(1) The Witness of the UNIVERSE, and
(2) The Witness of the ATOM to the fact of Divine Creation; and
(3) The Unabridgeable Chasm Between the Non-living and Living.
“In the beginning GOD CREATED the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).
1. THE WITNESS OF THE UNIVERSE
SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL man has watched the night sky and wondered about the nature of the Universe of which his world is a part; but only in the last fifty years has he begun to understand the immense pattern of the heavens. We now know that our universe is not merely a universe of individual stars, but a universe of millions of “star systems” called “galaxies,” similar to the Milky Way Galaxy of which our solar system is a part. As far as relative size is concerned, our earth now emerges as “a cosmic pebble circling a minor star in one of millions of enormous galaxies” rushing around in space that seems to be limitless. *
* SIZE itself is no adequate criterion of importance. The fact that ON EARTH ALONE, as far as astronomers are able to determine, exists INTELLIGENT LIFE, makes this comparatively small earth of vastly greater importance than immense, lifeless galaxies!
Such inconceivable vastness has elicited from men such expressions as “the cold, awful depths of space;” “our Milky Way Galaxy leaves our earth, by comparison, as a tiny speck of dust in New York’s Grand Cental Station.” **
** It is interesting that Isaiah uses a similar figure — comparing the nations of earth as “dust” to the God of the Universe. “Behold, the nations. . . .are counted as the small dust of the balance. . . .All nations before Him are as nothing; and they are counted to Him less than nothing.” (Isaiah 40:15).
As we contemplate this vast universe, we are impressed with three outstanding facts;
(1) The inconceivable SIZE of the universe
(2) The presence of LAW in the universe, coupled with the demonstration of limitless POWER
(3) The continuous display of a surpassing GLORY
Each of these factors bears witness to A SUPREME BEING OF UNIMAGINABLE POWER, WISDOM AND GLORY!
(1) The Inconceivable SIZE of the Universe
Our sun, 93,000,000 miles away, is 866,000 miles in diameter — 1,300,000 times the volume of the earth. Betelguese, one of the stars in the constellation Orion, has a diameter of 215,000,000 miles — 248 times the diameter of our sun; Arcturus, one of the super-giant stars in our galaxy has 25,600 times the volume of our sun! Antares, a double star in the constellation of Scorpio, is said to have a diameter of about 400,000,000 miles — over FOUR times the distance from earth to our sun! In other words, Antares is so large that if it were a hollow ball, and our earth and sun were placed inside it, our earth could follow its orbit around the sun, and not even come half way to the outer edge of Antares! The largest star known in our galaxy is one of the stars of the binary (double) star Epsilon Aurigae, which is said to have a diameter ten times that of Betelguese, or 2,150,000,000 miles! Other supergiants in other galaxies are presumed to be still larger!
Job stood aghast at the greatness of God when he contemplated His universe. He said, “He is wise in heart and mighty in strength. . . . who alone S-P-R-E-A-D-E-T-H O-U-T the heavens. . . .who maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades.” (Job 9:4-9).
Astronomers, as you know, measure stellar distances by the yardstick called a “light year” — the distance light will travel, going at the speed of approximately 186,000 miles per second, in a year. A light year is about six trillion miles (6,000,000,000,000). Arcturus, the great star in the constellation Bootes, is 241 trillion miles away — a distance so great, it would take light from Arcturus 40 years to reach our earth, while light from the other giant mentioned above, Betelguese, takes about 100 years to reach us! Our closest star, Alpha Centauri (it is really a binary, a double star) is about 25,000,000,000,000 miles away; and it takes its light 4 1/3 years to reach us.
Great as these distances are, they are almost insignificant in comparison with other distances astronomers speak of. We are told, “it takes light 100,000 years to travel from one edge of our galaxy to the other.” Astronomers now estimate that with the 200-inch telescope on Mt. Palomar they will be able (with certain refinements they are now working on) “to reach out into space two billion light years!” Such distances are of course utterly incomprehensible by the human mind; they leave one awestruck.
We are further told that “our galaxy has a hundred billion (100,000,000,000) stars” (Scientific American magazine; Sept., 1956); and that there are, beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy, “at least a billion more galaxies, each having approximately as many stars in it as our galaxy” (see article by Jan H. Ort, Scientific American). *
* Some authorities place the estimated number of galaxies (star systems similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy) that lie far beyond our galaxy, at from 500 billion (Hubble) to a trillion — instead of a billion. One begins to wonder if they are not swept off their feet and are misled by some features of the universe that they do not as yet fully understand and so have misinterpreted — such as perhaps the so-called “curvature of light.” But of this we are confident: The greater the universe, the greater is the God who made it! Nothing is beyond the power of an infinite God!
No man can even begin to give an accurate estimate of the number of stars in our universe. A noted astronomer (Jeans), when asked about how many stars there are in the universe, answered, “there must be as many as there are grains of sand on all the seashores of the world.”
His statement brings to mind three Scriptures, written ages before the advent of modern telescopes, when men believed there were “about 3,000 stars.”
“And He brought (Abraham) forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them” (Genesis 15:3).
then, in Genesis 22:17, we read these astonishing words that connect the number of stars with the sands of the seashore! “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is upon the sea shore.”
The other Scripture is Jeremiah 33:22: “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured . . . .”.
Modern astronomers and the inspired prophets of the Bible agree on this point: the stars of the universe are as innumerable as the sands of the seashore! How could the writers of the Bible have known that the stars are as innumerable as the sands of the seashore, except by Divine Revelation? The same God who created the universe inspired the Bible.
The Andromeda Nebula, the nearest of the great outside spiral galaxies, is “at least two million light years from us” (George W. Gray), and it appears “to be larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy.” Twenty million light years is about as far as the 200-inch telescope is able to resolve a nebula (galaxy) into individual stars. More astonishing yet is the assertion that “in the average region of space the average distance between galaxies is about three million light years.” (Rudolph Minkowski; in Scientific American).
Such a vast universe bears testimony to the fact the God who made it is ALMIGHTY beyond all comprehension — truly OMNIPOTENT. If the creation of the “world” should impress men with the omnipotence of God, how much more the creation of the universe!
“For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead.” (Romans 1:20).
Isaiah tells us that GOD is far greater than His universe; for the universe is called His “tent.”
“To whom then will ye liken God? . . . Have ye not known? have ye not heard?. . . It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-T-H O-U-T the heavens as a curtain, and S-P-R-E-A-D-E-T-H them out as a tent to dwell in. . . .Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their HOST by number; He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that HE IS STRONG IN POWER; not one faileth.” (Isaiah 40:18-26).
The Bible does not start by giving an argument for the existence of God, it simply introduces Him as the “Creator of the Heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1). Nothing could be more grand or majestic — or simple. Later in Scripture we are given the perfect argument for GOD in Hebrews 3:4:
“For every house is builded by some man; but He that built all things is God.”
It is as simple as this: We all know when we see a house that someone had to build it; we all should know, from the same reasoning; that Someone who is Almighty had to build the greater “house,” the universe.
One looks into the sky and asks, Where did all this vast system of stars come from? The atheist’s answer is, matter is eternal, matter is indestructible. But the Christian’s answer is: GOD alone is eternal, and He created matter. The creation of the atomic bomb gave proof to all that matter is NOT indestructible, but is really “congealed energy.” When an atom bomb explodes, matter is turned into energy! If one insists that matter is eternal and was never created, he still faces the problem of where MOTION came from; who or what started the stars revolving around each other? What supplied the original terrific “push?” No matter how a thinker may try, eventually he is forced by sound logic back to GOD as the Original Cause of matter, motion and continuance of motion.
(2) The presence of LAW in the universe, coupled with the demonstration of unbelievable POWER
“By understanding hath He established the Heavens.” (Proverbs 3:19).
The Universe is a marvelous, majestic, wellnigh infinite CLOCK, with “wheels within wheels” — to borrow a thought from the book of Ezekiel.
One writer speaks of “the great clock-work of the Universe.” Another says,
“The heavens are orderly; the stars are not scattered helter-skelter for ever and ever. They are arranged in orderly systems called galaxies. . . . Any system, of course, has a shape. Our galaxy is shaped something like a pinwheel.” (Astronomer, writing in the Denver Post).
Otto Struve, in “Surprising Facts About Stars,” says,
“But in its very mysterious way, nature has created order in this disorder (what should be disorder).
And a writer in “Popular Science,” writes an article on “Balancing the Heavens,” in which he speaks of
“the apparently purposeful and deliberate movements of other heavenly bodies like the planets.” He explains that “the movements of the stars and comets and meteors, as well as of the planets and the satellites of the planets, result from the uniform working of mechanical laws.”
“BALANCING THE HEAVENS” — what a happy expression; and how true! The billions of stars, planets and their satellites are all BALANCED between the force of “gravitation” * and the law of “inertia,” which states that “matter will persist in a state of rest, but when once it is put in motion, it tends to keep going at the same rate and in the same direction, unless acted upon by some external force.”
* In the 17th Century Sir Isaac Newton discovered the principle of universal gravitation. “Gravitation” is one of the most mysterious of all forces — for it acts at a distance across vacant space. It seems wholly unreasonable to think that a body can “reach out across space and put hooks on another distant body and pull it toward itself.” This is an utter mystery — and will ever remain so. “We do not know, nor can we ever expect to know, the mechanism of gravitation.” (Science, Nov., 23, 1923). It is assuredly a LAW created by God. All law demands a LAWGIVER.
GRAVITATION pulls the stars toward their center or nucleus — and toward each other; INERTIA — after once the stars have been put in motion — keeps them in motion, and in a regular orbit determined by the pull of gravity. By the balance between two great laws of nature, we have the explanation of the ceaseless motion in orbits of the stars and every other heavenly body!
But the serious thinker at once asks two pertinent questions:
(a) What or Who STARTED all this motion? Where did the original “push” come from? Science has no answer. The Bible Believer has the perfect answer: the Creator gave the universe its original motion — and He is the One who keeps it going! Remember, the universe is NOT an absolute vacuum; there is scattered through space a small quantity of hydrogen gas, meteors, meteorites, and small particles. But be the matter ever so small, MATTER IN SPACE WILL IN TIME SLOW DOWN AND STOP ANY MOVING BODY. The finest pendulum ever made, in the most nearly perfect vacuum man can make, will neither START itself — nor keep going indefinitely.
(b) WHO keeps this vast machine going?
The man-made satellites require a tremendous “push” to get them 500 to 1,000 miles above the earth; but they gradually lose altitude and will eventually fall to earth. One of the fundamental maxims of the physical sciences is the Second Law of Thermodynamics: that is, there is a universal tendency to run down, a universal trend “toward randomness” and decline. On the average, things will get into disorder and run down if left to themselves. Obviously, Someone not only had to START this vast machine, but Someone also has to keep it going. Again, we are forced back to GOD. The fact is, if God should suddenly die — which is of course impossible — the universe would become chaotic in a very short time, even though it is running smoothly now, due to the truth of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: the universal tendency toward decay and decline.
The Bible presents the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as both the Creator and active Sustainer of the universe.
“For in Him (Christ) were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible. . . . ALL things have been created through Him, and unto Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (are held together)” (Col. 1:16, 17).
The heavens are not only “balanced” between the law of gravitation and the law of inertia, they also are balanced in a most amazing and vast and intricate array of revolving and inter-dependent systems, from our solar system on up to vast galaxies and systems of galaxies! *
* The amazing accuracy and smoothness with which the Universe revolves — as a flawless, perfect machine — can be seen in the perfection that characterizes the journey of our earth around the sun; It takes the earth “365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 48 seconds to make its journey around the sun; and in this circuit. . . .the earth has never varied one second in a thousand years.” None but an infinite GOD could achieve such flawless, continuous PERFECTION.
Our earth revolves around its axis every twenty-four hours; once a year we spin around the sun, going over 500 million miles annually; our sun, carrying with it the entire planetary system, ** goes in an enormous orbit around the center of our galaxy, a trip that takes 230 million years! And it travels at 175 miles per second! The journey our sun takes is around the center of our galaxy that is 100,000 light years from one edge to the other. And now astronomers tell us that “we have evidence that our Milky Way Galaxy and those relatively near it form a distinct ‘Galaxy of Galaxies’ that might be called a supergalaxy.” (Gerard de Vaucouleurs).
** In our planetary system, as we mentioned in our last chapter, our earth shows hundreds of evidences of DIVINE DESIGN — it was created to be a suitable habitation for mankind. In the rest of the universe both WATER and OXYGEN are very scarce; in fact, hydrogen and helium make up 99% of all matter in the universe. But on our earth we have a well balanced variety of about 100 elements, with a large amount of oxygen, that combine to make a practical “world” for man to dwell in. GOD MADE IT SO!
Writing of this supergalaxy, Gerard de Vaucouleurs says, in the July, 1954 Scientific American:
“This supergalaxy — a gigantic system of galaxies — appears to be a strangely flattened cluster perhaps 40 million light-years across. Its uncounted population of galaxies may run into tens of thousands. Its CENTRAL NUCLEUS is roughly marked by the well-known cluster of galaxies beyond Virgo (one of the 89 Constellations), some 15 million light-years away.” (Cornell University).
“Surveys showed that galaxies tend to cluster in groups, containing up to a thousand or more. The exploration has in fact suggested to some that our own galaxy may be an outrider in a supergalaxy, just as the sun is an outrider in our galaxy.” (Harold P. Robertson, in The Universe; Scientific American, Sept., 1956).
As a matter of fact, one student of astronomy advanced the theory, based on mathematical calculations, “that you can find the center of creation in the motions of 108 great galaxies.” Be that as it may, there is beyond doubt a CENTER of the entire Universe, around which all galaxies and all super galactic systems revolve in an apparently endless procession of majestic grandeur!
From one vast center, one tremendous nucleus, the Almighty controls His universe! While many modern scientists ignore God, they do so at the expense of true logic and sound reasoning. A system as vast and as intricate and as involved and as orderly as our UNIVERSE demands not only a Supreme Architect, but also an Almighty Creator and an Omnipotent Superintendent to keep it going!
We have spoken of the law of GRAVITATION and the law of INERTIA. There are scores of other “laws” in the universe that are perfect and necessary to make up this vast universe. All students of astronomy are familiar with Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion. There are “laws” of motion, laws of heat, laws of light, laws of sound — and all are PERFECT, never-changing, never-failing.
Rear Admiral D. V. Gallery (USN; writing in the Saturday Evening Post), said,
“The stars. . . .in their orbits and velocities through the heavens faithfully obey a great code of LAW. Earth’s scientists can quote and explain this code in great detail — until you ask, “Whence came these laws?”
And scientists have FAITH in the laws of the universe. they predict the coming of comets into our solar system years before we see the comet — then they predict its return at some future date — and they do so unfailingly, because the laws of the Universe are unfailing!
Prof. Einstein said in The World As I See It:
“the scientists religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the Harmony of Natural Law, which reveals an Intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.” (p. 29).
Edwin B. Frost, at one time astronomer with the Yerkes Observatory, wrote:
“Everything that we learn from the observational point of view in the study of astronomy seems to me to point precisely and always toward a purposeful operation in nature. . . .
“I cannot imagine planets getting together and deciding under what law they should operate. NOR DO WE FIND ANYWHERE IN THE SOLAR OR STELLAR SYSTEM THE DEBRIS THAT WOULD NECESSARILY ACCUMULATE IF THE UNIVERSE HAD BEEN OPERATING AT RANDOM. . . .
“You cannot fail to recognize that LAW has been long at work when you examine the wonderful structure of the aspirals (the spiral-shaped galaxies).
“In a purposeful creation I find it not at all inconsistent to believe that there must be a Mind developing the purpose. . . . If the universe is purposeful, then it is plain to me that man, who is the highest form of development on this earth, must himself be distinctly a result of purpose rather than accident.” (Quoted by Dr. Graebner, from the Chicago Tribune, July 13, 1931).
(3) The Continuous Display of a Surpassing GLORY
“The heavens declare the glory of God.” (Psalms 19:1).
A look into the night sky is a fascinating sight; this inherent glory of the skies is greatly enhanced by the discoveries of modern astronomy. When viewed in a telescope, the color of stars becomes decidedly more pronounced; as a matter of fact, many stars glow with a brilliance more dazzling than a cut and polished gem. The difference in color in stars is due to their temperature. Very hot stars are blue-white or white; cooler ones are orange or red. Through the telescope many stars can be seen as green, orange, violet, pink and many other colors! It is a most inspiring spectacle!
Here are some more of the wonders of the heavens:
In the constellation Aquarius is “a magnificent globular cluster of stars like a swarm of glittering bees;” not far away (on a sky photograph) is “a lovely pale blue nebula.”
The star Beta Orionis is a prodigious sun in Canes Venatici is seen (through the telescope) to be actually two great suns, one yellow and the other a gorgeous lilac.
As you know, stars are classified according to their brightness: the brighter being those of the first magnitude or less. Those which are just visible, without the aid of a telescope, are the sixth magnitude. A first magnitude star is 100 times as bright as one of the sixth magnitude. Stars of the twenty-second magnitude have been photographed by the larger telescopes. Think of what marvels are to be seen in a star cluster of 100,000 stars, each a pinpoint of glory on the photograph!
Star clusters and the nebulae are “the spectacular showpieces of heaven.” One writer speaks of “the gorgeous diadem of resplendent suns forming the Pleiades.”
Another wonder of the heavens is the so-called PULSATING STARS. There are thousands of them.
“No more curious spectacle is afforded by the heavens than that of a throng of seeming signal lights waxing and waning every few hours under the sway, obviously, of some common law, yet with no trace of unanimity, some fading while their neighbors are on the rise.”
A star which is marked on the sky chart as Delta Cephei alternately brightens and dims with remarkable regularity. It takes five days and eight hours to pass from its brightest phase down to its faintest and then back to its brightest. Astronomers are unable to account for this phenomenon. There are thousands of such stars, called “cepheids” (since they appear to be the same general type as Delta Cephei), each having its own characteristic change in luminosity.
One writer, describing the “Wonderful Milky Way,” waxes enthusiastic, and says,
“Our knowledge of star varieties, of the giant stars and dwarf stars, of the violet-white Sirian, and of all other kinds, and our knowledge of the marvelous movements, variations and systematic relations of stars, expand and deepen the GLORY AND MYSTERY OF THE HEAVENS. The sense of some vast, undiscovered plan comprehending the movements and relations of all is altogether in keeping with the sublimity with which the night sky impresses everyone. But when we review the attempts to construct this scheme we are baffled by a sense of their inadequacy and artificiality.”
How true! Human attempts, outside of the pale of Divine Revelation, are completely “inadequate” to explain this glorious Universe! When we contemplate the marvels of the universe, we agree with Dr. Fitchett:
“It were as easy to believe that Milton’s ‘Paradise’ were set up in all its stately march of balanced syllables by an ape, or that the letters composing it had been blown together by a whirlwind, as to believe that the visible universe about us — built upon mathematical laws, knitted together by a million correspondences, and crowded thick with marks of purpose — is the work of mindless force.”
MORE ABOUT “INADEQUATE THEORIES”
The three most popular theories today about the origin and nature and future of the universe are:
(1) “The Expanding Universe” theory. It postulates that “about five billion years ago the universe ‘exploded’ and began from a hard concentrated “primeval nucleus’ of matter and radiant energy,” * and it is “still expanding as a result of that original explosion: all galaxies are rushing away from the original nucleus at terrific speeds.” But when astronomer Hubble’s calculations suggested that the “more distant galaxies were rushing away from us at a 25,000-mile-per-second speed,” he became skeptical of his own theory. Such fantastic speeds for vast bodies of matter seem absurd. Furthermore, his theory makes our earth the center of the expanding universe — and this is not consonant with other theories that put our solar system near the edge of our galaxy, with no one knowing exactly where our galaxy is relative to the universe. **
* Neither Georges Lemaitre, Belgian astronomer, nor Edwin Powell Hubble and George Gamow, American astronomers (nor any other astronomer) who espouses this theory has ever deigned to tell us where this original “primeval nucleus of matter and radiant energy” came from!
** The basis for belief in an “Expanding Universe” — the well known “Doppler effect” — is subject to other interpretations. We have no quarrel with those who accept this theory — but let us remember, it is but one of many theories. To us it seems absurd to believe that “distant galaxies are rushing away from us at speeds of 25,000 miles PER SECOND” and more. Such speeds for vast masses of matter are fantastic and unreal.
(2) The “Steady-state” Expanding Universe theory, advanced by Fred Hoyle (of Cambridge) and other astronomers. This theory postulates that the “expanding universe” is maintained in a “steady state” by the “continuous creation of new matter, from which is evolved new galaxies as the older galaxies rush out into limitless space.” He actually predicates an absurdity, for matter cannot create itself. “Something” cannot be produced from “nothing,” except by the power of the Creator.
(3) The “Finite Universe of Curved Space” theory, suggested by Albert Einstein — based on his theory of relativity. He suggested that space “may be curved into a non-Euclidean form” (i.e., not flat, like the geometry of Euclid that was limited to a plane), which would give us a closed but unbounded universe of finite volume, if the curvature is “positive.” *
* If the curvature is “negative” — as some say — (like the curvature from the inside of a tyre that radiates outward, and not like the curvature from the outside of a tyre that radiates inward) the lines of curvature would expand endlessly. The inferences from this “negative” curvature hypothesis are preposterous.
This theory approximates what the Bible teaches: a finite, though very large universe, the work of the Hands of the Almighty Creator.
“In the beginning GOD CREATED the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).
There are of course scores of other theories as to the nature of the universe; we have selected three that are widely discussed at the moment. There is not a single theory of the origin and nature of the universe, that denies Divine creation, but that actually resolves itself into an absurdity, or else can be shown to be fallacious, by known facts.
Is it not wonderful to be able to turn from man’s vain thoughts and philosophies and rest on the fundamental fact that the ETERNAL, ALMIGHTY GOD made this vast universe as it is: a glorious display of His infinite wisdom and vast power! A great universe in no wise militates against creation: it simply proves the greatness of the Creator!
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Psalms 19:1)
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalms 8:3, 4).
“Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein” (Neh. 9:6 ).
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for THY pleasure (WILL) they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).
It should be unnecessary for us to have to refute the charge that “the Bible teaches that God created the heaven and the earth 4,000 B.C..” The Bible clearly teaches that “In the beginning” God created the universe (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3) — and that far off date may have been “five billion” years ago, more or less.
The Bible does teach that in comparatively recent times God “re-created” the earth and made it habitable for mankind, and that God created Adam and Eve comparatively recently. *
* Many bible Students believe there is a vast period of time — giving room for all geologic ages — between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:3. Apparently a pre-Adamic judgment brought the original earth into the chaos and darkness described in Genesis 1:2. See Jeremiah 4:23-26, Isaiah 24:1 and Isaiah 45:18 that clearly indicate that the earth underwent “a cataclysmic change as the result of divine judgment.” (Scofield Reference Bible, note on Genesis 1:2).
The LIMITATIONS of modern Astronomy
We are told that the 200-inch telescope “can peer out into space a distance of two billion light years” — which means that a diameter of FOUR BILLION LIGHT YEARS OF SPACE comes into the view of this modern telescope! This is most astonishing; but we must call attention to some limitations, and possibilities of error, that confront modern astronomy. ALL of these “arguments” and “objections” presented here are quoted from modern astronomers and scientists.
“The only way we can judge the distance (of distant galaxies) is by the faintness of their light. But we must also remember that we are looking far back in time. The intrinsic brightness of galaxies may change with time. CONSEQUENTLY WE CANNOT BE SURE THAT A DISTANT GALAXY IS FAINTER THAN ANOTHER THAT IS FARTHER AWAY. (Modern Cosmology, Scientific American).
Suggesting that the theories arising from the “red-shift” (“Doppler effect”) on the spectrum may be wrong, H. P. Robertson, Professor of Mathematics, California Institute of Technology, says,
“Possibly the reddening of light from the distant galaxies is due TO SOME UNKNOWN SMALL INFLUENCE on it during its tremendous journey to us, rather than to a Doppler effect caused by the motion of the source. then too, the distant nebulae may remain indefinitely where they are (rather than be rushing out into space) and the degradation (running down) of the universe may be caused by the frittering away of light rather than loss of matter through escape (by rushing off into outer space).”
Commenting on Einstein’s theory of the Curvature of Space, a writer in the book of knowledge says,
“If space actually is so curved, then it would be reasonable to assume that rays of light from a star, which start on their way through the universe, will be curved and bent to fit the form of the universe. . . . and we might conceivably be able to observe ‘ghost images’ of stars or nebulae or galaxies on the opposite side of our universe!”
It is interesting to note that there has been PROOF of Einstein’s theory of the Curvature of Space.
“Einstein’s idea of the gravitational curvature of space-time was triumphantly affirmed by the discovery of perturbations in the motion of Mercury at its closest approach to the sun and of the DEFLECTION OF LIGHT RAYS BY THE SUN’S GRAVITATIONAL FIELD.” (P. Le Corbeiller, in “The Curvature of Space,” Scientific American). Mr. Corbeiller also mentions the interesting fact that our own EARTH illustrates the “Finite Universe” idea. He says, “This is a most remarkable fact: the surface of the earth is boundless and yet it is finite.”
And this suggests to the Christian thinker the nature of the universe as a whole.
H. C. van de Hulst, writing on “ ‘Empty’ Space” in the Nov., 1955, Scientific American, says,
“Another proof that interstellar space is not empty came . . . (when) about in 1930, astronomers discovered with some shock that as the light of stars passes through certain regions of interstellar space it is dimmed and scattered in various directions. . . . If there was indeed an interstellar haze which dimmed the light of distant stars or made them altogether invisible, then many of their calculations of star distances and their picture of our galaxy WERE WRONG. Further studies proved that the fear was justified. STARLIGHT PASSING THROUGH THE CROWDED REGIONS OF OUR GALAXY LOSES ROUGHLY HALF OF ITS ENERGY BY ABSORPTION AND SCATTERING IN EVERY 2,000 LIGHT YEARS OF ITS TRAVEL. As a result, even with our most powerful telescopes, we cannot see the center of our galaxy, some 25,000 light years away. Beyond about 6,000 light-years from our observing station most of our studies of the galaxy are literally lost in the fog.” (Caps ours).
Many of the theories of modern astronomy are entirely untenable, or are at least challenged by other outstanding authorities. Reason and logic and the Bible assure us that this Universe was made and is upheld by an Almighty Being of Great Glory, Wisdom and Power!
We might add here the statement in the article on “Exploring the Depths and Heights” (Popular Science; p.3611):
“Still other theories of the origin of the universe have been proposed; but none has been definitely proved or widely accepted. The origin of our universe (to science) REMAINS AS BAFFLING A MYSTERY AS EVER.”
There is one other thought we call attention to:
The Innumerable MYSTERIES in the Universe
Not only is the “origin of the universe” an insoluble “mystery” to science (for some scientists wilfully reject the fact of GOD), but also there are scores of other mysteries that continue to baffle the modern astronomer.
Of the thousands of baffling mysteries wrapped in the intricacies of the universe we mention but a few.
(1) The Mysteries of Radio-activity and Nuclear Fusion:
Proof that the Universe had a Beginning
“to assume that the universe had no beginning . . . fails to account for the CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF RADIOACTIVITY.” (Scientific American). Obviously, if the universe had no beginning, radioactivity — the degeneration of elements that are radio-active into lighter elements, such as the degeneracy of radium into lead — would have degenerated into lighter elements.
ALSO, since hydrogen is the “mother” element of the universe, and since the stars are kept alive by means of nuclear fusion — the slow transmutation of hydrogen into helium — and since the universe STILL IS MADE UP of 98% hydrogen and only 1% helium, obviously, the universe had a beginning NOT TOO LONG AGO. Otherwise, the hydrogen of the universe long ago would have turned into helium, by the processes of nuclear fusion going on all the time in the stars! To put the matter bluntly and plainly — THE STARS WOULD HAVE “BURNED OUT” LONG AGO IF THE UNIVERSE HAD NO BEGINNING. It does not take too much thinking to see that the universe HAD to have a beginning, not too long ago. (Five billion years is not long for the lifetime of a vast universe). Everywhere you turn, one is forced back to the teachings of the Bible! GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE! (Note: your typist believes God created THIS WORLD only 6,000 years ago! Because God’s Prophet Ellen G. White says so in her book SPIRITUAL GIFTS Vol. 3, page 91. (Amos 3:7).
A science writer in “SCIENCE DIGEST” speaks of this fact that explains the continuous “burning” of all the stars of the sky: “So when hydrogen is converted into helium, both heat and light are produced, and a certain amount of hydrogen is completely converted into helium.”
(2) The Mystery of the Exploding Stars. About two dozen exploding stars show up every year in our nearest neighbor spiral galaxy, the Andromeda nebula. These exploding stars are called “novae” or “supernovae.” No one fully understands why they do this. The supernovae” flare up into a vastly greater display then the “novae”.
“What sets off a nova’s flare-up may be a true explosion of the star, or perhaps a nuclear chain reaction like that in the atomic bomb.” (National Geographic Magazine). But then again, it may be from some other cause. No one knows.
(3) The Mystery of the “Variables” or Pulsating Stars. Among the stars are groups of stars that astronomers call “variables” or “pulsating stars.” They mysteriously grow brighter and then dimmer again with “much — exactness — about as much, say, as Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park.” Each of these stars has its own rhythm. A number pulsate in a few hours or a day; others may consume several months or a year for their particular cycle. The entire subject of “pulsating stars” is most fascinating.
(4) The Mystery of Cosmic Rays. Every minute of the day, “mysterious rays from some remote corner of space, possibly the stars, come hurtling through the atmosphere to bombard the earth with showers of particles. . . . In the time it takes to read this paragraph, you will be hit by more than 200 particles, which you can’t hear, feel or see. . . “. (What’s Behind Those Cosmic Rays?”).
Moreover, there are in our solar system (and presumably in other parts of the universe),
“Vast aggregations of infinitesimally minute particles — electrons, protons and nuclei of atoms — which constitute a hitherto unsuspected element of the solar system. Hydrogen nuclei have been detected in them, and they may consist chiefly of this mother gas of all creation.”
The more research that is done, THE MORE COMPLICATED THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE PROVES TO BE! It is all so involved, so well-balanced and so wisely planned that the mind of man is incapable of grasping all its wonders!
There are many other “Mysteries” in the universe that would make interesting topics for discussion, but we have suggested enough to let us all realize that an INFINITE GOD is the Designer and Creator of this vast system! *
* Science now reports a new marvel: the “QUASI-STELLARS, “ reported to be from 6 to 10 billion light years away and “spectacular events of unprecedented grandeur.” (LIFE, 1-24-’64
In view of the fact that man is created in the image of God, we agree with the conclusion of Dr. Schilt. Dr. Schilt, an astronomer, was asked,
“Is man just a mite on a planet in a vast universe? Is man less significant than a flea on an ant’s back?” “No,” the astronomer replied. “Finding all these star systems is just a game — an artificial game. The thing we really have to account for is the OBSERVER. Now if the earth is the only place where there is an observer, then IT CERTAINLY IS “THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE.’ . . .It is conceivable that no life exists in our universe except on our own earth. . . .So it makes more sense to me that man IS the “center” of the universe, that he is the sole observer.” *
* Dr. Brown speaks in an article (National Geographic Magazine) of “The riddle of man’s place in the Universe.” This “riddle” also is solved in the Word of God. Man being an intelligent being, with a free will, and created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27), and being ALIVE, is of vastly more importance than a lifeless mass of suns, stars and even galaxies! The EARTH, though comparatively small, is of such great importance in God’s scheme of things, that He has plans eventually to MOVE HIS HEADQUARTERS DOWN TO THE “NEW EARTH” when He creates “a new heavens and a new earth” (see Rev. 21 and 22). The drama of human history became the very cynosure of the Universe when Christ, God’s Son, came to earth, in the Incarnation, that He might redeem a fallen race by His atoning death on the cross. The entire intriguing story is told in the Bible. It is summed up in John 3:16.
And God made the EARTH especially for this “sole observer.”
“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath He given to the children of men.” (Psalms 115:16).
This reminds one of the eighth Psalm:
“When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that Thou visitest him. . .Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.” (vs. 3-6)
“Countless suns are ever circling
through the boundless realms of space,
And the God whose hand has made them
Keeps each orb in its true place.
All revolve in perfect order
Harmony complete we see,
Yet the God whose will they follow
Is the God who thinks of me.”