ROME — The Roman Catholic Pontiff Francis addressed an audience at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday, during which he reaffirmed long-held Catholic beliefs that evolution is not “inconsistent” with Creation.
“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,” he told those gathered for a discussion on “Evolving Concepts of Nature.” “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”
“And so Creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives being to all things,” Francis continued. “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.”
Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, praised the Pope’s statements to reporters, opining that he had buried the “pseudo theories” of Creationists.
“The pope’s statement is significant,” he told the news outlet Adnkronos. “We are the direct descendants from the big bang that created the universe. Evolution came from Creation.”
As previously reported, earlier this month, Guy Consolmagno with the Vatican Observatory told Australia’s Fairfax Media that young earth creation beliefs are nearly tantamount to blasphemy.
“It’s almost blasphemous theology,” Consolmagno alleged, according to the Brisbane Times. “It’s certainly not the tradition of Catholicism and never has been and it misunderstands what the Bible is and it misunderstands what science is.”
The papal astronomer further explained that he rejects the literal interpretation of Genesis and instead finds truth through “science.”
“Science is a way of getting close to creation, to really getting intimate with creation, and it’s a way of getting intimate with the Creator,” he claimed. “It’s an act of worship.”
Many influential leaders of the Roman Catholic Church have endorsed evolution and disregarded the literal interpretation of Genesis. In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared that there is no intrinsic conflict between Catholicism and evolution, and, in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI stated that “there are … many scientific proofs in favor of evolution.”
But some have chastised Roman Catholic leaders for endorsing evolutionary theory.
“Either God really created the cosmos the way He said He did and when He said, or He did not,” Brian Thomas of the Institute for Creation Research told Christian News Newtork. “If He did not, then we should jettison Scripture. Fortunately, historical science—like young-looking spiral galaxies, fast-fuel-burning blue stars, heat-emitting Saturn, and still-icy comets—clearly confirm the Bible’s history.”