image When Father Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, a Catholic priest who happened to be a brilliant Harvard and MIT trained astrophysicist proposed what we have come to call the Big Bang, his idea was not well received. In fact, the term Big Bang was ridicule heaped on Lemaître by the British cosmologist Fred Hoyle. The prevailing ‘scientific’ view was that the universe was static, not something with a beginning. Even Einstein was reluctant to accept Lemaître’s proposal, at first.  But Pope Pius XII referred to Lemaître’s findings as a scientific validation of a part of the Catholic faith. Lemaître was put in the spot of having to clarify and publically disagree with the pope. He wrote:

As far as I can see, such a theory remains entirely outside any metaphysical or religious question. It leaves the materialist free to deny any transcendental Being. He may keep, for the bottom of space-time, the same attitude of mind he has been able to adopt for events occurring in nonsingular places in space-time. For the believer, it removes any attempt at familiarity with God . . . it is consonant with the wording of Isaiah’s speaking of a "Hidden God," hidden even from the beginning of creation.

imageThere is a lot of wisdom in the words of Lemaître that we might apply to our thinking about the Shroud of Turin. I think we make a mistake when we try to prove the Resurrection, as some do. We should observe, hypothesize, perhaps experiment and try to explain the image. We should do so without religious or anti-religious prejudice. We should let the evidence lead where it will. It may lead nowhere: to a "Hidden God,” hidden even from the best of science.