The Secular Story of Everything PART 3: The Big Bang

The first serious proponent of the Big Bang Cosmological Model was a jesuit priest and astrophysicist named Abbé Georges Lemaitre. The year was 1925 and the reception from many scientists was negative. Unlike the previous centuries, the early 20th century saw a shift in the culture of Western Civilization towards secular atheism. And one of the primary motivations for resisting the Big Bang model was articulated by Sir Arthur Eddington, a famous cosmologist of the time, he said plainly: “It seems to require a peculiar and sudden beginning of things… …philosophically, the notion of a beginning is repugnant to me…” Sir Eddington went on to develop his own failed model of cosmology, attempting to allow “evolution an infinite time to get started.”It was an ideological addiction to Darwin’s macro-evolutionary model that was galvanizing resistance to what seemed a supernatural beginning to the cosmos.

Today, we would find it hard to believe that the secular scientists of the time suspected religious poison at play in the early proposals of a hot Big Bang event.

In fact, because of the predominant secular view of cosmology following the wake of the Darwinian revolution, Albert Einstein changed his own math in his early work on relativity. His calculations began to point to a universe that had a beginning. He knew the grain of the scientific establishment and introduced the “cosmological constant” into his theory to “correct” for the math’s tendency to show a starting point for the cosmos.

Make no mistake. The secular worldview was resistant to the Big Bang when it was first introduced.

In fact, the very name came from the scoffing criticism of Sir Fred Hoyle, whose “steady state” theory of an eternal cosmos was being challenged by the new view of a universe with a beginning. In the 1950s Sir Hoyle jokingly referenced the new theory as a “big bang,” in attempts to frame the science as simplistic and stupid.

Ironically, his insult is forever frozen as the lasting name of the science which sent his work to the dust bin.

Since the jesuit priest Lemaitre first introduced the notion of a hot flash point as the beginning of our physical reality, several discoveries have converged to provide stunning confirmation for the Big Bang model.

Edwin Hubble’s 1929 discovery of the “spectral line redshifts” in distant stars and galaxies showed that the cosmos was stretching out and away from a primary location. Like the outside of a balloon as more air is introduced.

Hubble’s discovery prompted Einstein to try his math without the “cosmological constant” he’d previously introduced. And long and behold, his theory of relativity held up and paralleled Hubble’s observations.

With the modern day advent of super space telescopes, scientists have been able to carry out numerous tests to try and confirm or debunk the now prevailing Big Bang model. One such test is the Cosmic Background Radiation tests. Astronomers can look into the night sky and record the radiation “echo” from the most distant reaches of the cosmos. They can also check radiation levels from nearer — and therefore more recent — parts of our cosmos. This background radiation check is the comparison of old and younger radiation “temperatures” that prevailed in the entire cosmos throughout different stages of its history. It is consistent with an initial, super-massive hot flash “big bang” event that has since cooled off at a constant rate.

Other observations such as Stellar Burning have helped increase confidence in the Big Bang model. Simply put, Stellar Burning is a measure of how long a star has been burning.

To those unfamiliar with astrophysics, it can appear extravagant to claim to measure distant stars’ age, but interestingly, it is easier to do so than to determine the precise burning time of a piece of campfire wood. Wood is incredibly complex on a molecular level, whereas stars are almost purely hydrogen and helium. They are pure gas. No solids or liquids and they are in a near perfect vacuum and are spherical with completely evenly distributed surface and internal pressures. Therefore, all we need to know is the amount of time helium or hydrogen takes to “burn” and the mass of a star (ie.: the amount of hydrogen/helium involved) and we get a fairly accurate age determination.

Astronomers have age-checked thousands and thousands of stars. Their findings parallel the redshift data, the cosmic background radiation and other measurements not mentioned in this article. Furthermore, these different measurements by several teams of scientists over several years have delivered a nearly identical estimated age date for the beginning of our cosmos. This number is universally held to be approximately 13.7 billion years.

Our earth is aged at approximately 4-5 billion years old. As old as this may seem, it was — and continues to be — an uncomfortably short amount of time for evolutionary mechanisms to produce the degree and amount of complexity found in the ecosystem. Remember, the cooling of earth and its multiple preparatory stages leave life far less than a billion years to “grow” the Animal Kingdom from single cell organisms.

It is long forgotten — although not by all — that the original introduction of a universe starting from scratch and expanding into life suddenly was considered unscientific by secular minded men and women. It was ridiculed because it seemed supernatural.

Personally, I don’t blame a secular person’s weariness on the supernatural implications of the Big Bang cosmology. In fact, the term “Big Bang” is very misleading. We are not dealing with a clumsy, forceful explosion. The numbers surrounding this event are stunning. For example the ratio of mass-density have to be precise to 1 x 10 to the 60 and 1 x 10 to the 120. This is a 1 with 60 zeros behind it and a 1 with 120 zeros behind it. The initial velocity of this event was also incredibly calibrated to prevent collapse or over-shot.

All energy, space, matter and time were introduced from apparently nothing with a force that was nearly infinite in scale and a precision that boggles the mind of scientists to this day.

Isaiah 42:5 states that “He who created the heavens and stretched them out….”

Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22, 44:24, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13, Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15 and Zechariah 12:1 all make references to a “stretching out’ of the heavens. In fact, this description of the night sky is the most prevalent framework presented in the Old Testament. Interestingly, this is the most well established view of our balloon-like 4 dimensional expanding universe. The greeks never thought of our night sky like that. In fact, no one except modern day astrophysicists and the Old Testament authors have ever described our night sky as an expanding system.

Genesis 1:1 states:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

The hebrew word re’shiyth is used for “beginning.” It signals the “chief part” or the “original” or “first” portion of something. Bara’ is used for “created” and is different from the word hayah used in other portions of Genesis 1 and beyond. Bara implies an “ex nihilo” or “out of nothing” creation. Someone outside of space, time and energy causing the sudden, ultra-massive and incredibly well engineered introduction of all space, time, energy and matter.

Before modern science forced us to shift our frame of reference, most secular thinkers, and even ancient greeks, believed in the eternal nature of space, time and matter. Yet the opening lines of the Bible gave us parameters that have proven accurate.

Unlike the intuition of secular men and women….

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