When the Pope Gets it Wrong
Pope Francis is the leader of the world’s estimated 1.2 billion Catholics. Forty percent of them are living in Latin America. The Catholic Church traces its beginnings to the Apostle Peter even though it was the Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus) who was called to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, Gal. 1:16, while Peter was given the ministry to the Jews, Gal. 2:8.
The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) has been the dominate religious group since 313 AD, when Emperor Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan legalizing Christianity. This continued until the Protestant Reformation in 1517 AD. In 380 AD, the Edict of Thessalonica made Catholic Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire. The Catholic Church teaches that the college of bishops led by the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar (pastor, priest or bishop) of Christ is the Pope. A brief overview of RCC teachings is as follows:
• The Catholic Church is the one true church
• The Catholic Church is infallible
• Only the Roman Catholic Church has authority to interpret Scripture
• The Pope is the head of the church and has the authority of Christ
• The Roman Catholic Church is necessary for salvation
• Sacred Tradition equal to Scripture
• Forgiveness of sins, salvation, is by faith and works
• Grace can be merited
These are just a few of the doctrines being promoted by the RCC. It is with regard to the doctrine of papal infallibility that makes the pronouncements of the current Pope so disturbing. The clear teaching of the Word of God reveals these doctrines are not supported in the Bible. Because they are the foundational tenets of Catholicism, those who adhere to them and teach them to others should be seen as leading people astray. One very real and timely example of this is noted the following headline.
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real
I am certain that this Pope is sincere in his views concerning the plight of the poor; however, this is not the problem. I can understand that a person who has been steeped in Catholic religious dogma all his life would be loyal to the tenets of the RCC. It is his views on creationism and Intelligent Design that concern me. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, supported the biblical record with regard to the origin of the universe and man. Now there’s a new Pope in town and he is contradicting the view of his predecessors support for ‘Creationism’ and ‘Intelligent Design.’ The news story headline says it all:
“Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand.’”
I believe that this Pope has fallen into the trap of believing that ‘science’ is the ultimate truth by which everything else must be understood. This is a common error, but it has become pervasive in the 20th century. This belief that science alone can explain every phenomenon and is the ultimate arbiter of truth is called scientism and it is a very dangerous and fallacious misapplication of various scientific disciplines. I am not worried about this apparent change in the RCC’s teachings. I realize that the Pope just believes what he has been told. There is no doubt that the Big Bang hypothesis is scientifically untenable. There are dozens of evolutionary cosmologists who, although they reject God, they honestly admit that the Big Bang is nothing more than wishful thinking. Like Darwinian evolution, this too is a fairytale for grownups.
The Creation Studies Institute would like everyone to consider what this Pope is preaching. To liken, “In the beginning God created…” to God waving a magic wand is absurd. God created everything out of nothing, ex nihilo. Anything other than that is false teaching that will lead people astray. Either the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob miraculously creates or He does not. Jesus spoke of a literal Adam and Eve, a worldwide cataclysmic flood, the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life found only in Him, John 10:28. Why would anyone trust that science alone is the sole source of axiomatic truth when what we observe, and all the laws that govern the universe point so clearly to the Creator, the ultimate Intelligent Designer of everything seen and unseen?
So when the Vicar of Christ or anyone else tells us something that contradicts God’s Word, let’s remember that human beings are born liars, Psalm 58:3. All are in bondage to sin, Psalm 14:1-3, but God’s truth, the Messiah, John 14:6, will always set that captives free, Isaiah 61:1; John 8:32.