This time, Dr. Humphreys and Ron Hughes discuss the origin of the universe and the implications of the Big Bang theory.
Ron Hughes: David, it seems almost every time you pick up a news magazine, somebody somewhere has made some new discoveries about the origin of the universe or people are working on it feverishly. Where are we at now?
Dr. Humphreys: Well, it’s a very exciting time in science. Of course, as you realise the Bible really doesn’t tell us how God did it. It just says, God spoke and it was done. And that’s the wonderful thing about God’s power. God did speak and it was done. But still it’s interesting to find the best “how” theories on the origin of the universe.
You know, when I was an undergraduate, it would have been ridiculous for me to say, ‘hey, the universe just popped into existence and a point in time from nothing.’ I mean, they would you were some kind of religious lunatic. Because the thought was that it must have always been here and it was some kind of eternal cycle. A bit more like Greek mythology than science, but people couldn’t conceive of an idea that there was a moment in time when everything that there was popped into existence from nothing.
Now that is actually what physics is saying today. Now this is only theory – there is a long way to go. But physicists begin to talk about the first millionth of a second after the point of creation. I mean, they are theorizing down to that level. And the current theory is the Big Bang theory.
Now we don’t know what the ultimate fate of that Big Bang theory is, but in one sense it’s what Christians would expect the origin to be like. Because it’s saying that the entire physical universe; all the matter and energy, even space and time – when it gets into the big stuff – all that burst forth from a volume that was really… well they say it was near infinite density. I mean, it was smaller than a pinhead.
You see. And what these experiments that they are doing now – is they are measuring the way the galaxies are moving away from each other. It’s a little bit complex, but way back, even before I was an undergraduate, people realised that because of the way light shifted coming from distant galaxies – it’s a bit technical this – but it was shifted towards the redder end of the spectrum – and people read about the red shift. But they knew for these technical reasons that the galaxies were moving away from each other. And of course, scientists had begun to realise that that expansion of the universe, if you project backwards in time, meant that there was a beginning to time.
Now, they argue about how that was and that’s a story where there is a lot of uncertainty. But there is a lot of evidence from the background heat – people talk about the background radiation and the speed of recession of the galaxies and so forth and a number of other more technical things that – that all the fabric of space itself, which is expanding and the galaxies are carried along with it, all started in this Big Bang. Which is a little hard to explain, but at that moment everything was just right.
One of the amazing things that physicists can’t explain is how all the physical constants; the speed of light and there’s fancy things like Plank’s Constant and all those things; were just right for life to exist. But what it never addresses is what was there before the Big Bang. And that’s what the Bible tells me.
Physicists say it was a singularity. That’s just a word for saying, ‘who knows?’
‘Course when I go to the Bible, Ron, I find there was something there before the Big Bang. What was there? Hey, the Trinity. And that’s where I come back to this idea of intelligent design. And that’s why it’s really exciting to get to the Bible and find out, ‘why.’ And the more physics and chemistry and science gives us a picture of ‘how,’ the more exciting it is to find out ‘why.’