Why Is the Big Bang Evidence That God Created the Universe? – Program 1
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Hugh Ross, Dr. Fuz Rana, Ken Samples; ©2002|
|What does science know about how and when the universe came into existence?|
Why Is the “Big Bang” Theory Proof That God Created Everything?
- 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.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Welcome. We’re talking about, “What does science know about how and when the universe came into existence?” We have two scientists and a philosopher with us today. My guests are Dr. Hugh Ross, astronomer and astrophysicist; Dr. Fuz Rana, who received his Ph.D. in chemistry; and philosopher and theologian Ken Samples.
- Hugh, let me start with you. April 24, 1992, all of a sudden some of the key scientists in the world made some fantastic statements. I want to know what’s going on. For example, Stephen Hawking, Cambridge, says, “It is the discovery of the century, if not of all time.” George Smoot, University of California at Berkeley, astronomer and project leader for the COBE satellite project, says, “What we have found is evidence for the birth of the universe.” He said, “It’s like looking at God.” Michael Turner, astrophysicist with the University of Chicago, said, “The significance of this cannot be overstated. They have found the ‘Holy Grail’ of cosmology.” And one more, your old professor, Geoffrey Burbidge, University of California at San Diego, said, “You know, my fellow astronomers are rushing off to join the First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.”
- Now, what did the scientists find in that year that caused them to make all these statements?
- Dr. Hugh Ross: Well, for about a decade previous to that, astronomers had been predicting, based on the big bang, that there would be certain tiny temperature fluctuations in the radiation left over from the creation event. And when they found that radiation exactly at the level predicted by the big bang, it’s like it really added the strongest confirmation to that time for the big bang explanation for the origin of the universe.
- Ankerberg: What is the big bang?
- Ross: The big bang is the coming into existence of all matter, energy, space and time a finite time ago, where time itself is created; space, matter and energy along with it. It’s really talking about the transcendent creation, bringing into existence of matter, energy, space and time, then it’s very carefully controlled expansion from that point of beginning. Lawrence Krauss, astrophysicist at Case Western Reserve University, refers to this as “the most extreme fine tuning problem known in physics.”
- Dr. Fazale Rana: And Hugh, who is that a problem for?
- Ross: It’s a problem for those taking a non-theistic perspective, and what we’re seeing here is design at a level that’s superior to one part in 10120.
- Ankerberg: Is the big bang theory, and what has been found in science, proof that God created everything?
- Ross: Well, it’s certainly proof that there is a transcendent causal agent that’s responsible for bringing the universe into existence. That’s how my peers in astronomy who are not Christians speak about this. But a transcendent causal agent is the same definition you see for the God of the Bible and in a dictionary.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to keep trying to break this down for my mother back home because you guys could snow us with the vocabulary. And we’re going to go to some video clips that you put together in a tremendous documentary that we’re going to make available to the people. Let’s set that up. Einstein, in developing his theory of general relativity, said that the universe was like, what? an exploding grenade. Explain that.
- Ross: Well, when he saw this equation of general relativity he saw that it predicted a beginning for the universe and an expansion of the universe from that beginning. So that was the very start, from a scientific perspective, of the big bang explanation for the origin and development of the universe.
- Ankerberg: One other thing. Some people say, some of the scientists say, it’s like having a hot kitchen oven and you open the door. Tell them what happens and how this related to, say, the COBE experiments in 1992, and so on.
- Ross: Well, if the very beginning is extremely hot, as you open that oven door you’ll see a dissipation of heat. It will dissipate fairly rapidly. But say, a long time afterwards – and we’re now a long time after the beginning of the universe – that temperature would be very low but it would be very consistent. The consistency of that temperature tells us that the point of beginning was near infinitely hot.
- Ankerberg: Alright, so what they’re saying is, they were looking for this; guys all the way back into the 20s had postulated this. Einstein had done it through mathematics. But then, they did certain experiments in the 90s, 1992, with the COBE satellite, and found out that it was exactly what they were postulating. And it led them back to the fact that the big bang must have actually occurred. Now, let’s give the folks at home a clip from your beautiful video documentary, Journey Toward Creation. Folks, here is what Einstein said in real simple language. I want you to watch the pictures.
[*** Excerpt 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 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.
[*** end excerpt ***]
- Ankerberg: Hugh, we snuck the verse in, Genesis 1:1, in that clip. Some people might say, “Hey, you guys are sneaking ‘religion’ in there. We’re talking science.” Was it okay for us to say, “In the beginning God created” off of the big bang?
- Ross: Very appropriate. It was seven different Bible authors that wrote in great detail about the big bang characteristics of the universe [Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, and Paul]; that it has a transcendent beginning – “In the beginning God created”; that it is continuously expanding – that’s the most detailed information you have in the Bible about the universe; and the universe gets colder as it gets older. Job says God alone expands the universe, [Job 9:8] which means that there is this exquisite design in the expansion of the universe.
- You know, it was in the 20th and 21st centuries that scientists have discovered what the Bible has been saying for thousands of years is scientifically accurate.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to come back to some of what the critics say because, I mean, we’ve got a lot of folks that are non-Christians watching this program and we’re going to answer their questions as we go along. But we’re still trying to get on the table the big bang – what it is, because some of the stuff you’ve got in your video clips just blew my mind right off the map. Let’s go, first of all, to the fact that scientists, when they look through their telescopes, what are they looking at? I mean, we’re going right back, you said, to the time of the creation event.
- Ross: Yeah, they’re actually looking back in time. The farther away you look, the farther back in time you see. And astronomers have telescopes that are able to look back so far in time that we’re seeing the universe when it’s .003% of its present age. So we’re actually direct witnesses to the creation event.
- Ankerberg: Alright, folks, I couldn’t understand that the first time he told me. If you didn’t understand it, watch this video clip. It will tell you little bit of what Hugh does and what the astronomers do and what they’re looking at, and this is going to blow your mind. Watch this clip.
[*** Excerpt 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 7-1/2 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 8 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.
[*** end excerpt ***]
- Ankerberg: Alright, Hugh, you blow our mind when we look at these huge numbers that you’re giving to us. If the universe started at 13.7 billion years ago – a little later on you’re going to show us in one of the video clips that all of that time was needed; all of the stars that are out there – we’re going to give some numbers on how many stars are out there – are needed; that these things aren’t a mistake. It’s not just chaos. This is designed intricately. Tell us what you mean.
- Ross: Well, astronomers are amazed that the universe, in only 13.7 billion years, can provide a home for humanity. It really takes a lot of very intricate design to get the stage set that fast, given the laws of physics.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, what you’re saying is, if we didn’t have that time, and if we didn’t have all the stars that are out there,… how many stars are out there in the universe?
- Ross: Ten billion trillion in the observable universe.
- Ankerberg: And what you’re saying is that it’s a specific number in the sense that if we had more than that, we’d have trouble in terms of life and life couldn’t exist in the universe. If we had less stars, we couldn’t. We’re going to tell them why coming up, but just these things that the astronomers have found are fantastic, and it shows that God has created this thing very, very intricately.
- Ross: Very intricately and very rapidly.
- Ankerberg: “Rapidly” – that’s another thing, because it’s going to say to us that life on earth, our other doctors here are going to talk to us that evolution couldn’t have created in the time that was left. That’s going to be a problem.
- Ross: Yes. That’s much too rapid.
- Ankerberg: Alright, Hugh, since the 1990 and 1992 COBE satellite experiments, there has been a whole ton of scientific experiments that have been done, predictions that the scientists have made about the big bang theory that have come in, so that the science is really overwhelming. Just kind of give us a few of those.
- Ross: It really is overwhelming, especially in the last year and a half. They found polarization, the cosmic background radiation. They’ve been able to measure that there are several factors governing the expansion of the universe. It’s not just gravity any more. There’s this dark energy term, and there may even be two components of the dark energy. And they’re finding fine tuning that they never knew of until a few years ago, a fine tuning that is at such an extremely high level that it shows us that this transcendent causal agent must be trillions and trillions and trillions, etc., of times more powerful, more intelligent, more creative, and more knowledgeable and caring than we human beings. So it’s really driving scientists, not to the conclusion of simply a “transcendent causal agent,” but a personal Being that’s behind this big bang history of the universe.
- We now know when the first stars formed. We know how important those first stars were in making life possible in the future universe. We have a date for the creation of the universe accurate to three significant figures.
- Ankerberg: Alright, let’s go to your video and show them what you’re talking about. Folks, I’m guaranteeing this will blow your mind! We’re going to take you back to the big bang event itself, a few seconds before, and what happened during that time. And why does the scientific evidence call for a transcendent supernatural cause? I want you to listen.
[*** Excerpt 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.
- On our trip from the Space Needle to the Empire State Building, we have now arrived within 250 feet of our destination. We cannot look back any farther 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, supercomputers 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 a 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.
- At this point we are just three minutes away from the creation event, less than a tenth of a millionth of an inch from the Empire State Building; just a few molecules away from its base. 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 their 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.
[*** end excerpt ***]
- Ankerberg: I told you that would blow your mind. We’re going to talk about what you saw more in the programs up ahead, but assuming that you and the astronomers have all kinds of scientific reasons why what you showed us is true, why is this proof that there is a supernatural causal agent behind the universe?
- Ross: Because the causal agent must bring all this matter, energy, space and time into existence from something beyond, outside of, matter, energy, space and time. Hebrews 11:3 – the universe that we can detect was made from that which we cannot detect; so that automatically puts you into a metaphysical causal agent. Then, the extreme design that’s necessary in the expansion of the universe to produce a universe that could possibly support life points to the personality of this Creator.
- Ankerberg: Which is where we’re going next week in the programs: that, instead of an explosion with chaos, you have a fine tuned universe; unbelievably fine tuned laws that if they weren’t just exactly the way they are, all of them together, we wouldn’t have life anyplace in the universe, let alone earth! Paul Davies puts it, “We’re looking at overwhelming evidence for design.” If scientists admit that we have a transcendent, supernatural cause, what’s the problem with calling that cause “God”?
- Ross: There’s no problem at all. I think the problem exists in the theological naiveté of the astrophysicists. They’re using terms like “transcendent causal agent” or “agent beyond space and time,” but not being well versed in theology, they don’t recognize that this is really identical to the God of the Bible.
- Ankerberg: Well, Fuz and Ken, we really used all your talents! – but we’re coming to you, so hang in there! And folks, we’re going next week to part 2: we have the scientific evidence for the big bang on the table, we’re going to talk about the objections to that, and how they’ve been met. And then we’re going to talk about this “fine tuning” of the universe. You won’t believe what you’re going to see. Please join us.