For as long as man has been able to consider his existence, he has been trying to explain it. But for most of man’s existence he has been almost entirely reliant upon the religious beliefs of his local area for that explanation. The Judeo-Christian explanation can be found in the Bible. It is a remarkably succinct accounting for the formation of the universe, and for all of recorded history, until the 20th century, was generally regarded as the only explanation. This was largely due, however, to man’s inability to see either outward in the vastness of the intergalactic universe, or inward, towards the bits and pieces of the sub-atomic universe. Albert Einstein is largely responsible for the beginning of our shifting attitudes towards understand our creation, and our creator, if there is one.
Since the time of Galileo it seems science and religion have been at each other’s throats. The one denying the other’s ascertations. For most of the history of man religions have feared scientists as being a threat to their tenants. And to some extent, that was true. But in the latter portion of the 20th century, and continuing into the 21st century, many of the larger religions have included scientists within their ranks. This is particularly true of the Roman Catholic Church where the Jesuits seem to be leading the way, although though they are certainly not the only group within that church. What they now espouse, and I find particularly inviting, is the idea that science actually explains God’s existence rather than dispel it.
The renown physicist Stephen Hawking states that science does not need God to explain the big bang. Hawking is of a group of physicists who believe that the big bang, the beginning of the universe, came from nothing. He has even made a theory of a multi-dimensional universe, 11 in all, that exists. He theorizes that at the time of the big bang a single, but unseeable, dimension existed, and from this our physical universe came into being. My personal problem with this is that Hawking, and his peers, are desperately trying to make 0 = 1. This, of course, is an absolute impossibility. But Hawking will use a combination of theoretical mathematics with quantum physics to explain how it actually can be true. To be fair, mathematics uses two symbols that have limitless possibilities, i is the symbol for imaginary numbers, and of course ∞ which is the symbol for infinity. For my purposes infinity is the only relevant symbol. Mathematics can actually prove that infinity exists but its very nature says that it is without bounds. The joke is, what does infinity plus one equal? It is a concept human beings are incapable of understanding. And yet most physicists will argue the concept of an infinite number of possibilities when they consider the “multi-verse” theory. That is the theory that our universe is but one of an infinite number of other existing universes. To understand this you need only consider a mug of beer with its bubbles floating within. Each bubble is separate and of exactly the same size, and each representing a universe unto itself.
It is impossible for any human being to fully comprehend even numbers much smaller than infinity. The number 1 trillion is actually a rather common number in terms of our universe. Consider the size of the Eagle Nebula shown below.
This cloud of gas is 70 light years long. A single light year equals 5.865 trillion miles. Now multiply that by 70. Now look at the picture below.
In the circle above is that same Eagle Nebula. See all the gas around it? It of course is immense. If the length of the clouds within that circle are 70 light years, what of the distance invovled in the gas surrounding it. Beyong our grasp. And this is just a single example of billions and billions of more nebulae just like this scattered all through our universe.
What does any of this have to do with the existence of God? It comes from the fact physicists universally agree that there is an extremely precise mechanism behind the existence of our universe and that the tiniest of variation at its beginning, one part in one trillion, and our universe does not come into existence. Statistics tells us the our flashing into existence as the universe did, given the odds, was unlikely to the extreme. And yet here we are.
But even that happening, the same mathematics, statistics, show the unlikelihood to the extreme that not just intelligent beings should come into being, but that a platform for their existence, the earth in our solar system, also required extremely exacting and unlikely to the extreme. Earth had to be formed at the distance from the sun it is, have a megnetic core, and have water just to sustain the meagerest of life forms. And yet again, here we are.
There is a large group of scientists today who believe in a theory called transcendence. This term simply means the ability to rise above and go beyond the normal and usual human and physical constraints. Hawking will tell you that time did not exist prior to the big bang, that another unknown dimension did. To be fair, time is a human invention to describe our movement from what came before to now to what comes next. But it none-the-less is a standing contradiction to Hawking’s belief. But an even more salient contradiction to the something from nothing idea of the Hawking group is the maxim in physics that states matter can neither be created nor destroyed. What Hawking is suggesting is even though that is true now, it was not true in the beginning. To that I respond, what a bunch of crap! Either the laws of physics are immutable or they are not. You cannot have it both ways as Hawking suggests.
We are truly in the infancy of our scientific knowledge. I firmly believe that science in no way contradicts theology, nor theology science. In the long run, science will confirm the existence of God, and even more, that there is some true to the first chapter in the book of Genesis in the Bible. We actually have already have done that. The Bible states that in the beginning there was darkness and that God created light. Modern physics states that is exactly what happened in the beginning. Prior to the big bang there was absolute darkness. But at the moment of the big bang when huge amounts of energy were released, there of course was the accompanying light. This was day one according to the Bible. And if we consider that the concept of time is an entirely manmade concept that day was actually some 400,000 of our years long before the creation of atoms, stars, planets, etc. started. And there we have day two.
I do not, nor have I ever, considered the book of Genesis to be an accurate description of the beginnings of the universe and then of man, but it sufficed until we could fathom a more God-like rationale of its creation. The men who wrote the Bible were incapable of conceiving the universe as we now know it. Their divine inspiration was to put into words concepts that the people of the day could understand, and even more importantly, accept. We are now moving beyond that. Remember the possibility of the universe as we know it existing is of the smallest of possible odds. And yet, here we are.