Jerry's Blog

The Big Bangs

Our universe began with a bang, so it seems. I can actually think of two catastrophic events that are possible for explaining the origin of the universe. The most popular cosmological model, which was first proposed in 1927, considers that all the matter and energy in the universe pre-existed at a central point and expanded from there. On the other hand, the traditional theological approach asserts that God created matter “ex nihilo”, or out of nothing. Although our beginnings are important, we should understand that how it happened is very uncertain.

 

It shouldn’t surprise us that we can’t be sure about the very beginning of everything. We don’t even know how they built the Egyptian pyramids. It wasn’t that long ago, but the Egyptians didn’t leave us any DIY step-by-step instructions, at least, that we can find. Many different theories have been proposed for how the rock was quarried, how it was transported, how it was raised and put in place, and how many workers were involved. If the pyramids weren’t standing there to prove their existence, we would not be able to imagine that such a feat would be possible. They are considered so miraculous that some people think the Egyptians would have needed alien intervention from outer space to build them. Since we don’t know a lot about recent human events, then we shouldn’t insist on having certainty about events that might have occurred billions of years ago when no humans were around to observe them.

 

The Big Bang Theory, with all its variations, is truly an amazing concept. It is based on the observation of red shift, cosmic microwave background radiation, changes in stars, particle physics, and a whole lot of mathematics. We can’t see light from the hypothetical beginning, so that part of the model is total speculation. Few, if any, of the oldest stars have been found. Observations support the theories of star formation, but dark matter has never been observed. It’s a fudge factor to explain the unexplainable. Parts of the scenario are there and parts are “missing links”. Even though we are collecting huge amounts of data from observing the stars, it is questionable whether we can ever be certain about how the universe began.

 

I recall reading an article in Reader’s Digest years ago. It described the Big Bang as scientists scaling a mountain. When they arrived at the peak, they looked across the top of the mountain to see theologians who got there before them by climbing the other side. The idea was that the Big Bang implies an origin, which supports the idea of a creator. The Big Bang Theory is a work in progress. It is still highly speculative. It has partisans among both materialists and believers.

 

Believers are divided between those who see God using the Big Bang and those who see a miraculous creation, which could have happened at a more recent time than 14 billion years ago. They argue that the facts could allow it. Whether or not God created everything from nothing is ultimately a question 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). For them, how it happened is secondary. In either case, the universe began with a bang.

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