Pope declares evolution, Big Bang theory right and God isn’t ‘a magician with a magic wand’
VATTICAN: The theories of evolution and the Big Bang
are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand,” Pope Francis has declared.
Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the
pope made comments which experts said put an end to the ‘pseudo theories’ of
creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his
predecessor, Benedict XVI.
Francis explained that both scientific theories were
not incompatible with the existence of a creator — arguing instead that they ‘require
“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 added, “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 Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of
the world, do not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but,
rather, require it.
“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the
notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that
evolve.” The Catholic Church has long had a reputation for being anti-science —
most famously when Galileo faced the inquisition and was forced to retract his ‘heretic”
theory that Earth revolved around Sun.
But Pope Francis’s comments were more in keeping with
the progressive work of Pope Pius XII, who opened the door to the idea of
evolution and actively welcomed the Big Bang theory. In 1996, John Paul II went
further and suggested evolution was “more than a hypothesis” and “effectively
Yet more recently, Benedict XVI and his close advisers
have apparently endorsed the idea that intelligent design underpins evolution —
the idea that natural selection on its own is insufficient to explain the
complexity of the world. In 2005, his close associate Cardinal Schoenborn wrote
an article saying “evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but
evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense — an unguided, unplanned process — is not”.
Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italy's
National Institute for Astrophysics, told the Italian news agency Adnkronos, “The
pope’s statement is significant. We are the direct descendants from the Big
Bang that created the universe. Evolution came from creation."
Giulio Giorello, professor of the philosophy of
science at Milan’s University degli Studi, told reporters that he believed
Francis was “trying to reduce the emotion of dispute or presumed disputes” with
Despite the huge gulf in theological stance between
his tenure and that of his predecessor, Francis praised Benedict XVI as he
unveiled a bronze bust of him at the academy's headquarters in the Vatican
“No one could ever say of him that study and science
made him and his love for God and his neighbour wither,” Francis said,
according to a translation by Catholic News Service.
“On the contrary, knowledge, wisdom and prayer
enlarged his heart and his spirit. Let us thank God for the gift that he gave
the church and the world with the existence and the pontificate of Pope