Bible:1, Berkeley:0

Oct 3, 2011   //   by wendy   //   Omega Letter Articles  //  No Comments


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

The Bible alone among the holy books of the world begins with the assertion that the universe had a beginning and follows up with substantial detail about how it came about. 

From the time of Plato, nearly 500 years before Christ, the scientific world has believed that the universe had no beginning or end, but has always existed, influencing many theological traditions to espouse the same belief.  The late Robert Jastrow, eminent NASA scientist and the long-time director of Mt. Wilson Observatory, explained the scientist’s position: “If there was a beginning, what came before? And if there is an end, what will come after? …the idea of a Universe that has both a beginning and an end is distasteful to the scientific mind.” Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

Though most Christians are unaware of it, the last twenty years have turned the previous twenty centuries on their heads. Experiments by Edwin Hubble (known more for his namesake telescope) in 1929 seemed to show that space was expanding, implying a universe that was not eternal. (If it had been expanding forever, it then no planets or stars would be visible—they would have already disappeared from view). The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite launched in 1989, sealed the deal. The data obtained from the satellite demonstrated a level of background radiation across the universe  that proved that the universe had a  definite beginning; one point in time where something, for reasons they could not begin to explain, sprang into being out of nothing.

A beginning beyond the ability to explore through scientific means.

George Smoot, Berkeley astronomer who direct the COBE project, declared that analyzing the data was  “like looking at God”.

The COBE findings, which earned Smoot and NASA scientist John Mather a Nobel Prize, were reported on national television on April 24, 1992. Appropriately enough, (since the results implied a First Cause of the universe outside our space and time), Ted Koppel prefaced the report by reading the first verses of Genesis.

Jastrow lamented these events, writing, “if the evidence for the expanding universe could be explained away, the need for a moment of creation would be eliminated, and the concept of time without end would return to science. But these attempts have not succeeded, and most astronomers have come to the conclusion that they live in an exploding world.”  Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

So many scientists, in fact,  were thus driven into the spiritual realms for answers unobtainable through math and science that one disgruntled San Diego physicist (Geoffrey Burbidge)  grumbled about his colleagues flocking to the “First Church of the Big Bang”. A British astronomer observed that “the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency must be involved. Is it possible that.. we have stumbled upon scientific proof of a supreme being? George Greenstein, the Symbiotic Universe

Jastrow, in a widely-quoted moment of transparency, offered this lament:

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

About 60 centuries, in fact. (This being the year 5771 on the Hebrew calendar which, according to tradition, marks lapsed time since Adam’s special creation.)

Jastrow died in 2008 (no doubt solving the puzzle of First Cause for himself),  but other scientists have picked up the  banner of repugnance for the concept of a creator. This month’s Scientific American cover story examines the current theory of the universe’s origin and details controversy within the scientific community about the concept of a beginning.  The cover story is subtitled “Why our best explanation of how the universe evolved must be fixed–or replaced”. 

The author, Princeton cosmologist Paul Steinhardt, summarizes the current consternation among physicists:  ”highly improbably conditions are required” at the beginning, the implication being conditions that would require a First Cause, outside our space/time, to create.  He goes on to say that it is difficult to determine whether the problems perceived are “teething pains or signs of a deeper rot.”   Teething pains ostensibly needing fixed, deeper rot requiring chucking the theory out altogether and thinking up something new.

Apparently another contemporary tradition in science.  As Einstein said, “if the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts”.  Torture the data till it confesses to your presuppositions.

My vote is a deeper rot.

If your presupposition is the denial of the possibility of a creator, there is no hope of understanding the creation.

The fool says in his heart there is no God.


October 2011
« Sep   Feb »

Recent Comments