What Scientific Evidence Proves God Created and Designed the Universe?/Program 1
|By: Dr. Hugh Ross; ©2009
|The Big Bang Theory has become a bad word among some Christians. However, when fully understood, 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.”
Today on the John Ankerberg Show, why are astronomers talking about God? In 2005, the Hubble Space Telescope revealed more than 10,000 galaxies and led astronomers to estimate there must be 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe, and 50 billion trillion stars. Where did it all come from? Does the Big Bang theory prove that the universe had a beginning, and that a supernatural causal agent brought all matter, energy, space and time into existence? Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking says, “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.” Do the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” accurately describe what science has discovered? My guest today is astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross, who received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Toronto, and did postdoctoral research at Cal Tech on quasars. We invite you to join us for this special edition of The John Ankerberg Show.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Welcome to our program, we’ve got a great one for you today. Is the Big Bang scientific proof that God created the universe? Does the Big Bang agree with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”? This is a very important, fascinating topic. And my guest today is astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross. He received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Toronto and did postdoctoral research on quasars at Cal Tech. He’s the author of many books that we’ll introduce along the way. Let me start off by asking you, Hugh, what is the Big Bang?
- Dr. Hugh Ross: Well, the Big Bang model is the idea that the universe is traceable back to a beginning. Not just a beginning of matter and energy, but a beginning of matter, energy, space and time. And how the universe continuously expands from that beginning, and expands at the just right rate to make life possible and even advanced life possible at this moment in the universe.
- Ankerberg: Alright. We’re going to tell you more in just a moment. Let me introduce the whole concept of the Big Bang to our audience here by showing you a clip from Hugh’s beautiful movie documentary Journey Toward Creation, watch this!
[Clip from Journey Toward Creation]
- We are passengers on a controlled and purposeful explosion, as if we are microbes riding on a piece of shrapnel from an exploding grenade. All of the universe’s matter and energy, even space and time came into existence in a single moment. But far from a chaotic explosion, this initial blast seems to have been finely tuned, as if it has been designed to benefit us and our tiny planet.
- Today, our knowledge of the heavens and the earth, and the forces influencing them, is greater than that of all previous generations combined; and our sense of wonder grows with each new revelation.
- Ankerberg: Now, the Big Bang is a mind blowing thought, a concept. And it has astonished the astronomers. But take us back: how did you get the point of figuring out the Big Bang happened? And what are some of the proofs along the line that established that this is basically what took place?
- Ross: Well, the very beginning of the scientific discovery was Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. When you solve his equations, it takes you back to a beginning of the universe. Before that, astronomers thought the universe was infinitely old; this showed a beginning. And then Abbe Lemaitre in 1927, a Roman Catholic priest and an astronomer, he came up with the idea of the continuous expansion of the universe, again from those same equations of general relativity. And then astronomers actually observed the galaxies to be expanding away from one another.
- Then after that, astronomers did more and more detailed observations of that expansion, and were able to predict that the universe very long ago must have been incredibly hot. And this would leave a signature, a background radiation, upon the universe. And it was predicted in 1948 that that temperature be above 5 degrees above absolute zero, which at the time was considered to be impossible to detect. But by the 1960s, we had radiometers that could actually pick that up. And that was a Nobel Prize won by Penzias and Wilson; it was for the discovery of that cosmic background radiation from the creation event.
- The light of creation became visible. And that’s the COBE experiment in 1992, a satellite that was sent up for the very purpose of discovering those temperature fluctuations, and when they found the temperature fluctuations, they were at the level they expected, they were in the right places that they expected. And this is why they called this the discovery of the century, if not of all time. And how we’re looking at the face of God, because it gave us that confirmation that the Big Bang theory was not only correct in general, but was correct in detail.
- You know, since 1992 that story has continued, where we’ve made more and more precise measurements, not only of the cosmic background radiation, but of the geography of the distribution of galaxies in the universe and of the expansion history of the universe. And now we have a far more detailed model of the Big Bang creation event and its history subsequent to that than we had, say, in the 1960s and 1990s. And it’s giving us greater and greater confidence that the Big Bang model is correct, and therefore that there’s this agent beyond space and time that created it, and not only created it, but carefully fashioned it so that life would be possible in the universe.
- Ankerberg: Alright, Hugh, I want to show the folks some of the kinds of instruments that you and other astronomers work with that allows you to gather the scientific evidence that proves the universe did have a beginning; how you see right back to the creation event. Folks, watch this.
[Clip from Journey Toward Creation]
- This is the Keck Observatory, the world’s largest optical telescopes. Together, these two telescopes have eight times the collecting area of the Mount Palomar telescope and more than 30 times that of the Hubble Space Telescope.
- A Keck telescope has 36 independently driven mirrors. Computers control the movement of these mirrors so that they work in sync as one gigantic 400-inch telescope. It’s also very precisely figured down to a molecule’s thickness.
- With sensitive light and radio wave gathering instruments like this, we can look out billions of light years into space to the very limits of the cosmos itself. But as we look out into space, we’re also looking back in time. This is where astronomy is unique among the sciences, because it alone directly observes the past.
- As a matter of fact, astronomers are always observing the past. Light waves, radio waves and all other kinds of electro-magnetic waves may seem to reach us instantaneously, but they don’t. They seem to because they travel so fast.
- Light speeds through space at 186,000 miles per second, fast enough to circle the globe 7.5 times in a second.
- When we look at the sun, 93 million miles away, we’re seeing what it looked like when the light left it about eight minutes ago.
- Likewise, when we look at the moon, we’re seeing it as it appeared about two seconds ago.
- When we look out to the stars, we’re seeing them as they were thousands, millions, even billions of years ago. The farther away an object is, the longer ago its light began its trip through space.
- The distance light covers in a year – about six trillion miles – we call a light year. Light years offer a more convenient method for indicating vast distances.
- The most distant galaxies ever detected by astronomers are about 13 billion light years away. That means the light from those galaxies took 13 billion years to arrive on earth. As we gaze at this galaxy, we’re looking back in time at how it appeared 13 billion years ago.
- Ankerberg: Hugh, that’s just mind-blowing to people as they watch that. And I want to ask you the question, how many years ago did the universe actually begin?
- Ross: 13.73 billion years ago, with an error bar now on the .12 billionth, so we know up to about 1% precision.
- Ankerberg: How do you know that?
- Ross: Well, the two most accurate methods come from looking at the galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and their distribution across the sky. But the most accurate method of all comes from looking at the temperature ripples in the cosmic background radiation; they’ll spread out in different ways according to the age of the universe. So the WMAP Five Year Release is the one that gives us the most accurate date.
- Ankerberg: Do any astronomers now doubt this, the Big Bang?
- Ross: They do not doubt that there is a beginning to the universe and that the universe’s age is approximately 14 billion years old.
- Ankerberg: Why is the Big Bang scientific proof that God actually brought the universe into existence?
- Ross: Well, my colleagues wouldn’t put it quite that way. They would say the Big Bang is proof that there’s a causal agent beyond space and time. But I think you can spot the theological naiveté there; if you’re proving a causal agent beyond space and time that is creating all the physical reality, is that not God?
- Ankerberg: Now, this fits perfectly with Genesis 1:1, doesn’t it?
- Ross: Right, right.
- Ankerberg: How did you,… when you first approached this, when you saw Genesis 1:1, you were not a Christian, okay? And you were looking at this. What happened as you are thinking about this?
- Ross: Well, it wasn’t just Genesis 1:1. I saw throughout the Bible repeated statements about this cosmic singularity; this beginning of matter, energy, space and time. I mean that phrase, “heavens and earth” means all of physical reality. The word create, bara, means to create something brand new that never existed. Hebrews 11:3 – the universe that we can detect did not come from that which we can detect.
- Ankerberg: You just say, how could God have put that in there, which is so understandable in light of the Big Bang today?
- Ross: Right. Well, it’s like the Bible was predicting Big Bang cosmology thousands of years before scientists discovered it. And it’s the only holy book, the only book of philosophy, that predicted that the universe would be structured that way. So for thousands of years, the Bible was alone in teaching Big Bang cosmology.
- Ankerberg: You also say that the Bible is the only holy book that you read where the God who was speaking spoke from outside of time.
- Ross: Right, right.
- Ankerberg: I mean, why is that so important to you?
- Ross: Well, it’s important to me because if a human being was trying to invent some religion, it’s going to show the limitations of human visualization. When I read the Bible I saw statements in there, teachings in there, that defied the limits of human visualization, which told me this could not come from a purely human source. Moreover, what it was saying about the record of nature was always accurate. You know, when people try to write about what they think the world of nature looks like, they’re going to make mistakes. I couldn’t find any errors in what the Bible said. Moreover, I found hundreds of places where it accurately predicted future scientific discoveries.
- Ankerberg: Astronomers and astrophysicists have been pushed to a scientific conclusion that they don’t like theologically. They’re struggling with it; explain that.
- Ross: Well, many don’t like it; many are thrilled with it, like myself. But there are many who say if the universe has a beginning, that means there’s got to be some kind of beginner; it’s a beginner beyond space and time, and that looks too much like the God of the Bible. And for moral reasons or whatever, they may not want to go there. And so for about a six-year period these non-theistic astronomers tried to find some way around Big Bang cosmology; a loophole. That was responsible for things like the Steady State Model, the Oscillating Universe Model, to see if they could find some way to avoid concluding that there is this being beyond space and time that created the universe; moreover, that created it specifically for human beings.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break. When we come back we’re going to show you something that is mind-blowing from the movie. We’re going to actually take you step by step in time, going back toward the Big Bang. And Hugh is going to show you the different things that took place. Folks, you don’t want to miss this, so please stick with us. We’ll be right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. And I’m talking with astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross. And right now we’re going to show you a clip from his documentary movie that shows what scientists believe happened at the moment the universe came into existence, what took place when the Big Bang happened. Watch this!
[Clip from Journey Toward Creation]
- Our new vehicles will be radio and far infrared telescopes. With these instruments we can look back to the time before galaxies.
- If our eyes could see radio waves or infrared waves, we would be able to see distant galaxies more easily. But our eyes can only see electromagnetic emissions in the visible light wave spectrum. Waves in the radio part of this spectrum allow us to peer back in time even farther. This map of the cosmic background radiation, literally the radiation left over from the creation of the universe, carries our eyes as far back in time as any telescope can possibly take them. Here, we are just 380,000 years away from the actual moment of creation.
- We cannot look back any further, because 380,000 years after the creation event light first separated from darkness. The view before that time would only offer a featureless glow. We can’t see beyond this glow, because previous to 380,000 years after the creation event the universe was too hot for atoms to exist. Electrons could not orbit around nuclei. Because the universe was nothing but charged particles, an amorphous glow is all that appears.
- For an earlier look we need to use entirely different vehicles, entirely different instruments: particle accelerators, super computers and gravity wave detectors, not telescopes. With these machines, we can duplicate many of the physical conditions of the cosmos at its earliest moments. The study of the cosmos can be compared with the backward running of a fireworks video. As we measure and observe the cosmos closer and closer to the first moment of its existence, we’re running the tape backward toward the moment of creation.
- As we draw closer still to the creation event, we observe the universe becoming hotter and hotter. Eventually in this backward replay, the universe would be so hot that protons and neutrons can’t stick together. All atomic nuclei fall apart.
- Let’s push on. As we probe even earlier, we encounter a blinding flash, just one millisecond from the creation event. This flash is generated by the sudden annihilation of all anti-matter in the universe. A delicate balance of a billion and one particles to every billion anti-particles guarantees the existence of matter in the later universe. And it also guarantees the possibility of life.
- Pushing back to just a few dozen microseconds from the creation event, protons, neutrons, anti-protons, anti-neutrons decompose into even more fundamental particles called quarks. At one ten billionth of a second from the creation event, the universe is too hot and too dense even for quarks to exist. At one hundred billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second from creation, the universe is too compressed for light to be possible.
- The universe is now completely dark, and smaller than a single atom. All we see at this proximity to the creation event are the shrinking dimensions of length, width, height and time. That is, until we reach a speck of time just a ten millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second from creation. Before this moment, all ten dimensions of the universe began to expand. After this instant, only four dimensions continue to expand. So what has happened to the other six spacial dimensions? They remain tightly curled up, smaller than a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of an inch around our dimensions of length, width, height and time. These other six dimensions still exist, but with no possibility of uncurling.
- Let’s dare to roll back the film the rest of the way. The universe continues to shrink, the ten dimensions growing smaller and smaller. At the creation threshold itself, often referred to as the Big Bang, all ten dimensions become infinitely or near infinitely small, and suddenly disappear.
- And it is from this infinitely small beginning that the entire universe sprang forth. And every aspect from the formation of planets, galaxies, stars, to the relationship between the mass energy and the space energy density, and even the laws of physics themselves must have been carefully fine-tuned from the creation event in order to make life possible for this brief moment in cosmic history on our tiny blue dot.
- Ankerberg: Alright, Hugh; that was absolutely astonishing! Why is that proof that God created everything, first of all that God exists and that then He actually created all of this?
- Ross: Well, it shows you there must be a transcendent beginning, an actual beginning of matter, energy, space and time. And, John, what’s exciting, thanks to the work of three theoretical physicists, we have an even more compelling case today. This is what’s called Borde, Vilenkin and Guth Theorem, which shows that if the universe expands on average, it must have a beginning and, hence, a beginner beyond space and time; there must be an actual beginning of time; that means no matter what you speculate about the universe, as long as it expands on average you are stuck with this beginner beyond matter, energy, space and time.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, and I mean, reading your books about what Albert Einstein cooked up in terms of when he had general relativity, philosophically he realized it was pointing the universe back to a point where it all started. And he didn’t like his own conclusion.
- Ross: No, he didn’t. He realized this pointed to a beginner, and he realized that disturbed the idea that the universe was infinitely old and static and therefore giving infinite time for evolution to happen without divine intervention. We now know that’s wrong. But as of today we have an even more compelling case. That model was put forward by Albert Einstein.
- Ankerberg: Give me a couple of other proofs that have come in just in the last few years that have constantly refined this and laid it in cement that this is true and these foundational principles are the same.
- Ross: Well, one thing we can now do is measure the temperature of the cosmic background radiation, the gas clouds of distant galaxies. And what that shows us is that the universe indeed gets colder and colder as it gets older and older, and therefore the universe is traceable back to the singularity where all of matter, energy, space and time were wrapped up into an infinitesimal volume; that the universe really has cooled down from a near infinitely high temperature. And so as you watch this cooling down, I mean, it really demonstrates that this has got to be a Big Bang creation event. And we can see the galaxies stretching apart. You know, as you look far away you notice the galaxies are jammed more tightly together. Today they’re spread apart. As you take that back to the beginning it points you again to a singularity. So we’ve got two easy proofs that any lay person can appreciate that the universe indeed must have this singular beginning of matter, energy, space and time.
- Ankerberg: And we’re just getting started, okay. Next week we’re going to go into the fact that the Big Bang is not just an explosion, an uncontrolled explosion; but this, according to the scientists, is the most intelligently controlled, exquisitely designed phenomenon science has ever discovered. Folks, we’re going to show you God the Designer in the scientific evidence next week. You won’t want to miss this.