“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.” – Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome and Absolute Sovereign of the Vatican City State.
“God is not some sort of wizard,” said the Pope, but rather “the Creator who brought all things into being.”
When I saw the Pope’s comment I was immediately transported back in time to my college days.
I was a science major who studied Molecular Biology, Micro Biology, Anatomy, Physiology and Organic Chemistry among other courses. One cannot learn the machinations of the sub-cellular world without being utterly amazed at how it works and how it works in harmony with so many other processes to create complex life forms, let alone “simple” single celled organisms like fungi, amoebas, protozoans, streptococci, just to name a few.
I’ve had more than one person tell me that they thought, “Biology was boring.” I would always respond, “If you can study the chemistry of how a transport protein moves a food or water molecule into a cell, across that cell’s membrane, and describe that as “boring” well…(shaking my head.)
One day, long ago, standing in the Chem lab waiting for class to start, a few of us were chatting when our professor, Mr. Medley, walked in wearing his white lab coat, the usual jumble of papers and files under his arm. One of the fellows got a mischievous look in his eye and said to us quietly, “Watch this.”
“Mr. Medley,” he asked, “You believe in God don’t you?”
“Of course I believe in God,” Mr. Medley responded matter-of-factly while eyeballing us all, knowing something was up.
“Do you believe in evolution?” the student asked.
“Of course I believe in evolution,” Mr. Medley responded. “I’m a scientist. I have to believe in evolution.”
“But, how do you reconcile believing in God and believing in evolution?” he was asked.
Mr. Medley had been challenged before by our gang. Intellectually, scientifically, he always bested us, regardless of the challenge. He would compliment us on the thought process that brought us to the questions we asked and then would ask some questions himself. It was all done in good humor and respectfully.
After a brief pause, calmly, not hesitating, Mr. Medley nodded towards the window and asked us, “See that tree outside?”
We all nodded.
“Now, if you were to ask my wife,” he continued, ‘How does that tree grow?’ she would say, ‘Well, God makes that tree grow.’ And, she would be right. Me, on other hand…I know…how God… makes that tree grow.”
I never forgot that answer because it was all encompassing and yet beautiful in its simplicity.
Evolution, more accurately called natural selection, and Recombinant DNA have brought us into the world in which we live, today. And you can debate whether it is by design or by chance, but spirituality and science need not be mutually exclusive. I think that is the point the Pope was making.
Mr. Medley has passed, and if he is looking down on us, I am sure he is smiling that the Pope has agreed with something he told a bunch of smartalec bio-chemistry students almost forty years ago.
It still makes sense to me.
“…I know…how God…makes that tree grow.”
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference – Winston Churchill