Creation, Thomistic Philosophy, and the Natural Sciences


#81

(continued)

Or (3), God both stretches the heavens out and bestows on the substance of the heavens a property such as what is postulated today as dark energy by some astronomers. The result is the expansion of space and what I have said in (1) above. Personally, I’m not to sure about this idea of dark energy especially in those models about the expansion of the heavens going on forever. Presently from what I understand, all that can be said about the idea of the expansion of space is that it may have happened in the past but we don’t know if it is still going on. It could take hundreds or thousands of years of observations of redshift galaxies to see if there is any change in the redshift if indeed the redshift is caused by the expansion of space at all rather than a Doppler effect or some unknown cause.

Sorry for such a long post. The creation of light in verse 3 and day one of the Genesis narrative seems to be allied in some manner with the creation of the sun, moon, and stars on day 4 for we have the same terms as light and darkness, night and day, and the separation of each. The making of the firmament on day 2 could be intertwined in this as well if the firmament of day 2 is understood to be the starry heaven for on day 4 it is said that God set the two great lights and the stars in the firmament of the heavens. It seems to me that the creation of light on day one is when God began or produced some further formation of the heavens and the corporeal world at large in the form of the galaxies and stars, the end result looking like this picture of an estimated I believe 10,000 galaxies in a very small region of space from Hubble Ultra Deep Field:

220px-High-redshift_galaxy_candidates_in_the_Hubble_Ultra_Deep_Field_2012

“And God separated the light from the darkness” (Gen. 1: 4)


#82

Thanks for the links stephen. I hadn’t come across your website before. You have some very interesting and quite fascinating articles. The first thing that came to my mind when seeing the titles of your articles on ‘Woman: The holy spirit of the Family’ was the great marian saint St Maximilian Kolbe. I have not read these and the other articles all the way through yet but I was wondering as I browsed the articles on ‘Woman: The holy spirit of the Family’ if you were possibly aware of Fr. Kolbe’s marian theology and if you were going to mention his name at all and I noticed that you do mention St Maximilian Kolbe. I’m going to have to read the articles all the way through, very interesting. Thanks again.

Richca


#83

How is this book coming along bob?


#84

Thanks for your comments, Richca. I always appreciate feedback on my work. I am aware of St. Maximillian Kolbe’s Marian theology, but not extensively. If you could recommend one read on this particular theology, what would it be?


#85

I would recommend ‘Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit - The Marian Teachings of Father Kolbe’ by Fr. H. M. Maneau-Bonamy, O.P. This book is only about 134 pages long but it covers the substance or essence of Fr. Kolbe’s Marian theology essentially from Fr. Kolbe’s own writings It’s an excellent book for at least an introduction to Fr. Kolbe’s Marian Theology. Fr. Kolbe’s Marian theology centers around Mary’s unique relationship with the persons of the Trinity such as being the daughter of God the Father, the mother of the Word incarnate, and the spouse of the Holy Spirit as well as her unique role in salvation history pertaining to these relationships with the persons of the Trinity. St Maximilian Kolbe really focus’s on Mary’s unique relationship and union with the Holy Spirit under a number of aspects such as being the spouse of the Holy Spirit in the incarnation of the Word and the Mediatrix of all graces. He conceived of the Holy Spirit in the bosom of the Trinity as the eternal uncreated Immaculate Conception of Love from the Father and the Son and Mary’s Immaculate Conception as the perfect created human image as it were of that uncreated Immaculate Conception which is the Holy Spirit. In his own words, Mary is a quasi-incarnation of the Holy Spirit in all that she represents and particularly of maternal love

There are quite a few passages in the Bible depicting God’s love for humans not only as a paternal love but also as a maternal love such as a mother for her child. Jesus himself spoke of how he longed to gather together the children of Israel or Jerusalem as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Or in various passages of the Old Testament where God’s love for the chosen people, the Israelites, and the holy city Jerusalem, it is written I think in Isaiah that even if a mother should forget her son, I [God] will not forget you. Also, in Gen. 1:2, where it is written “and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters”, the word ‘moving’ here I believe can be translated ‘hovering.’ In fact, some of the fathers of the Church so understood it as ‘hovering,’ as a hen broods over her chicks. So the work of creation in the Genesis narrative was a work of God’s Love. This maternal and tender love in the bosom of the Trinity is for Fr. Kolbe personified in the person of the Holy Spirit who also goes by the name of Love and Mary is a perfect created human image of this maternal and tender Love. The mystery of Mary and her relationships to the persons of the Trinity and particularly her relationship to the Holy Spirit is a very fascinating theology in Fr. Kolbe’s thought and its all derived from Holy Scripture, the truths of the catholic faith and their inter-relatedness, and the teachings of the fathers, doctors, and saints of the Church You probably already know or are aware of most or all of what I’ve said here in this post


#86

(continued)

I have a few other books about St Maximilian Kolbe, or books compiled from his writings such as ‘The Kolbe Reader’. Recently, all of his writings have been compiled and translated into english which can be found here:

https://missionimmaculata.com/index.php/mi-resources/62-the-writings-of-st-maximilian-maria-kolbe

Some other books here:

https://saintmaximiliankolbe.com/books/


#87

Thanks, Richca. I just ordered the book you recommended. I look forward to reading it. I was aware of Kolbe’s characterization of the Holy Spirit as the uncreated Immaculate Conception, but I would certainly welcome a deeper understanding. Thanks for the recommendation.


#88

I wanted to clarify what I mean by ‘according to the various densities…began to form and give off light according to various times.’ In reference to stars, God formed every star of every galaxy mostly of hydrogen and helium and trace amounts of other elements. But he formed various stars with various amounts of the elements in them, what physics calls mass, particularly of hydrogen, various densities of the elements or mass, and various overall size, radius or diameter, or volume. It is from this point that the natural processes of nature which God bestows on each star begin to work as it were and according to these various properties I just mentioned various stars will probably start fusing hydrogen and giving off light at various times. Using mathematics and plugging in different numbers of these properties, physicists or astrophysicists may or can get some rough idea of when a star may likely begin to fuse hydrogen, reach a point of equilibrium between the inward force of gravity and outward force of heat and fusion.

Other objects in a galaxy such as planets, moons, asteroids, comets, ice water, and any other objects whether associated with a star or not were formed immediately by God as were the stars. What I mean by immediately is that these objects did not go through a process of condensing due to the effect of gravity such as stars can do even after they are substantially stars. Take our own moon, for example, when it was formed. I don’t believe when God was forming our solar system, he only formed a cloud like or rarified phenomenon of the moon of elemental atoms arranged in perfect order and then from here the atoms stuck together or combined as it were from the force of gravity. I don’t see any point here in forming the moon in this way on the side of God’s action. I mean, why go through such a process when it is not necessary on the side of God’s action and the end result is the same anyway. Actually, from what I’ve said in prior posts and now that I’m thinking about it, the final formation of the moon as an example could be more like a rarefaction process than a condensing process or even possibly neither of them.


#89

(continued)

Not all galaxies and all stars in galaxies had to be formed by God all at the same time either. I believe that God created different kinds or species of plants and animals at different times, so analogously, God may have formed, and most likely did, various galaxies and various stars within galaxies at different times all from the elemental matter he created in the beginning and according to his eternal plan. From the present science, it appears that this is in fact what he did do. I also believe that God didn’t rest from his creative activity in instituting and forming the world to its first completion until after the creation of mankind, namely, the first human couple Adam and Eve, from which he rested on the seventh day. So, I don’t see a problem with the formation of galaxies or stars until the seventh day. I interpret the ‘days’ of the Genesis creation narrative as meaning indefinite periods of time associated with the various works of those days in a more or less chronological order or similar to this as like ‘one day’ of an indefinite period of time with each day signifying some added perfection or formation to the world by God’s creative activity.


#90

I’m about 30% of the way through on my Kindle edition. So far there has been what would be expected of an Aquinas book - an intro, definitions and importance of metaphysics, his five ways, existence vs. essence, etc. All has been helpful and I wish I had started taking notes at the beginning. But at the same time, it is one I may read and then read again. I am looking forward to the chapters on evolution and neuroscience.

I am reading this simultaneously with another book I got from St. Benedict Press / TAN Books called The Death of Evolution. And I am also reading a historical fiction novel at the same time. Usually I don’t have this many reading projects going at one time, so I’m a bit slow getting through this one.


#91

Oh, ok, thanks bob.


#92

And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also (Gen. 1: 14-16).

In this text of the Genesis creation narrative, it is stated that God made the two great lights, namely, our sun and moon, and the stars also. According to the present theory from the scientific community, our solar system is about 4.5 billion years old. It is also said that our galaxy, the Milky Way, is almost as old as the Big Bang theory’s age of the universe which is currently about 13.7 billion years, i.e, the Milky Way is less than a billion years old from the 13.7 billion year figure. Going by these figures then, this indicates that God made and formed our sun about 7.5 billion years after he began the formation of the Milky Way galaxy and the first stars in it. Thus, I said above in a prior post that ‘Not all galaxies and all stars in galaxies had to be formed by God all at the same time.’ Though I believe as I have stated a number of times on this thread that God created the elements out of which he was going to form the Milky Way galaxy and our entire solar system in the beginning, in the initial act of creation in which God created the entire matter of the corporeal world under elemental forms. And He formed those elements into the sun, earth, seas, planets, and the rest of the objects in our solar system at that time in which according to his eternal plan He chose and willed to do so.

Psalm 90:4 states:
‘For a thousand years in thy sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night’ (cf. also 2 Peter 3:8).

We could just as easily replace a ‘thousand years’ with a million, billion, trillion, or quadrillion years. To God, who exists in eternity and from all eternity, time is irrelevant. Accordingly, in the creation and formation of galaxies and stars including the Milky Way galaxy and our solar system, and whichever day or combination of days we assign to this in the Genesis narrative, the time factor is irrelevant. It’s not like God is in a rush. For example, if we assign God’s work of day one to the beginning of the formation of galaxies and stars, that ‘day’s work’ can last as long as God wills it to last.


#93

(continued)

Incidentally, the present figure from the scientific community concerning the 13.7 or 13.8 age of the universe is derived from assuming the Big Bang model and particularly I believe the redshifts of distant galaxies and the cosmic microwave background radiation, possibly some other factors, and assuming the postulated expansion of the universe from the start of the Bang. The CMBR is associated with the first production of light and photons from the Big Bang model and which I have mentioned a possible association with verse 3 of the Genesis narrative where God said ‘“Let there be light”, and there was light.’ But, as time can be said to be irrelevant to the ‘days’ of the creation narrative such as being days according to God’s ‘time’ or rather eternity and there is no indication from the biblical narrative of the ‘time elapsed’ nor yet of any ‘day’ from verses 1 and 2 to verse 3, it is virtually impossible to determine in any manner the age of the universe except a possible determination in some more or less manner when the heavens were ‘stretched out’ or the expansion of space if, indeed, that actually occured. Any ‘time’ is possible to assign between ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ followed by verse 2 and the creation of light in verse 3.


#94

There is a lot astronomers don’t know and a lot of assumptions have been made:

  1. What was the material that exploded at the moment of the Big Bang?

  2. What was this material made of?

  3. Why and how did it form or exist?

  4. What did the energy from the Big Bang explode into? Zero radiation, zero space?

  5. Much is made of the CMBR but what is it, really?

  6. If the Universe has the shape of a slightly flattened sphere, where is earth in relation to its center? For all we know, we could be near an outer edge.

  7. I question the redshift associated with stars and galaxies. In some cases, redshift Z is about half the speed of light. What energy process would react with an intergalactic body to make it move that fast? And some galaxies are moving toward us.


#95

With the chapters I just started, the book is starting to take off and offer something more unique. The chapter I am on now focuses on St. Thomas’s contributions to natural science and the chapter before was on Christianity’s fostering of scientific inquiry.


#96

Yes, you make a lot of good points here edwest. I have addressed some of them in this thread using the Thomistic understanding of the world in his metaphysics and principles of being and nature. With this understanding, I don’t believe the Big Bang model is compatible with Thomism or Holy Scripture. For example, there is no such thing as a pure energy sort of being or some idea that matter can convert into energy or conversely. Matter in Thomism is pure potentiality, it is not an act or principle of action of any kind in any being. Forms are acts and principles of action and the idea of energy implies something active and in Thomism this activity or ‘energy’ is an accidental form of some substance. For example, I view the electrical charges of electrons and protons as accidental qualities or powers or ‘energies’ as natural properties of these elemental particles that God bestowed on these elemental particles at their creation or sometime after their creation.

In regards to #7 in your post, I didn’t know that some galaxies are moving toward us. I was under the impression for some reason that all the galaxies were said to move away from us. But, now that I’m thinking about it, I think I have read that some galaxies it is said are moving toward us, interesting. Yes, the whole redshift phenomenon is kind of a puzzle. That in some cases, redshift Z is about half the speed of light, I suppose is presently explained that the expansion of space must have went about twice the speed of light. I can see God himself causing this but I’m not sure about any created thing or process. Suppossing that God bestowed on the substance of the heavens or what is called space today a form or energy to cause it to expand, are the heavens still expanding at twice the speed of light or thereabouts and if not why not?


#97

(continued)

Again, supposing that the expansion of the heavens is a reality, it appears according to the present scientific understanding and observation, that normal or what is called baryonic matter sometimes moves with the expansion but it also can move freely in the heavens or space such as evidenced from our own earth and planets within our solar system orbiting the sun with the whole solar system orbiting around the entire Milky Way galaxy. This seems to be another puzzle. One explanation I have read is that the present expansion of space occurs between galaxies, its intergalactic, because the force of gravity within galaxies cancels out the force of expansion that would otherwise occur within galaxies themselves. However, when the universe was much younger and much smaller in size according to the Big Bang theory, it would seem to follow from the explanation just mentioned that the baryonic matter in the whole universe would have been denser or more tightly compacted because the universe was smaller in size and thus it seems that this would have cancelled out any expansion of space to occur at all.

Yesterday, I was reading about how it is theorized that the first stars to form according to the Big Bang theory were extremely massive stars composed only of hydrogen and helium and maybe trace amounts of lithium and that survived before explosion for only a few million years or so. I was wondering where is the light from these supposed first stars? An electromagnetic light emission spectrum has never been observed
containing only hydrogen and helium elements from these supposed first stars though at the same time it is believed that the observed CMBR is a relic of the Big Bang which happened before the formation of the first stars. All the observations in the observable universe concerning individual stars and galaxies have emission spectrums containing elements or what is called metals other than hydrogen and helium. But, since according to the Big Bang story, all the elements other than hydrogen and helium and trace amounts of lithium in the universe were produced from stars and explosion of stars, than all the stars now presently observed in the entire observable universe are at least it is said second generation or later stars. They have to be in order to fit the story, right? And again, where is the light from these first stars? There is a lot of storytelling going on with the Big Bang theory and god of the gaps explanations. The explanations I’ve been offering here on this thread are not god of the gaps explanations but involve God’s direct creative activity itself in the creation and formation of the world in its first institution.


#98

Might disagree with Thomism but I find the Big Bang is compatible with scripture. It depends on how you interpret Genesis 1-3 and why it was written.


#99

Ok thanks. I’m curious concerning one of the points I just made if you have an explanation or is there an explanation offered at all about the light from those theorized massive first stars that must have formed all over the universe in great numbers as to where is this light? From what I understand, it has never been observed yet the observed phenomenon of the CMBR is said to be a relic shortly after the Big Bang which happened even before the formation of the first stars.


#100

I agree with you, Richca. I study new scientific discoveries on an almost daily basis. Take the electron. What keeps it in motion around the nucleus? Like the earth, it must stay in continuous orbit. What propels it? An atom also consists of smaller subatomic particles, and at that size, certain things happen. “The weak force is one of the four fundamental forces that govern all matter in the universe (the other three are gravity, electromagnetism and the strong force). … The weak force, or weak interaction, is stronger than gravity, but it is only effective at very short distances.”

Scientists have decided that most of the matter in the universe is “dark matter.” Interesting idea but still in its very early stages. There’s a lot of radiation and other electromagnetic energy out there.


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