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The Pope Francis stated in 2014

When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so

Does this statement come into conflict with the belief that God is omnipotent?

Is the Christian God not all powerful?

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  • God 'cannot deny himself'. 2 Timothy 2:13. God acts consistent to his own nature and being. There is nothing greater than God.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 22 at 18:38

2 Answers 2

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Not exactly, this is sort of a misquote. The Pope spoke in Italian, I believe this site has the original text (I don't speak Italian, assuming browser correctly identified it). When it is translated into English some of the meaning is lost/mis-translated.

The Google Translate of this page

When we read the story of Creation in Genesis we risk imagining that God was a magician, complete with a magic wand capable of doing all things. But it's not like that. He created beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that He gave to everyone, so that they could develop, so that they could reach their own fullness. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time as he assured them of his continuous presence, giving being to every reality. And so creation went on for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia until it became the one we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives being to all entities. The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Principle that he creates out of love

Demiurge

a Platonic subordinate deity who fashions the sensible world in the light of eternal ideas

God is not subordinate.

Catholic belief on omnipotence, from this question

St. Thomas Aquinas holds that God can do anything except whatever implies a contradiction.

Yes, except the intrinsically impossible

Related:

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Expanding on @depperm's correct answer, the emphasis is the last 2 sentences of the quote:

And so creation went on for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia until it became the one we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives being to all entities. The beginning of the world is not the work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Principle that he creates out of love.

The 3 bolded phrases above match the Thomistic account of how God relates to His Creation:

  1. Existence: "gives being to all entities", so it doesn't collapse into nothingness throughout its lifetime ("creation went on")
  2. Nature: "supreme principle", thereby not just matter but each entity has a nature (i.e. plant, animal, man/woman, etc.) a.k.a. "order" (in Genesis language). Within the nature there is also the telos: the "final end" (perfection) of growing, living beings.
  3. Presence: Not only God "creates out of love", God also has loving relationship with each being, as testified in many verses in the Bible such as
    • Matt 10:29: "... Yet not one of them [the sparrows] falls to the ground without your Father's consent"
    • Luke 12:7: "Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. ..."
    • Isa 43:20-21: "The animals of the field will honor Me, jackals and ostriches, because I provide water in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. The people I formed for Myself will declare My praise."
    • etc.

The 3 elements of how God relates to Creation above ARE possible because of God's omnipotence. Pope Francis's reflection is simply to compare it with another (false) way of thinking about creation that is NOT Christian, i.e. like a magician who uses a wand and then NOT continue sustaining or relating with the creation, as in Deism.

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