The Vatican's Chief Astronomer, Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, confirmed in an interview published May 12th in L'Osservatore Romano, the Catholic Church's daily newspaper, what many I suspect have long since known: It is not antithetical to know and understand that the 'Big Bang' was the Creation!
Rev. Fune, the Jesuit scholar from Argentina who was "infallibly" chosen to be the Vatican's chief astronomer and to direct the Catholic Church's observatory in Vatican City, confirmed the position endorsed by Pope Benedict , that science does not contradict religion - a position explored in great depth by the Dalai Lama in his wonderfully affirmative book, "The Universe in a Single Atom".
Rev. Fune said Tuesday (as reported by Reuters UK):
"Dialogue between faith and science could be improved if scientists learned more about the Bible and the Church kept more up to date with scientific progress.Transcendent times, indeed . . . . Could this put the other bookend on the sad 300+ year litany of debate that started with the faux-Enlightenment that saw Galileo condemned as an heretic, and the most-brilliant of modern-Jesuit scholars, paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin, silenced under a Vatican publication ban and external exile to the avowedly atheistic 'People's Republic' of Maoist China?
Funes, an Argentine, said he believed as an astronomer that the most likely explanation for the start of the universe was "the big bang", the theory that it sprang into existence from dense matter billions of years ago.
But he said this was not in conflict with faith in God as a creator. "God is the creator. There is a sense to creation. We are not children of an accident ...."
Galileo is no longer spinning in his grave, I suspect, but rather dancing the Macarena while Teilhard de Chardin smiles knowingly from the palaroma of Unitive Consciousness in which we, and this Universe, "live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)
John, the most mystic and beloved of the Apostles, gave us the New Testament's account of creation when he wrote:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." (John 1:1-2)Now the New Testament itself is fairly old in relative terms at this stage in the game. Thankfully, the physical sciences finally found and clarified the voice of its own testament to the creation of the heavens and the earth this past century when the physicists Gamow and Herman first detected that voice - the cosmic background radiation which still radiates out the radio waves that carry the Word of the Big Bang to us from far across all the reaches of the Universe. And the social sciences too found their testament when Carl Jung wrote of the synchronystic, universal experience which is the unity of our being with Wholeness. This universal adventure and the indications of an awakening of a newer Enlightenment than that of old that Rev. Fune's interview herald make now the best and only time that we can live up to our potential. This universal adventure which continues to expand all that is - and us along with it - is itself a testament to that original creation out of G_d (whatever that word might mean to each of us) some 18.3 billion earth years ago.
These are truly transcendent times in which we are fortunate to be alive! Sit up and take note Messrs. Dawkins and Hitchens, and all you intelligent designer label fans out there! It is time to clarify your terms and visions and join the unfolding of this greatest of stories. Keep an open mind and expand your horizons. . . .