Pope Francis continues to headline grabbing statements in the mainstream media. The latest is that “Evolution is not Inconsistent with Creation,” which came during a meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. This, for keen observers, isn't actually new news. In fact, this has been the quasi-official position of the church for decades. In the 50’s Pope Pius declared that he saw no issue between the Church’s theological position and evolution. Since then, this view has been supported by various Pontiffs (including John Paul II). The debate about Evolution and Creation (which in my opinion, is a debate not correctly formed) is not what this post is going to address.
The troubling part of Pope Francis’ comments don’t surround the evolution vs. creation debate that caught the media’s eye. Instead, the statements which causes great alarm to me, and should all Christians, is when the Pope calls into question the power and nature of God. Orthodox Christians that is, Christians who hold to a right understanding of God, believe Him to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present (these are the ‘omni’s’ which are often bandied about: omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent).
Pope Francis said, “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.” And again Francis says, “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life.”
In those two sentences, Pope Francis calls into question who God is. There is a denial of God’s power and ability to do anything; instead God is limited to acting according to natural laws which humanity understands. Also, the question arises if God is not a divine being, what is He? Who have we been believing in?
Time and again in Scripture, which is the account of God’s loving action in the world, we have reminders of God’s Divine intervention which is beyond human compare or imagination. Here is a very short list, but if you have time simply open your Bible to any page and you will likely see some reference to God’s all-powerful nature:
1. The book of Exodus details God’s miraculous interventions to save His people; interventions that go beyond the human mind to comprehend.
2. The Gospels chronicle countless miracles of Jesus, who we believe to be God Himself, which show His might over sin, death, nature, and sickness. While Jesus didn't just wave a magic wand, He still clearly demonstrated His power and authority over these things.
3. Isaiah speaks of God’s sign to Hezekiah whereby He made the sun move backwards as a testament to the promise of life He made to Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:7-8).
Without these statements of God’s power, there would be no reason to trust and believe in God as the supreme ruler of our lives. Without a God of power, we would be left where we once were, relying on our own strength and ability to try to make something of ourselves. I need to believe in a God of power, I need to believe in a God who can do everything because I can't and without that, I’m lost.
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Pastor J-M shares some occasional thoughts and musings on our life together as followers of Christ. The views are his own.
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