I am sure that there are many people who are persuaded of God's presence based upon looking up at the night sky alone. But I am not one of these people. I have mentioned before that looking at cells is what makes me excited, and provides me with assurance of God's presence. And so, I have decided to look into this universe thing, and see why there are so many people who see God when they look up and see the stars at night. The Universe declaring God's glory is the subject of today's post.
I like to start my discussions by looking at what God's Word first says about a subject. And the starting point at looking at God's creation upon people is Romans Chapter 1. Romans 1:18-20 says all people are without excuse for not knowing God. I like the Message's translation of these verses:
But God's angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse…
Hebrews 11:3 is also helpful, and it says: "By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." And so, the universe is meant as confirmation showing us God's being there, and as the reason there is a universe around us. And as Romans 1:18 confirms, there is a Higher Power that we are accountable to, and all are without excuse.
But what if someone takes a closer look at the universe and its origins, will this search provide further support for God's handiwork, or will it cause people to understand that there is a naturalistic (i.e., not a supernatural) explanation for the universe's existence? Let me provide short summaries of some of the evidence I have learned from others that points to God's existence based upon the universe He created:
- The Big Bang – 'Red Shift'. The Big Bang is tremendous evidence pointing to an abrupt, Genesis 1:1 type of start to the universe. It was first noticed in 1914 by Astronomer Vesto Slipher (nice name, huh?) that all of the galaxies were receding from Earth at high velocities. When objects are moving toward an observer the light waves bunch up causing shorter wavelengths and a blue color. While objects moving away are stretched, causing longer light waves which make the light waves appear red. This is a great support for the Big Bang theory, where the galaxies are receding from Earth, and appear red with longer wavelengths, a "red shift". And so from this we have the understanding that the universe is expanding and arose from a single point.
A second hard scientific discovery that supports the 'Big Bang' theory is the presence of cosmic background radiation. This discovery made in 1965 by two AT&T physicists, Penzias and Wilson discovered there was radiation throughout the galaxies surrounding Earth. This surrounding radiation is constant, no matter where it is measured. And it has no known source. Scientists have since described this as 'background' radiation that is left over from a very early, hot universe. This background radiation is left over from the 'Big Bang'. These are two of the best scientific evidences that support an abrupt beginning to our universe, which we describe as the 'Big Bang'. Though I have yet to see a good discussion by anyone of where the huge amount of energy that started the Big Bang came from, or why it was set off, and why this energy didn't just stay in equilibrium, or in a stable condition. Wouldn't this also be evidence of God the Creator? Or is this too basic of a question from someone without much of a science background like me?
- The Anthropic Principle. I found it interesting that Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project that deciphered the human genome, was not persuaded of God's existence from his study of cells, but instead was persuaded from the evidence of the universe. He describes this as the "Anthropic Principle", which is the idea that the universe is uniquely tuned to give rise to human life. Here are the 3 examples Dr. Collins gives in his book, 'The Language of God':
- More Quarks than Antiquarks. Following the Big Bang, matter and anti-matter were created in nearly equal amounts. At one millisecond of time after the Big Bang, the universe cooled enough for quarks and anti-quarks to condense out. (Stay with me, it's worth it!) When a quark meets an anti-quark, it destroys both and releases energy. But there were not equal amounts of quarks and anti-quarks when the universe was created. There were slightly more quarks than anti-quarks, about one part in a billion, and this difference is what makes up the entire mass of the universe. That's right, all of the stars, planets, and everything else in the universe was created because there are slightly more quarks than anti-quarks when the Big Bang started our universe. And if there was complete equality, then the universe would have devolved into pure radiation, with no life possible;
- Expansion Rate of the Universe. The amount of energy that started the 'Big Bang' is exactly the precise amount needed for the universe to keep expanding. The expansion of the universe depends critically upon the amount of energy and mass that the universe has. "If the expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in 100 thousand million million (yes, I've stated the number correctly), the universe would have recollapsed before it ever reached its present size."
And if the rate of expansion had been greater by even one part in a million, stars and planets could not have been able to form. The Expansion Rate of the universe, with the precise amount of matter/energy needed for planets and ultimately life to form is so improbable, it seems that God could not have revealed Himself any more clearly than if He wrote in the sky that 'I Created This World';
- Formation of Heavier Elements. If the force that holds neutrons and protons together had been even slightly weaker, then only hydrogen would have been formed in the universe, and so life would not be possible. And if the force holding protons/neutrons together was even slightly stronger, then all of the hydrogen would have been converted to helium, instead of the 25% that occurred early in the Big Bang, and thus the fusion furnaces of stars and their ability to generate the heavier elements needed for life on Earth would never happen. And there are more examples, but let me leave this topic for now.
From examples like those listed above, I am starting to get excited from looking at the stars above, and understanding better God's role as Source of its creation. There is much more that is said about the heavens showing God's glory, but let me end with the beginning of Psalm 104, a great Psalm of praise to God. It says: "O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. 2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent." May God bless you this day.