On July 7, 2005, an article by Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, archbishop of Vienna, Austria, appeared in The New York Times entitled “Finding Design in Nature.” This article on evolution and creationism caused some uproar, and some misunderstanding. Some critics even wrote to the Cardinal criticizing what he had written. This book, Chance or Purpose?, is the response to his critics and was translated from the original German by Henry Taylor and edited by Hubert Philip Weber.
Cardinal Schoenborn states that he is not examining the issue of evolution or creation as a scientist, since he admits that he is not a scientist but a theologian and philosopher. He discusses the issues with evolution and creationism from the point of view of a Catholic believer, the issue of belief in God as the one who started the creation of all things opposed to the idea that there is no god and that creation just happened without anyone or anything starting it.
This book is not an easy read; general readers will have a hard time with it, even though evolution vs. creationism is a hot topic today. Creationists, though, may take the Bible too literally where it says that God created creation in seven days. Cardinal Schoenborn - and others - say that the “seven days” should not be taken literally. Scripture also says that “one day is like a thousand years to God.”
Some may say that God created creation, but he now is not involved with it. Schoenborn defends, using Scripture and other sources like reason and philosophy, that God is still very much involved with his creation. He has not lost interest in it. And what about the complicated subject of why there is evil in the world and why God allows suffering and evil to exist? A prime example: why did God allow his Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and to die? Without faith, Schoenborn shows, Christ’s suffering and death was worthless and wasted. The Easter event, the resurrection, proves that it was not, and that there is more to life and creation than the present life and earth. Again, this book is not easy to read - it takes time to ponder on what Cardinal Schoenborn is saying. He examines evolution, creationism, and a bit about intelligent design from a Catholic point of view, making this book highly recommended to those who are interested in these topics.
Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn is a renowned theologian, author, and a student of Pope Benedict XVI. He served as the primary editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He co-authored with the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) the Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994). He is the author of Jesus (2008), The Source of Life (2007), With Jesus Every Day (2007), Behold, God’s Son (2007), My Jesus (2005), Loving the Church (1998), From Death to Life (1995), and other books in German and other languages. He has also co-authored other books and written several articles.