has never since been the same. Not that the theory of Teilhard de Chardin—that heady amalgam, supposedly, of Science and Christianity—has been accepted lock stock and barrel. What has gained well nigh universal acceptance however are two crucial notions: first, that “God creates” by means of Darwinian evolution; and secondly, that the Church itself “evolves” in that it proceeds from a primitive to an enlightened understanding of Christian truth. It is crucial to note, moreover, that the first demands the second: for as Wolfgang Smith points out, in the light of traditional Catholic doctrine “theistic evolution” is in fact outright heresy. What as a rule has rendered theologians vulnerable to the Teilhardian tenets—apart from the fact that these conform to the neo-humanist tendencies of our age—is that the theory is clad in scientific garb: where Science speaks, it seems, even angels listen nowadays. It therefore takes someone thoroughly grounded in both science and theology to unmask such a teaching and get to the bottom of it. And that is where Wolfgang Smith comes in. He is that rare person who does possess such double credentials; and what he proves with virtually mathematical precision is that Teilhard de Chardin has in fact sold us a veritable science-fiction theology. However, this book is much more than a masterful and indeed definitive refutation of theistic evolutionism: it is at the same time an incomparable introduction to long-forgotten metaphysical and theological truths, such as the omnia simul of Creation, the fundamental distinctions between time and eternity, mind and spirit, or reason and intellect. In language at once precise and lucid the author recalls teachings going back to the Greek and Latin Fathers, and explains their bearing on the problems at hand.


“Wolfgang Smith broaches a vast range of subjects with a mastery that bespeaks an immense culture.”


“Here is that rare person who is equally at home with Eckhart and Einstein, Heraclitus and Heisenberg!”


“Wolfgang Smith is as important a thinker as our times boast.”


About the Author

Wolfgang Smith was born in Vienna in 1930. At age eighteen he graduated from Cornell University with majors in physics, mathematics, and philosophy. At age twenty he received his Master’s degree in theoretical physics from Purdue University, and climbed the Matterhorn. After contributing to the theoretical solution of the re-entry problem as an aerodynamicist at Bell Aircraft Corporation, Smith earned his doctorate in Mathematics at Columbia University, subsequently embarking upon a 30-year career as a Professor of Mathematics at MIT, UCLA, and Oregon State University. Despite his impeccable credentials in physics, mathematics, and philosophy, Wolfgang Smith is at heart an outsider not only in regard to these academic disciplines, but more profoundly, in reference to the post-Enlightenment premises of our contemporary world. Finding himself, thus, irreconcilably at odds with the prevailing Zeitgeist, Smith decided to forego a professional career in the fields of his primary interest—i.e., physics and philosophy—in favor of pure mathematics: the one and only academic discipline, he avers, in which “political correctness” can find no foothold. And so he enjoyed the luxury of pursuing a respected university career while being at liberty, as he puts it, “to remain perfectly sane.” It is no wonder, then, that when he finally confronted the so-called quantum enigma, Smith perceived the issue in a very different light than his peers. The problem all along had actually not been “technical”! It was not a question to be resolved by way of differential equations, nor primarily a matter of finding something new—but one of jettisoning an entire Weltanschauung. And for Wolfgang Smith this posed no difficulty: he had in fact done so decades earlier, as can be discerned in his remarkable series of publications.

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