Pope says evolution, Big Bang, fit with Catholic teaching

Pope Francis has said that both the Big Bang theory, about the start of the universe, and the theory of evolution do not conflict with Catholic teaching.

Speaking to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday, Pope Francis said scientific explanations for the world did not exclude the role of God in creation.

“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,” he said.

“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,” he said.

“Evolution in nature is not in contrast with the notion of (divine) creation because evolution requires the creation of the beings that evolve,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis noted that God cannot be seen as a magician or conjurer, but rather as a creator who brings everything to life.

“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 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 Pope did not discuss whether humans descended from apes.

An Associated Press article quoted a summary of the Catholic position, which it described as “theistic evolution”.

“What the Church does insist upon is that the emergence of the human supposes a wilful act of God, and that man cannot be seen as only the product of evolutionary processes.

“The spiritual element of man is not something that could have developed from natural selection but required an ‘ontological leap’.”

Media cited teachings by Popes Pius XII, St John Paul II, and Benedict XVI supporting this type of position.


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