Dialogue between science and faith

It is extraordinary to think that, with the help of advanced and sophisticated techniques, you “see” as it were not only the vastness of the universe, but also the unimaginable force and dynamism which pervade it. Even more fascinating is the fact that, since the signals from its farthest reaches are transmitted by light that moves at a finite speed, you can “see” back into the remotest past epochs and describe the processes that are going on today. Well-established experimental results enable you to build a general scheme or model, tracing the whole evolution of the universe from an infinitesimal instant after the starting-point of time up to the present, and beyond, into the distant future. Certainly, not all is simple and clear in this general scheme, and a number of questions of the utmost importance engage you and your colleagues around the world. 

One such question, the emergence of structure, constitutes the subject of your present Conference and is of vital interest, especially when we consider that the emergence of structure appears as the pre-condition for the eventual emergence of life, and ultimately of man as the culmination of all that exists around him in the physical cosmos. Men and women of science such as yourselves ponder the vast and pulsating universe, and as you unravel its secrets you realize that at certain points science seems to be reaching a. mysterious frontier where new questions are arising which overlap into the spheres of metaphysics and theology. As a result, the need for dialogue and co-operation between science and faith has become ever more urgent and promising. It is as if science itself were offering a practical vindication of the openness and confidence shown by the Second Vatican Council when it stated that “investigation carried out in a genuinely scientific manner and in accord with moral norms never truly conflicts with faith.”