What did Pope Francis say?
Is has been widely reported that recently, at a speech before the “Pontifical Academy of Sciences” on 10/27/14, Pope Frances made a number of statements that have drawn special attention.
The one drawing the most attention is: “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life…” as reported, for example, in USATODAY (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/10/28/pope-francis-evolution-big-bang/18053509/).
This phraseology has understandably created some dramatic responses! Could this be the Pope – the leader of over half of the Christians in the world – be denying the Divinity of God?
I know honestly little about this Pope. I know that he has been at the center of many controversies about things he has said before – some possibly accurate, but most have apparently not been accurate.
I know that he is well liked by many not even a part of Christianity (and some in opposition to Christianity), and maybe that makes some nervous about him. However, I have tried to evaluate him based on what he actually says or does.
In this case, his words about evolution or the Big Bang are of no personal concern to me, since I share in his apparent thoughts on them both – I agree that they are at least both completely acceptably in line with biblical and theological interpretations (here is an example of a creative one – catch the pun? See what I did there? ;-)… sometimes in perfect harmony with the biblical accounts (read these, for example)… and I think even in some ways answers some tough questions…
Personally, I am gratified that another representative of Christianity is espousing the idea that science and the Christian Faith are NOT in contradiction… That faith is “trust”, not “ignorance”.
But I do not think we would be even hearing about the Pope’s views on creation or science would be of interest to anyone if the Pope were denying the Divinity of The only Divine God. That would be pretty important, huh?
Fortunately, he wasn’t.
The pope was speaking in Italian, not English. What he actually said (according to the transcript found at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/speeches/2014/october/documents/papa-francesco_20141027_plenaria-accademia-scienze.html)
“Dio non è un demiurgo o un mago, ma il Creatore che dà l’essere a tutti gli enti.”
The word “demiurgo” has a specific meaning to the Catholic world – but it does not seem to have an awesome English equivalent. It seems to stem from the ancient conflict with the Gnostics. The Gnostics believed in a main God and many Sub-gods… kind of “godlets”. The Catholic word for these sub-gods… sot of “divine-ish” beings – is “demiurgo”.
You can see more detail at (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04707b.htm)…
So, in essence, the Pope was saying that God is not some sub-god nor some magician with a magic wand, but The Creator – the One God who Created all things. That makes sense.
I am all for holding any public figure who claims Christ, to account for their words… as I hope others hold me accountable. God knows that I have said wrong, stupid and foolish things in the past. However, I do think that this time, there is nothing in the Pope’s words to cause concern for other Christians. Continue to pray for all of our leaders! Pray for their integrity to scripture and reason!