I am a Christian. I believe in the God of the Bible, in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. I believe in Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV)" I am a biochemist and a pharmacist by education. As such I have a desire to understand nature. I am writing this blog as my way to express the facts of true science as I understand them, from the perspective of one who believes that all things were created by God, for God and for His purposes.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Looking Upward Part One - The Big Bang

I am using "Looking Upward" to mean looking into the heavens and thinking abut how they were formed. This takes us to the beginning of time, what is now considered "The Big Bang Theory".

Looking Upward - Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. - Finding God in the universe above.

CMB Timeline300 no WMAP Scientifically, the Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the universe from the earliest known periods (within millionths of a millisecond, or less, of the explosion) through its subsequent large-scale expansion and coagulation. The model suggests that the universe expanded from a very high density and high temperature state, a singularity, into the universe we see now. Some estimates place this moment at approximately 13.8 billion years ago.

The breakdown of general relativity occurs with the singularity and thus, so do all the laws of physics such that it is anyone's guess what actually happened at that moment in time - the beginning of time. Time did not exist before the explosion as the laws of physics as we know them did not exist, nor did matter of any type such as we now know. Scientists can only speculate what occurred in the early fractions of a second, when the singularity exploded and the universe started to expand. In the Big Bang theory it is thought that first there was nothing and then it exploded. The Universe created itself. Based on certain physical laws, the Universe came into existence on its own. This is a hard sell to me in that the laws of physics did not exist before time and matter (nothing to react upon) so how could they cause time and matter to spontaneously generate themselves.

Was it God or the Laws of Physics
That caused the Big-Bang?

The Big Bang is not an explosion of matter moving outward to fill an empty universe. Instead, space itself expands with time everywhere and increases the physical distance between two co-moving points. Space, time and matter only exist within the universe, not outside it. The universe is many, many trillions of miles across, one light-year equals almost 6 trillion miles and we can see stars over 13 billion light-years away. When we see such stars, we are seeing them how they appeared billions of years ago as their light had to travel all of that distance to get to us. Even the closest star, Alpha Centauri, is 4.4 light-years away so when we look at it, the light that we see has been traveling in space for over 4 years to reach us.

When we look at the Bible, there is one verse that if we can believe it, we should have no problem believing the remainder of the book. That verse just happens to be the first verse, Genesis 1:1.

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

If we can believe that God created the entire physical universe, how can we not believe that He orchestrated the plagues of Egypt or the Miracles of Jesus? Or any other difficult thing found in His Word.

Looking at the Hebrew, the word for "In the beginning" is "re'shiyth" which points to the first - in place, time, order or rank so it could be translated as "In the beginning of Time". The word "bara'", translated "created", means to create, shape, form of new conditions and circumstances as in forming the universe from nothing. And the word for "heavens", "shamayim", means the heavens as in the visible universe. Substituting these extended translations we get "In the beginning of Time, God formed the visible universe from nothing". In at least a half dozen other verses (most notably in Isaiah) it is mentioned that God also stretched out the heavens. The word of God, written over 4000 years ago, closely correlates what we see in the Big Bang Theory.

I wrote about this in a previous blog, "Why I believe Genesis 1:1-2".

Once we move past the "Big Bang" and start to look at the formation of the galaxies, stars and even our Earth, we see that this process is a complex one, and took many billions of years to reach something even remotely like what we know of today. Right after the Big Bang (about 10-6 seconds), there were no elements, only protons, neutrons and electrons. After a few minutes, when temperatures dropped to about 1,000,000,000 degrees Kelvin, hydrogen and helium nuclei formed. It wasn't until after almost 400,000 years that conditions allowed the formation of hydrogen atoms.

All elements heavier than Lithium did not form until they could be generated by the heat of the starry ovens that formed in space. It took several billion years for stars and galaxies to form. The slightly denser areas of the universe (it was originally a soup of nearly uniformly distributed matter) gravitationally attracted nearby matter and thus grew even denser, leading to the formation of gas clouds. These giant clouds of primordial elements later coalesced through gravity to form the stars, galaxies and the other astronomical structures observable today, much like raindrops forming in the clouds.

Naturalistic theories of origins are based on undirected, random activities. Such random activities are governed by the law of probability. After the big bang, the overwhelming probability was that the universe-to-be would collapse, or stay as a primordial soup. Yet it overcame these odds to evolve into the universe we see today. This could just be the one in a trillion (or much higher) odds and if it had not been so, we would not be here to see it. Or it could be God’s supernatural activity, manipulating nature laws to influence the odds and arriving at the universe He planned.

Genesis 1:2 (NIV) says, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The Hebrew words used here point to a formless earth (the primordial soup mentioned above), and God hovering over it. The Hebrew word for hover is "rachaph" which implies a watchful, loving attention to the entire creation process.

As we examine further the process of formation of the universe and life itself, we will see that the odds are small, and even though the universe is massive and the small odds result in still many possible outcomes like our own (as in many possible planets like earth), it does not overshadow the possibility of God.

Science is now reporting a new theory that could replace the Big Bang. New studies of old quantum equations corrected with quantum trajectories describe the expansion and evolution of the universe within the context of general relativity. This approach eliminates the Big-Bang singularity as well as accounts for dark matter and dark energy. In this new model, the universe has no beginning and no ending. This is similar to what was the prevailing theory before the Big Bang.

This is still being studied and does not, yet, eliminate the Big-Bang. If it becomes the new theory of the universe, does it negate the Biblical account? I say no as all of these possibilities are still only theories, it is not possible to prove how the universe came into existence. And saying that the universe always was and always will be creates problems with other theories, such as evolution. If the universe was always here, then why are we not more "evolved?" Why have all of the stars not burned out and the planets all grown cold? Based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which leads to spatial homogeneity of matter and energy, and especially of temperature, all of the universe should be homogeneous. It seems unlikely that the universe would have always existed. How was it formed, it just was, is and will be? This sounds like God to me. He is the great "I AM."

Friday, July 1, 2016

Are God and Science Compatible?

Can we believe in God and still be a scientist? Since the existence of "God" can not be proven or dis-proven scientifically, believing either choice is believing one side of the theory. Those of us who are Christian hold that the God of the Bible does exist and that He created all that we see and know about the universe (and a lot that we do not know). This is considered "Intelligent Design" by many - that the universe as we know it could not have come into existence by random chance.

Those who believe in "Evolution" claim that random mutations of organisms - natural selection - resulted in all of the diversity in the universe and that this can be proven. They do not allow an Intelligent Designer to even be considered. Evolutionists claim that evolution can and has been proven but it appears that what is proven is that natural selection does occur "within species" but that does not prove that every living thing came from one life source and that all species are connected.

None of this even considers the "big bang" and how existence came from nothing. My point is that this is not a finished discussion, evolution is not a proven fact (although natural selection does occur) and that intelligent design should not be ruled out as a possibility. It takes more faith to believe that all of this just "happened" than it does to believe in the God of the universe.

Although I am a Christian and believe in the Bible, I am not pointing to that for the purpose of "proof". Within Creationism there are many different views, old earth, young earth, creation with evolution and others. My belief is that "random chance" as proposed by strict evolutionists is less likely a cause of the universe as we know it than a creation by God. I believe this because I believe the Bible (in spite of the "contradictions" claimed by some) and I believe that the pressure to "evolve" is not sufficient to account for all of the diversity and complexity found in the universe. There is not enough time and most mutations would likely be negative rather than a move in the right direction. Again, none of this even considers the creation of time and space.

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

Secular Man has tried to understand "why" time and space, the earth, the nature around us and we ourselves exist. He has explained it away as the "big bang", evolution, a random event, a happenstance. But if you look into the Word of God you will see He tells us that He made it all, for a reason, for us to seek Him and find Him in His creation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Or did it just happen by chance?

It is easy to say that there is no God - scientifically - since science requires a direct observation and God is invisible in a physical sense. But it is even easier to see that God does exist - seeing His work in creation. Evolution, in its strictest sense, can not be proven scientifically either, because it requires an observation of something that happened outside of time, the formation of the universe, or the observation of something that has not happened in the short time that man has been looking for it, the development of a new, more advanced, species from a lower life form.

Scientifically evolution and creation are both theories. Science uses indirect observations of past events, from fossil records or deep space, to support the evolutionary theory. These indirect observations can also be used to support the existence of God. If evolution does occur, less complex life becoming more complex, it does not have to be considered outside of God. God and evolution can co-exist. If God created DNA, He created a way for it to be altered by mutations. This can be part of a design process - allowing for variations within, and between lifeforms.

Romans 1:20 (NIV) For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

The purpose of this upcoming blog series is to share known facts about the universe and the world around us that seem to point to a creator, as much as or more than to random chance, so that you can decide for yourself if the universe, the earth and life itself came from the action of an all-powerful source outside of the dimensions of time (God), or were just random actions that resulted, by chance, in the complex world in which we live.

I see this being divided into four parts:

  • Looking Upward - Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. - Finding God in the universe above.
  • Turning Outward - Proverbs 25:2 (NIV) It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. - Finding God in the world around us.
  • Searching Inward - Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV) For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. - Finding God in the formation of the human body, and thus in life itself.
  • Moving Forward - Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - How to take this to the next level - confirmation of your faith, or lack thereof. There is more to life than just "existing".

I am a Christian so I have a bias here, that God does exist and He created all we can see and try to understand around us. I can not make that decision for you, however, it is a personal choice but one that can be based on scientific evidence. It takes faith to believe that the universe as we know it was a random chance event, just as it does to believe in a Creator. All of the scientific evidence we have can be used to point in either direction, depending on how you look at it - there is no way to prove the existence or absence of God by the scientific method.

Just as I have a bias that God exists, many scientists have ruled out the existence of God. They do not even consider it a possibility, even though the evidence points just as strongly in that direction. They consider it "pseudo-science" since it can not be proven.

None of these scientific facts, theories or concepts I plan to share will prove either hypothesis, that the universe exists by random chance or that it was formed by a Creator. This can not be done. But they do show that this existence is wondrous and amazing, and fragile. Because of this, to me, the possibility of God is so strongly present in the evidence that the only way to say that God does not exist is to not even consider it as a possible explanation for the world. You must rule it out in your mind before you even start your examination of the scientific evidence. If you don't, you may just find that God is at the center of it all.