Adam and Eve may have been created in “some other form” than human and it is possible that the first living creature was a “lower animal,” Cardinal John O’Connor has told worshipers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
The sermon last Sunday by the head of the New York archdiocese came a month after Pope John Paul II said the theory of evolution was “more than just a hypothesis.”
“It is possible that when the two persons we speak of as Adam and Eve were created, it was in some other form, and God breathed life into them, breathed a soul into them--that’s a scientific question,” O’Connor was reported as saying.
“Perhaps the spirit of God that breathed forth life into the Earth . . . was a lower animal.”
The New York archdiocese already teaches evolution in its schools, and O’Connor said he did not expect any significant changes in the curriculum.
He did say, however, that schools might emphasize the “spiritual dimension” more, along with the role God played in creating the human soul, which he said distinguishes man from animals.
The Roman Catholic Church continues to reject social Darwinism, which O’Connor sees as arguing that “only the powerful are fittest for survival” in modern civilization.
At a conference of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II said theories on evolution are sound as long as they accept that creation was God’s work.