On Monday, Pope Francis gave a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Vatican City. In this speech, Francis made several statements proclaiming that evolutionary theory and the Biblical account of creation are not incompatible.
“The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it…Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
Which caused some Christians to go:
Buuuuuutttt most of Evangelical Conservative Christendom went:
Personally, however, I’m thinking:
1) If you are not Catholic, then this statement really is of little concern to you. As a Protestant, there’s much bigger (potential) differences between me and the Pope than whether or not we both hold to a literal reading of Genesis. So let’s all please take a deep breath, read some Luther, and realize there’s much bigger fish to fry.
2) If you are a Catholic then:
a) Erhmergawd! Thanks for reading my blog!!!!! and
b) The teaching that the Bible and evolution are not incompatible is nothing new. As summed up brilliantly in this here article (which you really should take a moment to read) the Church’s primary concern is not the nuts and bolts of how creation happened but the fact that God instituted, ordained, oversaw, implemented, did, made, pick-a-verb, the cosmos. The means by which this came about is a debate the Church has historically left to scientists claiming that, as theologians, we have little knowledge and expertise in the scientific realm. If you think I’m fibbing, note that in 1950 Pope Pius XII proclaimed there was no opposition to Catholic doctrine in the theory of evolution, a statement which was endorsed by St. John Paul II in 1996. So disagree if you like; but this is hardly news.
Be it option one or option two, we should probably stop freaking out.
Because God made the cosmos; this is the overarching reality of which all Christendom be it Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Pentecostals or Independents can all agree. To debate over the exact manner in which this occurred would be akin to a pair of toddler twins arguing over which hotel, which bottle of wine and which Norah Jones track led to the moment of their conception; regardless of any resolution, we’ll never know for sure. And our Father, in His infinite wisdom, isn’t going to sit us down and fill in the details. At least not yet.
So if you’re a scientist and researching this particular topic of interest is one means by which you bring glory to God…then, by all means, have at it. If you’re a theologian and want to swap Mosaic exegetical notes late into the night while tossing around words like ‘supralapsarianism’… be my guest. But don’t use evidence for a specific interpretation of Scripture as a sword with which to attack the other side. You’re not doing anyone any good and you’re certainly not winning anyone to your viewpoint.
Thus we should stop freaking out. Or at least not act like any of this is news. And I’d really appreciate it if everyone would please, please shut up.
… because all this noise prevents me from listening to Taylor Swift’s new album. And that’s a serious issue.