Thursday, October 30, 2014

Science, evolution and God is not a being, in other words, standard theology from pope Francis

A translation from Francis speech, from a comment on here, in a discussion of science, evolution and God is not a being.

You are dealing with the highly complex theme of the
evolution of the concept of nature. I certainly won’t get into it – you know it
well – into the scientific complexity of this important and decisive question.
I only want to highlight that God and Christ journey with us and are present
even in nature, as the Apostle Paul affirmed in his speech at the Areopagus:
“for ‘in him we live and move and have our being.’” (Acts 17.28) When we read
in Genesis the creation account we run the risk of imagining that God is a
magician with a magic wand allowing him to do all kinds of things. But this is
not how it is. He created the beings and he let them develop according to the
internal laws which he gave each of them so that they would develop and come to
their proper fullness. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the
same time in which he guaranteed their continuing presence, giving being to
every reality. This is how creation has gone on for centuries and centuries,
millennia upon millennia, until it became what we know today. This is precisely
because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives being to
everything that is. The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos which
must have its origin elsewhere, but it derives directly from a supreme
Principle which creates through love. The Big Bang, which today is posited
as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine creating action but
requires it. Evolution in nature is not at odds with the notion of creation
because evolution presupposes the creation of the beings that are evolving.

As regards man, on the other hand, there is both change and
newness. When, on the sixth day of the Genesis account, the creation of man
happens, God gives the human being a different autonomy, an autonomy different
from that of nature. This is freedom. And he tells man to name everything and
to move forward throughout the course of history. He makes man responsible for
creation, even to subdue creation, so that he might develop it until the end of
time. Therefore, to the scientist, and above all to the Christian scientist,
corresponds the attitude of questioning about the future of humanity on the
earth, and as a free and responsible being, contributing to it, preparing it,
and eliminating from it environmental risks, both natural and human. But, at
the same time, the scientist must be moved by the fidelity that nature hides in
her evolutionary mechanisms, by the ability of intelligence and freedom to
discover and actuate, to come to the development that is in the Creator’s
design. So, although limited, human action participates in God’s power and is
capable of building a world adapted to human life, which is both spiritual and corporeal.
This human action is capable of building a human world for all human beings and
not for one group or privileged class. This hope and trust in God, Author of
nature, and in the capacity of the human spirit, are able to give the
researcher a new energy and a deep serenity. But it is also true that human
action, when his freedom becomes autonomy – which is not freedom, but autonomy
– destroys creation, and man take the place of the Creator. And this is the
grave sin against God the Creator.

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