Introduction   Alternatives to   Objections to   Origin of theory   Review of The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking   Stephen Hawking and God      Typical summary   Suggested reading

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In the beginning there was, was there?

A. Nothing - The Big Bang - Abiogenesis - Evolution - Life as we know it.

B. God - The Big Bang - Abiogenesis - Evolution - Life as we know it.

C. God - The Big Bang - Creation was Perfect - Fall - Microevolution - Life as we know it.           

D. God – Stretched out the heavens during Creation – Creation was Perfect - Fall - Microevolution - Life as we know it.      

So called "Eye of God" - The Helix Nebula NGC 7293

"There are an increasing number of observational facts which are difficult to reconcile in the Big-Bang hypothesis. The Big Bang establishment very seldom mentions these, and when non-believers try to draw attention to them, the powerful establishment refuses to discuss them in a fair way..." Hannes Olof Gösta Alfven (Nobel Prize for Physics in 1970). "Cosmology: Myth or Science?" in Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy 5 (1970), p. 1203. To top

Hawking co-scientist Roger Penrose debunks M-theory on Christian Radio

Origin of theory - red shift. The classical illustration of the Doppler effect is a person standing on a railway platform as a train speeds towards him and past him with the whistle blowing. As it approaches, the pitch of the whistle is high, but as it passes the observer, the pitch drops. This is caused by the relative motion of the sound source and the observer, the sound wave frequency being increased as the two draw closer and decreased as the two move apart (Back, 2003). Doppler considered that this same shift of frequency should also apply to light waves and this was later found to be true. It was found that when a light source moves away from an observer, the lines in the visible spectrum shift towards the red end of the spectrum and this phenomena came to be known as red shift (Back, 2003).

In the 1890's the Lick Observatory in California began to track and chart the velocity of many stars and by 1914 the radical velocities of 400 stars and fourteen spiral nebulae had been determined. The results showed that the majority of spiral nebula whose spectra had been plotted appeared to be moving away from us (Back, 2003). These observations coupled with similar observations by other including Edwin Hubble were considered proof that the universe is expanding and if it is expanding it must have been smaller in the past. It was reasoned that there must have been a time when all the material in the universe was gathered together in one point and so the Big Bang theory was born. Based on speeds that had been inferred by red shift observations of galaxies, it was estimated that this Big Bang occurred about 15 to 20 thousand million years ago (Back, 2003). To top

The Grand Design: A typical summary of the Big Bang theory up to the point of evolution of the galaxies is given in the following quotation, taken from the Greenwich Guide to Stars, Galaxies and Nebulae (from Malin, S, 1989, quoted in Burgess S, 2001).

"This is how the Universe started about 15 billion years ago....Everything in the Universe was jam packed together in one place as a super dense blob....The Universe suddenly came into existence all at one place with an almighty bang, incomparably more powerful than anything that has happened since, which flung material far out into space and was directly responsible for the expansion of the universe that is still going on.....By the time the Universe was 1/10,000th of a second old, quarks and mesons forged in the inferno, the temperature had dropped to a million million K and the density  was down to 10 million million times that of lead....As the Big bang continued, the Universe spread out and its temperature and density dropped allowing for sub-atomic particles to form. By the time 10 seconds had elapsed, many sub-atomic particles were welded together to form the nuclei of atoms....Radiation - energy in the form of heat and light - continued to dominate for the next million years, by which time the temperature had dropped to below 10,000K....After the first million years elapsed, the Universe was a huge cloud of uniform, thin gas rather hotter than the surface of the sun....Over many millions of years, the Universe became divided up into innumerable blobs of gas which would eventually become clusters of galaxies. At the same time, the Universe continued to expand, increasing the distance between the blobs....Within the blobs, the same process was going on, on a smaller scale, with each one breaking up into millions of much smaller blobs which would make stars. When a galaxy was still composed of gas, collisions between particles would be quite frequent, and this would help the process of knocking the galaxy into its final shape." To top

Objections to the Big Bang theory. In New Scientist magazine of 22-May-04, page 20 there is an article entitled Bucking the Big Bang. In this article thirty-four scientists from ten countries expressed their concerns about the big bang theory being deeply flawed. But what causes so many leading scientists to have such concerns?

The Privileged Planet - The Search For Purpose In The Universe The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed - inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory…

But the big bang theory can't survive without these fudge factors. Without the hypothetical inflation field, the big bang does not predict the smooth, isotropic cosmic background radiation that is observed, because there would be no way for parts of the universe that are now more than a few degrees away in the sky to come to the same temperature and thusAstronomy and the Bible: Questions and Answers emit the same amount of microwave radiation.

Without some kind of dark matter, unlike any that we have observed on Earth despite 20 years of experiments, big-bang theory makes contradictory predictions for the density of matter in the universe. Inflation requires a density 20 times larger than that implied by big bang nucleo-synthesis, the theory's explanation of the origin of the light elements. And without dark energy, the theory predicts that the universe is only about 8 billion years old, which is billions of years younger than the age of many stars in our galaxy.”

The following is an extract from an article criticising the Big Bang theory written by a secular Scientist and published in New Scientist (Oldershaw, R., 1990, quoted in He Made The Stars Also, by Burgess S, 2001).

"The Big Bang cosmological model has several serious problems...When the original inflation model ran into contradictions, it was replaced by a modification called the "new inflation". When further problems arose, theorists postulated another version called "extended inflation". Some have even advocated adding a second inflationary period - "double inflation"...Let us consider some of the problems.

First, the Big Bang is treated as an unexplainable event without a cause.

Second, the Big Bang could not explain convincingly how matter got organised into lumps (galaxies and clusters of galaxies).

And thirdly, it did not predict that for the Universe to be held together in the way it is, more than 90% of the Universe would have to be in the form of some strange, unknown form of dark matter.

Even the strongest piece of evidence for the Big Bang has turned in on it. Matter is not found to be spread out uniformly. Correspondingly, the left-over radiation should also be inhomogeneous. Unfortunately, the results from the Cosmic Background explorer (COSBE) satellite, recently launched to investigate the microwave background, has revealed that this wash of radiation is relentlessly uniform. So it conflicts with the theoretical Big Bang predictions. Nevertheless the theorist are determined to hang on in there...Theorists also invented the concepts of inflation and cold dark matter to augment the Big Bang paradigm and keep it viable, but they too have come into increasing conflict with observations. In the light of all these problems, it is astounding that the Big Bang hypothesis is the only cosmological model that physicists have taken seriously". To top

Other problems:- 

(a) There are inconsistencies in the red shift data. The following is a quote from Halton Arp, who published a catalogue of discordant red shifts, although his work has largely been ignored, because it does not fit in with current theories (Arp, 1982).

"It can not be stressed too strongly, however, that these discordant red shifts are not discovered in just one or two isolated cases that have no relation to each other. But in every case we can test - large clusters, groups, companions to nearby galaxies, companions to middle distance galaxies, companions linked by luminous filaments, galaxies interacting gravitationally, chains of galaxies -  in every conceivable case, we come out with the same answer: the same discordant red shifts for the same general class of younger, fainter galaxies" (Arp, Evidence for discordant redshifts). To top

The most recent evidence for an out of place red shift presented by Halton Arp et al has been published recently in the Astrophysical Journal (10 February 2005). Arp and his fellow researchers have found a quasar with an extreme red shift of z = 2.114 embedded within galaxy NGC 7319 with a red shift of only z = 0.022. The reason they believe the galaxy and quasar are connected is because of observed gaseous interaction between the two. Evidence such as this strongly suggests that red shift has nothing to do with distance, nor expansion.

(b) The red shift appears quantised. Not only are red shifts appearing out of place, but there is also strong evidenced that the red shift is quantised. This evidence was first published by Tifft (1976), in Astrophysical Journal (206:38), and he gave a quantised gap of 2.67 km/s. Others have subsequently confirmed these results, and it would suggest that the red shift is caused by quantum mechanical affects and does not have anything to do universe expansion. How can it be claimed for instance that the universe expands by leaps and jumps?

(c) Confusing supernova. Type Ia supernova explode with a known intensity, and therefore their distance should correlate well with the observed red shift. However, some supernovas at great distance have been found to be brighter than expected, and some nearer have been found to be dimmer. The preferred solution is that the cosmological constant, (the repulsive force sometimes called dark energy) was at first weaker than thought when z <1.5, but then kicked in with a vengeance and today the universe is thought to be expanding faster than expected with values of z >1.5. However, this leads to many more anomalies. Other observations suggest that the cosmological constant is either zero or very small, but nowhere near enough to account for the expansion of the universe that the big bang theory requires. Alain Blanchard of the European Space Agency stated that data collected from the European XMM Space satellite ‘leaves little room for dark energy.’ (ESA News release 12 December 2003).

(d) The first law of Thermodynamics states that the total quantity of energy in the Universe is constant. Thus, the cosmic egg could not come into being from nothing. Imagine the tremendous energy of the universe. According to the Big Bang theory, we are asked to believe that all this energy came into being from nothing!

"The conservation of energy - one of the most cherished principle of physics - is violated by the Big Bang (Narlikar and Padmanabhan, 1985)".

(e) Smooth space. Another problem of the Big bang theory is that a violent explosion has led to a finely ordered system of galaxies, solar systems, planets and moons, and near perfect back ground radiation. However, we should not expect an expanding universe with constant light speed to be smooth at all as different parts would not be able to see beyond the event horizon. To overcome the smoothness problem cosmologists invented inflation. However, this inflation has never been observed, and even some of those who helped develop it, such as Andy Albrecht, no longer find it a convincing explanation. Albrecht has subsequently worked on variable light speed papers instead. 

Explosions are anything but accurate! "Explosions merely throw matter out, but the Big Bang has mysteriously produced the opposite effect, with matter clumping together in the form of galaxies". Hoyle, 1983. To top

Alternatives to the big bang. 

A Steady State universe and plasma cosmology as an alternative to the big bang

While the Big Bang Theory faces serious problems there are a number of alternatives that may appear attractive to those who look for naturalistic origins. This is a further quote from the article Bucking the Big Bang (New Scientist magazine of 22-May-04).

"Yet the big bang is not the only framework available for understanding the history of the universe. Plasma cosmology and the steady-state model both hypothesize an evolving universe without beginning or end. These and other alternative approaches can also explain the basic phenomena of the cosmos, including the abundances of light elements, the generation of large-scale structure, the cosmic background radiation, and how the red-shift of far-away galaxies increases with distance."

However, there are serious problems with Steady State theories, for a universe of infinite age and size. Sir Fred Hoyle originally favoured the Steady State theory, but later abandoned it in favour of the big bang. Hoyle’s Steady State Theory would require mass to be created and increase with time for it to be stable against an apparent decrease in density. There is also the problem of Olber’s paradox for a steady state universe of infinite size and age. A universe infinitely old and infinitely large would have a night sky that was white and not black, as photons of light would be arriving from every possible direction. The thermodynamic law of entropy would also cause the universe to become uninhabitable as energy runs down until it is unusable. This suggests that if the universe exists today in a steady state, then it cannot be infinitely old, but must have had a beginning.

The evidence therefore suggests that the universe had a beginning and was stretched out in the past. Problems with the big bang and red shift data suggest the universe may today be in a steady state and no longer expanding.

How can creationists account for this evidence?  It turns out that both of these statements agree with the Biblical account of creation. Genesis shows God stretching out the heavens in the beginning, and then proclaiming it perfect and resting from his labour.

Creationist response to cosmology. Creationist scientists have proposed a number of possibilities to overcome the distant starlight and age problem for a young universe. These are two of the most popular:-

1. Barry Setterfield has suggested that light is slowing down through time after carefully examining measured speed of light decay from several hundred years of readings (Norman and Setterfield 1987). However, this data set is possibly too small to draw wider conclusions. But there may be theoretical evidence that supports speed of light decay from secular researchers. Albrecht and Magueijo (1999, Phys. Rev. D. 59) have shown that a reducing speed of light can account for the smoothness of space by overcoming the horizon problem. They proposed a speed of light 1060 times greater than present speeds during the early universe. Barrow (1999, Phys. Rev. D. 59) proposed also that light has slowed through time.

More recently Setterfield has developed a creationist cosmology that relies on the zero point energy that is known to exist from quantum mechanics. Such evidence as this may lead to a theory of quantum gravity or plasma cosmology and rejection of general relativity. A more detailed write up of this can be found on Setterfield’s website, but it basically demonstrates a slowing light speed through time after the universe was stretched out by God in the beginning, and a stable universe today.

2. The most popular creationist cosmology has been given by physicist Dr D. Russell Humphreys, in his book Starlight And Time. This has become known as white hole cosmology, which suggests the universe is like a black hole in reverse. He has made a detailed study of Big Bang cosmology and has identified a number of misconceptions. The more serious reader may consider buying this book or the book by Dr Paul Back which has quite a lengthy section on the origin of the Universe and the measuring of time. To top

Stephen Hawking and God, by J. John.

The article below was written by J. John in his blog in September 2010 following the announcement in the press that Stephen Hawking now sees no necessity for God in the creation of the universe. Reproduced with kind permission.

"In a slow week for news the theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has made headlines by stating in his latest book that he now sees no necessity for God in the creation of the universe. (He also said that ‘philosophy is dead’ which suggests that when it comes to promoting books even the best scientists recognise the commercial value of a controversial statement.) His view raises issues for Christians; so let me respond to them.

First, Hawking’s apparent change in belief is not as radical as it seems. The way the story is being portrayed is that Hawking the believer has now, as a result of his research, become an atheist. But was he ever really a believer? His association with the idea of God came about when, in his best-selling book, A Brief History of Time, he concluded by mentioning the possibility of a theory of the universe that would allow discussion of the great question of its origin. In a final sentence he wrote, ‘If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God.’ It was a great line to end with and his editor must have loved it; Hawking himself has said that, ‘In the proof stage I nearly cut the last sentence … had I done so, the sales might have been halved.’ Now many people read that final sentence or heard it quoted and felt that Hawking was supporting religious faith. Indeed, in the twenty odd years since it was written it has sometimes been quoted as a defence of religious belief. Yet when you read more about Hawking’s thought it is clear that the ‘God’ he mentioned in that throwaway comment was little more than a philosophical concept. His god was an academic answer to a cosmological puzzle and no more. So his denial of God in his most recent book is hardly a backtracking from a living faith but rather a shifting of position on what is a purely intellectual debate.

Second, it is very clear that even if Hawking ever really seriously believed in a Creator, such a figure bore very little resemblance to the God of the Bible. A God who does no more than ‘light the blue touch paper of the universe’ and then disappears is not the God of Scripture. The Bible’s God is a being who doesn't just create the cosmos but is intimately involved in every aspect of it and continues to sustain it. The God of the Bible did not create once but continues to create things every second. He is involved in the world at this moment; see for example Job 38, Psalm 104:10-30 and Matthew 6:26; 10:29. The Christian God is a God who was not just the Ultimate Physicist at the dawn of creation but someone who through Jesus Christ can be our heavenly Father.

Third, we need to listen to such pronouncements on the origin of the cosmos with some caution. Hawking is a very brave man in his confident belief that the origin of the universe does not need God. He is saying that he understands how, 13 or so billion years ago, this unimaginably vast and complex universe came into being. Given that serious cosmological research is barely 300 years old and has been conducted from only one small planet in a tiny corner of just one galaxy, perhaps a greater degree of humility would be appropriate. The mind of man is extraordinarily clever – and Professor Hawking’s is especially so – but it is wise to know our limits and to recognise that there are some things about which we may not have all the data and even some that may be utterly beyond our comprehension.

I am not at all surprised that Stephen Hawking did not find any proof for God in the incredibly complex mathematics of the Big Bang. Let us suppose for a moment that he had – that he had detected unmistakable evidence of God’s handiwork in the early history of the cosmos. On the one hand, it would be gratifying for the believer. Yet wouldn't it suggest that God was some sort of academic snob who only really wanted to reveal himself to those who were extraordinarily intelligent? What would such a revelation say to those of us who struggle to add up our shopping bills? Or to those who can't either read or write? No, I think I prefer the God of the Bible, who makes himself accessible through Jesus Christ to all who seek him.

Finally, it is worth making the point that an enormous problem still remains for Stephen Hawking and his followers. One of the most fundamental of all questions is ‘Where did the universe come from?’ The Christian answer is to simply state that God made it out of nothing. Hawking's answer to such a question is to say that nothing made the universe: that this greatest possible something came, of its own accord, out of absolutely nothing. Both views require faith but I know which of the two I find it easier to believe in!"

September 2010, J.John (Canon). Website 

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The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life, Stephen Hawking with Leonard Mlodinov. Review by Martin Budd.

Start with questions such as "Why is there something rather than nothing", the authors trace the history of modern physics and conclude that all the answers we can get must be in physics.  

Many people have pointed out that our physical constants and laws must be very "finely tuned" to particular values for our universe and our planet to be possible.  Our particular physical laws and constants are even more improbable than the particular chance occurrences and environmental conditions behind evolution.   

Hawking and co-author Leonard Mlodinov (whom I also imply when  referring to Hawking here) says that it now makes theoretical sense if we propose that we exist in a multiverse of many universes. If there are a vast number of universes, then occurrence of such particular physical laws and constants is less improbable, and even inevitable, given enough of them.  M-theory, the latest theory of theoretical physics which ties together all previous theories, predicts 11 dimensions: length, width, height, time and 6 other spatial dimensions, and predicts the creation of an endless number of universes with their own physical laws.    

So as far as we can conceive, and if that M-theory should be proved, we will have a "grand design" that accounts for everything.  Hawking thus claims that God is then therefore unnecessary, and arguments from design are overtaken by the discoveries that this design is not completely improbable, but probably inevitable.   

In arriving at this conclusion, Hawking employs a concept he calls "model-dependent realism" whereby our conception of, and discovery of, reality depends on the model we can conceive in our minds. This has developed and widened over the centuries together with physics. The model may remain static, until new discoveries or necessities lead us to expand it.  M-theory could thus yet evolve still further.  

Hawking is countering the cosmological arguments for God - saying there is no longer a need for an unmoved mover, since in the 11-dimensional of M-theory, time is part of a bigger self-contained process where "spontaneous creation" occurs, and given at least some of physical fundamentals (space-time, gravity, energy, etc.) is inevitable.  Though he wonders for a moment who created God, he doesn't answer the question of who enabled these physical fundamentals to happen.

Hawking, being so far a national hero, genius and Celebrity, has drawn vociferous criticism since excerpts were published in The Times on 2nd September, as if to say: "how dare you let us down like this!  I don't care about your arguments; you must be wrong!"  However some of the criticism is as ignorant of science as Hawking (and Dawkins) are ignorant of theology.  The "model" of religion of  Hawking, like that of Dawkins, has a lot of  -logy, but not much theo.  There are differences between these two though.  Hawking is a weight higher. While Dawkins risks being floored by professional philosophers, Hawking says plainly "... philosophy is dead."  and then makes most of his arguments from physics but inevitably uses metaphysics and epistemology unawares.  Both are talking about the physical world: earth.  If God created heaven and earth, the theories say nothing about heaven, or the spiritual reality that Christians experience and find demonstrated in their lives.  

These arguments aside, the book is an excellent introduction to modern physics for any educated reader, with very clear colour illustrations, and for this reason, worth reading.  Alternatively a very, very similar book   (unacknowledged in Grand Design), is "The Universe: Order without Design" by Carlos Calle, (2009, New York , Prometheus Books) a research physicist at NASA.  Published a year ago, the book considers the same themes but with more technical detail on the theories, including some material on Hawking's ideas in Grand Design.  But a year is a long time in cosmology these days.   

The concepts used by M-theory and modern physics in general are mind-boggling and challenge us with a totally new paradigm that even physicists find hard to grasp. But these developments shouldn't be ignored, even though it is spiritual reality that really counts.  The inconceivable vastness of a host of universes as immense as ours doesn't mean that humans are less significant - a mere chance occurrence.  They mean that humans are even more significant for God.  And they mean not that God is redundant, but even greater than we had imagined.  

 "Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars. "Yet you say 'What does God know?  Does he judge through such darkness?'"  Job 22:12-13. 

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."   Paul to the Ephesians: 3:18

Suggested reading


Books - These do not focus specifically on the contents of this page, but all will have some content of direct relevance to this page. Most of these books (click on title to see) can be bought on line at the "Was Darwin right store".

Astronomy And The Bible, by Dr. Donald DeYoung.

Darwinism And The Rise Of Degenerate Science, by Dr Paul Back.

Darwin's Leap Of Faith, by John Ankerberg and John Weldon.

Design And Origins In Astronomy, edited by George Mulfinger, Jr.

He Made The Stars Also, by Stuart Burgess.

Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe.

On line

Atomic Constants, Light, and Time by Barry Setterfield and  Trevor Norman.

Hubble, hubble, big bang in trouble?

Missing antimatter challenges the 'big bang' theory

All below from Answers in Genesis web site.

Are there special design features pointing to a Creator that are evident in the universe?

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