January 7, 2011 | 50
Why are we here? Many cosmologists think that everything—not just life on Earth but the planets, the stars, the entire observable universe—is a roll of the dice writ large. Other universes within a grander multiverse have entirely different properties, not to mention completely different laws of physics, based on different rolls of those cosmic dice.
Pope Benedict XVI might beg to differ. The birth of our universe was not in any way random, he said December 6 during a sermon to thousands at the Vatican, according to Reuters. Benedict’s speech was given on the day that the Epiphany—the coming of the Magi—is observed in the Western church.
"The universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe," the Pope said, according to the wire service. Reuters reports that the Pope’s sermon held that "God’s mind was behind complex scientific theories such as the big bang" but does not quote Benedict explicitly mentioning the big bang theory. "Contemplating it (the universe) we are invited to read something profound into it: the wisdom of the creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God," Benedict said.
Maybe now cosmologists will stop contemplating the cosmos through the lens of their own theories—worrying about how the universe began, whether our universe is but one of many within a multiverse, and whether time and space may have existed in some kind of pre–big bang cosmic past life. Then again, probably not.
Photo of Pope Benedict courtesy Tadeusz Górny via Wikimedia Commons