Speaking to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope Francis took on one of the most deeply seeded issues that pits Christians against atheists in our modern time: evolution and the big bang.

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand and able to do everything. But that is not so,” said the Pope.

“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.”

Avoiding the issue of from where humans evolved, the Pope instead insisted on evolution’s consistency with Christian notions of creation.

“God is not a divine being or a magician, but the creator who brought everything to life,” Pope Francis said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.

The Pope rebuked the idea that creation was a work of chaos, suggesting instead that it was a benevolent act of Love.

The view spoken by Pope Francis is a progressive evolution of the ideas that some of his predecessors before him have held. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI discussed the ongoing argument between creationism and evolution.

…I see in Germany, but also in the United States, a somewhat fierce debate raging between so-called “creationism” and evolutionism, presented as though they were mutually exclusive alternatives: those who believe in the Creator would not be able to conceive of evolution, and those who instead support evolution would have to exclude God. This antithesis is absurd because, on the one hand, there are so many scientific proofs in favour of evolution which appears to be a reality we can see and which enriches our knowledge of life and being as such. But on the other, the doctrine of evolution does not answer every query, especially the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And how did everything start which ultimately led to man? I believe this of the utmost importance.

In all, it seems that the church is advocating for a more inclusive conversation about the subject. We all seek answers to these questions and dividing ourselves against each other will do little to move us toward those answers. What’s holding that conversation back, accord to the Pope, it seems, are those who view the conversation, whether they be creationists of evolutionists, as a point of contention rather than an earnest question to be answered.


Joshua is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. You can follow him on Twitter @Joshual33.