He was a Belgian mathematician whose work on "the hypothesis on the primeval atom" was to become The Big Bang Theory.

He was a Jesuit priest.  He was Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître.


I am no follower of the Big Bang Theory not because of Lemaitre but because of the inherent flaws on the standard model of the theory. 

So, the messenger is a theist.

I would like to know your thoughts on this.

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Well - E.A. Poe wrote about it before that. And others had postulated it as well. Lemaitre worked it out AND Einstein fought him on it. The weird thing is that the Pope tried to claim that it was proof god created the universe and Lemaitre wrote the pope asking him to stop saying that. Perhaps, at the end of the day, Lemaitre's scientific view held sway over his theism - at least as far as the measurable world went.
Hannes Alfven:
"A very important conclusion from the Big-Bang cosmology, which is seldom drawn explicitly, is that the state at the singular point necessarily presupposes a divine creation.
To Abbé Lemaître this was very attractive, because it gave a justification to the creation ex nihilo, which Saint Thomas had helped establish as a credo. To many other scientists it was more of an embarrassment because God is very seldom mentioned in ordinary scientific literature. There seem to be rather few scientists (but among them Whittaker and Milne) who, like Jastrow (1978) in his book God and the Astronomers, explicitly draw what seems to be the logical conclusion of the Big-Bang cosmology, viz., that the universe was created ex nihilo by God. “When the scientist has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." However, most of the Big-Bang believers prefer to sweep creation under the rug. In fact, they fight against popular creationism, but at the same time they fight fanatically for their own creationism."

The catholics are very proud to tell us that "science" now proves the Bible right. Just google "Big Bang Catholics".
And Lemaitre was well rewarded by the pope(s).

Me thinks you're a bit embarrassed, Howard. :)
"Einstein was decidedly against the idea of the Big Bang. His equations have concluded that the universe had to be either in expansion or in contraction, but he didn't believe his own equations, because he was a supporter of a stable vision of the cosmos. He created a "cosmological constant" (a counter-gravity force) not to abandon his equations. Later he abandoned this theory.

The impasse between the Big Bang and the steady-state theory was broken when Hubble found out that the universe is in expansion. Einstein was shocked by the expanding universe demonstrated by the findings of Edwin Hubble. Lemaître saw this as a great opportunity and rushed to California. In the early 1930s, as reported by Timothy Ferris (The Whole Shebang, 1997), in a lecture in the library of Mt. Wilson observatory offices, Lemaître declared solemnly to an audience which included Einstein: "In the beginning of everything we had fireworks of unimaginable beauty. Then there was the explosion followed by the filling of heavens with smoke. We come too late to do more than to visualize the splendor of creation's' birthday." Not even Moses would be so eloquent. Lemaître's oratory was so brilliant that even Einstein became convinced by this new version of the biblical cosmology."

Lemaitre's agenda was to make the Book of Genesis scientific. I think there is little doubt here. He was a priest first at the end of each day.

"In a hundred years, people will look back on the Big Bang Creationists and their antics with laughter, much as we laugh at those who argued over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin." Grote Reber
Never embarrassed to be wrong. I guess I either stand corrected alongside Lawrence Krauss (where I heard about the letter) or I need to do some more research.


It involved Georges-Henri Lemaître, who was a Belgian priest, who was also a cosmologist, a physicist. He was the first to recognize that Einstein's equation had a solution that implied a big bang, which was the beginning of the universe — that really flew in the face of science at the time. Einstein didn't believe it. He came around eventually, but early on he was very vicious in his criticism of Lemaître, and this viciousness with regard to people who disagreed with him was a trait from his youthful days that few people know about.

Lemaître had discovered that you could have a beginning of the universe, and a big bang, and what happened at the time was that Pope Pius picked up on that and wrote this grand letter saying science has finally proven Genesis. And Lemaître wrote the Pope and said, 'Stop saying that': this is a scientific theory, it makes predictions — take from it whatever metaphysical or religious implications you want —take from it that it vindicates the story in Genesis — take from it that there is no God, that you don't need it, that the world works without it — interpret it however you want. But the science, the predictions, are independent of your interpretation of the results!

Lawrence Krauss
It appears that I now have two sources that suggest, despite the Papal declarations - that Lemaitre was, indeed, not himself that comfortable that he had 'proved' god's existence.
If you look at the arguments for the existance of God that say that there must have been a cause that caused the event which was the initial singularity that the big bang can from and they will say that cause was God.A singularity being an infinatly small point of infinite density where our ability to say anything useful about it breaks down because we don't have the maths.
Recent work has shown that if you imagine the universe as a four dimensional surface on a five dimensional sphere, which isnt easy to visualise:-) and you have some form of imaginary time as an extra dimension then you can avoid having to have an actual singularity at the begining of the universe, the universe has simply always existed and the expansion of the universe is a side effect of us not being able to see the five dimensions.
You can also say that its perfectly possible that the singularity arose spontaniously out of the virtual particles in the vacuum and because the net potential and kinetic energy of the universe is less than 0 then its lifetime can be indeterminate, possibly infinite before the conservation of energy demands that it goes back to the vacuum.So no need for that initial cause, it also means you can have infinatly many universes popping up out of the vacuum as virtual particles all over the place.
Einstein never disagreed with Lemaitre's mathematics; he just believed in a static solution to the equations.

The singularity (infinite density) has long been considered by many to merely indicate a breakdown of the equations of general relativity under the extreme conditions in the very early universe. Such a breakdown is likely as quantum effects become important.

Just because we come to a very early time where we do not understand the physics does not mean anything "divine" went on. There is much we do not yet understand but the progress we have made is astounding.
The whole point is as I am sure you are aware is that theists say that there is something divine in the cause of the initial sigularity, that is the teleological agument in a nutshell but its equaly valid to say that there was no cause of the initial singularity, it just happend in much the same way that other real particles come into existance out of the virtual particles, nobody ever claims that God makes the electron and the positron which spring into existance when a photon hits an atom yet it is the same sort of process which could have given rise to the initial singularity which started our universe.
Theists can say that there is something divine in the cause of the initial singularity, the origin of life, the creation of virtual particle pairs, or anything else. The onus is on them to prove the divine influence. One could say it was the pastarifarian influence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the influence of the Juju Man at the bottom of the well or anything else; but all such statements are without evidence and therefore are worthless. Remember the principle of Occam’s razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor) "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity". Adding god or the FSM to the mix adds nothing to the explanation and adds the worse problem of where god or the FSM came from.

It should be noted that Lemaitre himself objected to the pope suggesting that “the big bang” supported the genesis story of the bible.

Lemaitre was a very good physicist. He had religious faith (delusions) but his physics was first rate. Newton had religious and alchemist delusions. Someone can be first rate in one area of human endeavour and out to lunch in another.
It should be noted that Lemaitre himself objected to the pope suggesting that “the big bang” supported the genesis story of the bible.

I was under that impression too - though (obviously) via hearsay. However, it is hearsay from Lawrence Krauss who has a scientific rep to protect. He claims there was a letter - but I can't find any other reference to it.

Meanwhile, just because the church rewarded him and his career advanced - doesn't mean he didn't write that letter. I would really like a corroborating citation though.
Lemaitre’s distaste for the pope’s reference to the big bang as the moment of creation is mentioned in John Farrell’s book, The Day Without Yesterday: Lemaitre, Einstein, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology. I don’t have the book here to examine his source but likely it is referenced in the book.

Below is a review of the book:

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Few people realize that the Belgian scientist Georges Lemaître (1894–1966) played a seminal role in the development of our current understanding of the Big Bang and black holes. Lemaître was also a Roman Catholic priest, rising to monsignor, but he carefully maintained a firewall between his two vocations, even reacting with horror when Pope Pius XII described the Big Bang as the biblical moment of creation. Science writer Farrell recounts that Einstein dismissed Lemaître's ideas at their first encounter, in 1927; later, the great man regarded him as a valuable colleague. Lemaître believed at first that the universe expanded from an initial static state; only later did he arrive at his theory of a "primeval atom," which George Gamow and others developed into the Big Bang theory. Farrell explains how Lemaître determined that what we now call a black hole is a singularity where the radius of the sphere collapses to zero. Lemaître also stuck with the cosmological constant after Einstein had abandoned it, a stance validated in the 1990s when scientists discovered that the universe's expansion is accelerating. Science buffs will enjoy this nicely written biography of a little-known but towering figure in modern cosmology.
Arghh!!!!! yes i know all about Occam's razor all i was saying is that theists have used the existance of the initial singularity as an argument for the existance of god as the thing which caused the singularity to come into being when they where arguing from the point of veiw of sufficient cause, which is to say they argue that every effect must have a cause, but in some circumstances you can say that sufficient cause breaks down and there does not actualy have to be a sufficient cause in this case ,you don't need to invoke god as the first cause of the universe you can just argue that it just happend.


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