God Isn’t a Magician With a Wand, Says THE POPE: Suggests Evolution and Religion are Compatible

And on the seventh day, God said "OH SNAP"
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If there is a heaven, I’d like to imagine Charles Darwin, John Thomas Scopes, and Georges Lemaître are all up there excitedly popping champagne with Jesus right now.

While speaking with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope Francis followed the tradition of other progressive popes like Paul John II and told the crowd that there’s no reason why science and God need to be at odds with one another–rather, learning more about science can actually enhance a person’s understanding of God.

Here’s an excerpt, as translated by the Catholic News Service and reported by  The Independent:

“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 fulfillment. 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.”

So, in laymans terms: the Bible never says how God created the world, so why couldn’t it have been through the exhaustive and slow-moving process of natural selection? Why do we all have to be so literal with the dang bible, maaaan?

Now, a lot of people are probably going to argue that when we freak out every time Pope Francis says something that the rest of us already believe—like how the Internet is a really cool way to foster human communication, or that maybe abortion and gay marriage aren’t the two most important things the Church should be worried about—it’s basically like awarding him cookies for being a reasonable human being with common sense and empathy. I get that concern, I really do. But the Pope is a ridiculously important presence in the lives of many Catholics around the world; even for lapsed Catholics (cough), he’s always been a symbol for what the Church stands for— but only usually in relation to how out-of-touch it is.

So as much as we need to keep fighting for positive change, to see Francis use his incredible influence in a way that actually reflects what many forward-thinking, progressive people think is legitimately very exciting. I mean, the last Pope thought that Harry Potter “corrupts the hearts of the young” and harmed the reader’s relationship to God (though it’s worth pointing out that Benedict wasn’t against the idea of evolution either; he simply thought that Darwin’s ideas weren’t enough on their own without intelligent design to legitimize them). So anything that’s not that is pretty great.

(via The Independent, image via Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

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