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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Evidence for the Big Bang, 50 years ago

As the recent movie, God's not Dead, put it, "Let there be light" in Genesis 1 is a description of the Big Bang. (The argument between the fictional atheist philosophy professor and the fictional outspoken college student, in the movie, was not over whether there was a Big Bang or not, but over whether or not there was a God who created the universe, using the Big Bang as part of His creative action.)

A few days over 50 years ago, Penzias and Wilson discovered background radiation from the Big Bang. (See here for the Wikipedia article on the Big Bang.) National Public Radio has a good report, commemorating the event, and points out what Penzias and Wilson originally reported, namely that they discovered this evidence by accident -- they weren't looking to prove that there was a Big Bang. The report apparently is partly based on discussions with Penzias and Wilson, who are still alive.

There is other evidence for the Big Bang, principally the shifting of light spectra towards the red, with this shift being greater, the further the object observed is from the earth. This is believed to be because the universe is expanding, as you would expect if there had been a cataclysmic explosion at its beginning. Red shifts were discovered before the discovery by Penzias and Wilson.

Although the background radiation and red shifting may not seem like a lot of evidence, they are an amazing amount of support, considering how long ago the Big Bang occurred.

Reasons to Believe, a Christian organization, claims that the Bible describes the Big Bang, especially in passages that use the phrase "stretched out" to refer to the starry sky. Perhaps. Perhaps not. I'm not an expert in the original language. "Stretched out" may mean expanding. It may merely mean that God created the starry sky. I don't know. Whichever way it was, the Big Bang was not a surprise to God, and required God to create a universe such that it could occur.

Thanks for reading.

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