Why Is the Big Bang Evidence That God Created the Universe? – Program 2

By: Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Fuz Rana, Ken Samples; ©2002
According to recent scientific discoveries, the universe had a start – it hasn’t been here forever. What are the philosophical and theological implications of that evidence?

Scientific Evidence That Reveals the Universe Has Been Fine tuned by a Creator for Life on Earth.

Announcer: Today on the John Ankerberg Show why are astronomers talking about God? Does the big bang theory prove that a transcendent causal agent brought all matter, energy, space and time into existence? Our concept of the universe and how it originated shapes our entire worldview. If the universe has always existed and is nothing more than an accident then human life has no meaning. But, if the universe had a beginning and is created than the creator is the source of life who establishes purpose and meaning. What does the scientific evidence reveal? Do the words “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” accurately describe what science has discovered? My guests today are astrophysicist and astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross who received his PH.D in astronomy from the University of Toronto and did post doctoral research at Cal-Tech on Quasars, Mr. Fazale Rana who received his PH.D in chemistry at Ohio University, and Philosopher and Theologian Kenneth Samples of Biola University. We invite you to join us.

 

Ankerberg: Welcome. We have a tremendous program about science today. We have Dr. Hugh Ross, who received his Ph.D. in astronomy. We also have Dr. Fuz Rana, who received his Ph.D. in chemistry; and we have philosopher and theologian Ken Samples with us. Guys, we’re glad that you’re here.
Last week, we started with the fact of the big bang in the universe, that it is a scientific fact. We showed the folks why. Hugh, for those people who missed that program, review quickly: What is the big bang theory of the universe?
Ross: Well, it’s the concept that the universe has a transcendent beginning, a beginning in matter, energy, space and time, now only 13.7 billion years ago; and the universe is being very carefully expanded from that beginning; and extremely fine tuned in such a manner as to make possible life in a future universe.
Ankerberg: Yeah, I think what we ought to drive in right here is that that theory just blew everybody’s philosophy off the charts, because what you said is that the universe had a start, it hasn’t been here forever. Now, Ken, that hits into philosophy, doesn’t it?
Ken Samples: Well, the implications, philosophically and theologically, from the big bang cosmology are profound. If we have a singular beginning, we have to have a cause, and that Cause has to transcend the universe. And therefore, we are face-to-face with the Creator. And I think it’s important to realize as well that only the Bible has a statement that there’s a singular beginning, that the universe expands, that all matter, energy, time and space began. All of this is unique to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.
Ankerberg: Yeah, and Hugh, besides the fact of a big bang – a “bang” would be like a grenade going off where you’d have chaos – point number two, besides the fact that the universe had a beginning is that this stuff that came out of this big bang is so finely tuned that it has blown all of your minds. You have even a phrase for this: the anthropic principles or anthropic laws. What in the world is an anthropic law?
Ross: Well, it’s the idea that when we look at the universe, it was made for human beings. Many astronomers have commented, “It’s like the universe knew that we were coming.”
Ankerberg: Yeah, that’s a mind-blowing thing: the universe knew we were coming. Or another way of saying it is that all of the stuff, the planets, the galaxies, the billions and billions of stars out there – you’ve got a number for it; we’ll get it in a little bit here – all of this stuff was necessary so that man could actually live on this little tiny speck of dust called “Earth.” Right?
Ross: Right. If we expand the universe by one part in 1056 faster or slower, there would be no possibility for life in the universe.
Ankerberg: Now, we’re going to go to a video clip in a moment here, showing the folks at home what an anthropic principle is; what a scientific fact is that shows that the universe has been created so that it is “friendly” for man, so that life could actually exist. But before we do that, let me come to you, Fuz, in terms of evolution. If the universe had a start, and we know it is 13.7 billion years ago, that causes a problem for evolution, doesn’t it?
Rana: Yeah, actually two-fold. First is, there is simply not enough time for life to emerge through random means if the universe is 13.7 billion years in age. But also what’s intriguing as well is that, as Hugh mentioned, everything in the universe points towards life; everything points towards design. And that is inconsistent with a model for life in which it’s random processes, and then a haphazard nature to the universe, if you will, that’s responsible for generating life.
Ankerberg: Okay, here’s a whole bunch of textbooks that are currently used in the United States right now in our high schools. I just got them stacked up. I’ve actually been reading them, and one of the quotes that’s just hot off the press from the National Science Teachers Association says this: “Scientific disciplines with a historical component such as astronomy [your ball game, Dr. Ross], geology, biology [your ball game, Dr. Rana] and anthropology cannot be taught with integrity if evolution is not emphasized.” But the first thing of the big bang says that it’s got a problem with evolution: there’s not enough time. What do you make of this statement? Why is the Teachers Association making that kind of statement?
Rana: Well, I think there is a deep philosophical bias towards naturalism or materialism, which is this view that only nature exists, only nature comprises reality. And that philosophy, I think, forces those types of statements. But if there is a Creator who is responsible for the universe, for life and for life’s history, we should see that “divine fingerprint” as we study these historical sciences. In fact, this is what we’re seeing. We’re not seeing evidence for evolution. We’re seeing evidence for the “divine fingerprint” everywhere we look in every scientific discipline.
Ankerberg: Alright, let’s go to the video clip and then I want to come back and ask you a further question about why is it not scientifically possible to put God into the equation here, alright? We’ll flesh that out in a moment. But the question I want to go to here is, why did life on earth need a star of exactly the mass of the sun that we have? What’s a bachelor star? Let’s get some information about our galaxy, and we want to show the people how fine tuned our little galaxy is and where our planet is at. If any of these things were variable to a real small degree, we couldn’t have life on our planet. I want you to see this video. It’s something that Reasons to Believe, Hugh and his crowd of folks, have put together. It’s a fantastic video. It’s called Journey Toward Creation. Watch this. It talks about the anthropic principles that scientists are finding in our universe.

[*** Excerpt from Journey Toward Creation ***]

As we leave our solar system, we travel more than four light years to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to our solar system. Only about half of the stars in the entire universe are classified as single or bachelor stars like our sun. Alpha Centauri is not a bachelor star; it is one of the common multiple star systems. The gravitational tug-of-war in Alpha Centauri makes stable orbits for planets capable of supporting life impossible. So the majority of stars are ruled out as possible life support sites.
As we continue on our way, we discover that stars come in different sizes, colors, and ages. The bigger the star, the hotter, faster, and more erratically it burns up its fuel.
Stars more massive than the sun burn their fuel too quickly and erratically to support life in their vicinity.
Stars less massive than the sun are cooler, so planets orbiting close enough to be warm enough for life would have their rotation greatly slowed by the star’s gravitational tug. Slow rotation means long days and nights and life-destructive temperature extremes from day to night.
Traveling 250 light years out past Alpha Centauri we encounter over 100,000 stars. Of these stars, only 100 of them so far have been found to have planets orbiting them. Scientists now estimate that only two percent of the stars in our galaxy possess planets.

[*** end excerpt ***]

Ankerberg: Alright, Hugh, that last statement is unbelievable: “Scientists now estimate that only two percent of the stars in our galaxy possess planets.” The sun, our sun, is very important. Tell us more of why it’s absolutely crucial to having life on earth.
Ross: Well, if the sun were any bigger or any smaller in terms of its mass, if it were any younger or any older, it wouldn’t be stable enough to support human beings and human civilization. As we look at smaller stars, we see that they had more activity. Likewise, bigger stars have more activity than younger and older stars. So when the sun was young, it may have been appropriate for bacteria but not for human life. As it gets older, it will become more unstable.
Ankerberg: Now, you’re saying as an astronomer and astrophysicist, you’ve found that there are certain things about where the sun is positioned, its luminosity, a whole bunch of things that are laws that if any of them were different, to how much of a variable?
Ross: Well, for an example, if the sun’s mass were to differ by one percent.
Ankerberg: One percent.
Ross: Yeah, that small.
Ankerberg: What would happen?
Ross: You would have a planet where bacteria could possibly exist but not human beings.
Ankerberg: And so you’re saying that these are what you call the anthropic principles; they are laws that are built in to the way the universe has been made that makes life on earth and possibly only earth, open. In other words, it is a possibility.
Let me ask you the further question, in terms of other planets – let’s pick that one up while we’re there, other planets – is there a possibility for life out there?
Ross: Well, we’ve seen a hundred systems outside of our solar system where planets exist. And as we look at the characteristics of those planets, we realize that none of them can possibly harbor a planet like earth where life could be supported.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to pick up this more and tell why as we come along here. Let me jump to a statement of the critics, okay? Critics come back and say, “The big bang cosmologists are able to point to a number of scientific data in support of their conclusion, such as red shifts and Hubble expansion of the universe, and the cosmic background radiation. The Creationists, on the other hand, are not able to point to a single bit of scientific data in support of their conclusion. In fact, the only way they know that the universe was created by a personal transcendent Creator is because that’s what the Bible says.”
Now, you know, Ken, help me out here. I mean, you know, we just said that this evidence shows the big bang, the start of the universe – the universe hasn’t always been there. Then you’ve got a universe that has anthropic principles, how many of them? Over 200?
Ross: Well, there are 202 characteristics of our solar system alone that must be fine tuned.
Ankerberg: How about the universe?
Ross: The universe, there are 51 gross characteristics of the universe as a whole that must be fine tuned.
Ankerberg: That you know of so far.
Ross: That we know of so far. Correct. [Ed. Note: The number of characteristics for the universe and the solar system that must be fine tuned in order for life to exist continue to increase as more information becomes known.]
Ankerberg: Okay, so you’ve got all of those things already fixed in showing that there is design, intricate design, otherwise, life couldn’t exist. And they’re saying, “You haven’t got any evidence.” What would evidence look like to point out that there is a God?
Samples: Well, your point is well taken. We’re talking about an explanatory hypothesis. I mean, science is about causality, and how do we explain the beginning of the universe? How do we explain this complex design and regularity? And then even further, John, how do we explain things like life, and mind, and reason, and personhood? Naturalism says that what created all of that has none of those faculties or characteristics. I’d ask you, which position seems more reasonable: that reason came from a reasonable being, or from a mechanism that has no reason or rationality?
Rana: John, you know, what kind of undergirds that statement is the idea that somehow the Christian faith is based on blind faith alone. And at Reasons to Believe, one of the things that we’re doing – and this is Hugh’s brainchild – is we’re developing a testable creation model where we’re going to Scripture and we’re saying, “If this is what the Bible teaches, then what should we expect to find, reasonably, when we study nature?” And we’re finding exactly what we would expect: a universe with a beginning, a transcendent beginning. Time has a beginning. This is taught in Scripture. The fine tuning that we see, fine tuning that points towards life, this is all consistent with a biblical understanding of the world around us, the universe around us. And these are predictions that the Bible makes. So, if scientific investigation comports with those predictions, this is powerful evidence for the faith that we have.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to go on to a video clip but before we do, a lot of folks say, “Hey, don’t you guys believe that God created only 6,000 years ago, and the fact is, it was all instantaneous, and …?” No, that’s not what we’re talking about. Share the model, quickly.
Ross: Well, you’re making a good point because in one context I would agree with that statement, that there are many different creationist models, and some of those models are totally indefensible. Therefore what we’re talking about at Reasons to Believe is a biblical model that can be scientifically tested, that makes predictions about what scientists should discover in the future. And the past 15 years of our history, we’ve seen that our predictions have consistently been proven correct.
Ankerberg: Yeah, in the series we’re actually going to go through the biblical statements and then see how they compare with science and the Bible and so on.
But let’s go to another anthropic principle, another law that has been built into the universe, the design, that allows that life can exist on earth and possibly only on earth. I want you to watch. This has to do with where the stars are actually formed and how they’re formed, and something about our sun. I want you to watch.

[*** Excerpt 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.

[*** end excerpt ***]

Ankerberg: Alright, you’ve been looking at some video clips from Journey Toward Creation, a video documentary that talks about how the universe came into existence and how it has been fine tuned. And what you are watching are some of the anthropic laws that astronomers like Hugh Ross have found about our universe that point to the fact that God created. We’re going to look at some more. The distance between the planets and the stars has to be just right. White dwarf stars have to be just right or life couldn’t exist in the universe. Hugh, explain the distance between a planet and its star is absolutely crucial for life existing. What do you mean?
Ross: Well, for example, if the earth were brought one-half percent closer to the sun, it would experience a runaway boiling off of its water – all the water in the earth would enter the vaporous state. But if you move it a half percent farther away, you’d experience a runaway freeze-up, where all the water on the planet would turn into snow and ice.
Ankerberg: So we’re in the right spot, just the right spot. Is that coincidence?
Ross: I would argue it is not a coincidence when you team it up with the other 200 characteristics that also must be fine tuned.
Ankerberg: Yeah, that would be like rolling the dice. If you have three sets of dice and you wanted to come up all three of them on six, and you did it the first time and you say, “Do you want to bet that I’ll do it the second time?” And you say, “Hey, I’m not sure I could do it the second time.”
Ross: Well, the probability of getting all 202 just right by chance is less than one chance in 10217. That’s 217 zeroes after the one.
Ankerberg: Impossible, in other words.
Ross: Impossible, right.
Ankerberg: Alright, let’s drive this point in by looking at some of the other laws that astronomers have found. The video clips that you’ve put together are just fantastic and I want to look at, first of all, where the oldest stars reside, a place called the “Halo.” And then we’re going to look at white dwarfs, why they’re absolutely necessary just the way they’ve been formed for life to exist in the universe. Folks, I want you to watch this.

[*** Excerpt 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 forebears 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.

[*** end excerpt ***]

Ankerberg: Hugh, there are so many things that stood out in that clip to me. What struck you? And then set up our next clip.
Ross: Well, it’s the fluorine. But there are two other kinds of stars: type 1 supernova, and type 2 supernova, that make all the other heavy elements that are necessary for life.
Ankerberg: Yeah. Do you know what a supernova is? If you don’t, watch this clip. We’ll show you and show you why they are necessary: if we didn’t have them, we couldn’t have life on earth. Watch.

[*** Excerpt from Journey Toward Creation ***]

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, an 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.
Earth has been hung in precisely the right location to receive all the elements that are essential for life. Even though the stars in our galaxy are as numerous as the grains of sand on this beach, namely, about a hundred billion! Many astronomers are now convinced that it’s extremely unlikely that there could be another habitable planet anywhere among them.

[*** end excerpt ***]

Ankerberg: Alright, Hugh, we’ve shown them four video clips. Summarize these. What do they show us?
Ross: Well, they show us that the timing of the sun’s formation, its positioning relative to these type 1A and type 2 supernova and the white dwarf binaries allows life to form on a planet in as little as 13.7 billion years – human life.
Ankerberg: Incredible. Incredible. Next week, we’re going to continue more of this to show how the universe has been fine tuned. And the best clip, the one I enjoyed the most out of the whole documentary, is in the clips we’re going to show next week. It’s where the earth has been planted in our solar system. I thought that was just off the charts. Folks, I hope that you’ll join us for more scientific evidence that shows that God created.

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