Pope Francis continues to shake-up the Christian world with his latest public revelation, announcing that evolution and the big bang theory are in fact real, and that god is no ‘magician with a magic wand.’
Speaking to the Pontificial Academy of Sciences, Pope Francis’s words lessened the divide between the Christian faith and science with his shocking assertion about mankind’s evolution.
Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator –arguing instead that they “require it.”
“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.
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.”
“The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
What Francis is saying is that there is room for aspects of both theories (evolution/creationism) to be true, a surprising declaration considering the history of conflict between the two ideologies.
Other Popes Who Supported The Theory of Evolution
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.
But Pope Francis’s comments were more in keeping with the progressive work of Pope Pius XII, who opened the door to the idea of evolution and actively welcomed the Big Bang theory. In 1996, John Paul II went further and suggested evolution was “more than a hypothesis” and “effectively proven fact.”
Yet more recently, Benedict XVI and his close advisors have apparently endorsed the idea that intelligent design underpins evolution –the idea that natural selection on its own is insufficient to explain the complexity of the world. In 2005, his close associate Cardinal Schoenborn wrote an article saying “evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense –an unguided, unplanned process –is not.”
What Does This All Imply?
Francis has been known to rock the boat more so than his contemporaries with his stance on homosexuality, divorce and contraception. It is clear that the church is responding to pressures of keeping up with a world that is fast changing.
We are seeing the merging of once conflicted ideologies in science and religion, we are seeing the recognition of equality in sexuality, we are witnessing a time where old belief systems are being abolished to make way for new ways of thinking. This new era we are entering into is proving to be transformative in many ways, it is exciting to think about what new experiences are in store for humanity as we continue to move forward.
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