Big Bang, by God

We are so used to hearing about the "Big Bang" that it is hard to remember two rather significant things about it. If this gets  too boring, skip to the last paragraph.

The first is that it was actually conceived and proven mathematically by a Catholic priest: Georges Lemaitre (1898 - 1966). He had a Jesuit education and became a priest in his country, Belgium. He studied at Cambridge, England and at the Harvard Observatory, and finally wrote a dissertation in astrophysics at MIT.

He did his thinking about the universe in the 1930's. The finest cosmologists and physicists of the time, including Albert Einstein, considered the universe steady, or at best undulating. Einstein told Lemaitre that his math was fine but his physics absurd.

Gradually, the evidence added up to prove him correct: the cosmos is flowing apart, and the movement had to have a beginning. Lemaitre had even calculated what is now known as the "Hubble Constant," which has something to do with the visible evidence of the distance and speed of galaxies speeding away from our own galaxy. Pretty heady stuff. Lemaitre decided to call the beginning "The Cosmic Egg." A sarcastic physicist (who died in 2001 still thinking the idea absurd) called it "the Big Bang," and it stuck.

But the most significant scientific re-conception in the twentieth century (at least) was the work of a Jesuit-educated Catholic priest. So much for the bloviating about the Church hating science. The historical fact is that modern science grew out of Christiandom. Not China. Not Mars. It grew up in the universities begun by theologians in Paris, Bologna, Oxford, Alcala, and all over Christian Europe.

The second significant thing it's hard to remember about the Big Bang has to do with God's work. The Big Bang is ordinarily called "the beginning OF time." But it's not only the beginning OF time; it is also the beginning IN time.

The expanding of the universes is still going on. The middle is somewhere, not only in time but also in some space. Somewhere.

And there, God is still Creator. God is still creating - always creating, moment by moment not only in my flesh and spirit, but also in all the universes and the entire cosmos. So the Big Bang is not only the start OF time, but is the start IN time.

I don't know whether this matters to physicists, though it's easy to believe that not many of them have thought much about it. Their attention is limited, after all. But it matters to us, because this Big Bang begs us to pay attention to the big mystery of why there is anything at all and where it comes from. There is anything at all because God is love and love pours itself out - and love wants to share and have the other to share with. So Msgr Lemaitre (who looked like a prosperous chef in a cassock) is a good model for us to follow. God the Creator is at the start of all things even as they expand in time.