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Interview: “If There Is Faith, to Study the Universe With Science Is An Act of Prayer,” Says Guy Consolmagno

Interview with Vatican’s Jesuit Astronomer Ahead of Scientific Congress on Black Holes, Gravitational Waves and Space-Time

“At the beginning of time, God spoke to us through Creation, says the Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. Therefore, to study the universe with science, is an act of prayer, a way of encountering God.” However, to do so, “it is necessary to encounter God first as Father, as Abba, otherwise God cannot be encountered with science.” In other words, “faith must be there first, if one wishes to see God in Creation.”

Talking with ZENIT, astronomer Guy Consolmagno explained this on the sidelines of the meeting held yesterday, May 8, 2017, in the Holy See Press Office, where the Scientific Workshop on black holes, gravitational waves and the peculiarity of space-time, which will be held in the Vatican Astronomical Observatory in Castel Gandolfo from May 9-12, was presented.

American astronomer Guy Consolmagno, who already had a brilliant scientific curriculum, entered the Society of Jesus in 1989 and took his vows in 1991. In 2015, he was appointed Director of the Specola Vaticana — the Astronomical Observatory of the Vatican. In 2000, the International Astronomic Union named an asteroid of the principal belt after him – 4597 Consolmagno –, known also as “Little Guy.”

Questioned about God and referring to how Saint Thomas said that God is not an evidence because you cannot tangibly observe Him with your senses like other things, the scientist pointed out: “God is the evidence of the existence of the universe. Because if one doesn’t believe in a God, one could think that the universe doesn’t exist, that it is altogether an imagination.”

“If one doesn’t believe in a God as in the God of Christianity, one cannot believe in the universe, which works with laws and with a system,” otherwise “it would be a universe of chaos, of the nature gods, like Jove or Jupiter,” he added, explaining that “this isn’t our idea of God. The idea is of a supernatural God who gives space for the laws of science.”

“We also believe in a good God who created the universe by His Will and not by an accident or by chance” – in a God “who said that the universe is good, and who said ‘This is good,’” he continued.

In regard to the event that will be held this week in Castel Gandolfo, Consolmagno specified: “It is a scientific congress that hopes to bring together experts in various fields, specialists in black holes.” It will gather not only the theorists of black holes, but also those that observe them and those that study them from other scientific perspectives.

The Jesuit explained that “many times there is a congress of observers, others of theorists, others of black holes, etc., but here we want to bring together different scientists together, as in a workshop.” Moreover, “as time is always lacking to make presentations and to have discussions, we want to foster the free exchange of ideas,” he concluded.

About Sergio Mora

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