Sunday, December 10, 2017

Praying the Psalms

Initials from the beginning of psalms in the St. Albans Psalter. (Wikisource)
I (Ben) recommend Fr. Jaki’s Praying the Psalms because I found this book quite helpful with understanding the Psalms in a way that enables me to pray them more meaningfully. . .

Praying the Psalms: "Since the psalms are Old Testament prayers by origin, their teaching is very incomplete about trials, whose full meaning was revealed only through Christ's suffering. The psalms contain only faint hints about the fact that from God's perspective life really begins with death. But the psalms remain unparalleled expressions of souls who struggle to hold on to God no matter what and who experience moments of surpassing joy. The purpose of this fine book is to help Christians grasp the basic meaning of each psalm so that the act of praying them might truly become an elevation of the mind to God. After providing general background on the psalms, including reflections on their use as both Jewish and Christian prayers, Stanley Jaki offers commentary on each individual psalm. He avoids exegetical minutiae, providing instead precisely enough explanation of the original cultural and theological setting of each psalm to let the usefulness of praying any of them fully emerge. A widely respected Christian scholar, Jaki has recited all 150 psalms once every week for the past sixty years. As a result, his book not only offers learned insight into the meaning of the psalms but it is also built on personal experience, making it a powerful devotional tool. Readers will find here helpful pointers for turning the recitation of the psalms into living prayers relevant to today's troubled world." (Real View Books)

Praying the Psalms:
a Commentary by Stanley L Jaki
Available from Real View Books

About RVB: "Real View Books is a publishing company, founded by Stanley Jaki, established to print books that are significant to the understanding and defense of Christian doctrine and culture. A good number of books of Father Jaki on Science and Religion, and on Theology are also printed by Real View Books, and are available on this site."

Monday, November 27, 2017

"The creative science of Galileo"

“A perusal of Galileo’s “Dialogue” should make it clear, except to closed-minded Humeans, that the creative science of Galileo was anchored in his belief in the full rationality of the universe as the product of the fully rational Creator, whose finest product was the human mind, which shared in the rationality of the Creator.”

~Stanley L. Jaki: The Road of Science and the Ways to God, Chap. 7.

Portrait of Galileo Galilei, by Justus Sustermans.
Oil on canvas, 1636; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

John Paul II: Science

“SCIENCE encourages legitimate human curiosity to know the universe and to admire and contemplate its beauty and goodness. In this way we enter into communion with God himself, who looked upon what he had created and saw that it was very good.”

~Pope St. John Paul II: Discourse to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Sept. 26, 1986.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lemaître: "The radius of space began at zero"

"The radius of space began at zero; the first stages of the expansion consisted of a rapid expansion determined by the mass of the initial atom, almost equal to the present mass of the universe. If this mass is sufficient, and the estimates which we can make indicate that this is indeed so, the initial expansion was able to permit the radius to exceed the value of the equilibrium radius. The expansion thus took place in three phases: a first period of rapid expansion in which the atom-universe was broken into atomic stars, a period of slowing-down, followed by a third period of accelerated expansion. It is doubtless in this third period that we find ourselves today, and the acceleration of space which followed the period of slow expansion could well be responsible for the separation of stars into extra-galactic nebulae."

~Monsignor Georges Lemaître: La formation des nebuleuses dans l'univers en expansion, Comptes Rendus (1933), 196, 903-4. Trans. Helge.

Lemaître and Einstein

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

John Paul II: On the limits of natural science

Pope St. John Paul II
“TO DESIRE a scientific proof of God would be equivalent to lowering God to the level of the beings of our world, and we would therefore be mistaken methodologically in regard to what God is. Science must recognize its limits and its inability to reach the existence of God: it can neither affirm nor deny his existence.”

(L’Osservatore Romano, 7-15-85, Italian edition)

 “ANY SCIENTIFIC hypothesis on the origin of the world, such as the hypothesis of a primitive atom from which derived the whole of the physical universe, leaves open the problem concerning the universe’s beginning. Science cannot of itself solve this question: there is needed above all that human knowledge that rises above physics and astrophysics and which is called metaphysics; there is needed above all the knowledge that comes from God’s revelation.”

(The Discourses of the Popes from Pius XI to John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences 1936-1986, p. 82.)

~Pope St. John Paul II 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

"The enthusiasm for Darwinism"

“The enthusiasm for Darwinism of the advocates of the dictatorship of the proletariat and of a master race is all too understandable. Marx was quick to notice the usefulness of Darwinist theory for promoting class struggle, and Hitler volubly echoed Darwinist views very popular among German military leaders prior to the First World War as justification of their and his plans.”

~Stanley Jaki: Cosmos and Creator. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Genesis 1: A Cosmogenesis?

Reprinted from the August/September 1993 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review

Genesis 1: A Cosmogenesis?

“Nihil pulchrius Genesi, nihil utilius.” Nothing more beautiful than Genesis, nothing more useful.

Genesis 1 is the most newsworthy chapter in the Bible. There can never be more fundamental news than that all depends on God because he made all, indeed the all, or the universe. This news did not come from any of the sages of ancient cultures. Genesis 1 is the most memorable source of that news, though in a way which has been all too often taken for a confrontation with news science seems to provide about the origin of the universe. Legion is the number of exegetes and theologians who in modern scientific times wanted to appear more newsworthy by showing that there is an agreement, a concordance, between the majestic diction of Genesis 1 and the science of the day.

The latest frenzy along these lines was sparked by the news, disclosed at the Spring 1992 meeting of the American Physical Society, that irregularities were discovered in the 2.7°K cosmic background radiation through a satellite in charge of COBE, or “COsmic Background Experiment.” The discovery merely filled a gap in an already impressive evidence about the so-called Big Bang theory of cosmic development.

The term Big Bang may mistakenly suggest that it is about the absolute origin or beginning of things. Rather, it is merely about the fact that science can trace cosmic processes to 15 or so billion years back in the past and that the farther back into the past those processes are traced, the more crowded upon one another they are found to be. At that distant point all matter existed in the form of an extremely condensed radiation. Does this mean that Moses, or whoever wrote Genesis 1, received an early revelation about the 2.7°K cosmic background radiation or about Maxwell’s equations of electro magnetics?

However, really serious questions arise. If one gives a scientific twist to “Let there be light,” then consistency demands that the same be done through the rest of Genesis 1. One should then answer scientifically the following questions: How could the earth, a planet, come before the sun? How could plants, which live on photosynthesis, thrive prior to the sun’s appearance? What constituted the outer confines of the upper and lower waters? Last but not least, in what sense can the firmament, produced on the second day, be an object of science?

Read the complete essay at Homiletic & Pastoral Review