I RESPOND to the letter “Big Bang bunkum” from the Catholic Leader of April 5.
The letter writer appears to believe that the Big Bang theory is incompatible with belief in a Creator God.
I am sure that this would come as a surprise to Monsignor Georges
Lemaitre, the Belgian Jesuit priest, physicist and astronomer who first proposed what is now known as the Big Bang theory in 1927, and to those at the Vatican Observatory who work in the field of Cosmology, refining details of the Big Bang theory.
Pope Francis in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences last year said, “The Big Bang, which is today posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creation; rather, it requires it.”
From Pope Pius XII onwards, this has been the consistent position of the Catholic Church.
Moreover, in the encyclical Humani Generis (1950) Pius XII affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, a position that has been reinforced by subsequent popes, including John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.
The letter writer also claims that there is a significant group of scientists who dispute the Big Bang theory.
While there is considerable ongoing research into details of the theory there is no doubt that it continues to be the prevailing cosmological model for the universe, with no serious alternative, because it is such a good fit with observations.
Because the theory has theological implications, many cosmologists initially rejected it, but were convinced by the evidence.
As a faithful Catholic scientist I find no contradiction between the all powerful Creator God and modern cosmology.
Indeed, I am delighted that we have been created with the scientific skill to uncover some of what happened when God said “Let there be light”.