Those scientists (astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists) whose professional activities focus on outer space seem to live in a strange wonderland of relativistic mathematics and quantum theory, which non-initiates find hard to believe. In fact, the evolutionary socialist, Jeremy Rifkin, says:
Cosmologies are made up of small snippets of physical reality that have been remodeled by society into vast cosmic deceptions.1
Cosmologists speak of ten dimensions instead of the familiar three-dimensional space in which "we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28). We also read about curved space, quantum fluctuations in the infinite vacuum, cosmic inflation, causeless beginnings, and other marvels from their mathematical manipulations.
What is the purpose of all this esoteric theorizing in the study of extraterrestrial space? None of it seems to contribute to anything of practical value at all. In an article eulogizing modern science and its wonderful contributions, Judson admitted that:
Still, even today certain major sciences offer scant prospect of practical application. Astronomy and cosmology are of little earthly use.2
But if any common purpose can be discerned in space research, it seems to be to explain the universe without God. A recent survey3 found that 92.5% of the leading physicists and astronomers (those in the National Academy of Science) reject the idea of a personal God altogether.
Still, there are a few theistic astronomers (e.g., Dr. Hugh Ross) who think that most astronomers accept the Big Bang as the act of cosmic creation recorded in Genesis 1:1. Unfortunately, many leading evangelical Christians today, fearful of being thought anti-intellectual, are buying this notion.
Since the mid-1960s, scientifically informed theists have been ecstatic because of Big Bang cosmology. Theists believe that the best scientific evidence that God exists is the evidence that the universe began to exist in an explosion about 15 billion years ago, an explosion called the Big Bang. Theists argue that . . . the cause of the universe is God. This theory hinges on the assumption that it is obviously true that whatever begins to exist has a cause.4
Science has, indeed, always assumed the validity of the cause-and-effect principle, that every effect must have an adequate cause. But now evolutionary philosophers are questioning this most basic of all scientific laws.
An eminent cosmologist at the Fermi Labs "explains":
One of the consequences of the uncertainty principle is that a region of seemingly empty space is not really empty, but is a seething froth in which every sort of fundamental particle pops in and out of empty space before annihilating with its antiparticle and disappearing—these are the so-called quantum fluctuations. . . . In a very real sense, quantum fluctuations would be the origin of everything we see in the universe.5
To us outsiders, this seems like an unreal never-never land. But evolutionary astrophysicists believe it is "very real," and that it proves the universe came into existence all by itself.
The claim that the beginning of our universe has a cause conflicts with current scientific theory. The scientific theory is called the Wave Function of the universe. It has been developed in the past by Stephen Hawking, Andre Vilenkin, Alex Linde, and many others. Their theory is . . . that a universe with our characteristics will come into existence without a cause.6
Probably the most eminent of this group of astrophysicists is Stephen Hawking, whose 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, has sold over 2.5 million copies. He has claimed that science is on the verge of developing a "theory of everything" including the origin of the universe.
The problem is that the ultimate theory envisioned by Hawking and others never materialized. Theorists seeking that theory have become lost in a fantasy-land of higher-dimensional mathematics that has less and less to do with reality. The theory of everything has become a theory of nothing.7
But, if the idea of the universe emerging naturalistically as a quantum fluctuation of nothing into something seems bizarre, there is a new theory going around now that seems even more "spaced-out" than that!
We suggest that the Universe emerged from something rather than nothing—and that something was itself. . . . Such a thing is possible because Einstein's general theory of relativity permits closed time-like curves—loops of time.8
This theory has been advanced by J. Richard Gott III and Li-Xin Li of Princeton University and even suggests that time travel may be possible.
Ruling out the possibility of traveling back in time has turned out to be trickier than many physicists had supposed. Two researchers have now shown that quantum effects do not necessarily prevent the occurrence of loops in time, Li-Xin Li and J. Richard Gott III of Princeton University present their case in the April 6 Physical Review Letters . . . "Hence," the researchers say, "the laws of physics may allow the universe to be its own mother."9
Marcus Chown comments that this theory, if true, would mean that
. . . it's possible that a branch of space/time could loop backwards to form the tree trunk. . . . Space would have been in a loop of time perpetually recreating itself.10
But the observational facts with which to test such notions are very limited. One group of eminent astronomers has disparaged the entire Big Bang theory, with all its strange offshoots:
Cosmology is unique in science in that it is a very large intellectual edifice based on very few facts.11
Although these astronomers reject the Big Bang theory, they still believe in cosmic evolution: they are not believers in Biblical creation.
They should, however, and so should all the rest. "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1), not the complexities of an imaginary cosmic evolution. "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; . . . For He spake, and it was done" (Psalm 33:6,9). There is not one fact of physics or astronomy that refutes these plain statements of the Word of God. "Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens . . . for He commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever" (Psalm 148:4-6).
It is sad that so many brilliant space scientists are seeking to comprehend the cosmos without God. If God was not there at the beginning, neither will He be at the end, so they must try also to extrapolate its future without God.
And such a future is dreadfully dark, for the stars must eventually burn out, according to these theories, and even matter itself will disappear.
Therefore, nothing made of ordinary matter—including atoms—will last.12
In the beginning there may have been light, but in the end, it seems there will be nothing but darkness.13
Not so, however, for those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Creator and Redeemer. This created universe will continue forever. "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).
1 Jeremy Rifkin, "Reinventing Nature," The Humanist (volume 58, March/April 1998), p. 24.
2 Horace F. Judson, "Century of the Sciences," Science 84 (November 1984), p. 42.
3 Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham, "Leading Scientists Still Reject God," Nature (volume 394, July 23, 1998), p. 313.
4 Quentin Smith, "Big Bang Cosmology and Atheism," Free Inquiry (Spring 1998), p. 35.
5 Rocky Kolb, "Planting Primordial Seeds," Astronomy (volume 26, February 1998), pp. 42,43.
6 Quentin Smith, op. cit., p. 36.
7 John Horgan, "The Big Bang Theory of Science Books," New York Times Book Review (December 1997), p. 39.
8 J. Richard Gott III, as quoted by Marcus Chown, "In the Beginning," New Scientist (volume 157, January 24, 1998), p. 14.
9 J. Peterson, "Evading Quantum Barrier to Time Travel," Science News (volume 153, April 11, 1998), p. 231.
10 Marcus Chown, op. cit., p. 14.
11 Halton, Arp, G. Burbridge, Fred Hoyle, J. Narlikar, and N. Wickramasinghe, "The Extra-Galactic Universe: An Alternative View," Nature (vol. 346, August 30, 1990), p. 812.
12 Fred C. Adams and Gregory Laughlin, "The Future of the Universe," Sky and Telescope (volume 96, August 1998), p. 37.
13 Robert Matthews, "To Infinity and Beyond," New Scientist (volume 158, August 1, 1998), p. 30.
* Dr. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.