The theories of evolution and the big bang are not inconsistent with the biblical creation story, according to the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
God is not "a magician with a magic wand" says Pope Francis while speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences Tuesday.
“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,” Francis said. “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 Pontiff continued:
“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.”
As usual, the world media has delivered an overblown reaction to Francis' statement as if it signifies some major shift in doctrine. However, Pope John Paul II made a similar statement in 1996 when he acknowledged evolution as "an effectively proven fact":
Today, almost half a century after publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.