Big Bang: Base of Evolution


You are confused as to what Catholics can believe. We can believe the earth is old or made in six days.

We can believe it, without conflict with the Magisterium. But we can’t consistently believe it, if we accept the evidence from the world itself.

The appearance of age is within God’s power. This is clear when Jesus turned the water to wine. There was no grapes + fermentation time involved - it had the appearance and we are told, taste of better wine.

It is not beyond God’s power to create a ready to live on planet in six days. Why anyone would think God could not do that is beyond me.

I don’t think any person says He couldn’t. The evidence shows, however that He didn’t.

It may be hard for some to take the Genesis account literally but the words “And the evening and the morning were the second day… etc.” do appear.

As St. Augustine noted, it is absurd to claim literal mornings and evenings, with no sun to have them. It is wrong, and contrary to the Magesterium to assert that Genesis must be literal in this respect.

So the confusion comes in only when Genesis is not interpreted literally.

No, then there is the contradiction St. Augustine pointed out. There are a number of others, such as God’s warning that Adam would die the day he ate from the tree. Adam ate, and then lived for many years thereafter.

If it’s taken literally, a great problem. But if it’s taken as the Church permits, no problem at all.



Big Bang has nothing to do with creation ex nihilo, and neither does a scientific version of Big Bang deny the existence of God.

Big Bang theory does not imply or deny creatio ex nihil. One should not associate Big Bang with Creation. Big Bang only adresses the cosmic evolution of that which was previously created ex nihilo. When the creation of contingent being ocurred in relation to the Big Bang event is an unknown.

Big Bang is speculative cosmology that attempts to explain what happened in the past up to a certain point, what is happening now, and what will happen in the future. The theory leaves open the question whether anything happened prior to the universe, from a scientific perspective. Theoretically there could have been a series of previous Big Bangs in which the universes collapsed and expanded. Imagine a balloon being inflated and deflated several times.

At some point, all contingent and non-necessary beings were created ex nihilo by that Being which is non-contingent and necessary being. This being we know is the Christian God. Just when that point of creation was in relation to the Big Bang cannot be extracted from Genesis, especially since Genesis is not teaching science. The human author of Genesis conveys Yahweh’s message in the context of the cosmogony accepted by the Hebrews of the time. The cosmogony is a primitive one in which a flat earth rests on pillars, a firmament exists above the earth, with waters above the firmament, flood gates to let the water down (rain), and so on. The only thing revealed in regard to the Hebrew view of the world, is that this primitive view is one of those things Biblical literalists conveniently refuse to interpret literally.

Nonetheless, ancient Hebrew cosmogony is not a scientific view of the world, and the Hebrew picture is one of a very small universe. Its the picture believed by the primitive Hebrews. God did not decide to reveal a correct and scientific view of the universe to a primitive culture. He left it to the mind of man to discover the facts of the universe over time. Hence, scientific endeavors.

Since Genesis shows that there is order in the universe, that everything that exists was given existence by Yahweh, and that whatever he created is good, then creation is a proper object of study for man. This positive view of creation, was promoted by the Church and contributed significantly to the rise of science in western civilization. Many people are unaware of the philosophies and religions of the past, which taught that the material world is evil and that there is an evil co-principle or god that exists along with a god that is good. What Genesis teaches is a true theology in opposition to the false theologies of the pagans of the time.

What Genesis teaches, or that which is God’s message to man is something more important for the ancient Hebrews than a radical upset in their flat-earth cosmogony. Imagine if the author had known and used a true cosmogony. He would have had no credibility with the primitive Hebrews, and God’s message would have gone unheeded.

Again for emphasis, Big Bang cannot be associated with creation *ex nihilo. *Some people are misled by Stephen Hawking’s version of Big Bang, which Hawking says leaves no room for God. Hawking’s cosmology and cosmogony are atheistic. Whether Hawking’s version of Big Bang is ultimately intelligible, and whether it is also acceptable, has already been decided by God. Hawking just doesn’t know it yet.

Underlying vast generalizations in science are metaphysical views about the universe. There is nothing about a particular, scientific and non-Hawking version of Big Bang, that is not consistent with the Catholic faith and the metaphysical principles of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is only inconsistent with a particular way of interpreting Genesis 1, and not with certain other ways of interpretating the Biblical account of creation.

My posts, of course, are open for anyone to jump in and ask questions or make objections, to which I will respond. However, keep in mind that even though I especially enjoy receiving hate mail, it is not allowed on CAF. I guess CAF doesn’t want me to have tooo much fun.



There is nothing about a particular, scientific and non-Hawking version of Big Bang, that is not consistent with the Catholic faith and the metaphysical principles of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Especially when that theory was formulated first by a Catholic priest! Who become science advisor to the Pope.

Some people like to be more Catholic than the Pope.
And since the Pope was Pius XII, sedevacantist objections do not matter.



:yup: Score! Big Bang is a slam dunk. See Aquinas and the Big Bang by William E. Carroll. Now that Lent is upon us, it’s an opportune time for Big Bang naysayers to rent their garments, and do a little penance in sackcloth and ashes. :gopray2:



They should start with a Novena to Monsignor Georges Lemaitre and Pope Pius XII. :smiley:



Well, whether or not the Big Bang is a good scientific hypothesis for the origin of the universe in which we find ourselves (and I think it is for many good reasons), this is a matter for science, and does not depend in the slightest on the religious persuasion of one or more of its formulators. It is irrelevant that LeMaitre was a Catholic priest. It wouldn’t matter if he had been a Pastafarian - all that matters is whether his hypothesis stands up to observation.




:thumbsup: Exactly. The critical issue is not “who” said a thing, but “what” it is that he said. We can shorten that to “What it is, folks!”

Big Bang says nothing that contradicts the philosophical principles of Thomism or Catholic theology. Hence, the rest is strictly up to the natural sciences to futher confirm or eventually disconfirm Big Bang cosmology.

The Biblical literalist/fundamentalist view represents a sectarian view that is wholly incapable of showing that Big Bang cosmology contradicts good science, sound philosophy, or Catholic theology.



Regarding our topic of discussion: Big Bang: Base of Evolution

Itinerant1, I’m sure not going to be dancing the samba with your quest for a deeper understanding through a metaphysical view. I support the following: “*Today, the theory of evolution remains the primary unifying cognitive framework in the biological sciences. The effectiveness of the expanding knowledge base of biological systems and their multi-billion year histories requires a firm understanding of evolutionary processes. The purportedly competing “theories” explicated by creationists to displace the theory of evolution in the biological sciences are not based on an effective application of scientific methodologies, nor are they testable using established scientific methodologies. **Scientific methodologies are not designed to address metaphysical questions that deal with the nature of god(s) or the reasons for the existence of the universe. *The viewpoints expressed by adherents to creationism and intelligent design explicitly address such issues.” (THE TEXAS ACADEMY OF SCIENCE)

Roman Catholics aren’t supposed to be creationists nor supporters of the Intelligent Design Movement so we adhere to scientific methodologies.

Roman Catholics aren’t supposed to be creationists nor supporters of the Intelligent Design Movement. You state itinerant 1, “God’s creative act as recorded in Genesis 1” :rolleyes: You obviously haven’t read about it in the Condendum of the Catechism which is the Church’s teachings regarding strictly our FAITH. *The Catechism is not a theology book, but a book of the faith, for the teaching of the faith. In present day theological consciousness this fundamental difference is often not sufficiently present. **Theology does not invent with its method intellectual reflections that one can believe or not - in such a case the Christian faith would be entirely a product of our own thought and no different from the philosophy of religion. Theology, if rightly understood, is rather the effort to recognize the gift of knowledge that precedes the reflection. On this point, the Catechism cites the noted saying of St Augustine, that classically synthesizes the essence of the theological endeavour: “I believe in order to understand and I understand the better to believe” (158; Sermo 43, 7, 9). The relation between the given, which God offers to us in the faith of the Church, and our effort to appropriate this given in rational understanding, is a fundamental part of theology. The goal of the Catechism is precisely that of presenting this given that precedes us, whose developing doctrinal formulation of the faith is offered in the Church; it is a proclamation of faith, not a theology, even if a reflection seeking understanding is a natural part of an appropriate presentation of the teaching of the Church’s faith and in this sense faith is opened to understanding and to theology. Nevertheless, the difference between the work of proclamation or witness and that of theological reflection is not eliminated.**Those who search for a new theological system in the Catechism, or for surprising new hypotheses, will be disappointed. This is not the concern of the Catechism. Drawing from Sacred Scripture and the complex richness of tradition in its many forms and inspired by the Second Vatican Council, it offers an organic vision of the entirety of the Catholic faith, which is beautiful in its entirety - with a beauty in which the splendour of the truth shines forth. The present relevance of the Catechism is the relevance of the truth formulated and thought afresh once again. This relevance will remain intact far beyond the murmurings of its critics. *(CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH , ADDRESS OF CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER, 9 October 2002, Current Doctrinal Relevance of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Catechism of the Catholic Church: Ten years since its publication (11 October 1992)

As I’ve said before, I have a supernatural FAITH in God which doesn’t prevent me from wholeheartedly acknowledging scientific methodolgies. :smiley: And I’m smarter for it. :wink:



I hate to pull the plug on your Samba music, no, I am actually pleased to do it for your benefit.

My comment that we should disassociate the idea of creation *ex nihilo *from the initial singularity is to call attention to the import of Big Bang Cosmology. My post has nothing at all whatsoever to do with creationism/fundamentalism or Intelligent Design. This is where you have lost connection with what I am saying. You are on a different track altogether. To understand what is being talked about here you have to understand the idea that we cannot identify the instant of *creation ex nihil, *which of course in known only through Revelation, with the initial singularity of science. Some people in CAF have made this mistaken identification. The reason that the indentification is a misleading one, and I have explained this is several posts in various threads, is that Big Bang Cosmology says nothing about what went on before the initial singularity. Hypothetically, there could have been any number of collapses and expansions of the universe prior to the most recent expansion. The only responses here that would be relevant is one that addresses the issue of the indentification of Creation and Big Bang, to either agree or disagree with the identification some people have made, or, to show that I have mistakenly interpreted Big Bang Cosmology. I don’t know what else might be relevant. None of your responses address any of these relevant possibilities. Instead you have brought up issues regarding the distinction between science and metaphysics and somehow think it has some relevance to what I said. There is no confusion here between science and metaphysics, and you have certainly failed to show that there is any such confusion.

First, try to understand what is being said before you respond to it. Your response is not a response to anythig I said. So, I am not surprised that you so profoundly mis-understand Stanley Jaki. That is your loss.

Everything else you have said in your post bears no relevance whatsoever to what is being discussed here. If you want to make the effort to understand what is going on, then find the link I provided to the article by William Carroll entitled “Aquinas and the Big Bang”. Perhaps we can discuss your interpretation of that article and find out why you are so far off track in your understanding of the discussion at hand. That’s all I can do for you. I just gave up on a discussion with a Catholic Darwinists on CAF who has embraced gross materialism with his “scientific” Darwinian view but remains incapable of understanding the necessary metaphysical implication of his reductionists and materialist understanding of evolution. No credible thinker since Darwin’s time has failed to understand that Darwin’s view that the mind of man differs only in degree from that of higher animals is anything but radical materialism. I just can’t help anyone who refuses to see the obvious, or who lacks the wherewithal to understand important issues for Catholics.

Very good quotes you provided! Perhaps you might be able find a post where these quotes are actually relevant to the discussion and smack somebody there with them.



To say that “scientic methodologies are not designed to address metaphysical questions” is in no way contradicted by my statement that says, “Underlying vast generalizations in science are metaphysical views about the universe.” These are two very different things. In other words, to say that metaphysical views underly scientific theories does imply the mistaken idea that scientific method addresses metaphysical questions. You have not understood the very real difference in meaning here. You took my quote out of context, one in which its meaning is briefly elaborated. I am not going to re-explain the meaning here, because I don’t think that would help. I must object, though, to your mis-use of my words about underlying metaphysical views when you have not made an effort to understand what was being discussed.

It would have made much more sense if you had first asked me to explain something you do not understand, rather than to presume upon its meaning. Only after you grasp the meaning are you in position to reasonably discuss what was said.



BAck to the arguement that someone is putting forward that many think the ancients were stupid.

Not at all. . .the people who wrote scripture were by all accounts our first scientists. They were trying to explain the universe in the context of how they ate, lived, and bred.

They didn’t seperate knowledge into compartments like sociology, anthropology, religion and cosmology. . .it was blended into one morphed “knowledge soup.”

I don’t think they knew more, or even knew less. . .they were analytical people trying to deciper events around them and recorded them.

We just operate from different paradigms now. . .the scientific method and critical thought and skepticism rule the day of the analytical minds here.

I betcha some of the “Big Bang” theorists here. . .transplant them 2000 years ago and they are coming up with the same ideas. I think I would have.



Itinerant1, the OP surgei mentioned ‘the Big Bang works and we have to be formed by the Church and become humble’. I try my best to be respectful to people but you’re dismissive and rude remarks to me here and elsewhere on other topics fails to impress me that you wish to dialogue in a courteous fashion. :frowning:

Once again you fail to grasp the meaning so let me put forth to you gently what I have already stated at the beginning of this topic** Big Bang: Base of Evolution**

Pope Paul stated science is truth. Here is the truth:

**Third Year WMAP data refines cosmology **
by Alec MacAndrew

**Lithium in stars supports standard Big Bang **
by Alec MacAndrew

The Big Bang is not a Mythby Alec MacAndrew

Well, I still dance on :stuck_out_tongue: past itinerant1’s curt remark and an inflated flat out demeaning and distorted fabrication. Obviously, itinerant1 wishes to ignore Pope John Paul II statement that science is truth. :frowning:



BAck to the arguement that someone is putting forward that many think the ancients were stupid.

They weren’t stupid, they were uniformed and starting from scratch. For whatever reason, God chose to tell them about Him, but was skimpy with the details about the way creation works and how it was formed.

Not at all. . .the people who wrote scripture were by all accounts our first scientists.

We have much evidence of people learning about His creation, about the stars, the seasons, mathematics to describe it, etc.

They didn’t seperate knowledge into compartments like sociology, anthropology, religion and cosmology. . .it was blended into one morphed “knowledge soup.”

Today, science, because it is freed from that “soup”, has been amazingly successful at understanding the physical universe. But there’s a cost; science can only understand the physical universe.

I don’t think they knew more, or even knew less. . .they were analytical people trying to deciper events around them and recorded them.

The ancients knew much less than we do. We are, after all, standing on their shoulders,

We just operate from different paradigms now. . .the scientific method and critical thought and skepticism rule the day of the analytical minds here.

I hope not. A good scientist knows the limits of the method, and stays within them when using it. For other things, he must use other ways of knowing.



Apparently, you think it is rude and disrespectful for me to keep pointing out that you consistently misrepresent what I say. You have mischaracterized what I have said in every single one of your posts about me in every thread. Do you think it is polite and respectful for you to keep doing that even though I consistently point out that you have misread my statements? Rather than you seeking clarification on my meaning you act hurt and offended, and then resume your mischaracterizations of my statements. How polite is that? And how is it that you are the only one CAF that thinks I am questioning the Big Bang Theory?

Actually, rather than state that Big Bang “is truth”, as you have, it would seem to be more accurate to refer to Big Bang Cosmology as “scientific hypothesis”. Still, since you are the only one who thinks I am questioning it, then I must conclude that my statements are clear as to their meaning for the average poster on CAF.

Now if you begin reading in this thread from post 62 each post up to the current one, not to mention elswhere that I have discussed Big Bang, then you should be able to understand what is going on and that I have been defending the scientific position of Big Bang. If you come to any other conclusion, then you are wilfully mischaracterizing my statements and choosing to argue from a “straw man” fallacy. How polite is that? You may ignore reading the posts from 62 forward and just write this off again as impoliteness on my part, but how else does one challenge you to be accurate in your statements? It is a challenge you reject every time. How polite and respectful is that? Do you want people to begin questioning your intellectual honesty? I was hoping to save you from that kind of embarrassment.



To say that the ancient Hebrews were not a scientific people is not to assert that they were a stupid people. They were a practical people, and wise in the practical ways of daily living. An ancient Hebrew could easily make clothes from animals skins, but not many moderns know how.

If you compare ancient Hebrew idea with ideas of surrounding cultures of the Ancient Near East then you will understand the very different mentality. One needs to make the effort to understand the cultural milieu. It is incorrect to characterize the ancient Hebrews as an analytical people. The analytical approach to understanding the world developed in Greek culture.

Among Ancient Near Eastern cultures it was the Babylonians who recorded information about the stars from a long history of oberservations. Still, their observations were not for scientific purposes as were Greek endeavors, but for astrological purposes.

The Egyptians made some advances in astronomy and geometry. However, their geometry, for instances was a practical geometry, and not the theoretical discipline developed by the Greeks.

The Greeks were the first people to seek explanations of events in nature in something other than mythological forces. The Greeks were to the first to advance beyond mythological explanations to rational explanation.

Hebrew culture did not make this advance until long after the book of Genesis was written. Hebrew cullture advanced beyond mythological thinking under the later influence of outside cultures, and primary among the influencing cultures was the Greek. The Greek rational approach is clearly seen in the much later books of the Old Testament such as The Book of Wisdom.

The ancient Hebrew “knowledge soup” as you call it, consisted in mythological explanations of nature. It is anachronistic to characterize it as rational explanation, which became characteristic, rather, of those segments of Judaism that centuries later came under the influence of Egyptian, but primarily Greek ways of thinking.

The Spirit enlightened the Hebrews with Revelation in matters supernatural; and the Spirit enlightened the Greeks in the use of natural reason and things naturally knowable. The two orders of man’s enlightenment, in the natural and the supernatural, later merged in preparation for the Incarnation of the Wisdom of God.


closed #76

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