The Evolution of the Pope

“God is not a magician” – Pope Francis

Evolution and the big bang are compatible with Christian teaching. That’s pretty darn cool. I’m looking forward to the lovely responses from evangelicals and conservative catholics to this news. I’m sure the poison will be running hot in a lot of veins, and honestly, I can understand a little of why.

It’s the idea that we have to set up firm barriers between the world of science and the world of scripture to establish authority. Everyone wants to be right at least some of the time, and the last two hundred years people have been setting up a wonderful false dichotomy between science and religion. Creation vs evolution provides the dynamic spearhead thrust for this issues because in the minds of some to take up evolution is to deny a miraculous God.

And We Christians believe in an incarnate deity somehow killed and resurrected.

The Pope treaded carefully, and by that I mean he took time to be clear in his meaning. Anyone having ready anything by Pope Francis would quickly realize that he is an economical and gifted user of words. Here it was no different. Creation through evolution is still an awe inspiring worship inducing act, and creation through evolution shows an ongoing process of creation. That later bit allows us to wrap our heads around the idea of God’s continual involvement in the creative process.

For me it also opens up our part in the creative/redemptive process. Redeemed humanity has a place alongside the continued process of creation – art, architecture, poetry, engineering, research, exploration, and discovery. This way of wording our existence gives deeper meaning to resurrection and participatory understandings of salvation.

Of course some wont see it this way. Some will see it as questioning the very basis of our salvation, and indeed, Romans 5-8 does offer a picture of condemnation entering through one man and salvation entering in one man which is now a bit trickier to understand except as a allegory of the story of salvation. This questioning the very basis of salvation though is actually a questioning of the basis of what comprises condemnation: How did sin enter in, and what exactly was the garden?

This statement puts us back into reading Genesis and rethinking what it means to be human and sinful and broken. Early church fathers such as Origen and Augustine proposed ways of understanding the entry of sin and the enfleshing of human beings differently than the common mode of reading Genesis 1-3 now. I’m looking forward to a resurge in that conversation.

I’ll just have to wade through the swamps of anger to get there.


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
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