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Controversy has been heating up, because Guy Consolmagno has declared that a belief in the doctrine of God creating the universe in six days is “pagan superstition.”
Guy Consolmagno has an unusual job. He is a monk in the Jesuit order, but he is also an astronomer. He works for the Vatican, but he is not based in Europe—he primarily works at an observatory in Arizona, USA (he is also curator of the Vatican’s collection of meteorites). His name has been in the news recently, especially in the UK where the creation/evolution controversy has been heating up, because he has declared that a belief in the doctrine of God creating the universe in six days is “pagan superstition”:
Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism - it’s turning God into a nature god.1
The Apostle Paul would have had something to say about Consolmagno’s bizarre contention. In Acts 17, Paul was distressed by paganism: “
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols” (Acts 17:16). He then used the doctrine of creation to counter the paganism, for in Acts 17: 23, 24 (in his talk at the Areopagus), he declared:
As I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. (Acts 17:23–24; emphasis added)
Paul here sets up the doctrine of God as Creator in opposition to the concept of paganism. In reality, it is Consolmagno’s own evolutionist philosophy (somehow incorporated into his religious beliefs) which is akin to paganism. An example of this would be seen in his ideas about the possibilities of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe:
ETs may not be aware of the idea of an Incarnation, or they may have their own experience of the matter. Their experience may be so alien from ours that even though they have experienced God in their own way, it’s an experience that we will never be able to share, nor they share in our experience.2
AiG–UK CEO, Dr. Monty White, once spoke at Stirling University in Scotland to a meeting organised by the university’s Christian Union. Unfortunately, the meeting was completely overrun by the university’s Pagan Society. Of course, at no point did any of these pagans suppose that Monty’s creationist message was a form of paganism. They were there to oppose his message.3
In common with many other critics of biblical creation, Consolmagno completely misinterprets the creation belief system, and in doing so, shows a lack of understanding of the Scriptures. We are thus not surprised that he has also written that Genesis teaches that the universe is “just a dome over a flat Earth, the way that Genesis describes it.”4 For the Bible’s teaching about a circular earth, and to find out what it says about other topics related to astronomy, read our booklet What Does the Bible Say about Astronomy?
When you do, you will discover that this field of science (in fact, all fields) is consistent with Scripture when the evidence is correctly interpreted. Indeed, the Bible can be defended in this scientific age, and a straightforward reading of Genesis is directly opposed to paganism and its cousin: evolutionary humanism.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.