Pope Francis has sent ripples among believers and non-believers by declaring that evolution and the Big Bang theory are right and that God is not “a magician with a magic wand”.
At a meeting of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Sciences Monday, he said the two scientific theories weren’t incompatible with the existence of a creator. In remarks interpreted by many as putting an end to the idea of creationism, Pope Francis said, “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”.
“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, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.”
“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
The church has long been held as anti-science. In the 16th century, Italian physicist Galileo was forced to retract his ‘heretic’ theory that the earth revolved around the sun.
But its position has gradually shifted. Recently, former pope Benedict XVI apparently endorsed the idea that ‘intelligent design’ underpins evolution, suggesting ‘natural selection’ alone is insufficient to explain the complexity of the world.