What is a big deal—the biggest deal of all—is how you get something out of nothing. Don’t let the cosmologists try to kid you on this one. They have not got a clue either—despite the fact that they are doing a pretty good job of convincing themselves and others that this is really not a problem. “In the beginning,” they will say, “there was nothing—no time, space matter or energy. Then there was a quantum fluctuation from which . . .” Whoa! Stop right there. You see what I mean? . . . Then they are away and before you know it, they have pulled a hundred billion galaxies out of their quantum hats.
—David Darling, “On Creating Something from Nothing,” New Scientist 151 (1996): 49.
What You Will Learn
The big bang is the model that a majority of evolutionary scientists believe best explains the origin of the universe. This is why the textbooks present the big bang model as the history of the universe. The big bang suggests that the universe came into existence 13.7 billion years ago. The entire universe was contained in an infinitely small point known as a singularity. This singularity began to expand slowly, then extremely rapidly, and then slowly again, though there is no reason that such changes in rate had to happen. Over time, stars and galaxies began to form through natural processes. These galaxies continue to move away from one another. It is claimed that the biblical time span of 6,000 years cannot explain how light could reach earth from the distant parts of the universe. There are several explanations that potentially solve the light travel-time “problem.” The big bang also has its own light travel-time problem, and many other observations limit the age of the universe to much less than 13.7 billion years.
Many people believe that the big bang is compatible with the biblical account of Creation. However, in order to make the big bang fit into the Bible, the biblical explanation is rearranged to conform to the reasoning of secular scientists. The big bang and the Bible are not compatible in the order of events or in the timescale. Attempting to fit scientific ideas into Scripture rather than applying biblical thinking to science leads to compromise and undermines the authority of Scripture.
What Your Textbook Says about the Big Bang
|Evolutionary Concept||Prentice Hall||Glencoe||Holt||Articles|
|Stars form from collapsing nebulae.||707||T745, 793, T794, 812, 822||781–783||2:1|
|Earth is not at any special place or at the center of the universe.||T6||T832C, T832D, 842||—||2:4|
|Studying the present universe can help us explain its evolution.||T6, 6||T744, T832D, 832, 854, T854||659, T660, 774, T795||2:1, 2:3, 2:5, 3:6|
|Globular clusters are 12–14 billion years old.||—||836–837||—||2:1, 2:6|
|Looking at stars from billions of light years away is like looking back billions of years in time.||—||T832C–T832D, 839, T840, 845–846, 850, 855||717||2:1, 2:5|
|By studying stars in many different stages of evolution we can understand how stars form and evolve over billions of years.||T6, 707–711||T382, T804A, T804D, T804, T822, 821–822, T823, 824–825, T836–T838, 859, T861, T905, 905||T773A, T773C, T779, 781, T782–T788, 782–788, T797, 797, 805||2:1, 2:3, 2:5, 2:7|
|A black hole formed early in the formation of our galaxy.||—||836||—||2:7|
|All elements in the universe formed in the big bang or in the cores of stars.||6, T32C, T711||T745, T804, 804||T773C||2:2|
|Testing shows that the big bang happened over 13 billion years ago, creating the universe, and the universe has been expanding since.||T698C–D, 720||848, T849, 849, 851, T854, 854, 855, 860||660, 675, T773A, 794, 797||2:1, 2:2, 3:6|
|The steady-state model was proven wrong.||—||848, 849, 855||—||2:1|
|There was a period of inflation during the early stages of the big bang.||—||850–851, 860||—||2:1, 2:2||The cosmic background radiation supports the big bang model.||T720, 720||T832D, 848, T848, T849, T851, T854, 855||T773D, 795||2:1|
|The Hubble constant has changed and is used to determine the age of the universe.||—||T850, 850–851||T796||2:1, 2:4|
|The fate of the universe is either a continued expansion or an eventual collapse.||721||849||—||2:2|
|The momentum of expansion from the big bang is balanced by the force of gravity.||—||849||—||2:2|
What We Really Know about the Big Bang
Throughout history there have been many views on the origin of the universe. The beliefs range from an eternal universe to a universe that is 6,000 years old—the biblical view. In the last 100 years there have been several naturalistic cosmologic models to explain the existence of the universe. After the description of the theory of relativity by Einstein and calculations showing the vast distance of nebulae (known to be galaxies today) two distinct models were developed. The steady-state model describes an eternal universe in which matter is being continuously created. The big bang model suggests that the universe had a beginning and that it has been expanding since then. The steady-state model held much support in the 1950s and 1960s mainly for philosophical reasons; many people preferred a cosmology in which the universe had no beginning. Traditional cosmological models generally hold that the universe had a beginning, so support for an eternal universe could prove that traditional cosmologies were all wrong.
In 1964 the discovery of uniform, low-level radiation called the cosmic microwave background (CMB) was interpreted as strong support for the big bang, and discredited the steady-state model. The big bang model can explain the existence of the CMB while the steady-state model cannot. Since this evidence was published, the big bang model has been the dominant view held by secular scientists. So, what exactly is the big bang and when did it supposedly occur?
- Big Bang Model
- The cosmological model suggesting the universe began as a single point which expanded to produce the known universe.
It is important to start this discussion with the understanding that the big bang model was developed using naturalistic and uniformitarian principles. We defined naturalism in chapter 1 as a belief denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance. So if the big bang is a naturalistic model then there can be no room for intervention by a Creator. The big bang model is supposed to describe the creation and evolution of the universe by natural laws alone.
- The doctrine that present-day processes acting at similar rates as observed today account for the change evident in the universe.
We can use radiometric dating as an example to describe how uniformitarianism is related to the big bang and the subsequent development of our solar system. It is assumed by secular scientists that radioactive decay has always occurred at a constant rate. The rate can be used to calculate the age of the rocks if several factors are known. These scientists also assume that as the earth formed there was leftover material that would be the same age as the earth. Using these assumptions, secular scientists believe that meteorites that fall to earth give the best age of the earth since they formed at the same time. Consequently, they have concluded that the solar system must be older than those rocks and the universe even older than that. When you add the assumption of naturalism to the origin of the universe as we know it, you are building a model on multiple unprovable assumptions.
In the big bang model of the origin of the universe, all of the matter, space, and time existed in a “cosmic egg” called a singularity. There is one major problem with this from the uniformitarian view—the known laws of physics fail to describe how the singularity could exist. The idea of cause and effect also fails as there is no known explanation for the cause of the singularity or the cause of the “explosion” that allegedly formed the universe. Scientists who accept that the universe was formed from the big bang must believe that their assumptions are true. Therefore, it is a matter of faith to accept that the universe began as an infinitely small point.
Some secular scientists are now suggesting that a quantum fluctuation caused the singularity. If this is the case, then what caused the quantum fluctuation? Parallel universes are imagined to explain this idea, but there is no evidence that such universes exist.
The Bible presents a radically different view of the origin of the universe.
- Biblical Creation
- The supernatural events, occurring over six approximately 24-hour days, described in Genesis 1 and 2, by which God caused the formation of the heaven and earth and everything in them.
Contrary to both naturalistic and uniformitarian assumptions, the Bible clearly teaches a supernatural and rapid origin of the universe. Genesis 1:1 describes the beginning of time, matter, and space with the phrase “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Because this process is supernatural, secular scientists reject that this description of the origin of the universe can be called scientific. Such a claim is unwarranted since there is nothing in science that requires all explanations to be naturalistic.
- Biblical Creation Model
- A scientific model based on the biblical account of three key events—Creation, the curse of nature brought about by Adam’s sin, and the global catastrophe of Noah’s Flood.
Secularists claim that the biblical model is based on faith, not on observable, repeatable, testable claims. However, the big bang is also based on faith. The original conditions of the big bang cannot be observed, tested, or repeated by humans and neither can the creation of the universe by God. However, we do have an eyewitness account of the creation of the universe recorded for us by the Creator.
Because we start with different assumptions, we will arrive at different conclusions.
When we look carefully at the beginning assumptions (presuppositions) of those who believe in the big bang and those who believe that God created the universe, we see that it all comes down to where you place your faith. We have the same facts to look at, but the starting assumptions are different. Because we start with different assumptions, we will arrive at different conclusions. This is true in any field of study as we will see throughout this book.
One of the “evidences” that is claimed to prove the universe must be old is the light travel concept. Again, it is not the evidence that must be understood, but the interpretation of the evidence with the assumptions used. From the uniformitarian perspective, light from an object 5 million light-years away should take five million years to reach the earth (a light-year is actually the distance that light travels in one year). The argument against a young earth says that if we can see light from galaxies that are 5 million light-years away, then the universe must be at least 5 million years old. Based on such arguments a majority of scientists claim that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. This is about 2.3 million times older than the 6,000-year age that the Bible presents.
There are several different ways in which this “problem” can be explained. One possibility is that the speed of light has not always been constant. If light had traveled much faster in the past, then light from distant galaxies would have arrived at the earth much faster and the age of the universe would be much younger than 13.7 billion years old. However, there are still questions about whether this is a valid option, and researchers are currently working on this idea. The problem comes from the relationship between the speed of light and other universal constants. If the speed of light were to be dramatically different, then this would affect the other constants as well.
Another explanation—called time dilation—is related to gravity. Time flows more slowly when something is near a massive object. Time is also affected by velocity. If we could accelerate a clock to near the speed of light, the clock would slow down as time itself is slowed. Time actually flows at different rates in different parts of the universe depending on the amount of gravity present. In fact, this effect can actually be measured on earth. Since a mountain top is farther from the mass of the earth than sea level is, there is less gravitational potential there. Thus, a clock at the top of the mountain will actually run faster than a clock at sea level. The difference on earth is extremely small, but the difference between other areas of the universe can be quite large.
If the earth is near the center of a finite, expanding universe, then the clocks on earth would have been running slowly compared to clocks in deep space. This allows light to travel from distant galaxies while only a few thousand years pass on earth. Many scientists believe that the universe is infinitely large, and they reject the above explanations based on this assumption. There is no reason the universe must be infinite—it is simply a belief. Changing the assumptions changes the conclusions even though the data remain the same.
The third explanation centers on synchronization. On earth there are different ways to synchronize clocks—to set them to read the same time at the same time. One way (called “universal time”) is to synchronize them by radio or some other signal so that all clocks on earth read the same time as in Greenwich. Another method called “local time” sets clocks to noon when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. An airplane leaving Georgia at 1:00 local time could (in principle) arrive in California at 1:00 local time even though the trip would take three hours as measured in universal time. Likewise, time in space can be measured by “cosmic universal time” or “cosmic local time.” Light traveling toward earth will always reach its destination at the same cosmic local time that it left—just like the plane traveling from Georgia to California. No matter how far away a galaxy is, its light can reach earth on the same day it leaves, as measured by cosmic local time.
Although there is presently no clear answer as to which of these models, or combination of their parts, provides the most satisfactory explanation, Bible–believing Christians can still rest assured that God has revealed truth to us in the Bible. Starting with the Bible as a foundation for thinking about the world leads to a different interpretation of the data than does starting with the assumptions of naturalism and uniformitarianism.
Most people who believe in the big bang do not realize that it has its own light travel-time problem. This difficulty is known as the horizon problem. In the big bang model the universe starts as a singularity and then expands from there. As mentioned earlier, the CMB shows that the universe has a very uniform temperature of about 2.7 K (-455°F). Some parts of the expanding universe were certainly hotter than others. So, imagine two points A and B in the universe separated by 20 billion light years. If A and B have the same temperature today then they must have exchanged energy to reach a uniform temperature.
The fastest way that these two distant points in space can exchange energy is by exchanging electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation comes in the form of X-rays, microwaves, radio waves, and light. If A was slightly hotter than B, as the big bang model predicts, then they would have had to exchange energy until the temperature reached a state of equilibrium. There is not enough time in the alleged 13.7 billion years for the equilibrium temperature to be reached if the universe has been expanding in a uniform way.
To resolve the horizon problem, big bang supporters have suggested that there was a period of inflation, or a burst of expansion, in the first fractions of a second after the universe began to expand. The problem is that there is no evidence or reason to suggest there was an inflationary period other than to avoid the horizon problem. The Glencoe textbook refers to this as a “correction . . . needed to allow for the fact that the expansion was more rapid at the beginning . . .” on page 851. The inflation solution to the horizon problem is nothing more than a story to support a belief about the past. To add to the problem, there is no well-established reason for the inflationary period to have occurred and no explanation of how it slowed itself down in a smooth fashion. Despite these observational shortcomings, most big bang supporters adhere to the fact of the inflationary phase.
The biblical creation model of the universe is rejected as unscientific by a majority of scientists on the grounds that it is supernatural or that it is just a story. As described above, the big bang seems to fit this description as well. There is no explanation for the existence of this singularity, and “corrections” must be made to account for what we actually observe. Both of the models are based on faith in the starting conditions. One key difference is that Christians have an eyewitness account of the beginning of the universe in the Bible. There is no similar record for big bang supporters.
Another major difference in the biblical creation and big bang models is the ultimate end of the universe. In the big bang model, there are two possible outcomes. In an open or flat universe the matter and space continue to expand until the temperature becomes uniform. This is often called the heat death as everything in the universe reaches absolute zero temperature. In a closed universe the matter and space will eventually collapse on themselves in a big crunch. All of these outcomes are contrary to the description given in the Bible. God declares that He will make a new heaven and earth and that the original earth will be consumed by fire—the exact opposite of heat death.
There are many other observations that are not explained by the big bang model and a universe that is 13.7 billion years old. A few of those will be discussed here, and a more comprehensive list can be found in the reference articles at the end of this chapter. One major problem is how the most distant visible galaxies appear. Big bang supporters claim that to look at a galaxy that is 12 billion light-years away is to look at the universe as it existed 12 billion years ago. In fact, images from the Hubble Deep Field show fully-formed galaxies in the early universe—an unexpected observation in the big bang model.
Many of the galaxies in the universe, including our own Milky Way, have a spiral shape with long arms extending from a central disc. If these galaxies were truly billions of years old, their arms would have been twisted into uniformity because the center spins faster than the outer edges. Their shape is not a problem if the galaxies are only 6,000 years old.
There are too few supernova remnants to account for many billions of years. Star formation has never been observed, and there are far too many “short-lived” stars for the universe to be billions of years old. Other problems related to the formation of our solar system will be discussed in the next chapter.
As we discuss this topic, it is important to note that many Christians want to believe that God used the big bang to create the universe. In effect, these people are trying to blend the ideas of naturalism with Scripture. There are many problems with this position, which is commonly referred to as old-earth creationism. There are many different variations on this idea, and many of them are related to the day-age interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2. The general argument is that the days described in the Creation account of Genesis are actually long periods of different ages. This view is a recent invention of man and has come about only after naturalistic science proved that the earth and universe must be billions of years old. You can find more information on these different compromise positions by visiting www.answersingenesis.org/go/compromise.
There are many problems to resolve for those Christians who try to blend man’s fallible ideas about the history of the universe with the Creator’s clear explanation of the events. Many may not realize how different the two positions really are. There was a time in my life where I thought that God used the big bang to create the universe. I was never taught this directly; it just seemed to make sense from what little I knew about the Bible. As I studied the Bible it became obvious that the two positions cannot be reconciled without twisting Scripture to accommodate the ideas of evolutionary science. The Bible is to be the authority in every aspect of our lives as Scripture commands in 2 Corinthians 10:4–5:
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Every thought is to be brought “into captivity to the obedience of Christ” who is the Word of God. Adding science to Scripture and changing the clear meaning of Scripture makes man and his pseudo-scientific thinking the authority over the Bible. The following table points out some of the direct contradictions between the Bible and the big bang.
|Earth before the sun||Sun before the earth|
|Light on earth before the sun||Sun before light on earth|
|Earth before the stars||Stars before the earth|
|6,000-year-old universe||13.7-billion-year-old universe|
|Not subject to change||Subject to change and may be
totally rejected for a different model
|Inspired by a perfect God||Invented by fallible men|
This is a condensed list, and more details will be discussed in the next chapter. In order to harmonize the secular order of events with the biblical order, we must put Day Four before Day One to get light on the earth. If we do this, we compromise the authority of Scripture and tell God that He really should have explained things in a different order than He used in Genesis. This low view of Scripture ultimately leads to compromise in other areas. If God got it wrong in Genesis, where else did He get it wrong? We cannot allow naturalistic science—based in human reasoning—to become the authority over Scripture!
The Bible and the big bang present completely different accounts of the origin of the universe. Ultimately, both positions must be based on faith in the starting assumptions. Understanding the assumptions that inform your decisions is the key to understanding the issues involved.
Reference Article Summaries
2:1 Does distant starlight prove the universe is old?
Critics of biblical creation often use the argument that light from distant stars requires billions of years to reach earth and, therefore, the earth must be much older than 6,000 years. To get around this problem, some creationists have suggested that the distances measured must be wrong, but these distances are based on solid, observational science. Another common claim is that the light we see today was created on its way to earth. Many aspects of the created universe must have appeared mature at the time of their creation (Adam was not an infant), but light from distant objects is different. If the light from a supernova that recently exploded was created in transit, then that star never really existed—we saw an image of a nonexistent event. It seems uncharacteristic of God to use an illusion to portray the natural world.
Anytime we try to estimate the age of things, we must make assumptions. If any of the assumptions are questionable, then the argument is not sound. The first assumption is that the speed of light has always been constant. Changing the speed of light has effects on other aspects of physics including the relationship between mass and energy in a system (E=mc2). Some creation scientists believe this is a valid model to explain distant starlight while others believe we should look for another explanation.
Another assumption is that time is rigid. However, time is dependent on the velocity and the strength of gravity where the time is being measured. This may seem strange, but it has been demonstrated by experimentation and is a sound scientific idea. Since time can flow at different rates from different points of view, events could occur at different positions in the universe. Only a short amount of time has passed on earth while there has been more time passing at the far reaches of the universe. There is a question as to the amount of difference that creationist models using this idea can produce, and more research needs to be done.
Another assumption is that time is measured by the “cosmic universal time” convention. However, we commonly use time zone conventions on earth, and these same ideas can be applied to the universe. The language in the Bible may be explaining the light visible in the universe using cosmic local time rather than cosmic universal time. This is an intriguing way to look at the alleged problem.
The final assumption is that the universe may only be explained by naturalism. This assumption automatically cuts any supernatural explanation, especially the God of the Bible, out of the picture. Some secularists argue that a supernatural act cannot be true on the basis that it cannot be explained by natural processes observed today. This is a circular argument and rejects, as a starting assumption, the existence of a God who can act outside of the natural laws He created.
In spite of these assumptions, the naturalistic explanation has its own light travel-time problem that is rarely discussed. The universe is so large that there has not been enough time for light to travel from one side to the other. In the secular view, the uniform temperature of the cosmic microwave background must be explained by natural processes alone. For the temperature to become uniform, different areas must exchange energy. The fastest way to do this is to exchange electromagnetic radiation (light) since nothing can travel faster than light. Since the points are farther apart than the light could travel (see diagram on page 48) there is no way, using the naturalistic assumptions, that the temperature could be as uniform as it is.
To explain this problem away, secular scientists have suggested there was an inflationary period in the very early stages of the big bang. There is no evidence to support this idea other than it must be so if the big bang is an accurate model of the formation of the universe. The inflationary models actually create more problems to solve. Since the big bang has its own light travel-time problem, it is inconsistent to use a light travel-time problem to discredit the biblical explanation.
There are many problems with the big bang and there are many evidences that suggest the universe cannot be billions of years old. Since all of these explanations of the age of the universe rely on assumptions, there must be an objective standard to know which is true. Because the Bible contains the eyewitness record of the Creator, it should be our standard for determining truth.
2:2 Does the big bang fit with the Bible?
The big bang is a story about how the universe came into existence. It proposes that the universe began billions of years ago as a singularity that contained all of the space and energy of the universe. The singularity expanded rapidly, and the energy cooled and turned into hydrogen and helium gas. These elements formed the first stars and then eventually galaxies and planets—including earth. Many people, including Christians, accept the big bang as fact even though it is only a story. Many Christians distort the plain reading of Scripture to accommodate the atheistic underpinnings of the big bang.
Since the big bang model was developed to explain the origin of the universe without the Bible, it is not wise to attempt to blend the two together. The Bible clearly teaches that the universe was created in six days and in an order that is contrary to the order of the big bang. For example, the big bang teaches that the stars were formed before the earth, and the Bible teaches that the earth was formed three days before the stars.
The big bang also teaches that the universe will likely end in a frozen state as it runs out of energy. The Bible teaches that the world will be judged, and a new heaven and earth will be created—the two ideas are not compatible.
Apart from the biblical problems, there are scientific problems with the big bang. The big bang predicts that there should be many monopoles present from the high temperatures of the big bang, but these monopoles have never been found. The random nature of the big bang makes it unlikely that the universe would be balanced between the momentum of expansion and the force of gravity. If this balance were not present, the universe would rapidly fly apart or collapse on itself. A period of rapid expansion, called the inflation period, has been suggested to address these and other problems. There is, however, no evidence to support the inflation period, and how it would start and stop is not understood.
Another missing element of the universe is the antimatter predicted by the big bang model. There should be equal amounts of matter and antimatter present, but we see only trace amounts of antimatter. If the universe were created by God for life, it would contain only matter.
The absence of Population III stars (stars containing only hydrogen, helium, and lithium), which should be left over from the earliest stages of the big bang universe, is another strike against the model. All stars found so far contain heavier elements that were supposedly created in the cores of stars that exploded in the past. The presence of these elements in all known stars in our galaxy, over 100 billion, is hard to explain in light of the big bang.
Numerous secular scientists are abandoning the modern big bang theory because of its many problems. What will Christians who accept the big bang as support for the Bible do when another model is adopted by secular scientists? Secular models constantly change, but God’s Word can be trusted; there is no need to compromise Scripture to understand the universe. Ultimately, the best reason to reject the big bang is that the Creator has taught that He created everything in a way that is contrary to the big bang.
2:3 New Stars, New Planets?
Evolutionists must assume that new stars are constantly forming to replace those that are dying out. Nebulae have been called “star nurseries” and the origin of new stars. The formation of a new star has never been observed, as it is supposed to take hundreds of thousands of years for a dust cloud to collapse and form a new star.
From a creationist perspective, the universe we observe today is virtually the same as it would have appeared to Adam and Eve. All of the stars that we see today are young stars.
Astronomers have looked for new stars in the formative stages and have found only a few areas of compressing gas. This is far short of what would be needed to explain the existence of billions upon billions of stars. The fact that there is no mechanism to explain the formation of stars from nebula without the existence of other stars is a major problem for secular theories of star formation.
Evolutionists reason that if the earth formed from a disk of dust and gas as our sun was forming, then there must be other planets like earth in the universe. If there are other planets like earth, then life must have evolved elsewhere in the universe. There have been several planets detected by indirect methods, but none are similar to earth. To add to the problems, the planets do not seem to fit the expectations of the theories of planet formation. The planets are too large and near their suns to have evolved, let alone have life evolving on them. The claims of the presence of water on such planets, a hallmark of the evolution of life in the minds of the evolutionists, are overstated and based on many assumptions.
2:4 Our galaxy is the centre of the universe, “quantized” red shifts show
Over the last few decades, new evidence has surfaced that restores man to a central place in God’s universe. Astronomers have confirmed that numerical values of galaxy redshifts are “quantized,” tending to fall into distinct groups. According to Hubble’s law, redshifts are proportional to the distances of the galaxies from us. Then it would be the distances themselves that fall into groups. That would mean the galaxies tend to be grouped into (conceptual) spherical shells concentric around our home galaxy, the Milky Way. The shells turn out to be on the order of a million light years apart. The groups of redshifts would be distinct from each other only if our viewing location is less than a million light years from the center. The odds for the earth having such a unique position in the cosmos by accident are less than one in a trillion. Since big bang theorists presuppose the cosmos has naturalistic origins and cannot have a unique center, they have sought other explanations, without notable success so far. Thus, redshift quantization is evidence (1) against the big bang theory, and (2) for a galactocentric cosmology.
2:5 Young galaxies too old for the big bang
Astronomers have found a string of galaxies at the very edge of the universe, 10.8 billion light years away. Using uniformitarian assumptions, these galaxies formed a few billion years after the big bang. According to big bang models, these galaxies should be small and unorganized. The maturity of these galaxies is evidence that the big bang models are not accurate. By starting with naturalistic assumptions, rather than God’s Word, the data is misinterpreted.
2:6 The globular cluster bomb
The presence of globular clusters is a problem for big bang models that suggest the clusters formed shortly after the big bang. The presence of stars of mixed “age” has discredited earlier ideas about the formation of these clusters. The models of star formation in globular clusters must be changed, but it is safe to assume the big bang model will not be questioned in light of the new evidence.
2:7 Black holes: the evidence of things not seen
In 1783, British scientist John Michell postulated the idea of a “dark star”—a star with gravity so strong that even light cannot escape. Is this possible? Einstein changed the ideas surrounding gravity by supposing that gravity is not a force, but the bending of space and time. In essence, gravity imparts a sort of velocity to empty space, and matter moves along with it. Imagine sailboats on a lake and a river. Gravity was once thought to be like the wind pushing the boat through the water—which is space in the analogy. In reality, gravity moves space itself and brings the matter along with it, much as the current in a river would move the boat.
Photons (particles of light) are like motorboats moving at a constant speed, but their motion is affected by the movement of the water. Light, in a similar manner, can be bent as it travels through moving space. A black hole has such a strong gravitational field that it pulls space so fast even light cannot escape. This would be like a lake with a drain in the middle pulling the water so quickly that the motorboats close to the drain could not escape. The boundary where the velocity of light moving away is equal to the speed that space is being pulled into the black hole is called the event horizon.
The black hole is not a star, as Michell proposed, but the gravity is so strong that the mass is all contained in a point called a singularity. You could never see any events within the event horizon. This is so because no light could escape the gravitational field which pulls the space toward the singularity at a speed faster than light. The gravitational field can cause objects to orbit the black hole, but the field is so strong that even light can orbit a black hole.
If light cannot escape from black holes, then how could we ever find one? Binary star systems consist of two stars orbiting one another. Some of these systems should contain black holes, and one of the stars would be invisible. Cygnus X-1 is a binary system that contains a blue supergiant orbiting an invisible body with enough mass to be a black hole. X-rays can also be used to detect black holes, and many observations confirm their existence. Black holes provide an observable confirmation of Einstein’s theory of relativity—the basis for cosmologies that explain how light can reach earth from distant galaxies in thousands of years or less. Black holes, and other scientific discoveries, give us a small glimpse into the thoughts of an infinite God (Psalm 19:1).
Questions to Consider
- If new stars form as the result of exploding stars compressing nebulae, then how did the first stars form if there were no stars to compress the gases?
- If it is true that when we look at objects nearly 11 billion light years away we are seeing them as they appeared 11 billion years ago, why are the galaxies that we see at great distances fully formed (mature) when the big bang model predicts they should be less organized at that early stage?
- The textbook avoids discussing things like dark matter and dark energy that are not observed but assumed to exist. How is the big bang a scientific theory if it is based on the existence of evidence that has not been observed?
- If the universe was created by the energy from the big bang then there would have been an equal amount of matter and antimatter created as the universe cooled. Have scientists been able to find any antimatter? How much has been found?
- What caused the inflationary period in the big bang?
- What evidence is there to support the inflationary period of the big bang?
- Is the big bang the only way to explain the expansion of the universe?
- Why is the big bang, which cannot be observed, considered scientific while supernatural creation is rejected as unscientific?
- How did the natural laws of the universe come from the random big bang?
Tools for Digging Deeper
The New Answers Book by Ken Ham et al.
The New Answers Book 2 by Ken Ham et al.
Our Created Moon by Don DeYoung
Starlight and Time by Russell Humphreys
Taking Back Astronomy by Jason Lisle