On the Bible and fairy tales…atheist fairy tales.
“Here is evidence for what can only be described as a supernatural event. There is no way that this could have been predicted within the realm of physics as we know it.”
–Astronomer Allan Sandage, winner of the Crafoord Prize (the highest award in astronomy), discussing the origin of the universe. Sandage is considered to be one of the founders of modern astronomy and was widely regarded to be the world’s greatest cosmologist until his death in 2010. He came to belief in God as a result of his science, as he announced at a conference on the origin of the universe in 1985. He also became a Christian.
“Those who have magnified more recent controversies about the relations of science and religion, and who have projected them back into historical time, simply perpetuate a historical myth. The myth of a perennial conflict between science and religion is one to which no historian of science would subscribe.”
—Peter Harrison, former Oxford University Professor of Science and Religion.
“We’ll start right at the beginning: Genesis chapters one and two….Once upon a time, God created heaven and earth in six days and then napped on the seventh.”
…So begins the obscenity-laced tirade Penn and Teller: The Bible is Bull#%@!, which appears on YouTube. In this video, outspoken atheist Penn Jillette (the Penn of Penn and Teller fame) attempts to mock the Bible as a fairy tale only believable to naive people who ignore science. But what Jillette actually accomplishes right from the beginning is something entirely different: He demonstrates just how simplistic and inadequate his understanding of the Bible and science are.
Whoever inspired the Bible clearly understood both the relativity of time and the ratio at which Earth time converts to cosmic time…thousands of years before Einstein. Any ideas as to who the inspirer, or rather Inspirer, of the Bible might be?
Gerald Schroeder has the rare qualifications of both biblical scholar and physicist (formerly a Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In his book The Science of God. The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom, Schroeder explains how the apparent conflict between a six-day creation and a roughly 15 billion year old universe is caused by a pre-Einstein understanding of time.
The Bible and the relativity of time
Einstein demonstrated that time is relative, and the relativity of time has been subsequently tested and verified thousands of times. As Schroeder notes, the rate at which time flows varies with changes in velocity and with changes in gravity. The Bible, notably, described the relativity of time thousands of years before Einstein, somewhat poetically, in Psalm 90:4: “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”
Regarding the apparent conflict between scientific and biblical accounts of the age of the universe, Schroeder writes:
“A common error in exploring the brief biblical age of the universe relative to the discoveries of cosmology is to view the universe from a specific location rather than choosing a reference frame that embraces the entire universe and retains that universal perspective for the entire six days.”
“This cosmic clock records the passage of one minute while we on Earth experience a million million minutes. …At this million-million-to-one ratio those 120 million Earth years lasted a mere hour. That’s the peer-reviewed physics and the biblical tradition of this discussion. Now for the modern theology: What does all this mean for the age of the universe? In terms of days and years and millennia, this stretching of the cosmic perception of time by a factor of a million million, the division of fifteen billion years by a million million reduces those fifteen billion years to six days!”
Whoever inspired the Bible clearly understood both the relativity of time and the ratio at which Earth time converts to cosmic time…thousands of years before Einstein.
The universe is roughly 15 billion years old from the perspective of Earth time and SIX DAYS old from in terms of cosmic time. Schroeder notes that when he asks his atheist colleagues to explain these facts in atheistic terms, they appeal to coincidence.
Any ideas as to who the inspirer, or rather Inspirer, of the Bible might be?
View the below video to review an experiment which verifies the relativity of time.
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Please view MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder’s commentary in the video below or to read a condensed version.
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Notably, this is far from the first time that the Bible has turned out to be right about scientific issues…although the Bible was not meant to be a science book. The article linked to below provides several instances where the Bible foretold phenomena which were later discovered by science.
Scientific discoveries foretold by the Bible
A few examples:
1) The universe is expanding. Science has only known this fact since 1929, with discoveries made by the astronomer Edwin Hubble. Many scientists use the analogy of an inflating balloon to describe the expansion of the universe. Thousands of years before Hubble, the Bible referred to the universe as expanding. Isaiah 40:22 says that God “stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”
2) Air has weight. Job 28:25 says “…when he imparted weight to the wind.”
3) Modern science has very conclusively demonstrated that the universe (or a multiverse, in which our universe may be situated, if you prefer multiple universes) had a beginning…just as described in the first chapters of Genesis…as I describe in Isn’t the Universe Eternal? (Thus doing away with the need for a creator) and Is There a God? (What is the chance that our world is the result of chance?)
Atheism and an eternal universe
Scientific confirmation of the universe’s beginning has caused much sorrow among scientists ideologically committed to atheism because, for centuries, most atheists have hung their hat on belief in an eternally existing universe in order to do away with God….no beginning, therefore no Beginner. As the astronomer, physicist, and founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Robert Jastrow (a self-described agnostic) put it in his book God and the Astronomers:
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
The remarkable, or rather, eerie similarity between the biblical and scientific (“Big Bang”) accounts of creation was perhaps best expressed by Arno Penzias, who won the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to Big Bang astrophysics. Penzias stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978:
“The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”
These revelations have caused a flurry of activity among atheist scientists committed to avoiding the problem of a cosmic beginning. Physicist Stephen Weinberg writes on the final page of his classic book The First Three Minutes, “Some cosmologists are philosophically attracted to the oscillating model [of the universe], especially because, like the steady-state [eternal] model, it nicely avoids the problem of Genesis.”
Problem of Genesis?! Philosophically attracted?! Weinberg’s statement should remove any doubt that there are many scientists whose science is guided and shaped by their atheist ideology. This is completely contrary to the scientific spirit of objectivity and to the concept of following the evidence wherever it leads. Britain’s leading quantum cosmologist, the Imperial College of London astrophysicist Christopher J. Isham, comments on this ideological bias and how it only serves as further evidence that Big Bang science supports theism:
“Perhaps the best argument…that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas…being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his or her theory.”
But even if atheist physicists were able to construct a model that avoids “the problem of Genesis,” their work in denying God would be just beginning. Physicist Steven Weinberg (a self-described agnostic) comments, in the journal Scientific American, on “how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values.”
Similarly, Arno Penzias, the above mentioned winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physics, writes:
“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.”
In OK…I Want Numbers. What is the probability that the universe is the result of chance? I point out how the Oxford University mathematical physicist Roger Penrose calculated that probability of a universe capable of producing life occurring randomly is 1 in 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 123 (1 with 123 zeros after it). As Penrose puts it, that is “a number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe, there would not even be enough particles to do the job.”
Pointing out the absurd improbability of a universe capable of producing life occurring by chance is known as the anthropic fine tuning argument (discussed in more depth in Is There A God? (What is the Chance That Our World is the Result of Chance?)
In order to counter this argument, the most common escape hatch to which atheists have resorted to is to postulate multiple universes. So many universes exist—goes the atheist argument—that it should be no surprise that a universe such as ours, with the absurdly improbable constants and values necessary to enable life, exists. London Times science writer Clifford Longley points out that the desperation of this counter argument illustrates in just how tight of a spot atheists find themselves, in his article Focusing on Theism, (London Times, January 21, 1989, p. 10):
“No such argument can ever be absolutely conclusive, and the anthropic fine-tuning argument stops just short of knock-down proof. For there could’ve been millions and millions of different universes created each with different settings, of the fundamental ratios and constants, so many if fact that one with the right set was eventually bound to turn up by sheer chance. We just happened to be the lucky ones. But there is no evidence for such a theory whatsoever.”
“On the other hand the evidence for the truth of the anthropic fine-tuning argument is of such an order of certainty that in any other sphere of science we would regard it as absolutely settled. To insist otherwise is like insisting that Shakespeare was not written by Shakespeare because it might have been written by billions of monkeys sitting at billions of keyboards over billions of years. But so it might.”
“But the sight of the scientific atheist clutching at such desperate straws has put new spring in the step of the theists. For the first time in more than a hundred years, they no longer feel the need to apologize for their beliefs. Perhaps now, they should apologize for their previous apologies.”
It must be emphasized that there is no inherent conflict between theism and the hypothesis of multiple universes. From the vantage point of theism, it should seem entirely reasonable that an infinite God might choose to create, well…infinitely. The point of contention, rather, is whether the existence of other universes can serve to explain the fine tuning of our universe…especially when no alternative explanation for the source of these universes has been proposed.
Lastly, atheists present the multiple universe (also known as many worlds) hypothesis as a scientific alternative to the religious belief in God. But because other universes can never be observed or detected from within our universe (only inferred or postulated), the many worlds hypothesis cannot accurately be characterized as a scientific hypothesis. Rather, it can only be characterized as a supernatural or religious alternative to belief in God. And if supernatural beliefs amount to fairy tales, as atheists such as Penn Jillette would have you believe, than the many worlds hypothesis is an atheist fairy tale.
So much for fairy tales.