The Holy Father has once again amazed people by being Catholic. No one was more shocked by this revelation than Ken Ham and Al Mohler. So, why has Ham decided to take issue with this re-statement of long-standing Catholic dogma? I suspect it is because the Pope did a slight jab at Young Earth Creations by calling them Gnostic.
The original Italian:
Quando leggiamo nella Genesi il racconto della Creazione rischiamo di immaginare che Dio sia stato un mago, con tanto di bacchetta magica in grado di fare tutte le cose. Ma non è così. Egli ha creato gli esseri e li ha lasciati sviluppare secondo le leggi interne che Lui ha dato ad ognuno, perché si sviluppassero, perché arrivassero alla propria pienezza. Egli ha dato l’autonomia agli esseri dell’universo al tempo stesso in cui ha assicurato loro la sua presenza continua, dando l’essere ad ogni realtà. E così la creazione è andata avanti per secoli e secoli, millenni e millenni finché è diventata quella che conosciamo oggi, proprio perché Dio non è un demiurgo o un mago, ma il Creatore che dà l’essere a tutti gli enti. L’inizio del mondo non è opera del caos che deve a un altro la sua origine, ma deriva direttamente da un Principio supremo che crea per amore. Il Big-Bang, che oggi si pone all’origine del mondo, non contraddice l’intervento creatore divino ma lo esige. L’evoluzione nella natura non contrasta con la nozione di Creazione, perché l’evoluzione presuppone la creazione degli esseri che si evolvono.
The interpretation as translation:
When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining that God was a magician, with such a magic wand as to be able to do everything. However, it was not like that. He created beings and left them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave each one, so that they would develop, and reach their fullness. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time that He assured them of his continual presence, giving being to every reality. And thus creation went forward for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia until it became what we know today, in fact because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives being to all entities. The beginning of the world was not the work of chaos, which owes its origin to another, but it derives directly from a Supreme Principle who creates out of love. The Big-Bang, that is placed today at the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine intervention but exacts it. The evolution in nature is not opposed to the notion of Creation, because evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.
The demiurge is a Gnostic entity.
Young Earth Creationists of Ham’s caliber are often called Gnostics due to their insistence on a certain revelatory experience, the need for this knowledge as a precursor to salvation, and because of their particular cosmological view.
Here, the Pope — perhaps it is intentional? — goes further and calls the god of the YECers the demiurge.
Ken has yet to get past the notion Christians uphold the authority of Scripture and yet accept evolution as a valid theory (please understand the use of this word). As someone reminded me on Facebook, or rather put it better than I could: Evolution is a godless theory, not because it does away with God, but because it does not point to, or away from God. It simply stands (and the Christian would add, as a way to describe God’s creative act).
The Creation stories in Genesis 1-2.4a and 2.5b-3, not to mention the recreation story of Noah and the several other creation stories in the Tanakh, are not scientific. They are, simply, cosmological. They point us to God as a means to worship God, the Father Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth.
By the way, the Orthodox Church likewise affirms (theistic) evolution:
In short, then, Orthodoxy absolutely affirms that God is the Creator and Author of all things, that He is actively engaged with His creation, and that He desires to restore His creation to full communion with Himself through the saving death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This, unlike Darwinism, is not a matter of ideology but, rather, a matter of theology.
Orthodoxy has no problem with evolution as a scientific theory, only with evolution—as some people may view it—eliminating the need for God as Creator of All.
Regardless of how we view the matter of evolution, we as believers must affirm the creedal point of God the Creator.