The Greatest Scientist of the 20th Century You've Probably Never Heard Of

The Wikipedia article on Fr Lemaître.

Jovan-Marya of the Immaculate Conception Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

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Shalt thou be able to join together the shining stars of the Pleiades, or canst thou stop the turning about of Arcturus? Canst thou bring forth the day star in its time, and make the evening star to rise upon the children of the Earth? Dost thou know the order of heaven, and canst thou set down the reason thereof on the Earth?’
In this passage from the Book of Job (38:31-33) we find the Lord querying Job about the order and mechanisms of the cosmos He created. These questions, as understood by the Fathers, are intended to show that mankind knows little and can do nothing compared to the omnipotence of God. It is a lesson in humility for mankind. The same question of course infers that He, unlike man, knows the exact movements of the individual cosmic bodies and by what means they are caused to go about their business every day, month, year, 19 or 600 years.

But then along came Einstein and Fr Georges Lemaitre who would have replied:

‘Ah now Good Lord, we have long discovered the stars of Arcturus, as well as the sun and moon, do not actually turn around the Earth each day as your Scriptures describe in a literal way, no, it is the Earth revolving that causes this illusion to men on its surface. And yes, we do now know the order of the heavens, thanks to the astronomers and physicists of the last few hundred years; it is Big Bang-heliocentric, moving as it does due to natural universal gravitation ‘laws’ confirmed by Newton, Einstein and the priest Fr. Georges Lemaître.

Yes, admits Pope Pius XII, it all began with Copernicus. Not for the first time a pope has placed the creation act and order into the hands of secular theory. But there are philosophical and theological consequences to placing the creative act of God at the mercy of science’s Big Bang theory.

‘Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that we can refer “not improperly” to the initial singularity [the Big Bang] as an act of creation. What conclusions can we draw from it? That a Creator exists? Suppose still, for the sake of argument, that this, too, is conceded. The problem now is twofold. Is this creator theologically relevant? Can this creator serve the purpose of faith?
     My answer to the first question is decidedly negative. A creator proved by [Big Bang] cosmology is a cosmological agent that has none of the properties a believer attributes to God. Even supposing one can consistently say the cosmological creator is beyond space and time, this creature cannot be understood as a person or as the Word made flesh or as the Son of God come down to the world in order to save mankind. Pascal rightly referred to this latter Creator as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not of philosophers and scientists. To believe that cosmology proves the existence of a creator and then to attribute to this creator the properties of the Creation as a person is to make an illegitimate inference, to commit a category fallacy. My answer to the second question is also negative. Suppose we can grant what my answer to the first question intends to deny. That is, suppose we can understand the God of [Big Bang] cosmologists as the God of theologians and believers. Such a God cannot (and should not) serve the purpose of faith, because, being a God proved by cosmology he [or it] should be at the mercy of cosmology. Like any other scientific discipline that, to use Pope John Paul II’s words, proceeds with “methodological seriously,” cosmology is always revisable. It might then happen that a creator proved on the basis of a theory will be refuted when that theory is refuted. Can the God of believers be exposed to the risk of such an inconsistent enterprise as science?’[1]
No it can not.

[1] Marcello Pera: The god of theologians and the god of astronomers, as found in The Cambridge Companion to Galileo, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp.378, 379.

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