加利略與教會

吳繩武牧師

 

        加利略(1564-1642)是一個偉大的物理學家、天文學家、和數學家。他所發明的天文望遠鏡使人能夠詳細看到太陽、行星、月亮、等天體。他也藉著這天文望遠鏡證實了高白尼所假設地球環繞太陽的學說。加利略有了這新的武器,就更有信心宣講和教導關於天文的真理。

在他那個時代,一般人都還相信地球是宇宙的中心,其他天體是環繞地球運行的。教會除了接受這種傳統外,也接受聖經裡太陽環繞地球的說法。加利略知道他所認識的真理與聖經有抵觸。他曾經表示(大意):「聖經如果與科學衝突,有關經文就不能以字面解釋。(In 1616 Galileo wrote the Letter to the Grand Duchess which he argued strongly for a non-literal interpretation of Holy Scripture when the literal interpretation would contradict facts about the physical world….Galileo’s conflict)」[1]但當時羅馬教廷不能接受加利略關於聖經的看法。審判異端的法庭為要對付加利略,於1616年宣佈高白尼的學說是異端,把他的科學著作列入禁書目錄,並警告加利略不許再宣傳地球環繞太陽的理論。

        加利略知道這法庭的嚴厲。他應該知道,意大利科學家Bruno因相信地球環繞太陽而被教會當為異端徒燒死(In 1600 an Italian scientist named Giordano Bruno had been burned as a heretic because of his belief in the Copernican system. Galileo Galilei[2]。不過,加利略不甘心因受壓制而把真理放棄。於1632年,他出版了<關於世界兩個主要系統的對話>Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World,內容是關於地球繞日的闡明。審判異端的法庭把這書列入禁書目錄並傳召他到羅馬出庭。加利略因身體虛弱,於1633年才到達羅馬。法庭根據1616年的定案,宣稱加利略觸犯了異端,迫他承認「地球繞日」的說法是錯誤的,且判他終身軟禁。這是對他比較寬恕的處理。

        加利略在監禁中繼續寫書,在他失明之前,完成了關於物理與數學一書。他偷偷把那本書運到荷蘭,並在那裡出版。加利略一生為科學、為真理做出貢獻;可惜他的結果是悲慘的。他最後八年是生活在敵對者的控制中。他死後,親人把他的屍體葬在秘密的地方,避免敵對者的干擾。到了1737年,他的屍體才被政府當局移到教堂一個美好的墓地(It was a sad end for so great a man to die condemned of heresy. His will indicated that he wished to be buried beside his father in the family tomb in the Basilica of Santa Croce but his relatives feared, quite rightly, that this would provoke opposition from the Church. His body was concealed and only placed in a fine tomb in the church in 1737 by the civil authorities against the wishes of many in the Church.Galileo’s conflict[3]

        1992年,加利略死後350年,教宗代表教會致詞說,當時教會顧問犯了錯誤。他宣佈加利略之事件已終結。不過,教宗並沒有承認教會因加利略相信地球環繞太陽而判他為異端徒是錯誤的。On 31 October 1992, 350 years after Galileo's death, Pope John Paul II gave an address on behalf of the Catholic Church in which he admitted that errors had been made by the theological advisors in the case of Galileo. He declared the Galileo case closed, but he did not admit that the Church was wrong to convict Galileo on a charge of heresy because of his belief that the Earth rotates round the sun. Galileo’s conflict】)不過,教宗有一句關於解釋聖經重要的話「十七世紀的神學顧問所根據的是當年的知識;他們冤枉了加利略,因為他們不懂得把科學的範圍與信心的範圍分別處理。」The pope concluded that while 17th-century theologians based their decision on the knowledge available to them at the time, they had wronged Galileo by not recognizing the difference between a question relating to scientific investigation and one falling into the realm of doctrine of the faith. Conflict with】)[4] 

 

教會為甚麼過了那麼多年代才提起這案呢?我想,至少有兩個原因:1.任何人都不想提起以前不榮耀的事。2.更嚴重的事,是一般基督徒還是認為聖經說太陽環繞地球:如果教會現在接受加利略所說的地球環繞太陽,教友會以為教會承認聖經錯了。所以,教會遲遲沒有解決加利略這懸案。不過,不處理這案也是不行。教宗做得不錯:他一方面承認教會以往的過錯,一方面指出教會與科學各有它的活動範圍,井水不犯河水。教會和聖經是關於宗教和信心的事;科學是探討和研究自然界的事。教宗提起這話,對一切基督徒都有很大的啟示。

        假如教會於十七世紀認識井水與河水的分別,或從加利略學習靈活解釋聖經,加利略便不必犧牲。不過,假如沒有人犧牲,教會便未必會進步。上帝會主持正義,不過需要時間。

 

 

[1] J.J. O’Connor and E.F. Robertson. Galileo’s Conflict with the Church.

http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Galileo.html

[3] O’Connor and Robertson. Ibid.

[4] Conflict with the Church. www.encyclopedia.com/html/section/galileo_conflictwiththechurch.asp

 

參考資料

What were Galileo’s scientific and biblical conflicts with the Church? Thomas H. Henderson. http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/galileo.html