Will you know the Answer before Time runs Out?
"Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something,
wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Albert Einstein
The premise of this book is that God exists and the Bible is true. So, I think it will be beneficial if we take a look at Genesis chapter 1 as we start our journey in order to get the initial impression and characteristics of our main character.
So now we are at the age old question of whether we believe in what science tells us of the beginning or what the Bible tells us. However, I am of the opinion that they are not mutually exclusive. I have a scientific background so I do believe that science always points toward the truth but it can never be the truth because science is all about discovery. Therefore, we are always making and testing new hypotheses, and the science of science, if you will, is always evolving. However, I also believe that the Bible is the ultimate truth. As we saw in the previous chapter, if I am going to believe in a unique, all knowing, omnipotent, omnipresent God who has a character of perfect love, then I am going to side with Him.
Now, my aim is not to convince you of anything but to present my view of how I think science and the Bible gel, if you will. Almost everyone knows that Albert Einstein formulated the concept of general relativity proposing the curvature of space time. His theory was quite revolutionary in his day, and still is for some of us today. The following popular limerick was written summarizing in a humorous way Einstein’s discovery:
There was a young lady named Bright
Who traveled much faster than light.
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And came back the previous night.
There have been other renowned scientists since Einstein that have taken his concepts even further and continue to revolutionize physics to create the elusive “theory of everything. ”One such person is Steven Hawking. He is a brilliant theoretical mathematician. I am nowhere in his league of understanding everything he does on a theoretical level. However, after hearing his theory on his “proof” of the need not to believe in God to account for creation, I believe I can see a few black holes, pardon the pun, in some of the “explanations” that Dr. Hawking has presented recently. I saw him on the first episode of Curiosity where he believes that he has proven the need not to believe in God to explain the event of creation.
So, the first question we need to be clear on is what is the question we are trying to answer? Is it to prove there is no need for God or to understand what actually occurred in the beginning and is God needed to explain that? I feel the former may lend to more bias than the latter. Unfortunately, it appeared that Dr. Hawking was tending toward the former.
According to Dr. Hawking, string theory is the best current theory to harmonize gravity, electromagnetism, and atomic forces: M-theory, to be more exact. While I am not going to try to summarize string theory or argue it’s points, I am going to look at the part that Dr. Hawking seemed to just ignore, or, at least, did not dwell on. I am not sure, but I think He did this because these ignored elements are a little counter-intuitive to his premise. I can’t, and don’t intend to, argue with Dr. Hawking’s understanding of mathematics. Therefore, I am going to accept that as a given and accept as a given what the mathematics imply. It seems that the math points us to a beginning.I can’t argue with that as it is consistent with the Biblical account. The beginning, however, occurred out of nothing and matter spontaneously appeared. That, too, seems consistent with Biblical Genesis.
While I don’t have a real problem with this point, I have to say that I did not understand his logic in its derivation. While quantum physics does seem to indicate that certain particles of matter, like electrons, can exist anywhere in the universe at any given moment in time, but they are usually in their orbit around the atomic nucleus. Also, it seems there are matter and anti-matter particles that can spontaneously appear anywhere in the universe for brief periods of time before they annihilate themselves by the matter and anti-matter particles colliding into each other. I can accept that - not that I completely understand it, but I can accept it. I do not, however, see how that can lead to the leap that all matter can appear spontaneously and simultaneously and then expand creating our known universe.
It seems that as long as the amounts of positive and negative matter are in balance, any amount of matter can appear. Perhaps that is true, but it still seems like a big leap to go from a couple of subatomic particles to enough particles to create an entire universe. Hawking does agree that the probability of such an event is very miniscule, but argues that as long as the probability exists, given enough time, it will happen. In other words, because it has happened, the low probability doesn’t matter. Isn’t that somewhat like self determinism: I exist; therefore, I am? In other words, we are here so the small probability of this event happening is inconsequential. Isn’t he using the same argument that Christians use to explain God? The probability of us being here is so small that we believe God made the universe and mankind. The only difference is that he is stating his model is correct regardless of the probability. Let’s look at this a little more closely. This implies that not only do we have such a low probability of the event happening, we also must have the right conditions for it to be obtainable. You have to have the right amount of matter generated at one time without too much matter so that expansion can occur and not implode back upon itself, just the right velocity generated as it spontaneously appears to overcome the gravity of the generated matter, and, let’s not forget that the positive and negative matter has to be in the right balance. On top of that, at the moment of generation, we now know that there are 36 types of quarks and they all had to be generated at the same time. Ok, so we have already gone from something happening with a minuscule chance of happening to something with an even much, much less chance of occurring. What is smaller than miniscule?
However, it does not stop there. There are even more things that have to occur in a very specific manner for life within this universe to happen. We also have to account for the probability of the earth being just the right distance from the sun, and, we have to account for the moon being just the right distance from the earth. The moon is just as important to life on the earth as is the sun. The moon causes the tides which helps keep the ocean oxygenated. There are other things that have to happen in the right amount and in the right order, but you get the picture. There aren’t enough zeros to put behind the one to describe the chance of our existence in this model that Dr. Hawking is presenting - without God, that is. On the other side, let’s look at what the math is saying about the universe. If I understand correctly, M-theory purports that there has to be 10 dimensions plus a time dimension although seven of these dimensions are curled up on themselves and are not as relevant as the four main dimensions (height, width, depth, and time) except that they do influence particle charge and the interaction of these elementary particles. However, M theory states that there are at least 10^500 possible universes for the math to work out correctly. This part, Dr. Hawking seemed to not dwell on in his proposal for the lack of a need for God. However, this is an important point. If you are going to accept a model, you have to accept all that that model tells us and accept those implications. So, if there are other universes, doesn’t there have to be something larger than our own universe to contain more than one universe? Perhaps the spontaneously generated particles or matter into our universe came from one or more of these other universes. Could this have been by God? If you can’t look into the other universe, you can neither prove nor disprove that.
Then, there is the point that Dr. Hawking made that God could not exist because the beginning was a black hole and as one gets closer to it, time slows down and time would actually stand still when, and if, the black hole is actually reached. Therefore, this would imply that there was no time before the black hole appearing and, thereby, no room for God to have existed prior to the black hole appearing. In his mind, this explains how God could not have existed prior to creation. However, if there are other universes, they could have existed prior to our own universe and who is to say that God is not there. It would seem that M-theory would support that God can exist outside our time and space.
There are also other obvious questions that would seem to indicate a creator that a random, spontaneously generated universe would not be able to explain: Why are there laws of nature if everything happened spontaneously? How did we get the laws of nature? When matter spontaneously appears, is it spontaneously generated or does it come from one of the other universes? These questions do not prove a creator is not needed because the evidence needed to answer them is outside of our observational domain.
I did say that science points to the truth. Dr. Hawking is a man of science, so I do believe that his findings are pointing us to the truth, but I believe his interpretations of the findings are not in line with all of the evidence. Yes, some of the evidence points in the direction he has stated, but his interpretations are not consistent with all of the evidence in toto.
Let’s see if the Genesis account can be consistent with the math Dr. Hawking has worked so diligently to harmonize with the laws of nature.
Was a black hole at the beginning? Well, Genesis 1:2 does state, “...and darkness was upon the face of the deep...” Well, there is nothing blacker, or deeper, than a black hole. I am not saying this is proof, but that is can be considered consistent.
So, what about the water: “...the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters...”? Well, it has been discovered that there are two types of black holes. There are those that are general black holes which pull matter and light into it without anything escaping, and then there are massive black holes like those at the center of every galaxy. It has been found that some of these massive black holes actually emit things. Some have been found to emit water., Yes, water. Isn’t that interesting? Again, not proof, but could be considered consistent. This is also consistent with other theories modeled by creationist cosmologists.
What about light? Light was created on Day 1 but the sun on Day 4 (Gn 1:4, 16). Well, light is made up of photons which are the units of energy that compose the electromagnetic spectrum. It would make sense for God to create photons first because photons are the energy that keeps electrons from falling into the nucleus of the atom. So God created a stabilizing force of matter before he created the rest of the universe. How clever.
What about matter spontaneously appearing? Well, Genesis states that God spoke and things appeared. That is pretty spontaneous.
What about the Big Bang? Well, the Big Bang is not really an explosion as we think about an explosion but is a very rapid expansion. Is this also consistent with the Bible? Well, in Job 9:8 and Jeremiah 51:15 it states that God “stretched the heavens.” That sounds like a very rapid expansion to me. Even more, this would mean that the stars were originally relatively close to the earth and then rapidly receded away from the earth into the known universe. Or, as Vardiman and Humphreys have modeled and explained, it could also have been done by a sphere of timelessness shrinking rapidly with galaxies forming along its edge where their light followed the shrinking timelessness zone so that they were visible to earth as soon as the this zone encompassed the earth. Therefore, their light would have always have been seen
from the earth as the light could continuously travel to earth as they receded or as they were formed. Also, it seems that the rapid expansion of the universe can help to explain some of the “discrepancy” between what scientists today believe the age of the universe to be and the Biblical account of only six days of creation. It seems this coined “stretch factor” has a value of 10^12; therefore, if the suggested age of the universe (approximately 16 billion years) is divided by this factor, one obtains approximately 6 days. Isn’t that interesting? Science and Scripture – like hand in glove.
Therefore, while none of this is proof - and, actually, what Dr. Hawking has presented is also not proof, it does point to the consistency between the Biblical account and the discovered science to date. The inconsistency and low probability in Dr.Hawking’s theory would seem to support the need for a Creator and the science behind Dr. Hawking’s theory would support the consistency with the Biblical account.
Curiosity Online, “Curiosity Videos: Did God create the universe?” Discovery.
Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York: Random House, Inc., 2010), 117.
Hawking, The Grand Design, 127.
Hawking, The Grand Design, 143.
Hawking, The Grand Design, 118.
A. Tarchi, C. Henkel, M. Chiaberge, and K.M. Menten, “Discovery of a luminous water megamaser in the FRII radiogalaxy 3C403,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 407, L33-L36 (2003), http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=com_article&access=standard&Itemid=129&url=/articles/aa/full/2003/32/aafe264/aafe264.html(accessed 22-Jun-2012).
Royal Astronomical Society, “Most Distant Detection of Water in the Universe,”SpaceREF,
Larry Vardiman and Russell Humphreys, “A New Creationist Cosmology: In No Time at All Part 1” Institute for Creation
Research http://www.icr.org/article/5686/ (accessed 20-Jun-2012).
Jim Mendelson, “Distant Starlight and the Speed of Light” Revolution against Evolution
Larry Vardiman and Russell Humphreys, “A New Creationist Cosmology: In No Time at All Part 2” Institute for Creation
Research http://www.icr.org/article/5830/(accessed 30-Jun-2012).
Chuck Missler, “The Nature of Cosmic Reality: Stretching the Heavens” Koinonia House