One of the very first posts in this blog, was about the “evolution of creationism” in Catholic Church, arguing that the Catholic Church is not anti- Darwinian anymore, but oriented to propose a “peaceful co-existence” between creationism and biological evolution. Divine creation is actually considered a transcendental event, and biological evolution its reflection on the immanent plane. With this very simple deal, Vatican authorities have started a path of reconciliation with Science, that started at the age of John Paul II, and met another important step forward with Pope Francis.
As we read the story of Creation on the Genesis, we risk to believe that God was a wizard holding a wand that can do anything. Not so. He created the beings, and let them evolve according to the internal laws he gave, in order to let them develop and reach their fullness. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe as he ensured his continuous presence, giving the essence to any reality. Pope Francis I– Speech at the “Pontifical Academy of Sciences”- 2014 (Source: Huffington Post Italia).
Last week pontiff’s public declarations made really clear that this path is accomplished: Catholics support the validity Darwin’s evolution and Big Bang Theory, that are not in contrast with the belief in Jesus Christ and the message of the church. “Being Christians” – says the Pope – “doesn’t mean being naive”, as he argues his point of view on Science- Religion relationship. In front of this historical turn, I just wonder why so many christians are still violently claiming that evolution is the “fruit of the Devil” and thus incompatible with their belief.
The real point is that no one can really claim that the “official christian religion” denies Darwin’s theories for one simple reason: there is not an “official christian religion”. The Lutheran Reform ended up the Church’s esclusive rule on Western Christianism, as previously the Schism did in Eastern Europe and Near East. Over time, many different and independent organizations established, bringing that considerable diversity in cults and Scripture interpretation we can appreciate nowadays. Who is in the right to tell, beyond any doubt, what is in contradiction with christian religion?
Scriptures are always invoked by fundamentalists as the incontestable word of god, and proof of the Creation. No more clues are given when they’re asked to tell what Scriptures they are talking about. Indeed, the historical validity of the Bible is deeply controverted, and the huge number of interpretations can lead to very diverse positions. Many protestant christians accept evolution, that is a very open debate in Orthodox Church as well. Catholic Church is the oldest and the biggest christian church in terms of believers and territorial expansion, and I guess that the guys at the Vatican know a thing or two about theology. Relevantly, the most of current theologists reject the literal interpretation of Bible, in an open contrast with the most radical positions.
This Pope’s stance may result in a deathblow to radical creationists, that are ending up as a minority in the christian movement. It has to be pointed out that a real issue of compatibility between classical creationism and christian beliefs is rising, as the whole christianity is moving towards a more reasonable approach to their religion. Fundamentalism is getting to be relegated
To me, and I guess to the most of the readers, this is not really relevant for my position. I am in Science because I consider rationality as the only mean to investigate nature, I radically adverse religion and catholic church, and I definitely don’t need the papal approval to assume Evolution Theory as valid. Anyways, understanding that the “creationist front” is billing up, and that rationality is appreciated by christians as well, is something I really enjoy. It’s the sign that Science irreversibly imposed a direction to history towards openness, tolerance and reason.