How does the Church use special pleading?

I’ve heard this a couple of times before and now put this way - that the Catholic Church accepts the Big Bang theory as compatible with our faith, but it does so through special pleading and pseudorationalizing. Can you figure out how they would make things assumption?

Is it because we cannot prove our faith with science in the way those who believe this want done?

The Church does not teach about science. But the Church does not object to (legitimate) science.

For example, science tells us that a distinct human organism begins life at the moment of conception. The Church has absolutely no problem whatsoever with that teaching.

Most Catholics on this Forum accept the Big Bang theory as the causal mechanism of creation (according to a poll I started which is currently running). It does not require “special pleading and pseudorationalizing” (whatever that means) for Catholics to accept this scientific theory. Catholics believe God created the universe out of nothing, and most see no conflict with a scientific theory that the universe was created from a zero-dimensional singularity with no size but infinite mass, at a “time” when neither time nor space even existed. When this idea was first proposed by a Catholic priest (Fr. Georges Lemaître), the scientific community mocked it as an attempt to impose religion on science. The old “steady-state” scientists refused to accept the idea of a creation event on the mere basis that it seemed too Biblical. A priest brought science to them, and no scientist believes in the steady-state theory today. Ironically, more scientists (approx 100%) believe in the Big Bang theory than Catholics on this Forum (75%), and the idea came from a Catholic priest.

What would you respond with if someone were told that nothing comes from nothing and that God is the cause of everything, and they respond that nothing coming from nothing is not a proven and verified, it’s just an idea, but it’s possible to be false?

The Bang didn’t exactly come from nothing. It came from a singularity. There are LOTS of singularities in our universe (they are more often called “black holes”). They have finite mass but zero size and, thus, infinite density. They create an infinite curvature in space-time (due to their infinite density).

The classic definition of “matter” is something that has mass and occupies space. Singularities have mass but do not occupy space, so they are not “matter” in the classical sense (and could, thus, be regarded as “nothing”). No two bits of matter can occupy the same space at the same time, but all matter in a singularity occupies the same nothing of space where time does not exist.

But the Bang did not originate from any type of singularity (black hole) known to our universe. No black hole has ever exploded to create anything (and, according to our models of physics, this could never happen - which is the biggest challenge that physicists face). In the very distant future, black holes will “evaporate” through a long, slow process called “Hawking radiation,” but they will never explode (and no black hole in our universe is presently contracting or emitting Hawking radiation, but it will eventually happen).

Is there a more compact and simpler discuss the idea that matter indeed does not for me itself from non-matter?

If I understand your question, then NO. Matter DOES form itself from non-matter.

The “matter” which comprised the Bang singularity had no MASS. That’s NOT matter, as we understand matter. That’s what the whole “Higgs-Boson” thing is about - how matter acquired mass.

Every singularity in our universe has mass, but the original Bang singularity had no mass (and no gravity).

We have no concept of “matter” which has no size and no mass. The singularity of the Bang was not comprised of “matter” at all, as we understand the term. It is only AFTER the bang that “matter” (as we understand it) began to exist.

Is this the same thing as nihlio ex nihilio?

It depends on what you mean by “nothing”

If “something” is only what we can detect in a lab test, then we could not detect the very first bits of the Bang (space would expand by more than 90 light years before we could detect any matter). Of course, we can’t directly detect dark matter or dark energy even today (though they comprise 96% of the mass/energy of the universe - a chunk of dark matter could be right in front of you, and you would have absolutely no way to detect it unless you somehow had an instrument that could detect gravitational lensing at close range). And, of course, we can’t detect God with our scientific instruments.

My understanding is that nothing means literally there was nothing and then something caused even the singularity and whatnot to appear into being.

Your understanding is correct. Prior to the Bang, there was nothing, in either space nor time. No scientist would argue this.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit