TECH

Pope Francis: Evolution Is Right, The Big Bang Happened, And God Isn't Magic

29/10/2014 10:52 GMT | Updated 29/10/2014 10:59 GMT

Pople Francis is bucking thousands of years of Vatican tradition by accepting, publicly, that science has a point.

Ok, ok. We're trolling. The history of the papacy's response to science is a lot more complicated than that. In fact the papacy has accepted since 1950 that evolution as a general theory of natural speciation is probably right - though it maintains that doesn't rule out the existence of God, or the soul. Not to mention the fact that many early pioneers in science were Catholic. And so the science-religion debate goes on, forever, without resolution.

Still, Pope Francis has caused something of a stir with his latest speech in which he explained that God is not a "magician with a magic wand able to do everything" - despite what Genesis might literally say.

The Pope said that scientific theories like evolution, and the Big Bang, are important and probably correct.

But he said that not only is evolution, as an example, not "inconsistent" with the theory of creation, it provides evidence for it.

"Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve," he 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," he 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 fulfilment."

He added: "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."

Of course, those who see no direct evidence for God are unlikely to be swayed by this latest pronouncement. All it really does is move the intelligent creator's role in things up a couple of levels.

But if the papacy's statement goes some way to ensuring that all children, regardless of their background, have the same grounding in established science at school, most will agree that's probably a good thing.