What Scientific Evidence Proves God Created and Designed the Universe? – Bonus/Program 1

By: Dr. Hugh Ross; ©2009
The Big Bang points toward an outside agent who created all space, time, energy, and matter. Genesis 1:1 states this exact information: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Bonus Material Session 1

Contents

Introduction

Dr. John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. What you are going to hear today is something you won’t hear anyplace else. What this man who’s my guest, Dr. Hugh Ross, is going to present to you today is what he has been presenting atheistic scientists and bring science and basically proving the existence of God.
Now, I want you to see this thing, and I’ve asked him to give us that same presentation. I watched it with students, I’ve watched this scientists. This is something that hasn’t been done before. The Christian community hasn’t seen this. I want you to see this. And it’s going to reinforce your faith and it’s going to give you a sense of awe at how God has created everything.
Dr. Hugh Ross is an astrophysicist and an astronomer who received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Toronto. He did postdoctoral research at Cal Tech on quasars. Hugh, I am glad that you are here. And just lead us into this.
Dr. Hugh Ross: Sure. Thank you. Well, the talk is Putting Creation to the Test. And what I’m going to do here is review quickly the creation model we’ve developed at Reasons to Believe. And unlike the Intelligent Design movement, we really do have a model. Now, we’ve learned on the campuses you have to go with a positive approach, give them the positive evidence for creation, then show them how it can be tested, falsified, possibly falsified, and how it successfully makes predictions of scientific discoveries.
And the first thing people need to appreciate is, design is not the issue. Everyone concedes that there is design when we look at the universe, when we look at life. The question is, who or what is responsible for that design? And what we’re attempting to do at Reasons to Believe is to identify the designer. That’s key to building the model as you can’t have a detailed model unless you identify who the designer is. And the two questions I want to address today are, is the evidence for the creator’s existence shrinking or growing? And, is it possible in light of that evidence to eliminate some or all the alternate explanations? I’m not just trying to demonstrate that a God exists, but what kind of God does exist.
Now the creation model we’ve developed is the biblical model. Now, it was none other than Sir Fred Hoyle, a pantheistic astronomer, who made this statement about the Bible, “There’s a good deal of cosmology in the Bible. It is remarkable conception.” And indeed, the Bible has more than ten times as much to say about the origin and structure of the universe as any other holy book that undergirds any other religion of the world. And there’s three themes that the Bible really emphasizes repeatedly about the universe. Number one, that the universe arises from a cosmic singularity beginning—that there’s an actual beginning to space, time, matter and energy; that the universe continuously expands from that beginning; and as it expands it’s a universe that gets colder and colder as it gets older and older.
Now, most people both within the church and outside the church are familiar with at least a few of the biblical passages that talk about the beginning of the universe: Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The universe was made at God’s command. Hebrews 11:3—it was not made from that which we can detect or see. Other Bible verses not included in this list talk about an actual beginning of space and time when God creates the universe.
Now the remarkable thing about the 21st century, we live in a day and an age when we can rigorously prove through physics and mathematics that this biblical statement is true. And it comes through the space time theorems of general relativity. And these space time theorems state that if the universe contains mass and if general relativity reliable describes the dynamics of the universe, then space and time must be created by an entity that transcends space and time, a causal agent that transcends space and time.
Now, the significant point here is that when you look at the other religions like the Eastern religions, they speak about God or gods or cosmic forces creating within space and time, where the Bible stands alone as saying that God creates independent or outside of space and time. And in that sense, these space time theorems rank as the most theologically important theorems that human beings have ever developed.
Ankerberg: By the way, that was not a Christian statement. That came from who?
Ross: That came from Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking. They are the author of the first space time theorem. But now we have much more powerful space time theorems than the ones they developed in 1970.
But back in 1970 when the first of these theorems came out, we couldn’t prove that general relativity reliably describes cosmic dynamics to anything better than 1% precision. But the strength and number of the proofs for general relativity has mounted dramatically since then. We can now prove that general relativity reliably describes cosmic dynamics to about 15 places of the decimal, to better than a trillionth of a percent precision. In fact, today general relativity ranks as the most exhaustibly tested and best proven principle in all of physics, which means there is no longer any basis for doubting the conclusion of these space time theorems, that there must be a causal agent beyond space and time.
The other thing that is important is the theorems have become more generally applicable. The first of these theorems was in the context of classical general relativity. What has happened since then is a number of physicists have looked at inflationary models, quantum creation models, and have been able to develop far more powerful and general space time theorems.
Ankerberg: Let me just stop you right there. The fact is, I remember reading in your book, the fact is Einstein, through his own theory of general relativity, mathematically came to the conclusion there had to be a beginning for the universe and didn’t like that.
Ross: Right.
Ankerberg: Okay. But the fact is, later on the scientific evidence that continued to mount came and it actually forced him to accept that point. And again, what is the struggle that scientists have with actually stating the fact that there was a beginning?
Ross: Well, for a ten year period two theoretical physicists, Armand Borde and Alexander Vilenkin published these five papers. And in these five papers they searched for some loophole around the space time theorem. Is there some way we can avoid this causal agent beyond space and time?
Ankerberg: Yeah, because that causal agent, basically, is God, who created everything.
Ross: Exactly.
Ankerberg: When you’re saying the agent had to be outside of time and space and energy and mass, well who is that? That’s God. They don’t want to say that, so they say this causal transcendent agent.
Ross: Right. Well, after ten years, this is what they concluded, Borde and Vilenkin: that any universe that expands on average, must have a beginning in the finite past. So everyone agrees that indeed the universe is expanding on the average, and therefore, we are indeed stuck with this causal agent beyond space and time. In fact, their comment is “all reasonable expanding universe models.” What they mean by that, any model of the universe that would permit the existence of life, is subject to the relentless grip of the space time theorems.
Ankerberg: Yeah. Another way of saying that for me is that the fact is, if you’re dealing with the real world of what we’ve got right now, okay, you’re going to be stuck with this. You can have mathematical models that aren’t tied to reality, which is what they’re trying to come up with, all these different hypotheses that’ll get you past this beginning point and the God who created everything. But the fact is, what he is saying is when you’re dealing with reality and all the other scientific things that are based in reality that we do know, you’re stuck with, the fact is, that everybody is subject to “the relentless grip of the space time theorems.”
Ross: Well, this allows us to make a number of predictions. That’s what scientists really want to see. They want to see you making predictions. And we already have this very compelling evidence for basically predicting. It will become even more compelling as we learn more about the beginning of the universe.
And so these are some predictions we have developed:
  • That evidence for a single cosmic beginning, as opposed to no beginning or multiple beginnings, will multiply as we astronomers learn more about the universe.
  • That the evidence that space is finite rather than infinite will grow.
  • That evidence that general relativity reliably describes cosmic dynamics will increase. As a matter of fact there’s a satellite orbiting the earth right now that’s subjecting general relativity to a test that’s never been applied with any great precision. We’re predicting that general relativity will pass with flying colors.
  • A fourth prediction is we are predicting that these space time theorems will become even more relentless in their grip on the idea of the beginning of space and time. And consequently the case for a transcendent causal agent, what the rest of us call God, the God of the Bible, will grow. And I think what’s most important, we would predict that evidence for other miraculous acts will be found.
Now, I want to emphasize this point here, because what we’ve established in just a few minutes is the evidence scientifically for an undeniable miracle. And it’s the biggest miracle anybody can ask for. And we’re talking about the coming into existence of all of physical reality. The entire universe and everything that’s within that universe can be traceable back to this miracle. You really can’t ask for a bigger scientifically documented miracle than this particular one, which means that from now on, science must leave the door open for the possibility that this supernatural creator may have chosen to intervene more than once. No longer can science be done from a strictly naturalistic perspective. We have to be open to the possibility that in addition to natural causes, there may be supernatural causes, which is where I want to take us now. Because the Bible actually says far more about the expansion of the universe than it does the beginning of the universe.
Now you won’t find any passages in Genesis, you won’t find them in any of the books of Moses. But once you get past the books of Moses, you’ll see six different Bible authors speaking explicitly in great detail about the continual expansion of the universe; even the idea that the expansion is a surface phenomena rather than a volume phenomena, including all the dimensions. It’s based on this Hebrew verb natal, translated into English usually the “stretching out” of the heavens, but the word is actually more accurately translated “the continual expansion” of whatever is being described.
Now, astronomers have an abundance of evidences that we live in a continuously expanding universe. Most of these evidences are quite technical to describe to a lay audience. But thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope we can actually watch the expansion of the universe. And what we see here is an image from the Hubble Space Telescope of galaxies twelve billion light years away, which means it took the light twelve billion years to reach us. So we’re seeing the universe when it was only about two billion years old.
Ankerberg: Yeah. Let me stop. I mean, we’ve got to do this. The miracle you’re talking about is popularly referred to as the Big Bang.
Ross: Right.
Ankerberg: And that model has been constantly refined, but the foundation principles are the same: there was a beginner, there was a causal agent outside of space and time that brought it all into existence at a point 13.7 billion years ago. And one of the reasons of proof is that as you go back, when you as an astronomy look at light, and you can measure the light waves and you can see the different colors going back that tell you the time. You also found that the objects, if you call it the Big Bang, the fact is they came out of that. And what you’re saying is that’s expanding in all directions, and you can actually measure that.
Ross: Right.
Ankerberg: And you’re also saying that’s what the Bible says.
Ross: Well, more than 2,000 years before any scientist even dreamed of the idea of an expanding universe, you’ve got all of these Bible authors explicitly talking, writing about this continually expanding universe. So in terms of Big Bang cosmology, the Bible said it 2000-3000 years before any scientist even conceived of the concept; one of the most dramatic examples of the Bible accurately predicting future scientific discoveries. But the Bible was alone in making this prediction until the 20th century.
Ankerberg: Alright, again, Hugh, what is the picture that we’re looking at here?
Ross: Well, the picture that you’re looking at here, on the left is an image from the Hubble Space Telescope of the universe 12 billion light years away. And with the universe being 14 billion years old, that means we’re seeing a shot of the universe when it’s just two billion years old, just two billion years after the creation event. Whereas on the right what we’re seeing is a photo image of two billion light years away, which means we’re looking at the universe when it’s twelve billion years old. And so we’ve got ten billion years of expansion between the one on the left and the one on the right. Everything’s to scale here, and you can see how galaxies indeed have stretched apart from one another. On the left the galaxies are so close together they’re ripping spiral arms off one another. That’s not happening in the image on the right.
Ankerberg: Yeah. What we’re doing is from the perspective of earth going back, if you want, the one on the left, you’re going back 12 billion years from the time that we’re seeing at the end of the spectrum. Let’s say you’re 14, but you’re going back just 12 of the 14 to the Big Bang here. And so the 12 billion years back is only two billion years away from the Big Bang. That’s why the one on the left, everything’s so close together.
Ross: Right.
Ankerberg: And then as you come down to two billion years from us, or basically 12 billion years away from the Big Bang, the fact is now you see how everything has expanded. And you can measure those expansion rates.
Ross: Right.
Ankerberg: And you have.
Ross: Right.
Ankerberg: And it also goes along with what Scripture is saying.
Ross: That’s right. That’s exactly right. And now something else Scripture says is that the laws that govern the heavens and the earth are fixed. In other words, they’re constant. And the Bible says this constantly, that God designed the universe with laws of physics that are constant from creation up through the present. It also tells us that one of those laws is the law of decay, and how the entire creation, which would encompass all of the space time of the creation, is subject to this bondage to decay.
Now, if the universe is continuously expanding under constant laws of physics where we have the Second Law of Thermodynamics or this law of decay continually in operation, that’s a universe that must get colder and colder as it gets older and older. It’s the same principle of your car engine. When the piston chamber expands, the temperature goes down; when the piston chamber compresses, the temperature goes up. That’s what thermodynamics under constant physical laws does. Well, this allows us, based on these biblical statements, to predict a temperature cooling curve for the universe.
Now, recognizing that we are looking at a universe that’s 14 billion years old, given these biblical statements, you would come up with this curve that you see in this graph. And what you see overlapping that curve are actual temperature measurements of the radiation from the creation event that we see in the signature of spectral lines in distant gas clouds. And you can see how these measurements indeed perfectly fit what the Bible predicts about the cooling of the universe. The actual temperature measurements fit the curve.
Now, today we recognize that the dominant factor in the universe that governs this expansion of the universe is dark energy. This is energy that’s embedded in the space surface of the universe. And keep in mind, it’s just like Isaiah said, that God stretches out the heavens, or expands the heavens, as one would expand a tent to live in it. In other words, the reality of the universe is its surface, not what’s inside or outside. All the matter and energy is confined to the surface. But the surface has embedded in it this dark energy.
And the way it works is the more the universe expands and makes it’s surface bigger, the more energy is accumulated in that surface to expand the universe. And so the universe today is expanding at a more and more rapid rate, thanks to this dark energy. And it’s the dominant factor governing cosmic expansion. And it determines…
Ankerberg: How much dark energy is out there?
Ross: Well, it makes up 72% of all the stuff of the universe.
Ankerberg: Okay.
Ross: Now, this dark energy, if you were to make it a little bit bigger than what we observe, would expand the universe so rapidly that gravity would not be able to collect gas and dust to make stars. And without stars, life would be impossible. You wouldn’t get planets either, for that matter. On the other hand, if you expand the universe too slowly, if dark energy were a little bit weaker, then gravity would collect all of matter and make them into black holes and neutron stars. And in black holes and neutron stars, molecules are impossible, atoms are impossible, even protons and electrons are impossible. And clearly life is impossible.
Ankerberg: Yeah. So instead of you having just an uncontrollable Big Bang, an explosion that came out willy-nilly, what you’re saying is the scientists are finding out this incredible, incredible fantastic fine tuning of the universe: that the expansion rate out is exactly right, and the drawing back in is just exactly right. And those are balances so you could have life here. And once God created life here, the fact is, it could be sustained.
Ross: That’s right. Because, you know, for life to be possible, physical life to be possible, you need stars like the sun, and planets like earth. And what surprised astronomers a few decades ago was to discover how carefully you have to fine tune this cosmic expansion in order to get the right kinds of stars and planets occurring at the right time in cosmic history so physical life would be possible.
As a matter of fact, it was Lawrence Krauss, chairman of the physics and astronomy department at Case Western Reserve University who said that dark energy would involve the most extreme fine tuning problem known in physics, because you would have to fine tune the dark energy parameter so very closely in order to get the universe to expand at the just right rate. In fact, for physical life to be possible, it has to be fine tuned to within one part in 10122. That’s 122 zeros after the one.
And to give you some point of comparison there, we can compare it with the very best machine or instrument that human beings have ever designed. And the design that we see in this dark energy parameter exceeds the very best example of human engineering design by a factor of more than 1097 times, which allows you to conclude that this causal agent beyond space and time at a minimum must ten trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, times more intelligent and more knowledgeable than the Cal Tech and the MIT physicists who designed this gravity wave telescope, or at least that many times better funded.
Now, the significant part here is, a lot of my peers have been arguing, “Well, it’s a transcendent causal agent; we’re not claiming it’s God.” But I’m saying if it’s a causal agent that’s capable of manifesting, you know, power, creativity, care, intellect and knowledge, now we’re dealing with a person. Only a person can manifest those attributes. So we really are looking at the personal transcendent God that we see described in the pages of the Bible.
Ankerberg: Yeah. And I remember when you said that to the scientist that were all skeptics, that the room was absolutely dead stone quiet.
Ross: Well, what’s interesting is that this has been quite acknowledged by theoretical physicists who take an atheistic worldview. In fact, I have here a paper that’s titled “Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant,” another name for dark energy. And what I want to do is just kind of pull some quotes from these authors.
One of the quotes they said was “arranging the universe as we think it is arranged, that is, with dark energy, would have required a miracle.” That’s a remarkable statement for three atheistic physicists to state. The other thing they said was, “an external agent, namely external to space and time, intervened in cosmic history for reasons of its own.” Now that explains the title of the paper. These three theoretical physicists found this to be so utterly disturbing, that if dark energy is real, then we’re stuck with this causal agent beyond space and time performing miracles for reasons of its own, that they concluded their paper with the following sentence. This is a direct quote, “The only reasonable conclusion is we do not live in a world that is a universe with a true cosmological constant.” In other words, they said dark energy must be wrong, because if dark energy is true, then we’re stuck with this causal agent beyond space and time performing miracles for his own particular reasons.
But the irony of this particular paper was it was posted on the Los Alamos website for preprints in theoretical physics just months before astronomers developed overwhelming evidence that dark energy not is real but is a dominant component in the universe. And on our reasons.org website we actually have articles published on nine independent observational lines of evidence that astronomers have that dark energy not only is real, but is the dominant component of the universe. Now what was interesting is how these three authors responded. Rather than letting the paper go to publication, they pulled the paper down from the Los Alamos website of preprints. So it’s not been published. But, you know, the paper has existed in three different versions in preprint form. And they’re acknowledging the impact of dark energy and are recognizing it undercut their paper.
Ankerberg: Yeah. I think the folks need to know that the very mathematics and the physics, the scientific evidence that they are stuck with, has forced them to these conclusions. And man, they realize the implications: that you’re talking about God here, and you’re talking about a God who lovingly designed everything. There’s purpose looking them straight in the face. And they are really struggling against that. They trying to see these things are not right. But what’s interesting to me, in the last few years the amount of scientific evidence that continues to reinforce these things keeps on doubling, tripling, quadrupling, and it’s just driving this evidence into them.
Ross: Well, it really is. Because this isn’t the only piece of evidence we have. This is just one constant of physics that we’re looking at. It may be the most spectacular of all the constants of physics that we can look at in terms of demonstrating supernatural design, but it’s by no means alone. And what I have here is just a brief list of just a few of the cosmic design characteristics we see in the laws of physics and the characteristics of the universe.
All of the forces of physics, for example, show remarkable fine tuning design. For example, the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force. Change it by as little as one part in ten thousand trillion, trillion, trillion, and it’s impossible for the universe to ever sustain physical life. You know, and the list goes on. We look at the fundamental particles, we look at the cosmic expansion rate, which we’ve already talked about, the velocity of light, the entropy level of the universe. Everywhere we look we see this evidence for design. And this enables us to develop a test, namely if we’re right about this God of the designing the universe for the specific benefit of humanity, we would anticipate that as astronomers learn more about the universe they will uncover accumulating evidence for this supernatural, super intelligent design for the benefit of humanity.
Ankerberg: Yeah. And I think what I’ve read in your latest papers are the fact that you have found, the scientists, the physicists have found 800 physical laws that have been so finely tuned that it’s just, again, just jamming this evidence into their consciousness. They just have to deal with this. And it continues to increase. And you’re saying it’s going to increase.
Ross: We are. And that’s in the context of looking at something smaller than the whole of the universe, like the solar system in the Milky Way galaxy. Because it’s closer to us we can uncover a lot more design than when we look at the universe itself.
But if we just look at the universe, this is a kind of a table here of our research over a 15 year period. And it shows how back in 1991 as we went through the scientific literature we found 17 different features of the universe that had to be exquisitely fine tuned to make the universe habitable. But by 1995 that list had gone up to 26. And what this table shows is the more we study the universe, astronomy is a discipline where the knowledge base doubles every four or five years, and the last time we accumulated this evidence was at the end of 2006. And by that time 140 different features of the laws of physics and the characteristics of the universe as a whole were manifesting this evidence for supernatural super intelligent design. Making the point the more we learn about the universe, the more evidence we find for the God of the Bible creating the universe and designing it for the benefit of humanity.
Ankerberg: Alright, folks, next week we’re going to look at the fine tuning, the scientific evidence for the fine tuning of the physical laws of the galaxy, the solar system, and our earth here. You won’t want to miss this. Please join us then.

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