Emmanuel M. Carreira, S.J.
"Every human being is naturally a philosopher. We are not satisfied with knowing the chemical makeup of a human being, we want to know the person," says Father Emmanuel Carreira, Jesuit Priest and scientist.
Fr. Carreira is a true Renaissance man. He is an astronomer, physicist, photographer, patented inventor, author, painter, poet and Jesuit Priest.
Fr. Carreira has given thousands of lectures in Spain, the U.S., South America, Mexico, Germany, Chile, Ireland, Argentina and many more locations.
He has multiple degrees in physics and theology but sees no conflict in teaching both Theology and Science. They are different methodologies, and both hold certain truths. It is wrong to try and reduce everything to the same method.
"If you ask a scientist to prove to you that kicking a person is wrong, he will not be able to do so. Science does not account for ethics. If you ask a scientist to tell you the literary value of Hamlet he will be able to tell you the type of ink used, the number of letters or words, the length of the play, even the weight of the paper it is printed on, but he will not be able to measure the literary value."
"If you give a Chemist the Mona Lisa," he argues, "the scientific method will just tell the chemicals of the pigments - not the artistic worth or value."
He goes on to explain that science deals exclusively with the activity of matter that can be proven experimentally and measured. So Science cannot explain the purpose of life, the meaning of existence or why matter exists. "There are much more important questions than what science can answer." Philosophy has made an attempt but doesn't have the methodology to reveal the specifics and details.
He believes that the worst enemy of true human excellence, both personal and societal, is the idea that everything is a matter of opinion and that nothing is an absolute truth. "There most definitely is absolute truth. If you do not believe this, even Science is impossible. Democracy does not determine truth. If the majority of the people decide that the earth is flat, it is none-the-less round"
The most important truth to seek is "self-truth". "What we know," says Fr. Carreira "should ultimately be the reason for what we do. Truth may be difficult to find bit it is worth seeking."
Father Carreira has graciously given permission to us to publish some of his thought-provoking and inspiring essays about God, Religion, Science, Catholicism and more.
Christian Faith, Science and Miracles
A most important part of the historical testimony about Christ is the insistence of the witnesses upon facts that proved God's sanctioning of the activities, teaching and personality of Christ. Those facts -miracles- were required in order that accepting his claims would not be considered irrational.
Whoever says that he is the Son of God, equal to God, existing before Abraham, of higher dignity than the prophets, entitled to forgive sins, must provide undeniable proofs of those claims. Otherwise, it would be madness to just take him at his word. Faith, in Catholic Theology, is called "rationabile obsequium", a rational response to truth.
The Human Body in Eternity: Matter and the Resurrection
Christ's Resurrection is not some kind of pious symbol, nor a mythical expression of some kind of psychological "experience" of the primitive Christian community. It is a historical event, verified by witnesses who saw, heard and touched a living Person they had seen and touched as a dead corpse three days earlier. They proved their certainty and sincerity with their martyrdom. And if seeing a corpse is sufficient proof that the person died, seeing somebody alive after leaving the dead body in a tomb is equally a proof of resurrection, even if there are no witnesses of the moment of death or of returning to life. To deny this obvious logic with word plays about a "meta-historical" event is to leave behind the most basic rationality.
The Shroud of Turin
Aside from the Gospel narratives, there are several relics traditionally related to Christ's Passion, and one -especially mysterious- that is most probably the sheet that wrapped Christ's body in the tomb until the moment of the resurrection. This is the Turin Shroud, the most extensively studied archaeological object in all antiquity.
The Meaning of Human Existence: Why, What For, How
No sane person questions the fact of death as the necessary outcome of life in this world. With that perspective, nothing we have acquired has lasting value, not even the possibility of being remembered for a limited time and in a very restricted environment.
When I stand before my Creator, the only possible source of eternal happiness, will I consider that I am before a stranger? Will I dare to ask to be accepted to share in the divine life at the most intimate level? If in God's infinite mercy I am granted the grace to see my blindness and repent from it, what a painful shame to realize I have wasted a life that should have prepared me for the Father's embrace!
Because God is Love
God's creating activity cannot benefit Him in any way: a creature, whose entire being is received from the Creator, cannot add anything to the infinite source of perfection and happiness. The only reason to create must be found in the generous abundance of the essential Good that overflows to share with creatures the radical benefit of existence and, finally, the inexpressible joy of partaking of the intimate life of the Trinity. God creates because He loves, because God is Love.
The First Commandment
Jesus answers with the First Commandment's quote the question of the Doctor of the Law who asks about the most basic and important commandment. He then adds the second one -love of the neighbor- but even if I were the only inhabitant of the Universe, without neighbors, the first precept would still be present with its full impact. It is the response due to the infinite Love of a Creator who gives me existence by pure selfless generosity, because He wants me to partake of his own life and limitless happiness.
Suffering, In a World Created by a God Who is Love
What can the answer be, logically and theologically, to the obvious query: How can God have made a world where there is so much pain, so much EVIL?
Jesus Christ - Head of the Church
The Church is not an administrative structure -a bureaucracy, even without the unpleasant connotation of the term- but a living organism where the vital force is the Spirit of Christ and the Blood that flows from the Head to each cell in the Body. We could say that it implies something analogous to the Incarnation, thus constituting a single Agent of divine and human activities: the actions of human members attain divine value by their union with the only source of supernatural energy, Christ, Head of the Church.
Jesus Christ - Joy Eternal
Heaven is not "a place" set in any kind of space, just like eternity is not an interval of time. In his Resurrection Christ begins to exist free from the space-time framework that limits matter and its activities, and "heaven" is the name for a new kind of life for which all our images -born from sense impressions- are inapplicable. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, what God has prepared for those who love Him", and any effort to imagine this new kind of life will always be inadequate.
Christ, Truth Incarnated
Due to this unique relationship, the Son is essential Truth: when Christ said "I am the Truth" -a statement that might sound incomprehensible to us- he is not simply referring to himself as a Master of true knowledge, but to his intimate nature as a divine Person. His coming into the world is the mission of communicate and clarify the eternal Truth: "I came for that purpose, to testify to the Truth". Because "nobody knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom He gives that knowledge" "Nobody has ever seen God: the only begotten Son, always in the Father's bosom, has manifested Him".
Christ, the Key to History
To state that Christ is the key to History may be just a symbolic phrase, poetic and perhaps lacking in rigorous meaning. To avoid ambiguities we must define concepts: What do we mean by "history"? By "key"? Only thus can we establish a logical connection between both words and see in what sense their meaning can be applied to the Person of the God-Man.
Christ, the Son of God
Because the divinity of Christ is a necessary consequence of his sonship, since every living being communicates its nature and the Father can only give to the Son the divine nature that is his very essence. The concept of a true generation, when we speak of a spiritual and unchangeable Being, has to be applied in an analogous way with respect to the biological level where life is shared as something clearly distinct and independent of the generating organism, in a process that includes a material division of parts.
Logos - The Prologue of the Gospel of St. John
"In the beginning was the Word..."
If a literary analysis were sufficient to show that a written text is due to a supernatural influence and not to human wisdom and reasoning, the opening page of St. John's Gospel would be the most likely example of divine inspiration. Nothing similar was ever part of any philosophy or mythology. It is just unthinkable that a fisherman from Galilee, 2000 years ago, might have produced it by his reasoning power.
Bethlehem, the Eucharist, the Church and Mary
It might seem rather daring to add to this beautiful Prologue (St John's Gospel) any other comment, no matter how well founded it might be. But the reality of the Incarnation leads us to insist on the fact that the Son-made-Man always appears and acts clearly expressing the double message of his Sonship and his role as manifestation of the Father, as the Word of Truth.
Jesus Christ, the Reason for Creation
The very existence of the Universe at all levels, from the most perfect angels to the most humble matter can only be understood in terms of its relationship to Christ. Only with an absurd lack of reverence can another historical figure be compared to Him. And it is impossible to understand anything about Christianity if we do not establish, from the start, this primacy of nature, activity and honor that belongs only to the Son of God who became the Son of Man.
God, Creator and Father
- Why did God create persons, intelligent and free?
- Why did God create matter, after creating the angels?
- Why did God create human beings?
- Why was there no repentance or redemption for the fallen angels?
- Could the Son of God have become an angel?
- Why was Christ born of a virgin?
- Why is there no repentance after death?
- When is the resurrection taking place?
- Why is God addressed as "Father"?
An effort, based on scientific and philosophical considerations, meant to deepen our understanding of the basic tenets of Theology, and to give a clearer picture of our dignity and our destiny.
Evolution in Living Forms: Determinism, Chance, Purposeful Design
The fact of evolutionary change taking place across the full range of plant and animal life is imposed on us by the fossil record from the most primitive single-cell organisms of 3.5 eons ago to the amazing variety of present-day life on Earth. There is no evidence either in Science or in Theology to lead us to think otherwise. We could even argue that a direct creation of each species with the subsequent elimination of ancient forms, to be replaced in toto by new unrelated ones, would be almost tantamount to a deceptive stratagem on the part of an intelligent and truthful Creator.
Once evolution is admitted, it becomes necessary to give a sufficient reason and a believable mechanism to explain how it actually took place. While the way life evolves is mostly a problem for Biology to solve, with basic knowledge of genetic variability and transmission providing the general framework, the detailed process for change that leads to improved fitness for the environment and survival or extinction is still debatable and far from satisfactory.
Astronomy and Creation
If we clearly specify the proper methodology and area of applicability of each type of knowledge (scientific, philosophical and theological), we can expect that each viewpoint will contribute with a partial image to our understanding of the Universe, especially when we deal with the most complex subject, the human person.
And if the limits of each kind of knowledge are respected, there is no reason to fear contradictions when their statements are compared: the data obtained at the lower levels should be respected and taken into account when we reason at higher ones.
This is particularly necessary when we consider the possible inference of the concept of Creation from the data of modern Cosmology, a branch of physical science that in the past century has underlined the finite spatial and temporal parameters of the Universe, and its dynamical evolution from the first event of the Big Bang until the surging of life on Earth and its development to the human level.
The Creation Account of Genesis in the language of Modern Science
Continuation and conclusion of the Astronomy and Creation essay.
It would be a mistake to read Genesis as if it were a book of Cosmology or Biology, thus being forced by a blind faith to deny scientific facts regarding cosmic evolution or the evolution of life on Earth. But, in a simple language, very important truths are presented, not to be forced artificially into a scientific straightjacket nor -as an alternative- dismissed by a myopic scientificism.
Immaculate - Full of Grace
The dogma about Original Sin presents Man in a state of denial and isolation. It is not the same as a personal sin, the result of a conscious act of a rebel free will, that seeks the proud independence of denying the essence of a created being to become an absolute arbiter of good and evil. Personal sin has its own negative reality and it isn't simply an absence of some good, even if this is also its inevitable consequence.
Jesus Christ, Source of Life
The coming of Christ into the world clarifies the meaning of human life, now understood within the design of the living God who created us as his Image and Likeness. Even if death came into the world through sin and it seems to destroy the divine plan, the theme of life continues to be underlined throughout the Old Testament, reaching the clear statement of destiny to an eternal life (that includes the human body) in the heroic confession of faith of the Maccabee brothers and their mother. God is alive, constantly contrasted with the inert idols; his actions in regard to Israel are life-giving, especially when He forgives and "raises" a people that abandoned the living God to follow dead and fictitious gods.
Agnosticism, Atheism, Theism
Let us begin with the fundamental question: Why is there something instead of nothing? The best scientists have acknowledged that this is the most important query, after studying the data about the structure and evolution of the Universe.
With a desire for clarity -seeking Truth- and without any attitude of rivalry, I would still consider that a necessary step will be to specify points where Protestantism -either in its original formulation or in its basic contemporary forms- is at odds with Catholic Theology in a way that has important consequences.
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