– Whether science and religion can co-exist without contradictions has been a subject of long debates for years.
Albert Einstein once said that “science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
There are those who think science and religion are incompatible, but there are also many great scientists who believe in God. How is it possible and how can these two fields find common ground?
The Vatican has declared that science and religion can in fact co-exist and the Church is now celebrating the Big-Bang theory. Does it sound impossible? The Vatican doesn’t think so.
To dispel faith-science conflict, the Vatican Observatory has invited leading scientists and cosmologists to discuss science subjects such as black holes, gravitational waves and space-time singularities.
The Tuesday-Friday conference (May 9-12, 2017) is held in honor Monsignor George Lemaitre, the late Jesuit cosmologist.Monsignor George Lemaitre (1894 – 1966) was a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, physicist and astronomer. He is usually credited with the first definitive formulation of the idea of an expanding universe and what was to become known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, which Lemaitre himself called his “hypothesis of the primeval atom” or the “Cosmic Egg”.
Lemaitre studied at Harvard College Observatory in Massachusetts, U.S.A., and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before returning to Belgium where he worked as a Professor.
Lemaitre’s research led him to the conclusion that if matter is everywhere receding, it would seem natural to suppose that in the distant past it was closer together, and that, if we go far enough back, we reach a time at which the entire universe was in an extremely compact and compressed state. He discussed, rather vaguely, of some instability being produced by radioactive decay of the primal atom that was sufficient to cause an immense explosion that initiated the expansion of the universe.
In 1931, at a meeting of the British Association in London, Lemaitre suggested there is a relationship between the physical universe and spirituality, Lemaitre first voiced his proposal that the universe had expanded from an initial point, which he called the “primeval atom” or “the Cosmic Egg, exploding at the moment of the creation”, a theme he developed further in a report published in the journal “Nature” later that year.
Lemaitre’s theory was known as the “primeval atom,” but it is more commonly known today as the big-bang theory.
“He understood that looking backward in time, the universe should have been originally in a state of high energy density, compressed to a point like an original atom from which everything started,” according to a press release from the Observatory.
The head of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, says Lemaitre’s research proves that you can believe in God and the big-bang theory.
“Lemaitre himself was very careful to remind people—including Pope Pius XII—that the creative act of God is not something that happened 13.8 billion years ago. It’s something that happens continually,” Consolmagno said Monday.
Believing merely that God created the big bang means “you’ve reduced God to a nature god, like Jupiter throwing lightning bolts. That’s not the God that we as Christians believe in,” he said.
Christians, he said, believe in a supernatural God who is responsible for the existence of the universe, while “our science tells us how he did it.”
Perhaps the relation between religion and science goes much deeper than we have previously thought. Philosophers and mathematicians have been arguing for centuries whether math is a system that humans invented or if it is of cosmic origin, perhaps even a divine knowledge that we simply discovered. This raises the question if God has the mind of a mathematician?