Big Bang Theory - The Premise
The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.
According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of "black holes." Black holes are areas of intense gravitational pressure. The pressure is thought to be so intense that finite matter is actually squished into infinite density (a mathematical concept which truly boggles the mind). These zones of infinite density are called "singularities." Our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something - a singularity. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why did it appear? We don't know.
After its initial appearance, it apparently inflated (the "Big Bang"), expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe. It continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it: incredible creatures living on a unique planet, circling a beautiful star clustered together with several hundred billion other stars in a galaxy soaring through the cosmos, all of which is inside of an expanding universe that began as an infinitesimal singularity which appeared out of nowhere for reasons unknown. This is the Big Bang theory.
Big Bang Theory - Common Misconceptions
There are many misconceptions surrounding the Big Bang theory. For example, we tend to imagine a giant explosion. Experts however say that there was no explosion; there was (and continues to be) an expansion. Rather than imagining a balloon popping and releasing its contents, imagine a balloon expanding: an infinitesimally small balloon expanding to the size of our current universe.
Another misconception is that we tend to image the singularity as a little fireball appearing somewhere in space. According to the many experts however, space didn't exist prior to the Big Bang. Back in the late '60s and early '70s, when men first walked upon the moon, "three British astrophysicists, Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose turned their attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time. In 1968 and 1970, they published papers in which they extended Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space.1, 2 According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy."3 The singularity didn't appear in space; rather, space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing. So where and in what did the singularity appear if not in space? We don't know. We don't know where it came from, why it's here, or even where it is. All we really know is that we are inside of it and at one time it didn't exist and neither did we.
Big Bang Theory - Evidence for the Theory
What are the major evidences which support the Big Bang theory?
• First of all, we are reasonably certain that the universe had a beginning.
• Second, galaxies appear to be moving away from us at speeds proportional to their distance. This is called "Hubble's Law," named after Edwin Hubble (1889-1953) who discovered this phenomenon in 1929. This observation supports the expansion of the universe and suggests that the universe was once compacted.
• Third, if the universe was initially very, very hot as the Big Bang suggests, we should be able to find some remnant of this heat. In 1965, Radioastronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered a 2.725 degree Kelvin (-454.765 degree Fahrenheit, -270.425 degree Celsius) Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB) which pervades the observable universe. This is thought to be the remnant which scientists were looking for. Penzias and Wilson shared in the 1978 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery.
• Finally, the abundance of the "light elements" Hydrogen and Helium found in the observable universe are thought to support the Big Bang model of origins.
Big Bang Theory - The Only Plausible Theory?
Is the standard Big Bang theory the only model consistent with these evidences? No, it's just the most popular one. Internationally renown Astrophysicist George F. R. Ellis explains: "People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations….For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations….You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that."4
In 2003, Physicist Robert Gentry proposed an attractive alternative to the standard theory, an alternative which also accounts for the evidences listed above.5 Dr. Gentry claims that the standard Big Bang model is founded upon a faulty paradigm (the Friedmann-lemaitre expanding-spacetime paradigm) which he claims is inconsistent with the empirical data. He chooses instead to base his model on Einstein's static-spacetime paradigm which he claims is the "genuine cosmic Rosetta." Gentry has published several papers outlining what he considers to be serious flaws in the standard Big Bang model.6 Other high-profile dissenters include Nobel laureate Dr. Hannes Alfvén, Professor Geoffrey Burbidge, Dr. Halton Arp, and the renowned British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, who is accredited with first coining the term "the Big Bang" during a BBC radio broadcast in 1950.
Big Bang Theory - What About God?
Any discussion of the Big Bang theory would be incomplete without asking the question, what about God? This is because cosmogony (the study of the origin of the universe) is an area where science and theology meet. Creation was a supernatural event. That is, it took place outside of the natural realm. This fact begs the question: is there anything else which exists outside of the natural realm? Specifically, is there a master Architect out there? We know that this universe had a beginning. Was God the "First Cause"? We won't attempt to answer that question in this short article. We just ask the question:
1. Steven W. Hawking, George F.R. Ellis, "The Cosmic Black
Does God Exist - The Big Questions
Does God exist? An answer to this fundamental question is a prerequisite for answering the other big questions of life: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Do we serve a purpose? Do we have any intrinsic value? What happens after we die? The question of the existence of God is fundamental.
Does God Exist - A Philosophical Issue
Before we ask the question "Does God exist?" we first have to deal with our philosophical predispositions. If, for example, I am already dedicated to the philosophical idea that nothing can exist outside of the natural realm (i.e. there can be no supernatural God), no amount of evidence could convince me otherwise. Asking the question "does God exist?" would be pointless. My answer would be "No, He doesn't," regardless of whether God truly exists or not. The question would be impossible to answer from an evidentiary standpoint simply because anything which God might have done (that is, any supernatural act which might serve as evidence for His existence) would have to be explained away in terms of natural causes, not because we know what those natural causes could possibly be, but simply because a supernatural God is not allowed to exist!
Dr. Richard Lewontin, the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University, put it like this: "It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door" (Richard Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons
If, on the other hand, I were neutral, and didn't already have an "a priori adherence" to a particular worldview (be it naturalistic or otherwise), the question "does God really exist?" wouldn't be pointless at all. Rather, it would be the first step in an objective and meaningful search for ultimate truth. Our willingness to ask the question with an open mind is fundamental to our ability to discover the truth behind the answer. So first of all, before you even ask the question, decide whether or not you're really willing to accept the answer.
Does God Exist - Things to Consider
Once you're ready to ask the question, "does God exist?" here are a few observations to consider as you begin your search for an objective answer:
• Discoveries in astronomy have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning. There was a single moment of creation.
• Advances in molecular biology have revealed vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell, and molecular biologists have discovered thousands upon thousands of exquisitely designed machines at the molecular level. Information requires intelligence and design requires a designer.
• Biochemists and mathematicians have calculated the odds against life arising from non-life naturally via unintelligent processes. The odds are astronomical. In fact, scientists aren't even sure if life could have evolved naturally via unintelligent processes. If life did not arise by chance, how did it arise?
• The universe is ordered by natural laws. Where did these laws come from and what purpose do they serve?
• Philosophers agree that a transcendent Law Giver is the only plausible explanation for an objective moral standard. So, ask yourself if you believe in right and wrong and then ask yourself why. Who gave you your conscience? Why does it exist?
• People of every race, creed, color, and culture, both men and women, young and old, wise and foolish, from the educated to the ignorant, claim to have personally experienced something of the supernatural. So what are we supposed to do with these prodigious accounts of divine healing, prophetic revelation, answered prayer, and other miraculous phenomena? Ignorance and imagination may have played a part to be sure, but is there something more?
If your curiosity has been piqued and you desire to look into this matter further, we recommend that you consider the world's assortment of so-called Holy Books. If God does exist, has He revealed Himself? And if He has revealed Himself, surely He exists...
Gods and Goddesses - Introduction
Gods and goddesses have been worshiped throughout history. Western civilization is most familiar with the gods and goddesses from Egypt, Greece and Rome. Growing up, we all remember hearing stories of these ancient deities and their mythological relationship with human beings. In school, we learned the history of these ancient cultures and the importance they placed on the worship of various gods and goddesses. How did the worship of these deities develop in these ancient cultures?
Gods and Goddesses - Egypt's Pre-dynastic History
The gods and goddesses of Egypt represent over 50 separate deities, most of which date back to pre-dynastic times. The ancient tribes that made up the region worshiped their own particular gods, which were normally embodied by animals. As Egyptian civilization advanced, the deities took on human characteristics. In many cases, the gods and goddesses were depicted with human bodies, while retaining animal heads. By the beginning of the Old Kingdom Dynasty (3100 BC), a national religion developed out of the primitive tribal and local religions. However, ongoing changes in political power resulted in the changing status of Egyptian deities. Generally, as different cities or regions became politically dominant, their particular god or goddesses also became dominant.
Gods and Goddesses - The Egyptian Creation Myths
Many of the gods and goddesses of Egypt find their origin in several of the Egyptian creation myths. These myths attempted to explain the Egyptians' place in the cosmos based on the observation of natural processes. This was particularly true with respect to the Nile River and its flood patterns. The flooding of the Nile was critical for Egyptian civilization. As a result, gods and goddesses identified with nature became prevalent in the Egyptian creation myths. Some of the most common creation myths refer to Nu or Nun, describing the churning sea of chaos that existed before creation. Out of this chaos rose the Egyptian sun god Ra. Ra then created deities that were both male and female. In turn, these deities gave birth to more deities, and the newly created gods and goddesses were responsible for the creation of the physical world. Ra was also responsible for the creation of mankind. One creation myth refers to mankind being created from the tears of Ra.
Gods and Goddesses - The History of Greek Mythology
Gods and goddesses are an integral part of Greek mythology. Our formal knowledge of the ancient Greek deities can be traced back to the writings of Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey (8th century BC). In addition, many scholars believe that the myths were heavily influenced by the Mycenaean culture that existed in Greece between 1700 and 1100 BC. Remarkably, there is evidence that the beginnings of Greek mythology can be traced back to the ancient Middle Eastern cultures of Mesopotamia and Anatolia. There are many similarities between the mythology of these ancient Middle Eastern cultures and the ancient Greeks.
Gods and Goddesses - The Religious & Social Background of the Greeks
The gods and goddesses of ancient Greece were created by man to explain the world around them, act as a means of exploration, provide legitimacy and authority to Greek aristocracy, and provide entertainment for the masses. The religion of the ancient Greeks did not have a single source of written scripture such as the Bible or the Qur'an. Furthermore, the ancient Greeks did not believe in absolute truth as practiced by modern faiths such as Christianity and Judaism. Generally, a Greek city-state would devote itself to a particular god or set of gods. Many city-states erected temples to their particular deities, and these deities were honored in festivals and animal sacrifices. The Greek gods and goddesses normally took on human form and lived in a society similar to human society. They exhibited all the emotions of human beings and frequently intervened in human history. The most significant difference between the Greek gods and humans was that the gods were immortal and human beings were not.