Aquinas and Contemporary Cosmology: Creation and Beginnings

  • William E. Carroll
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 395)


Discussions in the Middle Ages about creation and the temporal beginning of the world involved sophisticated analyses in theology, metaphysics, and natural philosophy. Mediaeval insights on this subject, especially Thomas Aquinas' defense of the intelligibility of an eternal, created universe, can help to clarify reflections about the philosophical and theological implications of contemporary cosmological theories: from the “singularity” of the Big Bang, to “quantum tunneling from nothing,” to multiverse scenarios. Thomas’ insights help us to see the value of Georges Lemaître’s insistence that his cosmological reflections must be kept separate from an analysis of creation. This essay will look at different senses of “beginning” and examine the claim that creation, in its fundamental meaning, tells us nothing about whether there is a temporal beginning to the universe. Multiverse models, like that recently proposed by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, may challenge certain views of a Grand Designer, but not of a Creator.


Black Hole Large Hadron Collider Theological Reflection Stephen Hawking Islamic Philosophy 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Thomas Aquinas Fellow in Theology and ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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