A bit off the beaten path of my usual topics, here is an article by the (former) director of the Vatican observatory trying to reconcile his belief in scientific cosmology and evolution with his religious faith. I write "former" in the preceding sentence because as of this week, he was replaced (supposedly) in part because his views are inconsistent with Church doctrine. In affirming that the scientific worldview is not inconsistent with creationism, Father Coyne acknowledges that he is forced to reinterpret the whole concept of a “designer G-d” that Genesis suggests – even though the scholastic philosophers did adopt such a view, he finds support for his approach in earlier Church writings like Augustine. The money quote – “But, if we confront what we know of our origins scientifically with religious faith in God the Creator – if, that is, we take the results of modern science seriously – it is difficult to believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient in the sense of many of the scholastic philosophers. For the believer, science tells us of a God who must be very different from God as seen by them.” He further writes, "If they respect the results of modern science and, indeed, the best of modern biblical research, religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God, a Newtonian God who made the universe as a watch that ticks along regularly."
I am not going to enter the debate which is ongoing in the our Jewish world on these same issues other than to say that I think much of the reluctance to accept scientific theories that reread ma'aseh Braishis is rooted in the clash Father Coyne notes between the scientific approach and the concept of G-d as omniscient and omnipotent. Father Coyne is honest enough to admit that acceptance of "modern science... and biblical research" forces a philosophical reassessment and is not simply a matter of how to read Genesis; I think many Jewish supporters of evolution or intelligent design are not sufficiently attuned to the philosophical consequences of the theories they choose to embrace.