What is the universe?
And why is it that way?
And there’s “new” answers.
We’ll offer a response
(with a dozen parts)
from the “Middle View”
[This was slightly modified two days after its first posting.]
And point you to an excellent resource.
But for that you’ll have to use the DOOR.
[The primary source for most of the details here is Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, by astrophysicist Hugh Ross, Ph.D. (Baker. 2008). The spin, esp. about this “Middle View¹” is yes, from us, adozenseconds.com.]
Earlier we’ve advocated there are 3 legitimate “postures,” or distances from which to view and evaluate everything¹. This is basically from what we call a “middle view,” and has the advantages and disadvantages of in some ways sounding very general.
Through modern astronomical research, some brand-new key concepts as recent as 1999, we’ve learned a lot. Let’s start:
1. The universe, despite some religious objections², is at least 13.73 billion years old. Scientists who are trained in physics and astrophysics are essentially universally agreed on that. All data that uses scientific measuring presently agree on that.
2. In other words, the universe had a beginning.
3. The universe now contains 50 billion trillion stars, plus other stuff.
4. About halfway through the time from the beginning “explosion” (Big Bang) the exploding stuff suddenly began to move away from its starting point even faster. (Think of a “forever” balloon getting larger and larger and suddenly “taking off” and enlarging even much faster and faster, getting larger and even larger.) The brand-new discovery of mysterious “dark energy” is causing that.
5. Eventually everything will burn out and fly apart, even molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles themselves. Space itself, as presently defined by many, disappears.
6. The universe will eventually end. There are perhaps 6 different unprovable (because the time is so far away) explanations–starting with science–about how that will happen. The Bible also suggests a supernatural universe ending in the future.
7. Religions that declare an infinite, or oscillating (going back-and-forth forever), universe are totally out of step or are incompatible with modern science. They must deny the validity of all modern findings. (This is a “new” change in modern thinking.)
8. The universe is very, very, very large. But it is not infinite. (If we sort of picture it as “a something in a big bag,” this bag does not exist in space beyond it, because space itself as we visualize outside of this “bag” doesn’t exist.
9. What we call “science” cannot take us farther than that. If our thinking (or “self”) asks for more, we have to look beyond science.
10. One ancient record, the Bible, declares, “In the beginning God…” That’s a beyond time, space, matter, and energy statement, in no way in conflict with modern science.
11. No other records of major religions begin this way.
12. Further, there are at least 20 portions of the Bible that deal with a creation of everything by God, the perfect designer of everything that allows the creation and sustaining of any kind of life, especially complex humans. This includes what even scientists call the “Goldilocks Conditions” (“just right conditions”) that have been present on Earth for millions of years. We think of it this way: The Bible in concordant with modern science (or not at odds with it).
¹ The “middle” posture we’ve yet to spell out–when compared to “close” and “far” postures of viewing things. [Note: this post was modified two days after it was first posted.]
² Some Christians insist that the Earth and the rest of the world can be no older than 10,000 years. No modern science supports this, though Christians, and I am one, believe that God, if He so chose, could create the world in “600” years, let alone 6000 years, making the obvious conclusions drawn from interpreting the geologic record, and other scientific and historical observations that suggest a longer past, appear as “illusionary” if He so chose. But if so, why would He delude humans that way?