What Scientific Evidence Proves God Created and Designed the Universe?/Program 2
|By: Dr. Hugh Ross; ©2009
|The Big Bang points out that the universe required creation from an outside causal agent (God). Yet there is another aspect of today’s scientific evidence that strengthens this claim even further—the intentional design of the universe. Rather than a series of random occurrences or simply explainable evolutionary chain, the complexity and intentionality of the observable universe points toward an outside force of vast wisdom and power.
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.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’ve got just an amazing program for you about science. And our question is, does the Big Bang scientifically show that God created the universe? Is the evidence there? And further, that God designed the entire universe for the benefit of man? We’re also going to show that the Big Bang was not just an uncontrolled explosion, but the most intelligently controlled, exquisitely designed phenomenon science has ever discovered. This is just a fantastic topic, folks. I hope that you’ll stick with us. My guest today is astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross. He received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Toronto, did postdoctoral research on quasars at Cal Tech. He’s written a ton of books here. Hugh, I’m just really glad that you’re here. We want to get right to this thing and that is, what is the Big Bang? For folks that missed last week, let’s define: what is the Big Bang, how long ago did it happen, and what does it show?
- Ross: Well, it’s an explanation for the structure of the universe, and in detail what it tells us is that the entire universe came from a cosmic singularity; a beginning of matter, energy, space and time that has continuously expanded from an infinitesimal volume to its state that we see today.
- Ankerberg: Alright. Folks I want to introduce this whole concept to you via a video clip from Hugh’s tremendous movie documentary called Journey Toward Creation that we’re going to make available. And this will show you a little bit of what we’re talking about when we talk about the Big Bang. 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, 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 on a 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: Hugh when people watch this, they’re absolutely amazed, okay? This whole idea of the Big Bang is a mind boggling concept. And it’s even so for the astronomers and astrophysicists, some of which are struggling with the conclusions, theologically, that this scientific evidence is pointing them to. Explain that.
- Ross: Well, there are two things that bother these agnostic and atheistic astronomers and physicists. One is, when they look at the evidence what they see in the universe all points to this beginning of matter, energy, space and time. And the continuous expansion of that beginning that tells us that the universe has been exquisitely fine tuned or designed to make possible the existence of life, and human beings in particular. The second thing that bothers them is that thousands of years ago the Bible accurately predicted all these features of Big Bang cosmology, long before any other book of theology, philosophy or science even hinted at the idea that we live in such a universe.
- Ankerberg: Alright, I want to show the folks another part of your movie documentary, and it talks about the reaction that you are getting from some of these agnostic astronomers, astrophysicists; some of the top people in the world; how they’re reacting to the point that God created everything, or actually there is a Creator outside of space and time that brought it all into existence. And secondly, they’re just really struggling with this thing of how the design characteristics keep on stacking up that shows them somebody was superintending over all of this. Alright, let’s watch this clip and I think you’ll understand a little bit better; watch this.
Clip from Journey Toward Creation
- So what are we to make of all the observations that the entire universe appears to have been meticulously designed for humans? You could just say, “What a coincidence!” Or “It’s just chance.” But most astronomers don’t seem to find those answers very satisfying. The fingerprints of intentionality and purpose are unmistakable.
- And here we confront the cause of the universe, what some astrophysicists call “the Entity.” Listen to what a few prominent scientists have said about the origin of the universe.
- Physicist Paul Davies has moved from promoting atheism to conceding that “the laws of physics seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design.” He further testifies, “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all…. It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the universe. The impression of design is overwhelming.”
- And astronomer George Greenstein in his book, The Symbiotic Universe, expressed these thoughts: “As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”
- And then there are the words of Arno Penzias who shared the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of cosmic background radiation, “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with a very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying, (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”
- Finally, as Stephen Hawking concedes, “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.”
- The Entity that brought the universe into existence must be the master of all space, time, matter, and energy. This Entity must be powerful enough to create space-time dimensions at will, and to exquisitely fine-tune an untold number of cosmic characteristics. More than 200 have been uncovered so far. The probability of all these known parameters randomly coming together would be one chance in 10215, a probably so incredibly tiny that statistically speaking, it’s impossible. And this probability is becoming even more remote with every new scientific discovery. Such a high degree of design demonstrates that this Entity must be a personal Being with an amazing creativity, wisdom, power, care and love to a degree far beyond human capabilities. He has fine tuned the Milky Way galaxy, the solar system, and planet earth so that spiritual life can be fused with physical life in this one small place for one brief span on our time line.
- Ankerberg: Now Hugh, I find it absolutely astonishing what people are saying and also in that clip you said there are over 200 scientific facts that have been discovered about how God created and designed the universe in just such a way that life could exist on earth. But since that time, from what I understand, you and the scientists have found a lot more design characteristics. How many have you found since that time?
- Ross: Well, the list is now over 800 different characteristics of the galaxy and the solar system, the earth, that must be fine tuned to make human life possible, or the equivalent, here on planet earth or anywhere in the universe.
- Ankerberg: Give me an example of design that you’re talking about.
- Ross: Well, for example, our Milky Way galaxy must have very symmetrical, spiral arms. It’s necessary that the solar system be orbiting around the center of the galaxy, just inside what’s called the core rotation distance; so it tells us there’s only one fine tuned location within the galaxy where intelligent life could be possible.
- Ankerberg: Alright, let’s give them an example from your movie; and this is absolutely fantastic, okay? You say that there are 10 billion trillion stars out there in the universe, and you scientists are saying they’re all necessary for plant and animal and human life to exist on earth once God supernaturally creates it and puts it here. We needed all of those stars for some reasons, alright? Watch this, folks. This will tell you what we’re talking about.
Clip from Journey Toward Creation
- Millions of galaxy clusters fill the universe, each containing thousands of galaxies, adding up to ten billion trillion stars. That’s ten with 21 zeroes after it. To try to get a handle on this colossal number consider this: if ten billion trillion dimes were stacked on top of each other, a line of dimes would make 125 trips to Alpha Centauri and back.
- As vast and innumerable as all these galaxies and stars may seem, and as tiny and insignificant as they make us feel, this enormity is essential to life’s existence. In order for the universe to sustain even one life support planet, each one of these ten billion trillion stars is a necessity. If the number of stars in the observable universe were any greater or any fewer, life would be impossible.
- If there were fewer stars in the observable cosmos, nuclear fusion would be so inefficient that the only elements to form would be hydrogen and helium. With more stars in the universe, all the elements would be heavier than iron. No carbon, no nitrogen, no oxygen. Only in a cosmos with a finely-tuned mass of stars can the life-essential elements be produced. So it turns out, the vast reaches of the cosmos are not a big waste of space, energy, matter and time.
- Ankerberg: Alright, I thought you would find that absolutely fantastic. Folks, we’re going to take a break and when we come back I’m going to ask Hugh why the scientific evidence shows that God is not only the Creator that brought stuff into existence and the Designer who actually intricately designed the things that we see, including the laws of nature, but why does this evidence, Hugh, why does it show us that God is personal and He actually loves man, alright? Stay with us, we’ll be right back and we’ll hear the answer.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back and we’re talking about the evidence for the Big Bang and why God created everything and how the design of the universe is showing that the Creator is the great Designer. Well, we’re going to show you more in a moment here. My guest is astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross. And, Hugh, we just showed them a clip that scientists have concluded that 10 billion trillion stars in the universe are necessary for plant and animal life to exist, once God creates it and puts it here. Now this evidence shows that God is the Great Designer, but why does it show that God is personal and also that He loves man?
- Ross: Well today we can measure the degree of fine-tuning design. For example, several of the constants of physics; we can show that they must be tuned to, say, better than one part in ten thousand trillion trillion trillion. And we can compare that level of measured design in the characteristics of the universe with the very best examples of human engineering design achievement. And what is shows us is that the one that created space, time, matter and energy must be that many times more intelligent, more knowledgeable, more creative, more caring, more powerful, more loving than we human beings.
- Ankerberg: Alright. Let’s show them a movie clip next that you say is one of the most astonishing things you’ve found in recent years, this thing called dark energy in the universe, okay. Part of the movie shows that a little bit of the tremendous complexity of this dark energy, it shows a little bit of that, why it’s a crucial factor for life to exist anywhere in the universe and how it shows that God finely tuned the physical laws of the universe to an extent that we can’t even fathom, okay? Folks, you won’t believe this. Watch this right now.
Clip from Journey Toward Creation
- When we travel to about six or seven billion light years away from earth we are confronted with a remarkable discovery. In April 2000 scientists published the results of a landmark study in which they used a balloon-mounted telescope over the cold stable atmosphere of Antarctica to test several characteristics of the universe. Known as the Boomerang Project, the cold stable atmosphere of the South Pole enabled scientists to more precisely calculate the universe’s rate of expansion.
- Apparently for the first eight billion years after the creation event, the expansion of the universe was slowing down, like shrapnel after an explosion. But the Boomerang experiments revealed that for the last six billions years the expansion of the universe has been speeding up. Scientists discovered that there are two factors precisely governing the expansion of the cosmos throughout its history – mass density and space energy density. The mass density which dominated the first half of the universe’s existence slows down cosmic expansion, while the space energy density which dominates the more recent half of cosmic history speeds it up. This delicate balance represents the greatest fine-tuning ever discovered. If the mass density were to vary by more than one part in 1060, or the space energy density varied more than one part in 10120, life would be impossible anywhere, anytime in the universe.
- Ankerberg: Hugh, that evidence that you’ve shown us is just absolutely astonishing; it blows your mind! I don’t know what it does to you astronomers when you see this thing, but tell me why dark energy is showing that God is intricately designing the universe and why it’s so necessary for us to even be able to live here on planet earth?
- Ross: Well, we now know that dark energy makes up 72% of all the stuff of the universe. It’s the dominant component that governs the expansion of the universe. If you expand the universe too quickly from the cosmic creation event, gas and dust will never be collected by gravity to make stars and galaxies, and life can’t possibly exist. But if you expand it too slowly then gravity will collapse everything into black holes and neutron stars, and once again life will be impossible.
- And what was amazing to astronomers was to discover just how carefully you have to fine tune dark energy in order to get the universe to expand at the just right rates throughout the entire history of the universe, in order that you can get the stars and planets that would make life possible appearing at the right time in cosmic history. And to give you a point of comparison, the very best example of human engineering design achievement is something called the gravity wave telescope, the LIGO instrument. It’s so amazingly fine tuned, 1 part in 1023. But if we can compare that 1 part in 1023 with 1 part in 10122, it means that the one that created matter, energy, space and time, at a minimum, is 1099, that is, a thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times more intelligent and more knowledgeable than the Cal Tech and MIT physicists that designed this amazing instrument, and at least that many times better funded – that is, more powerful than the U.S. Government – that made it all possible.
- Ankerberg: I love that illustration. And when scientists realize that the intelligence, the design, and the laws we’re finding in nature are so much greater than anything that we even can comprehend, okay? And we’re talking about God and this intelligence that they see in the universe, what do they do with that concept of where it’s pushing them theologically?
- Ross: Well, a lot of them will say, you know, I speak in front of astronomers and physicists who will say, “Well, Hugh, all you’re proving is that there is an agent beyond space and time that creates matter, energy, space and time. Who says it’s a person”? When we look at this fine tuning design we’re seeing intellect, knowledge; we’re seeing creativity, power, care and love. Those are attributes that only a person can manifest. Moreover, we’re seeing that the level of care and love being demonstrated towards life, and human beings in particular, is orders of magnitude greater than what is claimed, say, in the Eastern religions, of Hinduism, Buddhism or Islam. This is really identifying the personality of the God of the Bible. So that’s what’s causing people to really think in a way they’ve never done before about the philosophical and theological implications.
- Ankerberg: As a Christian, as you’re reading your Bible, you have realized that God predicted this expansion of the universe thousands of years ago, okay? Talk about that.
- Ross: Well, even more than that; I mean, what it talks about is a beginning, of course; a beginning of space and time and matter and energy
- Ankerberg: And only the Bible does that kind of thing.
- Ross: Only the Bible does that, but also speaks about the universe continuously expanding from that beginning. It also says the expansion takes place under constant laws of physics. So the Bible predicted that the laws of physics would be constant over all of cosmic history. Today we can verify that is true. And the universe is continuously expanding under constant laws of physics where it’s dominated by what’s called the law of decay in Romans 8, the second law of thermodynamics. That’s a universe that must get colder and colder in a very predictable manner. And we can actually make measurements of the temperature of the universe throughout cosmic history, and those measurements perfectly match what the Bible predicts. So this is an example of the Bible not only describing Big Bang cosmology, but the details of Big Bang cosmology thousands of years before anybody even conceived of it outside of the Bible. And now we know everything the Bible said is accurate, even including the fact that the expansion is a surface effect; what Isaiah and the Psalmist talk about, how God stretches out the universe like pulling a tent from your backpack and expand it so you can live in it. The reality is the surface, not what’s interior or exterior. We know that is true as well.
- Ankerberg: I think this is just amazing, and I want folks that are Christians to understand this scientific evidence, because you can use this on campus with non-Christians. This is the evidence they’re looking at and it drives them to the very point that we want them to come to, that God created everything and loves us and cares for us.
- Next week we’re going to talk about some more of the amazing design that we find in the universe. We’re going to take them a little closer, we’re going to take them into our galaxy and we’re going to show them some movie clips of how God has hung our earth in just the right spot, the right place in our galaxy. Folks, you are going to love this, I hope you’ll join us then.