The Big Bang not only created at least the three dimensions we all inhabit, but it also resulted in the creation of time.
The Big Bang
One of the arguments against the Big Bang is that the laws of nature are unable to explain the amazing amount of life’s complexity on Earth for the past four billion years.
He notes this advance is not possible given the second law of thermodynamics. This law indicates systems tend to degrade over time. This degradation occurs in all levels of order, complexity, and information.
One physicist who promotes this view is Eric Lerner – the author of The Big Bang Never Happened. In this tome, the author concludes the second law of thermodynamics broke down to allow this complexity to occur. He then argues that since the second law broke down we cannot know the age of the universe with any security.
Therefore, these laws cannot be used to argue for the beginning of the cosmos.
However, there is observational evidence that the laws of physics have remained stable over the past 4.5 billion years. The stars which are necessary to make life possible are very sensitive to changes in physical constants. They would not be stable for the billions of years required with the stability of these laws.
Furthermore, the observed physical conditions of the cosmic background radiation also affirm there have been no changes in physical constants.
God of the Gaps
A familiar refutation of the possibility of a Creator is the God of the Gaps theory. In this theory, God is invoked as an explanation out of ignorance. The God the Gaps hypothesis posits that as further information about a physical problem is obtained, an answer will be found which negates the possibility for a God.
Certainly, there has been some success with this theory. In the last two centuries, there have been instances when God has been supposed as the author of various physical phenomena which are subsequently determined to have a physical explanation.
Progressing knowledge concerning the origin of creation does not follow this paradigm, however. Instead, progressing knowledge has been successful in negating any physical explanation for the existence of God.
Christian theists believe natural explanations are the norm for most natural phenomena. What is most important is the overall trend in the natural explanation of things. Does the evidence for God’s existence and design of the natural realm get stronger or weaker over time?
If the atheist is right and the theist is ultimately wrong concerning an explanation, then the progress of science will lean in their favor. Similarly, if the theist is right and the atheist is wrong, then the more we learn about the natural order will tend to strength divine transcendence and design manifestations.
The Creation of Time
In a series of papers from 1966 to 1970, three astrophysicists, Stephen Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose, extended the equations of general relativity to include the creation of time. This resulted in the space-time theorem of general relativity. There are four assumptions made concerning this theorem:
- Time always progresses forward, never backward,
- Gravity always is attractive,
- The universe contains enough mass to make at least one black hole,
- General relativity reliably describes the universe (the movement of massive bodies
The importance of the space-time application of relativity is that it guarantees a past singular boundary for the universe.
The singularity means that not only are matter and energy traceable back to a beginning of time. As Hawking noted in The Brief History of Time, “time itself must have a beginning.”
A beginning of space and time implies a causal agent beyond space and time which brought matter, energy, and time together into existence.
Many scientists do not like the concept of a creation of time because of the theological implications. This concept sounds perilously close to Genesis 1 involving a Creator.
Cosmologists have fought mightily against the possibility of a creation of time. They have proposed multiple theories attempting to do away with this possibility. However, in 2003 several cosmologists proposed a proof that the universe had a beginning in time.
The Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin theorem was developed in an attempt to evaluate how to evaluate the beginning of time. They showed that for any universe which expands on average throughout its history (a requirement for physical life to exist) must result in a physical beginning of space and time. Vilenkin wrote,
With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.
The problem that many cosmologists are hoping to avoid is that a cosmic beginning implies a cosmic Beginning. The characteristics of this Beginning is one who is beyond space and time.
The Quantum Gravity Escape
The BGV Theorem seemed to seal the case for the beginning of the universe and for the creation of time. However, other cosmologists proposed a way out of this requirement. They proposed that while physics may have an explanation for the normal universe, the universe at the very instant of creation was anything but normal.
These atheist theoretical physicists appealed to the quantum gravity era when the universe was less than 10-43 seconds old. This is an extremely short period of time – in fact, the shortest amount of time possible.
These physicists propose that during this shortest period of time when normal physics may not be operative, speculative physics might exist instead. These speculations indicate that despite all the physical evidence for a beginning, the universe really is eternal and there was no creation of time needed.
The best known of these speculations has been proposed by Sean Carroll is known as the quantum eternity theorem. As its name suggests, this theorem proposes that the universe is eternal and not time limited. This theorem attempts to deny a cosmic beginning.
Other physicists point out that other theories involving the quantum gravity era do not negate the creation of time but continue to show a time singularity.
Tests for General Relativity
General relativity ranks as one of the most tested theories in science – so far, it has passed every test.
Because of the theological implications of relativity, the demonstration that the beginning of time and space is more likely than not would have tremendous importance.
Eclipse Data. Einstein proposed three tests for general relativity at the time of its publication. In 1918, a team of scientists led by Arthur Eddington met the conditions for the first test when they were able to demonstrate how the Sun can bend starlight. Scientists were not satisfied, however, due to the large probability of error
Five more tests were added to Einstein’s three by 1970 as evidence grew more strong. The accuracy of confirmation has improved from 10% to 1%.
An echo delay experiment placed on the moon by the Apollo astronauts reduced the uncertainty down to 0.5%.
In 1979, measurements of the gravitational effect on radio waves reduced the error down to 0.1%.
In 1980, a hydrogen maser clock which is nearly 100 times more accurate than the best atomic clock) on board a NASA rocket confirmed general relativity down to the fifth decimal place (0.00001).
Critics countered by noting all of these tests were done in the solar system – suppose physics is different elsewhere in the universe. While there is a good reason not to believe this is possible – especially the stability of stars – critics were not satisfied and so further experiments were performed.
Strong Gravitational Field Tests
Physicists pondered whether relativity might be different in strong gravitational fields. These fields exist around neutron stars and black holes.
The first such tests were performed on a binary pulsar. A pulsar is a rapidly rotating neutron star whose magnetic axis is offset from its rotation axis that it emits powerful pulses of energy toward the Earth every time it rotates.
The gravitational interaction between two neutron stars is very intense – probably some of the most intense in the universe. This system poses an interesting ability to test relativity in an intense gravitational field.
Russel Hulse and Joseph Taylor published their observations of several sets of pulsars. There were three separate tests of general relativity performed in this very high gravity system. In each case, general relativity proved confirmed with tremendous accuracy of better than 0.05%.
The study reported that over time, gravitational energy from a pair of neutron stars would cause the two stars to spiral inward toward each other causing their orbital period to speed up. Non-neutron star system do the same but may take millions of years to observe. However, the intense gravitational field projected by these two neutron stars causes these changes to occur over decades.
Further, measures of one of these pulsar pairs provided even more stringent tests of general relativity and it has now been proven to be true to an error of one part in one hundred trillion.
Roger Penrose now writes,
This makes Einstein’s general relativity, in a particular sense, the most accurately tested theory known to science!
The scientific community apparently agreed with this observation and the pair of scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their efforts.
Subsequent observations of another pulsar double is even more exciting. This pair rotates around each other with an orbit of 2.454 hours. Over a five-year period, there has been a spin precession of 25% due to gravitational wave damping. This estimate agrees with general relativity predictions.
General Relativity Confirmed in All Contexts
General relativity has been confirmed in all the tests it has been put through – a total of thirteen.
What had taken a long time to observe was the so-called Lense-Thirring effect to produce what are called Einstein rings.
Austrian physicists Joseph Lense and Hans Thirring predicted in 1918 that any spinning massive body will twist or drag the space-time fabric in its immediate area. This deformation of the space-time fabric suggests that if a disk of material orbits a very dense body like a neutron star or a black hole, the twisting of space will cause the disk to wobble.
This wobbling is called the Lense-Thirring precession oscillations of the intensity of the gas in its disk.
In 2016, a team of four Polish astronomers evaluated the radio galaxy 3C-293 which demonstrated this precession produced by a supermassive black hole in the galaxy’s nucleus.
Also in 2016, another international team of eight astronomers reported on their evaluation of an iron emission line in a black hold binary. They showed that the oscillations in the iron spectral lines are produced by this precession.
Multiple studies now demonstrate this effect as predicted by general relativity.
A dramatic and effective means for demonstrating the bending of light by gravity are Einstein rings. Theses are produced when a massive galaxy lies exactly in the line of sight between the Earth and a more distant galaxy.
Many unambiguous virtually complete Einstein rings have been demonstrated at both infrared and optical frequencies.
These have become more common with better telescopes and time. There are now several hundred of these lensed galaxies known. There are even several double lensed galaxies that have been found.
Einstein Rings produce a powerful effect because they are so visually obvious there is no mistaking them. However, there was another discovery that is more difficult to appreciate because they measure extremely small perturbations in the space-time fabric. These are the gravitational waves that have recently been discovered.
On February 11, 2016, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) research team announced the discovery of gravity waves.
The importance of this discovery can hardly be overstated. This discovery was made by the world’s most sensitive instrument. A detector measures distortion in space-time as small as 0.001 the diameter of an atomic nucleus.
Cosmologists realized that gravity waves would be difficult to evaluate because of their extreme weakness. Such a distortion happened on September 14, 2015, at 451 AM ET when two black holes with masses equal to 36 and 29 times the sun’s mass collided into other producing another black hole with a mass of 62 times the sun’s mass.
The difference between the sum of the masses of the two original black holes and the final black hole – about 3 solar masses – occurred with the mass is converted into gravitational waves within a fifth of a second.
LIGO has subsequently detected the gravity waves from two other black holes – even able to observe 55 orbits of the doomed black holes around each other before they merged.
Because these black hold collisions produced no light or radiation of any kind, they could not be directly observed.
However, on August 17, 2017, another gravity wave occurred of two neutron stars merging. The gravitational wave event could be observed in the gamma-ray, X-ray, ultraviolet,t visible, infrared, and radio wavelengths. This event was observed by astronomers using 70 different observatories and space satellites.
The observations also demonstrated that neutron stars merging is responsible for the manufacture of most of the heavy elements. These include elements such as silver, gold, platinum, palladium, osmium, thorium, and uranium. These very important elements for human commerce and industry are made almost entirely in the fusion of neutron stars.
Importance of Gravity Waves
The importance of this observation of gravity waves from neutron star collision and demonstration that heavy elements come from such an event has significant consequences.
If the earth were anywhere within a few thousand light-years of such an event, it could mean the destruction of all life on earth. Yet, the early earth needed to be somewhat near such a collision to benefit from all the heavy element production.
These observations show general relativity can be trusted.
Therefore, this confers great confidence in the BGV theory which predicts the beginning of the universe at a certain point in time. Furthermore, it predicts the beginning of all time and space.
As cosmology has developed more information regarding the cosmos over the past century, it continues to affirm the laws of general relativity and that the universe began at a point in time. This implies a Creator and provides several characteristics of this creator.
It tells us that this creator is transcendent, outside of the dimensional limits of the universe including time. It tells us that God is not the Universe itself; pantheism and atheism do not agree with the facts.
Pantheism claims there is no existence beyond the material, and that the material is all there is to our existence. Atheism claims that the universe was not created by any being but just is.
Yet, these alternative theories do not explain how all the matter, energy, spacial dimensions, and even time suddenly and simultaneously came into existence.
Sound like anybody you know?