A news article featured on Yahoo! News today reported that Pope Benedict has now affirmed that “God’s mind was behind complex scientific theories such as the Big Bang, and Christians should reject the idea that the universe came into being by accident
The article further reports,
“The universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe,” Benedict said on the day Christians mark the Epiphany, the day the Bible says the three kings reached the site where Jesus was born by following a star.
“Contemplating it (the universe) we are invited to read something profound into it: the wisdom of the creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God,” he said in a sermon to some 10,000 people in St Peter’s Basilica on the feast day.
While the pope has spoken before about evolution, he has rarely delved back in time to discuss specific concepts such as the Big Bang, which scientists believe led to the formation of the universe some 13.7 billion years ago.
Leaving aside the obvious theological inaccuracy on the part of the reporter in the first of those paragraphs, this is certainly encouraging — a step in the right direction! Now it’s only humanity which is to be taken as the happenstance bi-product of mindless and purposeless processes.
The article further reports that,
Benedict and his predecessor John Paul have been trying to shed the Church’s image of being anti-science, a label that stuck when it condemned Galileo for teaching that the earth revolves around the sun, challenging the words of the Bible.
Galileo was rehabilitated and the Church now also accepts evolution as a scientific theory and sees no reason why God could not have used a natural evolutionary process in the forming of the human species.
The Bible actually does not claim that the sun revolves around the earth, and so Galileo’s views were hardly challenging the words of the Bible. But be that as it may. Of course, two issues are being surreptitiously intertwined here: namely, the question of whether God could have used a Darwinian-type process to create life, and the question of whether God did use a Darwinian-type process to create life. Those are two fundamentally different issues which need to be addressed separately and independently.
It is my own view that neo-Darwinism — as classically understood — is irremediably inadequate as a causal explanation for life on earth. Surely, the plausibility of the view that this mechanism is causally efficacious, to account for what is required of it, ought to be demonstrated before progressing to the secondary issue of theological compatibility?