Author of "Realist Guide to Religion and Science" Answers Questions on Big Bang

March 12, 2018
Source: District of the USA

Fr. Paul Robinson's book discusses the natural union of science and religion. In it, the Big Bang Theory is proposed as compatible with Church teaching.

Question:

If God could have created the world as explained in the Scriptures, why would he use the Big Bang? Wouldn't that mean that God was trying to hide the way He created things? It could seem that this wouldn't make sense, especially since this way of Creation is much more likely to give impression that the Earth is accidental than the literal Creation?

Answer:

In my view, things are exactly the opposite of the way that you portray them. If God created everything fully formed, as described in Genesis, then, based on what we know about planets and stars, they would have the appearance of having been formed over millions of years, but the Bible would be telling us that they were formed in an instant.

In other words, the reality that God has created would be telling us one thing and the Bible would be telling us another.

That is, in fact, the Protestant position, as I explain in chapter 7 of The Realist Guide. Their idea of God is that He wanted to deceive our minds by creating a world in an instant that appears to have developed over long periods of time. Why would He do this? In order to convince us that the reason that He has given us is useless!

I would argue that this is not the God that we worship as Catholics and not really a God that anyone would want to worship.

As for your last question above, no, a divinely-commenced Big Bang, far from making the development of the Earth seem accidental, rather makes it seem extremely carefully choreographed. Look up "fine-tuning of the universe" and you will see what I am talking about. Or read chapter 9 of my book.

Question:

Do you no longer believe in the creation story in Genesis?

Answer:

I read Genesis in the way that the Catholic Church has directed her children to read it. The Church indicates that Genesis 1 is meant to teach us important dogmas of faith, but is not meant to teach us science. Here is a summary of what we are held to believe and what we are not held to believe. 

What Catholics are held to believe from Genesis 1-3
 

  • There is one God, outside of the universe, who created that universe from nothing, such that it had a beginning in time.
  • God created man directly and Eve was formed from Adam.
  • Monogenism – the entire human race has a single set of first parents.
  • Our first parents were created in a state of original justice, with gifts of integrity and immortality.
  • They fell from that state by sin and the wound of their sin was communicated to the entire human race.  

What Catholics are not held to believe from Genesis 1-3
 

  • The universe is a certain age, the Earth is a certain age, the human race is a certain age.
  • The universe developed in a certain way 

This is why Cardinal Ruffini, a staunchly orthodox Cardinal at Vatican II, wrote the following in his book The Theory of Evolution Judged by Reason and Faith:

"God could very well reveal (and who doubts it?) in what order and in what time He made the various things appear in the world; but in His inscrutable wisdom He preferred to leave such questions to human research."

Question:

You seem to hold that a quantum vacuum is nothing. But that is not the case. Empirical evidence shows that quantum vacuums do really produce subatomic particles. Thus, you should not ridicule scientists for adhering to that empirical evidence. 

Answer:

I am aware that a quantum vacuum is not nothing, but is rather a field of energy and that, upon fluctuations of this energy field, subatomic particles are produced. I have no problem accepting this empirical evidence and, like you, I believe it to be solid science.

What I wish to ridicule and what I believe deserves richly to be ridiculed is the interpretation that certain scientists impose on this empirical fact and the language with which they describe that empirical fact. As you probably realize, it is common for scientists to follow the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics, wherein they claim that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle indicates that the law of causality is not operative at the quantum level.

Now, since the law of causality is one of the first principles of all reasoning, it is irrational to deny that law. Moreover, it is impossible to do science if the law of causality is not a law of reality, all reality.

Secondly, atheist scientists, like Lawrence Krauss, after denying the law of causality, then proceed to say that subatomic particles are produced from 'nothing'. That is their word, not my word. By 'nothing', they mean no cause or no agent or, in some cases, actual non-being. So, when I refer to particles appearing from nothing in a quantum vacuum, I am not using my terminology, but their terminology.

I believe that these scientists deserve richly to be taken to task for the irrational interpretation they impose on the empirical fact and the absurd language they use to associate with their interpretation in order to preach their atheistic faith that, in the end, everything comes from nothing.