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For the first time in his papacy, Pope Benedict has “elaborat[ed] his views” on human origins. Although his statements do not alter Rome’s overall stance on evolution, his comments are more distant from the late John Paul II’s tacit endorsement of evolution as God’s creative method.
The pope said that “science has narrowed the way life’s origins are understood and Christians should take a broader approach to the question.” (Note that the pope used narrow not in the sense of “narrowing in on” but rather in the sense of “making more restrictive.”) We certainly agree that secular science, with its de facto naturalist outlook that does not allow for a God who is involved in the world, has limited our understanding of origins; however, unlike Pope Benedict, we believe this limitation has come mainly in the form of outright error, not mere restrictions.
The pope also pointed out, quite accurately, that the “theory of evolution is not completely provable because mutations over hundreds of thousands of years cannot be reproduced in a laboratory.” We agree; in fact, since molecules-to-man evolution cannot be tested empirically, it cannot be legitimately called science! Furthermore, the mutations we do observe in nature are not the sort that produce “higher” forms of life.
Since molecules-to-man evolution cannot be tested empirically, it cannot be legitimately called science!
Sadly, the pope also asserted that “evolution had a rationality [in natural selection that] inevitably leads to a question that goes beyond science,” asking “where did this rationality come from?” The pope credits God with injecting such “rationality” into the mechanism of evolution. So while Pope Benedict refutes purely naturalistic science, he apparently accepts the presuppositions of naturalistic science-namely, that when a plain reading of the Bible and secular science disagree, it is the Bible that must be reinterpreted and made into metaphor. Ultimately, although the pope calls for a broader approach to human origins, the theistic evolution belief he supports is a dangerous belief that accepts the evolutionary ideas of long ages, violence and death, apemen, and the like, merely adding a vague, distant “god” in the picture. To learn more about the dangers of theistic evolution, read “10 Dangers of Theistic Evolution.”
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