Pope Francis supposedly said something that is a bit troubling to me. The article linked above claims that Pope Francis said “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life.” What did he mean by stating God is not divine? What is the difference between a “magician” and a “Creator?”
The article paints the Pope’s position as somewhat deistic. “God is more a clockmaker than a conjurer of miracles.” To hold this “clockmaker” concept of God one has to diminish the attributes of God. By stating that God is not “a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life” the Pope seems to assume the stuff to bring to life already existed. If God is not a “conjurer” he did not create the world ex nihilo. A clockmaker merely assembles matter into an order that makes a clock work. He does not create the pieces of the clock. If God did not create (or conjure it from nothing like a magician would) the material to make the “clock,” where did it come from? Is matter eternal as God is eternal? That would lead to pantheism. We could then claim, as many do, to be gods ourselves because we are made of eternal matter. The conclusion then is if God is not divine, he is not God.
The second troubling point is that the Pope believes that the Word of God allows for theistic evolution. What is troubling about this position is that theistic evolution diminishes the nature and consequence of sin. Starting with the premise that there was no death before sin, and there is no sin before man, you cannot get death before man. If my premise is true, evolution is theologically contradictory to God’s Word because it presumes death before sin. (Evolution defined as a system of the fittest of a species living and the weakest dying through the millennia until you reach man.) If death is not a consequence of sin, what is the significance of sin? If sin is insignificant, God’s pronouncements against it are lies. If God is a liar, he is not God.
The third issue from the article is directed at the atheistic argument that our understanding of the Big Bang “obviates a need to believe in a deity.” In fact, the converse of that is true: the Big Bang demands the existence of God. It is a simple syllogism: Something that begins to exist must have a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe must have a cause. Edwin Hubble gave us evidence of an expanding universe. Because the universe is expanding, it must have had a starting point. If it had a starting point, it must have had a cause. That cause has to be transcendent and eternal in order to bring the universe into existence from nothing. This transcendent, eternal cause sounds a lot like the traditional Christian concept of God. If God is not transcendent and eternal, he is not God.
So, it appears both science and theology insist God is a divine “magician.”