Speaking of Birthdays

Dr. Arno Penzias was frustrated. While adjusting an antenna for a radioastronomy experiment, he and Dr. Robert Wilson encountered a noise that wouldn't go away -- no matter what direction they rotated their directional antenna. Eventually they realized they had discovered "cosmic background radiation," that many physicists now call "the radio echo of creation." At the time, many scientists scoffed at the words in Genesis, "In the beginning." They assumed that the universe had existed from eternity past. And some scientists prefer the notion that the universe has no beginning. Aristotle philosophized that matter was eternal, and tradition dies slowly -- even with strong contrary evidence. More importantly, if the universe did have a beginning, that implies a Creator -- and many people prefer not to believe that. But Dr. Penzias says, "The creation of the universe is supported by all the observable data astronomy has produced so far. As a result, the people who reject the data can arguably be described as having a 'religious' belief." That is, people who refuse to consider the evidence because it conflicts with their preconceived ideas are following a "dogma" in the most stubborn sense of the word. In an article in Perspectives in Science and Christian Faith, Penzias told Dr. Jerry Bergman of the American Scientific Affiliation, "I invite you to examine the snapshot provided by half a century's worth of astrophysical data and see what the pieces of the universe actually look like . . . In order to achieve consistency with our observations we must . . . assume not only creation of matter and energy out of nothing, but creation of space and time as well." Penzias, a Nobel Prize winner, added, "The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole." Another word that shows up in discussions of whether or not the universe had a beginning is "singularity." This interpretation visualizes all the matter of the universe concentrated in a "singular" location of infinitesimally small size and expanding to form all the galaxies, stars, and planets. Dr. Penzias says that interpretation fails the test of mathematical physics. During a lecture at Northern Illinois University, he pointed out that when the distance between objects decreases, the gravitational attraction between them increases. So if all the matter of the universe had once been compressed into an infinitesimally small "singularity," the gravitational pull would have been so massive that the matter never would have spread out and formed today's universe. "It would collapse into a black hole and stay that way." So what does Penzias think that the Big Bang was? He says the most logical explanation is "a moment of discrete creation from nothing!" Some have paraphrased the Big Bang as "God spoke, and bang, the universe was created." That's close to the Psalmist's statement: "He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm." As we continue to point out on BreakPoint, the Big Bang really points to a Big Brain -- to God who has the wisdom and power to create everything that exists. For further reading and information: Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., "Arno A. Penzias: Astrophysicist, Nobel Laureate," Perspectives in Science and Christian Faith, September 1994. Henry Margenau and Roy Abraham Varghese, eds., Cosmos, Bios, Theos (Open Court Publishing, 1992). See chapter titled, "Creation Is Supported by All the Data So Far." Denis Brian, GENIUS TALK: CONVERSATIONS WITH NOBEL SCIENTISTS AND OTHER LUMINARIES(Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995). The Arno Penzias chapter is on pages 153-177. Gordy Slack, "When Science and Religion Collide or Why Einstein Wasn't an Atheist," MOTHER JONES, November/December 1997. "Penzias and Wilson's Discovery is One of the Century's Key Advances," LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES, rev. February 2001. Read "Arno Penzias -- Autobiography" on the Nobel Foundation website. Gregg Easterbrook, "What came before creation?", U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT, 20 July 1998. "Physicists Puzzle Over Unexpected Findings in 'Little' Big Bang," University of Rochester News, 11 November 2002. The Intelligent Design Network of New Mexico is encouraging citizens to contact the governor and their legislators to comment on the newly revised science standards for education. Al Dobras, "It's All about Luck: Avoiding Intelligent Design at All Costs," BREAKPOINT ONLINE, 7 April 2003. Roberto Rivera, "Gods and Peanuts: Reason and Revelation," BREAKPOINT ONLINE, 22 May 2002. William A. Dembski, "Skepticism's Prospects for Unseating Intelligent Design," BREAKPOINT ONLINE, 24 June 2002. BreakPoint Commentary No. 020627, "Considering the Evidence: Intelligent Design in the Twenty-First Century."


Chuck Colson


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