Metaphysical Creationism and the Paradoxes of Evolutionary Theism: A Contribution to the Discussion within Contemporary Thomism

  • Andrzej Maryniarczyk John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Philosophy, Poland
Keywords: metaphysics, metaphysics of creation, creation ex nihilo, evolutionary theism


In this article I argue that metaphysical creationism that we encounter in the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas, as opposed to American creationism and theological and biblical creationism, is a theory that stems from a purely philosophical explanation of the beginnings of the world and man. It is not, therefore, a biblical idea transferred to philosophy. Like the theism of the Aristotelian metaphysics, the theism of Aquinas’s metaphysics is not a religious (theological) theism, but a purely philosophical (metaphysical) theism, because it stems from a metaphysical explanation of reality. Metaphysical creationism is the ultimate explanation of the source of the existence of beings that are given to us in experience as both unnecessary in their own existence and changeable. American creationism, on the other hand, is a biological-cosmological interpretation of the biblical truth concerning the creation of the world within a certain time frame (the 7-day paradigm) and—at its starting point—refers to the data of Revelation, which it wants to confirm scientifically.

This article is divided into two parts. The first part presents the key elements of the metaphysical theory of ex nihilo creation and the understanding thereof. In the second part, the elements of evolutionary theism are recalled which, from the point of view of metaphysical creationism, are the source of various paradoxes and, at times, even absurdities, and thus demand reconsideration.


Aquinas. Summa Contra Gentiles. Vol. 2, edited by Pietro Caramello, Pietro Marc, and Ceslas Pera. Taurini: Marietti, 1961.

Aquinas. Summa Contra Gentiles: prawda wiary chrześcijańskiej. Vol. 1. Translated by Zofia Włodek and Włodzimierz Zega. Poznań: W Drodze, 2003.

Aristotle. Metafizyka. Translated by Tadeusz A. Żeleźnik. Polish translation edited by Mieczysław Albert Krąpiec and Andrzej Maryniarczyk. Lublin: Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu, 2017.

Austriaco, Nicanor Pier Giorgio, James Brent, Thomas Davenport, and John Baptist Ku. Thomistic Evolution: A Catholic Approach to Understanding Evolution in the Light of Faith. Providence, RI: Cluny Media, 2016.

Chaberek, Michał. Aquinas and Evolution. Leicester: Chartwell Press, 2017.

Chaberek, Michał. Kościół a ewolucja. Warsaw: Fronda, 2012.

Chaberek, Michał. “Tomasz z Akwinu a teistyczny ewolucjonizm.” Zeszyty Naukowe KUL 59, no. 1 (2016): 3–25.

George, Marie. “What Would Thomas Aquinas Say about Intelligent Design?” New Blackfriars 94 (November 2013): 676–700.

Huxley, Julian. “The Evolutionary Vision: The Convocation Address.” In Issues in Evolution: The University of Chicago Centennial Discussions, vol. 3, Evolution After Darwin, edited by Sol Tax and Charles Callender, 249–61. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960.

Jodkowski, Kazimierz. Spór ewolucjonizmu z kreacjonizmem. Podstawowe pojęcia i poglądy. Warsaw: Megas, 2007.

Kamiński, Stanisław. “Explanation in Metaphysics. Wyjaśnianie w metafizyce.” In Stanisław Kamiński, On the Methology of Metaphysics. Z metodologii metafizyki, 176–202. Lublin– Rome: Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu, 2018.

Krąpiec, Mieczysław A., and Stanisław Kamiński. “The Specificity of Metaphysical Cognition. Specyficzność poznania metafizycznego.” In Stanisław Kamiński, On the Metaphysical Cognition. O poznaniu metafizycznym, 9–94. Lublin–Rome: Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu, 2020.

Kloskowski, Kazimierz. Filozofia ewolucji i filozofia stwarzania. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo ATK, 1999.

Lichacz, Piotr. “Czy stworzenie wyklucza ewolucję?” In Teologia św. Tomasza z Akwinu dzisiaj, edited by Bogusław Kochaniewicz, 71–94. Poznań: Uniwersytet Adama Mickiewicza, 2010.

Maryniarczyk, Andrzej. “‘Parvus Error in Principio Magnus Est in Fine.’ Thomas Aquinas’s Reinterpretation of the Understanding of Being and Essence as the Basis for the Discovery of the First Cause as ‘Ipsum Esse’.” Roczniki Filozoficzne 67, no. 4 (2019): 27–51.

Maryniarczyk, Andrzej. Dlaczego stworzenie ‘ex nihilo’. Teoria metafizycznego kreacjonizmu. Lublin: Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu, 2018.

Szumera, Grzegorz. Metafizyka stworzenia: Świętego Tomasza z Akwinu teoria creatio ex nihilo. Lublin: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL, 2017.

Życiński, Józef. Bóg i stworzenie. Zarys teorii ewolucji. Lublin: Gaudium, 2011.

Życiński, Józef. God and Evolution. Fundamental Questions of Christian Evolutionism. Translated by Kenneth W. Kemp and Zuzanna Maślanka. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2006.