During an October 28 meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences held in the Vatican, Pope Francis said, "Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve," according to The Telegraph. He also asserted that the Big Bang "doesn't contradict the intervention of a divine Creator, but demands it."1 If the Pope says it's okay for Catholics to embrace the Big Bang and evolution, does that settle the controversy?
Those who simply take the Pope's words as authoritative may find no reason to doubt his recent assertions, but attempts to square Pope Francis' statements with science or the Bible will encounter some serious red flags.
If by "evolution" the Pope meant the transformation of hydrogen into humans over billions of years of natural processes, then He condones a schizophrenic form of creation because it needs no real Creator.2 Why invoke a Creator if none is needed?3 Plus, at least four scientific observations refute evolution, summarized in a short Acts & Facts article that included fossils, changes in living creatures, genetic entropy, and "all-or-nothing" design.4
And in what way does the Big Bang demand a Creator? Perhaps, like many Christian apologists, the Pope would argue that since the Big Bang requires a beginning, and since all beginnings require a beginner, that the Big Bang therefore requires a Big Beginner.
However, some versions of the Big Bang suggest that it was merely the most recent of an infinite cycle of universal expansions and contractions. In other words, some Big Bang cosmologies assert the universe has somehow always existed and thus did not even require a beginning.5 So arguing for God from the Big Bang fails since it cherry-picks versions of the Big Bang that assert a beginning. In addition to this logical failure, a recent Creation Science Update lists ten scientific evidences that squarely refute Big Bang cosmology.6
Pope Francis also said at the meeting, "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."1
Is his God the same as the God of the Bible?
Scoffers enjoy mocking the Genesis creation account by equating it with some kind of magic, but this overlooks the critical difference between magic and biblical creation. In magic, objects materialize from no source—from nothing and nobody—violating the laws of causality. But creation according to Genesis asserts that God—an actual and ultimate cause—created all things by His Word.
Did the Pope overlook the same difference between magic and biblical creation that Bible scoffers ignore?
Last week, Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno showed the same confidence in secular speculations, mistaking them for science just like those who scoff at Scripture. In response, Brian Thomas (the author of this article) of the Institute for Creation Research told Christian News Network, "Either God really created the cosmos the way He said He did and when He said, or He did not. 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."7
While the Pope may side with the scoffers, science aligns with Scripture.
- Squires, N. Pope Francis says Big Bang theory and evolution 'compatible with divine Creator.' The Telegraph. Posted October 28, 2014, accessed October 28, 2014.
- Pope Francis clarified evolution in his address, saying, "We are the descendants of the Big Bang, which created the universe. You just have to think that in our blood we have a few litres of hydrogen, which was created by the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. Our blood is red because it contains iron, which was created by the explosion of a star millions and millions of years ago." Do those who swap the Big Bang for the God of Creation fall foul of worshiping and serving the creation over the Creator according to Romans 1?
- Morris, J. 1996. Does It Help To Compromise With Evolution? Acts & Facts. 25 (12).
- Thomas, B. 2012. Four Scientific Reasons That Refute Evolution. Acts & Facts. 41 (5): 17.
- Henry, J. 2009. Christian apologists should abandon the big bang. Journal of Creation. 23 (3): 103-109.
- Thomas, B. Big Bang Fizzles under Lithium Test. Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org September 22, 2014, accessed October 28, 2014
- Haley, G. Vatican Astronomer Calls Young Earth Creation Beliefs 'Almost Blasphemous.' Christian News. Posted on christiannews.net October 20, 2014, accessed October 28, 2014.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on October 31, 2014.