What Scientific Evidence Proves God Created and Designed the Universe?/Program 3

By: Dr. Hugh Ross; ©2009
We have seen that science now shows that the evidence overwhelmingly points toward an outside creator of all space, matter, time, and energy. In addition, our last session revealed that the complex design of the universe notes the intricate care, concern, and wisdom of this outside creator. In this session, we’ll address additional issues that show how God’s fine-tuning of the universe is exactly suited for human life on earth at this exact point in history.

Contents

Introduction

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 have a tremendous program for you today, and we are talking about the scientific evidence that reveals that the universe had a beginning point. It was caused by a transcendent causal agent. We’re going to talk about how God has intricately designed our galaxy, the planets and earth itself.
We’ll also discover how the scientific evidence shows that God is personal and greatly loves man. 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. Hugh, I am really glad that you are here today.
And I want to start off with the first question, review for the folks that missed the last couple of weeks. What is the scientific evidence that shows the universe had a beginning point, that it was brought into existence at a moment in time?
Ross: Well, the theory of general relativity tells us that the universe must have a beginning, hence a beginner, and the universe is expanding from that beginning point. Now, we got observations that demonstrate that, indeed, the galaxies are moving away from one another exactly as the theory of general relativity would predict. We can measure the temperature of the radiation from the cosmic creation event at different points in the past history of the universe that tells us that, indeed, the universe is continuously expanding from an infinitesimal, infinitely hot beginning. And we can also see the galaxies moving apart. They were crunched very closely together when the universe was young, and now that it’s older, we see that the galaxies have spread apart. So, all this evidence points to a beginning of matter, energy, space and time and a continuous expansion universe, very carefully controlled, so that it makes possible existence of the stars and planets, that would allow life to exist and human life, in particular.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re talking about how out of this Big Bang, it was not just a willy-nilly explosion, this was the most finely tuned exploding event, and continues to be, and was shaped and formed by God, as we’re going to show here in a moment. But we’re going to talk about the fact of, part of the evidence is in our planets, in our own galaxy, alright. And we’re going to take one that people don’t think a lot about, and it’s the planet, Jupiter. And, folks, you won’t believe the information that you’re going to see. Watch this clip.

Clip from Journey Toward Creation

Jupiter is 40 light minutes away from earth. That means it takes light from Jupiter 40 minutes to reach the earth. Jupiter is such a colossus that it outweighs by two and a half times all the other planets in our solar system combined. The giant red spot we see as we look at the top of Jupiter’s dense atmospheric layers shows a 2,000 mile per hour hurricane raging for centuries. To give some perspective, that spot is four earth diameters across.
Researchers in the 1990s sought to probe Jupiter’s many mysteries, such as the degree to which light penetrates those thick clouds and whether the planet has a rocky core or just super dense frozen gases. In the course of their investigation, they discovered evidence of Jupiter’s importance to earth life. Jupiter is positioned and dimensioned to shield earth from collisions. The planet’s nearness and mass typically deflect comets and asteroids that are moving on a collision course with earth.
Occasionally, Jupiter itself takes the hit, as in this 1994 encounter with comet Shoemaker-Levy. Though each fragment of Shoemaker-Levy was smaller than Manhattan Island, twenty one of them raised fireballs more than 10,000 miles high and made earth-sized bruises in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Any planet capable of sustaining life needs a just right sized Jupiter standing guard to shield it from life-ending asteroid and comet impacts.
Jupiter’s size and position are important to earth life for yet another reason. If Jupiter were any larger than it is, or any closer to earth, its gravity would wreck deadly havoc on earth’s orbit. Jupiter is a just right sized protector in a just right location.
Traveling another 40 light minutes out from earth, we arrive at another giant planet, Saturn. Saturn has about a third of Jupiter’s mass, and it still outweighs all the planets other than Jupiter by several times. A thousand earths would fit inside Saturn’s volume.
The next two planets we encounter are also gas giants – Uranus and Neptune. Uranus is 15 times more massive than earth. Like all planets this large, including Jupiter and Saturn, it’s mostly gas. Uranus, like Saturn, is surrounded by concentric rings. But unlike any other planet in the solar system, its rotation axis points toward the sun.
Neptune, just slightly larger than Uranus, features a great dark spot, presumably a large stable hurricane like Jupiter’s great red spot. Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, orbits in the opposite direction to the planet’s rotation, leading us to conclude it was captured after Neptune’s formation. Neptune is more than four light hours from earth. From Neptune’s surface, the sun would appear as just a bright point in the sky. Neptune is so frigid that ammonia and nitrogen would liquefy there and gasoline would freeze.
These four gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, travel in unique, almost circular orbits on a horizontal plane around the sun. This stands in stark contrast to gas giants so far discovered outside our solar system which either orbit too close to their stars, or have elliptical and/or non horizontal orbits. Even a slight deviation from their appointed paths would be catastrophic for life on earth.

Ankerberg: Alright, so now we’re back to talking a little bit more about stuff that you’ve found on Jupiter. Hugh, that’s really unbelievable, tell me a little bit more of what you, as astronomers and astrophysicists have discovered about Jupiter being in just the right place or just having the right characteristics that we need for life to be here on earth.
Ross: Well, what we now know is that Jupiter, by itself, cannot do an adequate job of protecting the earth. We need an array of gas, giant planets like Jupiter. It’s critical that Jupiter be the closest and the most massive of those planets, but Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, also play critical roles in providing the kind of protection that we need. It’s also crucial that they all have circular orbits, because if they don’t, then you’re going to get gravitational pulls on the earth that could bring us into a slightly different orbit, not appropriate for advanced life.
The amazing thing is that the four gas giant planets in our solar system do not bring about mean motion resonance. And what I mean by that is where, say, you’ve got Jupiter making two orbits around the sun for every single orbit of Saturn, that would give you a lining up of gravitational pulls that would be frequent enough to cause a disturbance on the orbit of earth. It also turns up that even the small rocky planets in our solar system, Mars and Venus, play critical roles in breaking up a lot of these resonances. So, for example, physicists have kind of mapped out the array of the eight solar system planets and have determined that they all are perfectly designed, in terms of the right mass, the right distance, the right kind of orbit, the tilt is just right, the shape of the orbit is just right, so that we don’t get any of these resonances that cause a problem.
And what was amazing, only one percent of the parameters of space is right for advanced life here on planet earth. Everything is set up just that way, you know. And today we have discovered hundreds of planets outside of our solar system. None of those planets are matching the characteristics of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Therefore, we can’t detect planets the size of the earth yet, we do know that the gas giant mix is not possible to make life possible. It really does appear that our solar system is unique in its capability of sustaining advanced life.
Ankerberg: Yeah, you know, it’s one thing to find one characteristic that is fine tuned and makes life possible, but what you guys are finding is, you are stacking them up here.
Ross: It’s like everything is fine tuned.
Ankerberg: Yeah, everything seems to be fine tuned and that evidence drives you to the conclusion that there is a great designer here.
Ross: Right.
Ankerberg: And what do astronomers make of that? What do you call that?
Ross: Well, we’re looking at the solar system as a machine, it’s not just a bunch of randomly placed together planets, it’s very intricately designed in order to make sure you can have primitive life, for a long period of time, here on planet earth, but also advanced life, for a brief period of time.
Ankerberg: What’s the chance that that happened by chance?
Ross: There’s not the remotest chance that that will happen by chance. I mean, easily, it’s much less than one in a trillion, trillion, trillion,… I could keep going with quite a few trillions, before you run into a possibility that could happen without intelligent, divine intervention. It’s one of the most powerful evidences that we have, that indeed, the galaxy and the solar system are supernaturally designed to make life possible.
Ankerberg: Alright, let’s give them another example. And let’s take them a little closer to home. And this shows that God placed the earth, our earth, in just the right spot in our galaxy. This was one of the strongest proofs that I saw in the whole documentary. It’s absolutely fantastic folks. Watch this.

Clip from Journey Toward Creation

Even if the just right planetary system were to form from the just right elements of dead stars, there is another critical factor to consider, the life support planet must be positioned at the just right location within the galaxy. Near the center of our galaxy conditions are too congested, with billions of stars in a relatively small volume. Gravitational tug-of-wars make the survival of life-supportable planets impossible, and the radiation there is intense, far too intense for life.
Toward the outer edges of our galaxy, the stellar population becomes too sparse for planet building. The heavy elements generated by super novae and white dwarf binaries are too few and far between – not enough building material to make planets. At almost any distance from our galactic center conditions within the spiral arms prevent planet formation. Amazingly, our particular solar system resides at the perfect location, in between spiral arms, neither too close to the center nor too close to the outer edge.
Our just right location not only permits our existence, but it also allows us to see and explore our region of space. No wall of high rises, no big dust clouds block our view.

Ankerberg: Alright, Hugh, to me that is absolutely mind blowing, where God placed our earth. And you’ve got some other things that are mind blowing about where God placed earth. Talk about it.
Ross: Well, we’re also in the right place to see everything. We are in between two spiral arms, the Perseus arm and the Sagittarius arm, halfway in between, which means we’re far enough away from the bright stuff that we can do astronomy. And we’re far enough away from the gas clouds and the bright stars. We also recognize that we’re far away from globular clusters. We’re in that one spot in our Milky Way galaxy where it’s possible to do astronomy. You know, the Bible says the heavens declare the glory of God, the heavens declare the righteousness of God and all of His people have seen it. Well, it’s critical that we be at a particular time in cosmic history and also a particular location in our Milky Way galaxy and our galaxy must be in a particular location within the universe in order for us to see that glory and righteousness declared in the heavens. Anywhere else, any other time, we wouldn’t be able to see that.
Ankerberg: It’s just absolutely amazing to me. And, folks, we’re going to take a break. We’re going to come back and show you more amazing things: why the stars and our sun, why they’re so important. Actually they’re necessary just the way they’ve been made and the number of them, for life to exist here on earth once God put us here. And folks, you won’t want to miss this. Stick with us, we’ll be right back.

Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking about the astronomical evidence that shows that God brought the universe into existence at a very specific moment in time. We’re also talking about how He has finely tuned the laws of nature and everything around us, so that we can have life here on earth and now we’re going to talk about the sun, we’re going to talk about the stars and the necessity they have, so we can live here on planet earth. And let’s go to the movie clip right away. This talks about our unique sun.

Clip from Journey Toward Creation

Further out from Alpha Centauri but still within our Milky Way Galaxy we also encounter hundreds of gas and dust clouds called nebulae. Their strikingly beautiful colors are created as the nebulae are ionized. Radiation from nearby large stars supercharges the electrons and sends them flying away from their atoms and molecules.
As electrons escape from hydrogen atoms, they produce a red glow.
As they leave oxygen atoms, they produce a blue green glow.
Gaseous nebulae may be described as stellar maternity wards. Our galaxy called the Milky Way is still giving birth to new stars. Our own sun is considered a late born star, and as you’ll see, life depends on that critical timing.
Stars form within nebulae much the same way raindrops form within earth’s clouds. Gravity is a key factor. Gas and dust particles begin to pull together under gravity’s influence. But as they do, more molecules collide, producing heat. As the particles continue coalescing, more and more heat results, especially at the core of that condensation. Eventually the core becomes hot enough to ignite nuclear burning. At this ignition point, a new star is born.
Since our sun also went through this type of birth process, most scientists classified it as an ordinary star. But several recent discoveries have caused astronomers to reconsider this assumption. Evidently, our sun is very rare indeed. Most stars are either too small or too big, too young or too old, contain too many metals or not enough metals. Our sun’s radiation and its precise location in our galaxy are all critical factors for life.

Ankerberg: Hugh, the evidence about the sun is absolutely amazing to me. And you’ve told me, astronomers have really come to the conclusion now, through other evidences that the sun is not just an ordinary star, it’s very, very special. How so?
Ross: Well, it’s got very low chromospheric activity, we see high chromospheric activity everywhere else. We also recognize it’s just the right age, we realize it’s entered a very finely tuned, stable luminosity phase, about 50,000 years ago, just right when human beings show up on the cosmic scene. Also astronomers have been looking for a solar twin. You know, there’s millions of stars out there, but they’ve been unsuccessful in finding even one star that has all the characteristics that are necessary for the support of advanced life. The sun really does appear to be uniquely designed for life.
Ankerberg: Let’s show them another example. This is the reason why you say 13.7 billion years of star formation was absolutely necessary for us to be here on planet earth when God created us and put us on earth. We needed all those years, billions of years, for stuff, so we could live here. Alright, watch this, folks. You won’t believe it.

Clip from Journey Toward Creation

A few tens of thousands of light years beyond the center of our Milky Way we arrive at the halo where most of the oldest stars reside. This earlier generation of stars is important in the construction of life essential elements. These ancient stars, in one sense, are the forebearers to our planet and to our own existence. As stars exhaust their fuel and die, they bequeath to us their ashes, the heavy elements needed for the next generation of stars and for planet building. Our earth could not even exist without nine billion years’ worth of ashes from dead and dying stars.
Stars about the size of our sun or smaller lose their outer layers gradually. When the last of their nuclear fuel supply is exhausted, all that remains is a burnt out core like a cinder after a fire. These cinders, called white dwarfs, take over 10 billion years to cool, and play a critical role in our existence. For only on the surface of a special white dwarf binary star is the life essential element fluorine manufactured. Without fluorine, certain proteins would be unable to form, and life in the universe would be impossible. Even more remarkable is the fact that even with as many as a trillion galaxies in the universe, our galaxy, the Milky Way, is likely one of only a few where sufficient fluorine production sites exist.
When a star larger than our sun runs out of fuel, the outer gas shells undergo a sudden collapse. They crash into the core with enough momentum to ignite one final eruption, and explosion so intense that when it happens in our own galaxy, it’s bright enough to be seen during daylight hours. This final cataclysmic blast, a supernova, produces many elements essential for life: carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, iron, copper, silver, and many others. It scatters them throughout the interstellar neighborhood to be absorbed later by star-producing gas and dust clouds.
All of these various types of stars in all of their various stages of life and death play a vital role in our well being, and far from being a waste, every minute of the past 14 billion years of star formation was necessary in order to enrich our planet with the elements that make life possible.

Ankerberg: Hugh, this is absolutely amazing, this evidence. Why does it show us that God is the great designer, who actually loves man?
Ross: Well, you look at all the time He spent to prepare this place just for us, all the resources He expended, the vastness of the cosmos. Evidently there was not too much resources or too much time in order to demonstrate His care and love for humanity.
Ankerberg: Use your illustration of your son.
Ross: Well, for example, the way my sons measure my love for them, is how much money I spend on them and how much time I spend with them. Well, likewise, when we look at the universe, we realize this God must really care for us a great deal, given all the time He put in and all the resources He put to our benefit.
Another good example, John, is to look at a typical American wedding. A typical wedding costs $20,000, a typical bride spends a year preparing for her wedding day, and yet the ceremony only lasts 22 minutes. Why so much time and money? Because that ceremony is very high value and very high purpose for that father and that bride. Well, likewise, the universe and humanity must have a very high value and a very high purpose, given the resources that God put toward it.
Ankerberg: Fantastic stuff. Folks, next week, you’ve got to join us because we’re going to talk about how the scientific information, about the ten different dimensions of time, helps us answer some theological questions, that we’ve always grappled with, you won’t want to miss this, join us then.

 

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