Have you heard about Pope Francis’ recent comments about God, evolution, and Creation? If so, chances are you’ve heard wrong. Brantly Millegan with ChurchPOP asked me to write a post clearing up some of the confusion. Here’s the first of my three points:
No, The Pope Isn’t an Atheist
Amazingly, the popular news site Independent Journal Review (IJ Review) ran — and as of this writing, is still running — the following headline:
“God is not a Divine Being”? We’re supposed to believe that the pope got up, denied that God was actually God, and that everything just went on as business as usual?
Obviously, this story is false. It’s the result of two things: bad translating, and atrocious journalism. What Pope Francis actually said that God wasn’t a “Demiurge” … the pagan idea of a “god” who forms the world out of chaos. [The IJReview article relied upon an earlier Raw Story piece that originally ran the same bad translation; unlike IJReview, they’ve since corrected the record.]
In other words, God isn’t like a Demiurge, forming the world out of chaotic raw materials. He’s infinitely bigger than that, creating the entire universe ex nihilio, from nothing. This is a ringing endorsement of God’s Deity, not a denial.
Here’s the original comment, in context, which makes it clear he neither said nor meant that God was less than Divine:
God is not a demiurge or a conjurer, but the Creator who gives being to all things. The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Origin that creates out of love. The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve”.
Does that sound like a denial of God’s deity? Even if you don’t know what the word “Demiurge” — or the Italian word “demiurgo” — means, context and common sense should clue you in that Pope Francis isn’t announcing his newfound atheism in the middle of a speech he’s given in honor of the unveiling of a statue.
Given how absurd the IJReview headline is, you might think, “there’s no way anyone would fall for that.” But you’d be wrong: the IJReview piece currently has over 300,000 views and has been shared on Facebook 45,000 times.