As readers with any scientific background will be aware, I’m out of my depth when I attempt to comment on details related to cosmology and the physics of space-time.
I could, metaphorically, stand behind Stephen Meyer and his PhD in the philosophy of science from Cambridge, who clearly does have a good grasp on the detail and the history of cosmology. However, at this point I want to be clear that my faith isn’t dependent on science. That’s not to say that I am, as atheists and agnostics like to accuse believers of doing, “ignoring science”. That accusation is a cop-out and an insult not only to people like me, in a priestly effort to enforce a religion of pseudo-science on us, but also to the many fine scientists who do believe that there is a Creator, including those who believe intently that this Creator fits the description of the God of the Bible, as Meyer believes.
On the contrary, we creationists and creation believers love science, as earlier discussion on the founders of modern science in this series of mine shows. Science can lead to incredible truths and benefits for us all. However, used by those with an axe to grind and a worldview to promote, it can be a weapon to darken the minds of people who don’t know they’re being duped and short-changed. At its dirtiest (apart from the creation of killer viruses and mass-kill weaponry) it’s being used to draw funding and enrich lifestyles, by upholding the politically-correct insistence that we all evolved from nothing to rock to slime and something resembling a lemur.
I love true science, and while I am no scientist, I find true science fascinating. My faith can be and often is confirmed and augmented by it, but it is not at all dependent on it. Whatever the current theories of cosmology may be, they have no effect whatsoever upon what I firmly believe about our beginnings, and Who I firmly believe is my Maker and my Master. Neither am I all-in, as I said last time, on the Big Bang model. I believe simply that all of space-time; mass and energy, all came into existence from one point in space and time at the metaphorical hand of our Creator, as stated in Genesis one verse one. He, being of infinite dimensions and therefore an infinite version of what we call “spirit”, brought into being this incredible, but limited space, time and matter physical universe.
Having got all that off my chest, here’s my attempt at a summary of chapter six of Meyer’s book!
The famous physicist Stephen Hawking, along with others such as Roger Penrose, developed mathematical evidence for the idea that the universe had begun as a “singularity”: the beginning of space-time. Freedman, LeMaitre, Ellis and still others came to similar conclusions in their own calculations and studies during the 1960s and 1970s. Considering Einstein’s General Relativity, they concluded that the curvature of space-time would have been infinitely tightly curved at a point of time in the past.
Hawking and Ellis stated in 1973 that the creation of the universe from a singularity, at its beginning, is outside of the laws of known physics. General Relativity in the large-scale application of the laws of physics has been largely demonstrated to be a reliable and testable theory, but in the realm of quantum phenomena-the sub-atomic realm-these laws do not apply. This fact has brought into question the first “moments” of the big bang theory, where standard physics cannot be applied. The singularity, said Hawking, Ellis and Penrose, cannot be known for sure before its existence at one trillionth of a centimeter or smaller. However, they said that this is effectively a spatial singularity.
By the late 1970s and early 1980s most physicists were quite convinced of the Big Bang model.
In 1978 Paul Davies took the calculations further. He said that the universe came into existence from this “nothing”, and that prior to the singularity, there could have been no existence of anything. It all sounds very similar, noted Meyer, to Creation-ex-nihilo: creation out of nothing.
The 1980s saw alternative models of the Big Bang. “Inflation cosmology” stated that soon after the Big Bang space experienced a short-lived but rapid expansion. Some theorists proposed eternal inflation models, which included an infinite number of beginnings, and an endless number of “bubble” universes, separate from each other. These models challenged the idea of one single finite beginning.
By the early 1990s eternal inflation models were very popular among physicists. However, they motivated another and more compelling evidence of a beginning, writes Meyer (who also notes here that he will further critique inflation models in chapter 16). Three scientists produced what’s known as the “Borde-Guth-Vilenkin singularity theorem”. These scientists investigated the inflation field to find if it could have operated from the eternal past. Within a decade all three concluded that the universe must have had a beginning, even if inflation cosmology were correct. Their finding reinforced the original findings of Hawking, Ellis and Penrose, that is, a beginning to all things.
Their theorem was achieved, notably, without the need for General Relativity. Instead the BGV theorem used Einstein’s Special Relativity and the relationship between the speed of light and time.
Imagine observing a space-ship travelling toward the earth. According to expansion cosmology it would appear to go slower than it actually is, since all of space would be expanding around it. It may even appear to slow down. If the image is applied in the other direction, the space ship would appear to speed up as it moves away from the earth. However, the speed of light puts a limit on this effect, and on how far back it can be traced in time. It also limits the point at which the expansion of space would have begun.
All cosmological models become subject to the BGV theorem, which states that any universe which is expanding is past complete: it must have had a starting point. In this understanding, then, an absolute beginning is unavoidable.
Thanks for reading!