Understanding Evolutionary Theory with St. Thomas
Four friars from the Province of St. Joseph; Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., Fr. James Brent, O.P., Br. Thomas Davenport, O.P., and Fr. John Baptist Ku, O.P.; have developed a website called Thomistic Evolution (thomisticevolution.org) and a companion book, that sheds light on disputed questions surrounding the relationship between biological evolution and the Catholic faith. The friars are convinced that the philosophical and theological insights of their Dominican brother, St. Thomas Aquinas, provide the key to understanding the discoveries of modern science in the light of faith.
“Aquinas was a realist. He might not have known that biological organisms evolve, but he knew that things change and he thought about how change happens. We have taken his principles of change and have applied them to what we know today about how species evolve,” says Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., who holds a Ph.D. in Biology from M.I.T. and an S.T.D. in Moral Theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and is a Professor of Biology and of Theology at Providence College.
The friars received a grant from the Evolution and Christian Faith (ECF) Program of the BioLogos Foundation, a multi-million dollar grants program sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, and have spoken about Thomistic Evolution at Harvard, NYU, and other universities to packed auditoriums. “When you bring the intellect into conversation with divine revelation and with scientific data, people love it,” says Fr. Nicanor. “Many never realized you could do theology in this sophisticated manner.”
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