Pope Francis is at it again. Or is he? The lefty’s think so and jumped on it. Of course the Catholic bashers joined in and the brouhaha ensued. Over what? Evolution. The ridiculousness of it all is just laughable. While I have had a few issues with some of the Pope’s statements (or supposed statements that were horribly translated) lately, I’m really getting tired of the media twisting what he says into what they want him to say. There are too many low information voters out there who will take what the media says in order to cow the faithful to shut down dissent as it is.
So, for the record, Pope Francis didn’t say anything new, nor did he “go rogue” as MSNBC put it. He also didn’t say anything that a reasonable person, a reasonable Christian, would disagree with. Let’s look at it, shall we?
First, let’s see what he said: God “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 pope said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
Now let’s look at what other Pope’s have said about evolution and creation.
Pope Benedict XVI in 2007: “They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said.
This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such. Above all it does not answer the great philosophical question, “Where does everything come from?”
Pope St. John Paul II addressing the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences in 1996, quoting the encyclical Human Generis written by Pope Pius XII (we’ll call this one a twofer):
Before offering a few more specific reflections on the theme of the origin of life and evolution, I would remind you that the magisterium of the Church has already made some pronouncements on these matters, within her own proper sphere of competence. I will cite two such interventions here. In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points.
For giggles, here’s the actual encyclical that he was referring to:
36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter – for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.
For a few more giggles, let’s also talk about a few scientists who were Catholic priests: Gregor Mendel (the father of genetics), Nicolaus Copernicus (heliocentric universe), Georges Lemaître (the man behind the Big Bang Theory), and Jean Picard (first to accurately measure the size of the earth).
It isn’t unreasonable to take the proven parts of evolution and show how they fit into a well laid plan of a master Creator. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. No, we didn’t evolve from other species. Humans are a unique being made in His image. But, we know from fossil records that there were types of animals that no longer exist in the same form, but do in others.
Look at dogs. Dogs are the descendants of wolves. Some dogs today still highly resemble their wild cousins, like Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. Others aren’t even close, like Chihuahuas. But they are all biologically linked to wolf ancestors. Breed changes came through adaptations in nature (artic wolves adapted to become smaller and lighter in warmer climates) or through our messing with their gene pool for dogs with certain characteristics (like breeding hounds to flush, retrieve or otherwise find prey to help us hunt).
That isn’t in contradiction to God’s Word. God, as master Creator, knew in His infinite wisdom that everything He made might just need to adapt to changes in their environment, and He built that into our genes. The reason that a links between species like cats to dogs, reptiles to mammals, insects to animals and humans to anything else can’t be found is because God’s Word says He made us all things specifically.
Let’s look at Genesis 1:
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Each made according to its kind. Explains why cats didn’t evolve into dogs and reptiles into mammals.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
He made us different and set apart and in HIS image. Have we adapted? Absolutely. We have gotten taller, had skin and eye color changes based on the places where we live and other adaptations that make humans different. But we have never evolved from or into another species. We are human and have always been human since that Sixth Day.
Science can explain HOW God did it, but as Pope Benedict put it so well, “Above all it does not answer the great philosophical question,‘Where does everything come from?’” Only faith can answer that question.