Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 6, 2006
Science, religion walk hand in hand
By By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Science gives us the Big Bang theory and explains the physical fate of our solar system, but it does little to explain why a person admires a particular painting or prefers a certain piece of music.
If the universe is expanding, what it is expanding into?
Such paradoxes are folly for Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno because rarely is there a definitive answer.
Consolmagno says neither science nor theology can explain everything.
“You can’t take religious principles and come up with a scientific explanation — and vice-versa. There’s something missing,” said Consolmagno, 53, an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory.
Speaking Jan. 25 at the U of A, Consolmagno says we learn more every day how to harmonize ageless religion with emerging science.
“There were walking saints 2,000 years ago before we knew anything about the Big Bang. Our scientific universe is shaped by how we understand God and it will change in another 2,000 years,” he said.
In Newtonian science, God existed simply to wind the clock and let everything play out, he said. Physics says that the universe is almost 14 billion years old and our solar system will last another five billion years before our sun becomes a supernova and explodes.
But God so loved the world that he incarnated himself in it. The empty tomb and the appearances of the risen Christ are proof of eternal life.
So which is correct? Well, they both are, he said.
“There are 200 billion galaxies in the observed universe and that is only four per cent of what we can see. God said the universe matters because we are existng in it,” he said. “Who knows what is out there?”
Consolmagno says only now have we begun to see the enormity of what God created and the details of how God did it.
“God is calling us to study and admire science. Then we can see what he created.”