Pope Francis spoke last week to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences gathered at the Vatican to discuss "Evolving Concepts of Nature." He stated, "Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve."
Newspapers the world over were quick to claim that the pope had just endorsed evolution. But there's more to the story. The pope also claimed that God "created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment." He added: "The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to something else, but it derives directly from a supreme principle that creates out of love. The Big Bang, that today is considered to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the creative intervention of God; on the contrary, it requires it."
If by "evolution" the pope means what many call "progressive creationism," he's merely noting that beings created by God have adapted to their environment over time. Horses today are larger than their dog-sized ancestors (known as Hyracotherium). Dark-colored moths predominated during the Industrial Revolution as soot in the air made it harder for light-colored moths to hide from predators. But Francis is not saying that life adapted apart from the God who designed us so that we could adapt.
And that's a good thing, because both Scripture and science point to such a Creator. Many in our culture believe our universe resulted from chaos and chance, and view humans as no more or less valuable than anything else in our random world. I wish they'd read God Is Amazing, the latest of 50 books (with three million copies in print) by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz. The authors describe God's remarkable attributes in great detail, focusing especially on his creative genius and work. Citing Hugh Ross (Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Toronto), they note that "the odds of getting all the necessary factors for the existence of life on a single planet are one trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of 1 percent."
And they quote Albert Einstein's powerful metaphor: "The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they were written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books—a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects."
Thanks to Jesus, we can do more than "dimly suspect" the mystery of creation: we can know the Creator himself. In a universe filled with wonders we cannot begin to understand, the greatest miracle is you.
Publication date: November 3, 2014
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