Archive | April, 2013

Review Article by Dr. Stanley Udd, ’64

Posted on 01 April 2013 by vunruh

The following article is reprinted by permission as found in the March/April 2012 issue of Creation Matters.

Review Article

Earlier this spring, Science News[1] devoted a ten-page section of its publication to questions currently occupying the energies of physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists.  The five question were:

  • What happened before the Big Bang?
  • What is the universe made of?
  • Is there a theory of everything?
  • Are space and time fundamental?
  • What is the universe’s fate?

Five experts then briefly reviewed the history, development, and current thinking of each of these five questions.  I found it fascinating to read about the seriousness of these fundamental issues and the current proposed solutions to these basic questions.  Can we as Christians provide better answers to these enigmas?  Does the Bible even address such foundational questions?  Let’s see.

  • What happened before the Big Bang?

There are currently two competing theories regarding the pre-bang situation.  Since the concept of cosmological inflation of the current universe has become a necessary component of the Big Bang theory, it is suggested that “if inflation happened once, it could happen many times.”[2]  The resulting picture would be a hyper-universe with an unending sequence of attached or unattached bubbles – each bubble representing a universe of undetermined size and duration.

The second theory is more cyclical with the known universe occupying a sheet-like surface on a “brane.”  This brane is suggested to be near another brane.  These “branes collide and then rebound, releasing energy in what looks like a Big Bang.”[3]  This action of collision followed by rebound suggests that numerous universes may and will exist.

When inspired revelation written by the One who created this universe is compared to these theories, the contrast is remarkable.  The Bible starts with the statement that the material universe had a quiet beginning.  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  There were no bubbles, collisions, or chaos from which our universe sprang.  But we do not know this by means of science – we know this on the basis of faith.  “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3 ESV).

Prior to the creation of this universe the Godhead made significant decisions regarding our salvation (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20) and exchanged love and glory (John 17:5, 24).

The Bible would suggest that there was give-and-take sequence before the creation of this physical universe sans any bubbles or branes.

  • What is the universe made of?

If one assumes the concept of deep time, then in order to explain the observed motions within galactic objects from a purely mechanistic standpoint, there would appear to be significant amounts of undetected gravitational mass scattered throughout the universe.  On the other hand, based on observed relationships between galaxies, there would appear to be an even more significant repulsive energy force throughout our universe.  This has resulted in the invention of “dark matter” and “dark energy.”[4]  It is currently believed that the observable universe makes up less than 5% of the total mass and energy of the system.  An additional 23%of the universe is constituted of undetectable “dark matter” while a whopping 72% exists in that “mysterious entity”[5] known as “dark energy.”

The scientific community has invested billions of dollars in particle colliders, telescopes, and satellites, hoping to find actual evidence for these two illusive concepts.  Perhaps they do not exist!  If the universe is a recent creation of God as the Bible suggests and these galactic objects were created in situ, there is no need for this frantic search for these mysterious entities.

According to the Genesis record God created the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day of creation (see Genesis 1:14-19; Psalm 33:6).  They would each have the observable rotational motion at the instant of creation which would render the need for dark energy null.  And God’s placement of the stars is repeatedly described as having “spread them out” across the heavens (see Isaiah 42:5; 44:24; 45:12).  This action on God’s part better explains the observable universe than does some esoteric dark energy.

  • Is there a theory of everything?

The field of physics today has two competing views of reality:  1) quantum mechanics, and 2) general relativity.  “Ever since these two very different views of the universe emerged early in the 20th century, generations of physicists have tried to unite them in a single theory that would ideally describe all four of nature’s basic forces to boot.  Even Einstein tried, and failed.”[6]

The current permutation of this attempt at unification is called ‘superstring theory.’  It requires the addition of seven dimensions to our concept of space – beyond the familiar height, length, depth, and time.  If mathematical equations were developed that could demonstrate that the eleven dimensions somehow “compactify” down into the more normal four dimensions, then perhaps something definitive could be said about ultimate reality.

The Bible on the other hand states clearly that: “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens” (Proverbs 3:19).  As a Christian, I am not able to answer every question that I can ask, but I do know the ultimate source of all things.  “All things came into being by Him, and apart of Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16).  I find that knowledge intellectually satisfying.  The Bible also makes it clear that God accomplished creation by speaking.  “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts” (Psalm 33:6; 148:5).  Repeatedly the first chapter of Genesis uses the phrase “And God said, ‘Let there be ….’”

  • Are space and time fundamental?

Whether he thinks about it or not, everyone understands the concepts of time and space.  But the question remains “whether space and time are fundamental building blocks of natural existence, or are themselves built from more primordial ingredients, so far unperceived.”[7]  A major shift occurred about 100 years ago when Albert Einstein proposed that both time and space could be manipulated.  His ‘thought experiment’ suggested that the passage of time depended on the viewpoint of the observer and that mass is fundamentally tied to time and space.  It is now generally believed that “mass and motion warp space and alter the flow of time.”[8]

A paucity of scientific creationists has taken up the pen to illustrate the inherent contradictions of relativity[9] but the larger scientific community ignores these verities in favor of the theology of paradox.  The fact that God existed prior to the creation of the earth and that logical, sequential thought occurred prior to Genesis 1:1 (see above) suggests that time and space are fundamental concepts that are expressions of existence.  As a Christian I believe that God has existed forever in the past.  Taking that as a given, it would follow that an investigation into the component aspects of either time or space would not lead to any fruitful outcome.

  • What is the universe’s fate?

As one might suspect, cosmic questions regarding the future are no more definitive that are cosmic questions relating to origins.  For the naturalistic theoretician the injection of dark energy has only expanded the quandary.  There are now three scenarios:  1) Too little energy and gravity stops the cosmic expansion and the universe experiences the “Big Crunch.”  2) If the dark energy:gravity ratio is in balance, then the gradual expenditure of useful energy to useless heat will result in the “Big Freeze.”  3) But if instead dark energy mysteriously grows stronger, it is theorized that the galaxies, stars, even atoms will explode under the repulsive force, resulting in the “Big Rip.” [10]  The only certainty in each of these prognostications is the certainty of our demise.  Naturalistic science does not know the concept of hope.

The Bible speaks with certainty regarding the future of this created universe – and these statements about the future are anything but bleak.  “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:19-24 ESV)

The Apostle Peter gives us additional information about the transformation of this sin-cursed universe into an eternal new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells.  “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.  Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:10-13 ESV).

The current scientific community cannot answer the most fundamental questions regarding our origin, our current existence, or our future.  Ultimate truth lies only with God.


[1] Siegfried, T.  April 23, 2011.  Suggesting risky answers to top 5 cosmic questions. Science News.  2.

[2] Cowen, R.  April 23, 2011.  Pre-Bang branes and bubbles. Science News. 22.

[3] Ibid.  23.

[4] Witze, A.  April 23, 2011.  In the dark.  Science News. 24.

[5] Ibid.  25.

[6] Crenson, M. April 23. 2011. Strung together. Science News. 26.

[7] Siegfried, T. April 23, 2011.  Out of the fabric. Science News. 28.

[8] Ibid.  28.

[9] Barnes, T. G.  1983. Physics of the Future: A Classical Unification of Physics.  Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA.

[10] Quill, E. April 23, 2011.  Hanging in the balance.   Science News.  30-31.

 

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