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New Heavens and a New Earth: Scientific and Theological Eschatology

Mar 10 - Mar 11

New Heavens and a New Earth: Scientific and Theological Eschatology

10-11 March 2023
Aula Minor, Angelicum

Lingua: Inglese

Download the full conference program here.

Theme of the Conference: Physical Eschatology

Eschatology – theorising about the end of the world – has historically been the purview of theology and philosophy, in the same way that Cosmogony – theorising about the origin of the universe – was thought to be an exclusively speculative study, not an observational one. One of the most profound scientific discoveries of the twentieth century was that the solar system and the universe have histories that have left clear signs and markers that are accessible to observation. The theory of general relativity and further advances in theoretical and observational cosmology opened the door to a scientific history of the universe. Observational and theoretical advancements about the nature of stars revealed the complex stages of stellar development and a history for our solar system and the Earth in particular. Parallel to those profound historical discoveries are scientific predictions about the future of our planetary home, our solar system, and the universe as a whole, each of which coalesces in a discussion of how they will reach their end, a “Scientific Eschatology.”

In this conference, we shall first look back to the first major interaction of astronomy and Catholic theology, by recalling the scientific and theological reception of the theories of Copernicus, as we mark the 550th anniversary of his birth. Then we shall consider the most recent developments in Scientific Eschatology, predictions about the future of our solar system and the universe, and Theological Eschatology, with a particular focus on the doctrine of the resurrection of the Body and the “New Heavens and New Earth”. Drawing on the insights of specialists from Europe and North America in astronomy, theology, philosophy, and history, our hope is to inspire interdisciplinary reflection and dialogue on what, if any, interaction there can and should be between scientific predictions about the future of the universe and theological reflection on the “end times” and what Christ promised will come afterwards.


Friday, 10 March

09:00 | Christopher Graney (Vatican Observatory) | A New-Old Heaven and Earth: St. Thomas, Kepler, and the scientific reception of Copernicus

10:00 |Coffee Break

10:30 | Nuno Castel-Branco (The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies) | Heliocentrism, A Forbidden Idea? Copernicus, Aristotle, and Early Modern Censorship

11:30 | Coffee Break

12:00 | Jonathan Lunine (Cornell University and Dominican House of Studies) | The future of the Solar System: A scientific view

13:00 | Lunch Break

14:30 | Gabriele Gionti, SJ (Specola Vaticana and INFN) | The Universe as Described by the Standard Model of Cosmology: From the Big-Bang to the End of the Universe

15:30 | Coffee Break

16:00 | Afternoon Break Out Sessions



Saturday, 11 March

12:30 | Dominic Holtz, OP (Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas) | The End of Endless Motion: Thomas Aquinas, Celestial Bodies, and the Renewal of the World

13:30 | Lunch Break

14:30 | Michael Root | (Catholic University of America) | The State of Contemporary Eschatology and Its Relation to Secular Wisdom

15:30 | Coffee Break

16:00 | Paul O’Callaghan (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross) | Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body and the New Heavens and New Earth

17:00 | Coffee Break

17:30 | Thomas Davenport, OP (Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas) | Immortal Diamonds: Contemporary Science and the Problem of Incorruptibility


Online registration is now closed, to register please go to the ATI registration desk on the day of the conference.


Mar 10
Mar 11
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Angelicum – Aula Minor
Largo Angelicum 1
Rome, 00184 Italy
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+39 06/67021