Pope Francis is in the news today, for having “sided with science” and against creationists — by endorsing the Big Bang Theory. According to these articles, his statement was “revolutionary” and “embraces modern science.”
As far as saying that the universe is billions of years old, or that creatures evolved, this could be true — though even there, he said that it could not have happened without Divine Intervention. When it comes to the Big Bang, however, these articles neatly turn the truth on its head.
Put simply, the Big Bang Theory violates the known laws of physics. This “Big Bang,” a point of energy that formed the universe — from where did it come? How was it formed? How did this energy and matter form, to then explode outwards? There are various conjectures and speculations to explain what might have happened, but what we know about astrophysics and thermodynamics doesn’t involve nothingness exploding into energy and matter.
In fact, the term “Big Bang” was placed upon the theory by a prominent astronomer who, like most of his colleagues, believed in a “steady state” universe with no known beginning. The majority belief in steady state persisted until detection of the cosmic microwave background radiation, a remnant of the Big Bang, proved in 1964 that the universe was expanding from a beginning point.
If anything, Pope Francis merely recognized that physicists have come to agree with the Biblical account. The Big Bang theory was proposed by Monseigneur Georges LeMaitre, a Catholic priest, and in 1951 Pope Pius XII declared it entirely consistent with Catholic belief.
But in actuality, the theory doesn’t belong to Monseigneur LeMaitre, either. The Ramba”n [Nachmanides] on Genesis 1:1 states that the universe began as a single point of pure energy, having the power to form all matter. If one reads it without knowing it’s the Ramba”n, it sounds like a clear lay description of the Big Bang.
3 Replies to “The Big Bang Contradicts Physics, not Religion”
So if I understand your point, you are saying the Big Bang requires a force outside of known physics, i.e., God?
Charles, that’s incidental to the post. My point was that the Pope wasn’t saying anything revolutionary, because the Big Bang has always been more consonant with Creation than physics.
You could say that science is the study of the Creation, while religion in its highest and most evolved sense is a way or path to realize That Which expressed or manifested or created the Creation. Those who think that science contradicts religion in some way or opposes it are suffering from a superficial understanding.
To believe that a plant is created by planting a seed in fertile soil and watering it does not contradict the belief that the plant is actually created by The Divine. The two explanations are simply looking at the creation from different levels. That is all Pope Francis is acknowledging.