Polish archbishop debates evolution

In celebrating the University’s new Department of Religion Monday, Joseph M. Zycinski, the archbishop of Lublin, Poland, addressed only the most important points of his lecture entitled “The Evolutionary Genesis of the Human Person in the Evolving Universe” due to pressing matters that required his departure from New York to Rome that evening. Following the archbishop’s compact lecture and quick exit, Warren Frisina, the chair of the department of Religion, and William Murphy, the Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, furthered the discussion of ideas posed in Zycinski’s lecture by answering questions from those present. Zycinski, who is the author of nearly 40 books and over 350 scholarly papers about the philosophy of science, relativistic cosmology and the history of the relationship between science and Christianity, spoke mostly about the importance of dialogue between science and religion.

The archbishop focused on the theory of evolution in particular. “Rejecting the theory of evolution is a threat to Christianity,” Zycinski said. He urged the audience to think of God as an “artist” that “does not determine the product of evolution but inspires the beginning.” The importance of the dialogue between religion and science will, according to Zycinski, help to alleviate the misunderstandings and tension between scientists, who feel isolated in the Church, and those who isolate them – people who defend literal actions, such as the world’s creation in six days time, that are depicted in the Bible. “The realization of Earth’s true age, nearly 40 billion years, causes people to loose their coziness and causes them to attack the scientific,” Zycinski said. At the conclusion of his lecture, the archbishop argued the evolution of human culture and the human soul are ultimately more important than the much-debated theory of evolution of the human body. “God gave us ability, and our duty now is to develop it,” Zycinski said.

Hofstra Chronicle
December 6, 2005

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