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 â€œinconsistentâ€ with Creation.
â€œWhen 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,â€ he told those gathered for a discussion on â€œEvolving Concepts of Nature.â€ â€œHe created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.â€
â€œAnd 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,â€ Francis continued. â€œThe 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. â€¦ Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.â€
Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italyâ€™s National Institute for Astrophysics, praised the Popeâ€™s statements to reporters, opining that he had buried the â€œpseudo theoriesâ€ of Creationists.
â€œThe popeâ€™s statement is significant,â€ he told the news outlet Adnkronos. â€œWe are the direct descendants from the big bang that created the universe. Evolution came from Creation.â€
As previously reported, earlier this month, Guy Consolmagno with the Vatican Observatory told Australiaâ€™s Fairfax Media that young earth creation beliefs are nearly tantamount to blasphemy.
â€œItâ€™s almost blasphemous theology,â€ Consolmagno alleged, according to the Brisbane Times. â€œItâ€™s certainly not the tradition of Catholicism and never has been and it misunderstands what the Bible is and it misunderstands what science is.â€
The papal astronomer further explained that he rejects the literal interpretation of Genesis and instead finds truth through â€œscience.â€
â€œScience is a way of getting close to creation, to really getting intimate with creation, and itâ€™s a way of getting intimate with the Creator,â€ he claimed. â€œItâ€™s an act of worship.â€
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 â€œthere are â€¦ many scientific proofs in favor of evolution.â€
But some have chastised Roman Catholic leaders for endorsing evolutionary theory.
â€œEither God really created the cosmos the way He said He did and when He said, or He did not,â€ Brian Thomas of the Institute for Creation Research told Christian News Newtork. â€œIf He did not, then we should jettison Scripture. Fortunately, historical scienceâ€”like young-looking spiral galaxies, fast-fuel-burning blue stars, heat-emitting Saturn, and still-icy cometsâ€”clearly confirm the Bibleâ€™s history.â€