"I think you can have both," Mr Bush, who leaves office January 20, told ABC television, adding "You're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president."But "evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life," said the president, an outspoken Christian who often invokes God in his speeches.
"I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution," he told ABC television.
Asked whether the Bible was literally true, Mr Bush replied: "Probably not. No, I'm not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it."
"The important lesson is 'God sent a son,'" he said.