October 29, 2014 § 2 Comments
As a recent article in The Independent reports: Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God isn’t ‘a magician with a magic wand’. Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.
Does the Pope present a good argument for God’s hand in the Big Bang and evolution? The Pontifex’s points, and those of his applauding “experts” actually don’t hold holy water.
Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator – arguing instead that they “require it”.
It’s true that The Big Bang and Evolution would require a Creator like the one described in Genesis. But does that Creator require either the Big Bang or evolution? Not at all. In his argument, Pope Francis is not starting with the Bible, he is starting with the assumption of the Big Bang and evolution.
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.
How does the idea of God creating the Big Bang or Theistic Evolution appear any less “magic” (to anyone wishing to call ex nihilo creation “magic”) than God creating in six literal days? Either way, God created the universe from nothing. If someone wants to call that magic then they will regardless of the processes He used along the way.
He added: “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment [sic].
“He created human beings and let them develop” into what? Human beings? If God created human beings and we end up with human beings, where’s the evolution?
Adding to the confusion, here is an “expert”: Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, told the Italian news agency Adnkronos: “The pope’s statement is significant. We are the direct descendents from the Big Bang that created the universe. Evolution came from creation.”
He’s right about one thing: The Pope’s statements are significant, reflecting a significant departure from sound Biblical exegesis. In Matthew 19:4, Jesus reminds the religious teachers of the first century what they should have already known: “Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’…?”. So according to Scripture, revealed by the very One who created, God didn’t create human beings billions of years after He made the universe, but “at the beginning.” Unless Jesus be a liar or a fool.
The Catholic Church has long had a reputation for being anti-science – most famously when Galileo faced the inquisition and was forced to retract his “heretic” theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun.
This may be a motivation for the Pope to make peace with “science”, but in doing so he is duped by the straw man that is the entire “science vs faith” parody. This is a false dichotomy. Christian faith has no quarrel with science done scientifically. Some muddled understanding of The Big Bang may fit in with God’s first creative act, but most of the theory’s developers had no vision to include God in their models, and the purists of any secular theory of origins will reject any participation by a deity. The same goes for macro-evolution. In order to meet Scientism half-way, Pope Francis must redefine both the historic teaching of Creation and secular theories of origins, and neither side will be willing to accept the accommodation he proposes.
We can force some divine-infused form of Naturalism into a watered-down allegorization of the Bible’s historical creation account, but when we do, we are clearly not beginning with the Word of God as our authority. Pope Francis should know better. “Haven’t you read…?” (Mat. 19:4a)