"That's not the God that we as Christians believe in," he went on. "We must believe in a God that is supernatural. We then recognize God as the one responsible for the existence of the universe, and our science tells us how he did it."
The organizer of the conference, Fr. Gabriele Gionti, S.J., said Fr. Lemaître always distinguished between the beginnings of the universe and its origins.
"The beginning of the universe is a scientific question, to be able to date with precision when things started. The origins of the universe, however, is a theologically charged question."
Answering that question "has nothing at all to do with a scientific epistemology," he added.
Br. Consolmagno commented that "God is not something we arrive at the end of our science, it's what we assume at the beginning. I am afraid of a God who can be proved by science, because I know my science well enough to not trust it!"
"An atheist could assume something very different, and have a very different view of the universe, but we can talk and learn from each other. The search for truth unites us."
He suggested that to demonstrate that the Church and science are not at odds, those who are both church-goers and scientists should make that fact more known to their fellow parishioners.
He threw out some practical ideas, such as setting up a telescope in the church parking lot or leading the parish's youth group on a nature hike.
The Church, in a sense, developed science through the medieval universities she founded, he explained. For example, Bishop Robert Grosseteste, a 13th century Bishop of Lincoln and chancellor of Oxford University, helped develop the scientific method and was often cited by Roger Bacon.
"If there is a rivalry" between the Church and science, Br. Consolmagno said, "it's a sibling rivalry."
"And it's a crime against science to say that only atheists can do it, because if that were true, it would eliminate so many wonderful scientists."
(Story continues below)
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