And then I wrote: As I have mentioned, in 2009 the Redemptorist Press invited me to write a series of reflections on issues of religion and science for the Sunday bulletins that are distributed in churches throughout the United Kingdom. The Feast of the Assumption is August 15, but in the UK it is celebrated on the following Sunday, 16 August. This is the final reflection that I wrote for that series.
One of the great successes of modern science is the Big Bang theory. This idea that the universe is expanding from a single point was originally invented to explain what stops the stars and galaxies from all collapsing together due to the warping of space-time proposed by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.
But the thought that the universe began from a single point at a certain fixed time (currently estimated at 13.7 billion years ago) was strongly resisted by many astronomers at first. They felt more comfortable with a universe that was eternal and unchanging. That this theory was developed by an astrophysicist who also happened to be a Catholic priest, Georges Lemaitre, may also have led some other astronomers to suspect his motivation. Was he just trying to find a “scientific basis” for the idea of a Genesis point? Father Lemaitre himself denied this, and he personally urged Pope Pius XII not to promote his theory as such a proof.
But like all good scientific theories, the Big Bang predicted a number of traits about the structure of the universe that astronomers could look for…
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