What do we mean when we say that God is the Creator of heaven and earth? — When we say that God is the Creator of heaven and earth, we mean that He made all things from nothing by His almighty power.
“All things were made through him, and without him was made nothing” (John 1:3) “For in him were created all things” (Col. 1:16).
In the beginning God alone lived. Then out of nothing, by His almighty power, He created heaven and earth, and all things in heaven and on earth. Only God can create; that is, He alone can make something out of nothing. Time began with this creation. Before it there was only eternity.
“Before the mountains were made, or the earth and the world was formed, from eternity Thou art God” (Ps. 89:2).
God created heaven and earth, and everything in heaven and earth. By this is meant everything which is not God. “Heaven” refers to the angels and their abode; and “earth” to all the material universe, including the earth, stars, planets, and all things and beings in them.
God created everything by an act of his will. “He spoke and they were made; he commanded and they were created” (Ps. 32:9).
In its first book, Genesis, Holy Scripture tells the story of Creation. In the beginning all was void and empty and dark; that is, there was nothing but chaos, which God Himself had created. Then out of this chaos God brought about order and law, creating heaven and earth.
“In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters” (Gen. 1:1-2).
In how many days did God create the world? — God created the world in six days, resting on the seventh day.
These “days” of creation were not necessarily days of twenty-four hours like those we have today, since our sun had not yet appeared. Catholic theologians commonly interpret them as long periods of time. Thus the “seventh day” is still going on. For Holy Scripture says that on that day God rested; that is, He ceased to create new kinds of things.
The Hebrew word for “day” may stand for a day, a week, a month, a century, or any indefinite period of time. Fundamentalism is an enemy of Science; it takes the “days” of Creation as of 24-hour periods, like the periods we call “days” in our time.
Very probably the sacred writer divides creation into six days in order to consecrate each day of the week by connecting it with one or more of the Creator’s works; and to impress on the Jews the divine command to sanctify the seventh day.
In the creation, God worked from the lower to the higher: He first made plants, and then He created the animals that would use them for food. Man was the crown of His earthly creations; all other works in the material universe, were for man’s enjoyment and use.
On the first day, God said: “Be light made,” and light was made. Then He divided light from darkness, and called the light Day and the darkness Night. On the second day, God made the sky or firmament and divided the waters.
The “heaven” thus made is the material heaven in which the stars, the moon, and the sun pursue their courses.
On the third day, God made dry land to appear, bade it bring forth plants.
In its account Holy Scripture concerns itself chiefly with our earth. Originally a fiery ball of gaseous matter, it gradually lost its heat, and land began to appear, apart from the sea. The moisture and warmth encouraged the development of organic life, the beginning of which had been implanted by God in the original primary matter.
On the fourth day, God made the sun, moon, and stars. On the fifth day He made creeping things, birds, and fishes. On the sixth day, He made beasts and cattle. Finally, “God created man to His own image.”
Man is different from the animals in his possession of reason and free will. Surpassing them all in dignity, he is the crown of God’s creations, the one for whom the world had been made ready.
On the seventh day, God “rested … from all His work which He had done.”
On the seventh day God ceased to make new kinds of things. This “seventh day” continues to the present; everything that is “made” now is a development or a combination of already existing matter. It is true that “nothing is new under the sun.” However, God continues to work in this sense: that He preserves and governs created things, and that He creates souls for those to be born.
Is there no contradiction between the account in the book of Genesis, and the latest discoveries of science, concerning the origin of matter?— No, there is not the least contradiction between the account in the book of Genesis, and the latest discoveries of science, concerning the origin of matter.
An apparent contradiction arises through the mistake of uninformed persons, who forget that the Church reads the Bible bearing in mind the principal object of the sacred writers.
In writing the account of the creation, the sacred writer, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, wished to impress upon the Jews (for whom he was writing) that there is but one God, and that He created the entire universe, living and lifeless.
At that time the Jews were surrounded by idolatrous peoples who believed in the existence of many gods, and worshipped all kinds of creatures, even the sun, moon, plants, animals, and images.
In pursuing his aim, the sacred writer used the form that was most effective, under the circumstances, to convey his meaning. It is a popular form: that is, it relates historical events in popular expression and order.
The words used, while in themselves not scientifically exact, are in conformity with ordinary speech, and understandable by ordinary people. In the same way today we say, “The sun rises in the east”, even when we know through the investigations of science that the sun does not “rise” at all. Events are set down in an order not necessarily scientific, but suited to the understanding of a primitive people, and therefore of all mankind. We must remember that the sacred writer was not aiming to teach physics or anthropology, but Faith.
Do Revelation and Science contradict each other? — No; Revelation and Science do not, and cannot, contradict each other, for both are of God.
There may at times be an apparent conflict between faith and science; but this is only apparent, and never real. God cannot contradict Himself. He cannot lead us into error.
True Science is the handmaid of Religion. Science and the scientific method are means of arriving at the truth, and Religion is Truth. The greatest scientists have been Christians; a majority of outstanding leaders in science were Catholics, and many were priests. Only the shallow dabblers in science absurdly pretend that there is a conflict. The apparent conflicts arise from false interpretations, as when one takes for scientific truth what is false or not proved, or accepts as a doctrine of faith something not taught by the Church.
There can never be a real conflict between Revelation and Science, because they deal with entirely different spheres. Revelation is concerned with Faith and spiritual things; physical Science is concerned only with material things.
The Bible’s purpose is to teach salvation; but people make the mistake of considering it a treatise on Science. St. Thomas and St. Augustine taught that when the Bible describes some phenomenon of nature, it sets it down in terms of its appearances.
No scientific experiment or theory can dispense with the necessity of a Creator. Unless His existence is accepted, we can never explain: (a) the origin of matter, even the most elementary; (b) the origin of motion; (c) the origin of the very first living organism, and of the spiritual soul of man; and (d) the origin of the order and law so apparent in the universe.
What are the only difficulties found by some scientists in the Biblical account of the creation? — The only difficulties found by some scientists in the Biblical account of the Creation are connected with the order or sequence of events followed in the Book of Genesis.
If we study the proper interpretation, even these difficulties will be found not to exist.
The account in the Book of Genesis is in logical, not chronological, order. The writer groups together similar works of creation, for the easier understanding of a primitive people.
The Church has not made any positive definition of the way in which the Biblical account of Creation is to be interpreted.
Catholics are free to accept the interpretation that they prefer, so long as they also accept the fact taught: that God created the whole universe and everything in it.
Neither Revelation nor Science gives a definite answer to the question concerning the age of the world. Geologists assert that long periods of time were necessary for the formation of the various strata of the earth’s surface. Astronomers assert that some stars are a million light-years from the earth.
A Catholic is free to hold on this point whatever he believes is a sound and scientific conclusion. The estimates of scientists vary.
|Algue, a priest, invented the barocyclonometer, to detect approach of cyclones.||Ampere was founder of the science of electrodynamics, and investigator of the laws of electro-magnetism.|
|Becquerel, Antoine Cesar, was the founder of electro-chemistry.||Becquerel, Antoine Henri, was the discoverer of radio-activity.|
|Binet, mathematician and astronomer, set forth the principle, “Binet’s Theorem.”||Braille invented the Braille system for the blind.|
|Buffon wrote the first work on natural history.||Carrell, Nobel prize winner in medicine and physiology, is renowned for his work in surgical technique.|
|Caesalpinus, a Papal physician, was the first to construct a system of botany.||Cassiodorus, a priest, invented the watch.|
|Columbo discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood.||Copernicus, a priest, expounded the Copernican system.|
|Coulomb established the fundamental laws of static electricity.||De Chauliac, a Papal physician, was the father of modern surgery and hospitals.|
|De Vico, a priest, discovered six comets.||Descartes founded analytical geometry.|
|Dumas invented a method of ascertaining vapor densities.||Endlicher, botanist and historian, established a new system of classifying plants.|
|Eustachius, for whom the Eustachian tube was named, was one of the founders of modern anatomy.||Fabricius discovered the valvular system of the veins.|
|Fallopius, for whom the Fallopian tube was named, was an eminent physiologist.||Fizeau was the first to determine experimentally the velocity of light.|
|Foucault invented the first practical electric arc lamp; he refuted the corpuscular theory of light; he invented the gyroscope.||Fraunhofer was initiator of spectrum analysis; he established laws of diffraction.|
|Fresnel contributed more to the science of optics than any other man.||Galilei, a great astronomer, is the father of experimental science.|
|Galvani, one of the pioneers of electricity, was also an anatomist and physiologist.||Gioja, father of scientific navigation, invented the mariner’s compass.|
|Gramme invented the Gramme dynamo.||Guttenberg invented printing.|
|Herzog discovered a cure for infantile paralysis.||Holland invented the first practical sub marine.|
|Kircher, a priest, made the first definite statement of the germ theory of disease.||Laennec invented the stethoscope.|
|Lancist, a Papal physician, was the father of clinical medicine.||Latreille was pioneer in entomology.|
|Lavoisier is called Father of Modern Chemistry.||Leverrier discovered the planet Neptune.|
|Lully is said to have been the first to employ chemical symbols.||Malpighi, a Papal physician, was a botanist, and the father of comparative physiology.|
|Marconi’s place in radio is unsurpassed.||Mariotte discovered Mariotte’s law of gases.|
|Mendel, a monk, first established the laws of heredity, which gave the final blow to the theory of natural selection.||Morgagni, founder of modern pathology; made important studies in aneurisms.|
|Muller was the greatest biologist of the 19th century, founder of modern physiology.||Pashcal demonstrated practically that a column of air has weight.|
|Pasteur, called the “Father of Bacteriology,” and inventor of bio-therapeutics, was the leading scientist of the 19th century.||Picard, a priest, was the first to measure accurately a degree of the meridian.|
|Regiomontanus, a Bishop and Papal astronomer; was the father of modern astronomy.||Scheiner, a priest, invented the pantograph, and made a telescope that permitted the first systematic investigation of sun spots.|
|Secchi invented the meteorograph.||Steensen, a Bishop, was the father of geology.|
|Theodoric, a Bishop, discovered anesthesia in the 13th century.||Torricelli invented the barometer.|
|Vesalius was the founder of modern anatomical science.||Volta invented the first; complete galvanic battery; the “volt” is named after him.|
|Other scientists: Agricola, Albertus Magnus, Bacon, Bartholomeus, Bayma, Beccaria, Behalm, Bernard, Biondo, Biot, Bolzano, Borrus, Boscovitch, Bosio, Bourgeois, Branly, Caldani, Cambou, Camel, Cardan, Carnoy, Cassini, Cauchy, Cavaliere, Caxton, Champollion, Chevreul, Clavius, De Rossi, Divisch, Dulong, Dwight, Eckhel, Epee, Fabre, Fabri, Faye, Ferrari, Gassendi, Gay-Lussac, Gordon, Grimaldi, Hauy, Heis, Helmont, Hengler, Heude, Hilgard, Jussieu, Kelly, Lamarck, Laplace, Linacre, Malus, Mersenne, Monge, Muller, Murphy, Murray, Nelston, Nieuwland, Nobili, Nollet, Ortelius, Ozaman, Pelouze, Piazzi, Pitra, Plumier, Pouget, Provancher, Regnault, Riccioli, Sahagun, Santorini, Schwann, Schwarz, Secchi, Semmelweis, Spallanzani, Takamine, Tieffentaller, Toscanelli, Tulasne, Valentine, Vernier, Vieta, Da Vinci, Waldseemuller, Wincklemann, Windle, and a host of others, too many to mention
God Bless BJS!!