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Disclaimer: Most, if not all, of this argument is taken from the book “Permission to Believe” by Lawrence Kelemen from pages 31-43. Cross-references/notes are extensive, and therefore I won’t put them here. I will, however, mark where they are available with superscripted numbers. (The numbers are not consecutive, as I’m following the ones in the book, and I won’t be using all of them.) If you’d like the cross-reference/note on a certain number or numbers, simply e-mail me at chaimss@gmail.com, and I’ll give it to you.

 

Vesto Slipher was an astronomer who worked for the Lowell Observatory in Flastaff, Arizona, USA. In 1913 he was asked to study a mysterious glow in the sky.1 He found them to be distant stars, and so thought that this may be a new galaxy forming. However, when he looked for the signs of rotation that usually accompanied new galaxies, he didn’t find it. Therefore, Andromeda, as it would be called, seemed to be just another galaxy in our wide, wide universe.

 

Later that year, however, Slipher realized that he had made a mistake in his calculations. While the stars weren’t rotating, they were moving away from us. Actually, they were flying away from us at approximately 700,000 miles per hour. After checking nearby galaxies, Slipher noticed something amazing. They were all moving away from us at greater than mach speed. At the encouragement of the AAS (American Astronomical Society), Slipher spent eleven years researching this topic. By 1925 he had found forty-two separate galaxies moving away from us. He couldn’t explain this occurrence.

 

In Germany across the pond, Albert Einstein had just published his famous Theory of Relativity. When the first draft came out in 1916 the scientific world exploded. Einstein’s few equations seemed to have opened up the deepest secrets of the universe. There were some flaws with it, however, but that wasn’t what newspapers or even scientific journals were worried with. Few scientists discovered the flaws, and even fewer tried to deal with them.

 

One of those who did try to solve these problems was Willem de Sitter of Denmark. Einstein personally liked de Sitter, and had sent him an earlier version of the article. Only a few months later in 1917, de Sitter sent Einstein a letter stating some of the problems but also coming up with a radical solution: the theory would work only if the universe were expanding continuously outwards from a certain point. For some reason Einstein never answered his de Sitter’s letter.

 

In 1922, a scientist by the name of Alexander Freidmann of the USSR derived de Sitter’s conclusion independently. Due to the World War I, neither de Sitter (in Denmark) nor Freidmann (in the Soviet Union) knew that Vesto Slipher (back in the US) had seen what they had predicted: that the universe was, indeed expanding.

 

After the war was over, the three of them shared what they had found with Einstein. He was resistant to their findings, as if he had realized-in his brilliance-the theological impacts this idea would bring. Even when Freidmann proved the theory, citing the numerous problems in the General Relativity theory, Einstein still didn’t like the idea. “I have not yet fallen in the hands of priests” he said3 (an interesting comment to make, as he was Jewish). He also mentioned a similar thing in a letter to de Sitter.4

 

There was a good reason for Einstein’s hesitation. Before he had published his theory, there were three models for the universe that each had equal plausibility:

 

1.      The static model: Just like it sounds, the static model states that the universe is essentially standing still. This doesn’t mean that certain elements of it (such as planets and stars) couldn’t stay still; it just means that the universe as a whole was standing still. (Imagine a large ring with various items inside. The items could be moved, but the ring would stay stationary.) This could’ve been created by a divine deity, but doesn’t necessarily have been. It could’ve existed forever without G-d, at least in theory.

2.      The oscillating model: This states that the universe is exploding outwards due to an explosion. For a few billion years, the universe would continue to grow outwardly. The gravitational force of all of the stars would eventually slow down this explosive force, and eventually the entire universe would collapse on itself in a Big Crunch. This Crunch would produce a huge amount of heat and light, throwing everything out again. This process could repeat itself forever, technically, without the “help” of a G-d.

3.      The open model: Like the above, the universe started with an explosion. However, the gravitational forces of all the stars wouldn’t be powerful enough to cause the collapse, and the universe would simply keep expanding forever. Eventually all energy would be used up, the stars would disappear, and all existence would simply be enshrouded by a curtain of cold darkness. It would never come back to life. It would simply come into existence at some point in history, glow brilliantly, and seize to exist at anther point.

 

 

The open model causes some questions. For instance, why would this dot that was sitting there for all eternity suddenly decide to explode? According to the Law of Inertia, an object at rest should remain at rest until acted upon by an external force. What external force acted upon a dot that supposedly held all force?

 

Even if you want to say that the dot popped into existence unstable and immediately exploded, you’d have to explain how anything could just “pop” into existence. The Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy states that matter or energy can’t be created, only converted. So how can this dot have just popped in ex-nihilo without some sort of external force? The open model, if it’s true, seems to point towards a Creator, or G-d.

 

Before the three scientists/astronomers de Sitter, Slipher, and Freidmann got involved, all three of the above scenarios seemed equally acceptable. However, the static model was now being threatened. Their research was showing that the universe was expanding, not staying still. Einstein was afraid that science and religion were becoming too close.

 

Still, the situation wasn’t too bad. Einstein rested easy knowing that nothing had been proven yet. All Slipher had shown was that a couple dozen galaxies were moving away from us. This was hardly proof that the entire universe was doing the same. In addition, the whole problem relied on his Theory of General Relativity, and that hadn’t been proven yet. And furthermore, even if the static theory was wrong, there was still one more non-theological model to rely on. Only proof that the universe wasn’t going to crash on itself would present a theological issue. So Einstein rested easy.

 

In 1925, however, Edwin Hubble made a discovery that dealt the static model a fateful blow. Hubble was an American astronomer who worked for the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. He used the most powerful telescope then available to show that every galaxy within 100 million light years (or 6x1017) of the Earth was moving away from us.

 

Einstein stubbornly refused to accept this, continuing to teach the static model until Hubble invited him to see the evidence for himself. When he was done he said, “New observations by Hubble…make it appear likely that the general structure of the universe is not static”5. When he died in 1955, he was swayed, but not convinced, of the universe’s expanding.

 

The next step happened in 1965. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were calibrating a super-sensitive microwave detector at Bell Telephone Labs in New Jersey when they noticed a constant hum wherever they aimed the instrument. Although they went through all of the normal “troubleshooting steps” such as cleaning the antenna to make sure any bird droppings didn’t interfere with the signal, to checking with broadcast stations to make sure that they weren’t interfering with they signal, and overhauling their entire electronic system, the interference, a 3-degree Kelvin (3K) hum, still remained.

 

When the usual steps didn’t resolve the problem, they began a serious search for the interference. Their search showed that the noise originated from outside our atmosphere. Further research showed that it was coming from outside our solar system. Even further prodding proved that the noise was present in every corner of the universe. Acting on a hunch, they looked over an essay written by a student of a student of Alexander Freidmann on general relativity. They hit the jackpot. The essay had predicted that if an explosion had started the world, there would be an evidence of it by a microwave hum “around 5K, or thereabouts”6. The two scientists had hit on the traces of what appeared to be the largest explosion ever: the Big Bang. For this discovery, the two scientists received the Noble Prize.

 

This discovery sparked something else, however. If this big explosion had happened, it should have created certain elements. To be exact, the universe should contain 75% Hydrogen, 25% Helium, and 1 ppm (part-per-million) of everything else. Through the myriad of tests on the subject that were performed as a result of the 3K discovery, this was shown to be true.

 

These discoveries completely undermined the static model of the universe. Now there were only two models possible. One requires G-d and one doesn’t. So now the question arises: which one’s right? Researchers knew that it was possible to figure this out by figuring out the average density of the universe. If it contained approximately one Hydrogen atom per ten cubic feet8, then there would be enough attraction to cause the universe to crash together and repeat the process as described in the oscillating (and non-G-d proving) model. If however, there wasn’t enough, then the attraction wouldn’t be enough to overcome the explosion, and the universe would simply expand forever, leaving us with model three, the open model, and the one which couldn’t exist without a G-d.

 

Between the years of 1965 and 1978, tests were conducted to try to determine if there was enough hydrogen to cause the Crunch. And test after test showed that there wasn’t enough, sometimes by orders of a thousand or more. Interestingly enough, a sort of panic overcame the scientific community. Everyone, from mathematicians to physicists, from astronomers to cosmologists, united to try to prove the eternity of the universe. Some suggested that the missing matter may be in the form of radiation or a very thin, and so invisible, film across the whole universe. (Once E=MC2 had been proven, the scientific world accepted that radiation is nothing but a much diluted form of matter, and as such has weight.) Others suggested that the matter had been sucked down a black hole. Fifteen years of research, however, proceeded to undermine these theories, and failed to turn up any significant amount of the missing matter.

 

The blow, however, came in 1978 when Dr. Robert Jastrow, director of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) made a historical announcement. Even taking all of the aforementioned into account, the maximum total weight of the universe “is still ten times too small…to bring the expansion to a halt.”9 He even wrote an article for the New York Times Magazine saying that the third (open) model was probably correct10. This was independently confirmed by Dr. James Trefil, a physicist working at the University of Virginia, in 1983,11 and Drs. John Barrow (astronomer at the University of Sussex, US) and Frank Tipler (mathematician and physicist at Tulane University) in 1986.12 In 1988, Dr. Steven Hawking, mathematician and theoretical physicist at Cambridge University, stated, “Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention.” Nonetheless, “the present evidence suggests that the universe will probably expand forever.”13

 

At the 1990 meeting of the AAS (mentioned above), Professor John Mather of Columbia University, an astrophysicist who also works for NASA, presented “the most dramatic approach ever” to the open model.14 According to a journalist who was there at the time, this speech was met with thunderous applause. This lead the chairman, Dr. Geoffrey Burbidge, to comment: “It seems clear that the audience is in favor of the book of Genesis-or at least the first verse or so, which seems to have been confirmed.”15

 

Now, I’ve brought this down to show logical proof of G-d. I personally don’t have the knowledge to go into an in depth discussion of this subject. However, if anyone does want to reply to this and continue a discussion on a plane I can discuss, great. Either e-mail me at chaimss@gmail.com, or leave me a comment here. For those of you who are seeing this from a link in a forum or something like that, you can reply there. I hope this synopsis will be helpful in this discussion.

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