In the beginning...
“In order to develop and evolve, the world must first be, and thus have come from nothing into being.”
That’s a line from Pope Benedict’s address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at their meeting in Rome, a meeting around the theme Scientific Insight into the Evolution of the Universe and of Life.
He noted that while man is always searching for ultimate origins,
direction and the meaning of it all, modern culture has a lot of
questions about “the relationship between science’s reading of the
world and the reading offered by Christian Revelation”.
He continues with the reading metaphor…
To “evolve” literally means “to unroll a scroll”, that
is, to read a book. The imagery of nature as a book has its roots in
Christianity and has been held dear by many scientists. Galileo saw
nature as a book whose author is God in the same way that Scripture has
God as its author. It is a book whose history, whose evolution, whose
“writing” and meaning, we “read” according to the different approaches
of the sciences, while all the time presupposing the foundational
presence of the author who has wished to reveal himself therein.
Does anybody in modern society, even Catholics today, know that
about Galileo? Or what the Church teaches about evolution? And how even
that has evolved as science has?
This image also helps us to understand that the world,
far from originating out of chaos, resembles an ordered book; it is a
There’s an inner logic to the cosmos, Benedict says here, and studying measurable phenomena makes it “legible”.
And thanks to the natural sciences we have greatly
increased our understanding of the uniqueness of humanity’s place in
was made yesterday at the Vatican about the upcoming conference in Rome
on biological evolution, reaffirming that science and faith are not
only not mutually exclusive, they are mutually supportive.
Yesterday was also the day on which the reading for the liturgy was from the Book of Genesis, which ended with this:
Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.
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