Where do the Substantial Forms Come From?—A Polemic with the Theistic Evolutionism of Mariusz Tabaczek

Keywords: Thomism, theistic evolution, substantial form, macroevolution


Contemporary Thomists strive to demonstrate a compatibility between Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics and the theory of biological macroevolution. Recently such positions have been promoted by Dr Mariusz Tabaczek. However, he admits that Aquinas’s teachings need to be substantially modified to make them compatible with theistic evolution. On his view, the main point of controversy is whether the creation of the world has been completed (as Aquinas maintains) or it continues (as it is required by theistic evolution). But the evolutionary postulate of continual creation understood as emergence of totally new substantial forms contradicts not only Aquinas’s doctrine but the classic Christian understanding of creation. Thomistic evolutionists cannot explain the origin of new substantial forms; they refer to accidental changes, such as random genetic mutations, whose accumulation over time would produce new species. This, however, is not possible in the light of Thomistic metaphysics because an accidental change does not produce a substantial change. Additionally, the Thomistic evolutionist concept does not tally with many facts discovered by contemporary science. Thomistic evolutionists abandon the fundamental concepts of Aquinas’s philosophy such as the substance-accidents fold and moderate realism as a cognitive attitude. Hence the conclusion that it is not possible to reconcile biological macroevolution with Aquinas’s teachings.


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