Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 8:26-40; John 6:44-51)
In On the Origin of Species Charles Darwin proposed that evolution follows no design or purpose. According to his theory, changes in living things happen accidently and in many ways. The best of the changed beings survive and reproduce until even further changes make even better living things. Most biologists accept Darwin’s ideas as gospel, but not all. Some find living beings with built-in mechanisms to overcome future changes. These scientists see design and purpose at hand. They would be fascinated by today’s first reading.
Nothing seems to happen accidently when Philip meets the Ethiopian eunuch. He is directed by an angel to go down the desert road. The Holy Spirit tells Philip to join the eunuch in his chariot. When he does, he instructs the eunuch in the Scriptures and eventually baptizes the man. Then the Spirit snatches Philip off. In the meantime, another person has joined the rapidly expanding number of Christians.
We believe in Divine Providence. That is, we believe that God creates and moves the universe with our good in mind. Apparent challenges to faith like that of Darwin arise from time to time. They may even be helpful to stimulate reflection. But they will never succeed in contradicting faith because faith goes deeper than science can in viewing the nature of things. We have the testimony of Jesus, validated through twenty centuries of Christian experience, that God loves us. We will find our salvation in holding on to that faith.