Lyles: A bridge between scientific reason and faith
By Dick Lyles
Newsweek’s cover story last week, written by theoretical physicist Brian Greene, proclaims to present new secrets of the universe. Headlined “The Mystery of the Multiverse,” the tagline for the article asserts: “The latest developments in cosmology point toward the possibility that our universe is merely one of billions.”
Because I recently co-produced a documentary DVD titled “Cosmic Origins” (released this month by Ignatius Press), Greene’s article caught my eye. Through interviews with six of the top astrophysicists and physicists in the world, including Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias (Big Bang Theory) and Templeton Prize-winner Michael Heller, our movie examined the question, “Did the universe have a beginning?” Answering the question required an examination of alternative theories to the Big Bang, such as multiverse, random chance and the bouncing universe theory.
Although Greene danced around a significant fact, he failed to clearly state the most important reality. This fact he omitted is that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever pointing toward the possibility of a multiverse. The evidence he cites does not rule out the possibility that we are part of a larger multiverse, but that is very different from pointing toward.
So, what does scientific evidence assert today about the origins of the universe? A great deal. Perhaps most interesting, the evidence provides a bridge between scientific reason and faith. Let me explain.
Although many people create a division between science and faith, it is important to recognize that the seeds of the Big Bang Theory were first put forth by a Catholic priest, Father Georges Lemaitre, in what he called the “hypothesis of the primeval atom.” Subsequent scientists built on his ideas to create the framework for the Big Bang. Hubble’s discovery of red shifting and many other later revelations were all based on Lemaitre’s earlier work.
All the scientific evidence available today suggests that the universe had a beginning, before which there was nothing. Nothing means nothing. There was no empty space, no time, no gravity, there was simply nothing. In addition, scientific evidence reveals that the entire universe has order and this order is defined by mathematics. According to Heller, “everything in the world is mathematical from the bottom to the very top.”
In actuality, an assertion that would be more reasonable than Greene’s and that is gaining ground at a much more rapid rate in the scientific community than multiverse theory is the assertion that: a) the universe had a finite beginning, b) its beginning wasn’t a random occurrence, and c) the universe is incredibly well ordered, that order can be defined mathematically, and with order we usually associate purpose.
Rather than ask about multiverses — an idea without any evidence to support it — a more reasonable question to ask based on today’s scientific evidence would be, “Was the universe created by a higher power with a higher purpose?” Or, stated differently, “Did God create the universe?”
Stephen Hawking’s latest book suggests the answer to that question is “no.” The problem is that his alternative theory relies on the existence of gravity before the Big Bang. There is more evidence to suggest there was nothing before the Big Bang, rather than something called gravity. To assume gravity existed beforehand is a huge assumption with no supporting evidence. It’s just another idea not grounded in fact.
However, more important questions we should all ask ourselves include: “If the universe was created by a greater power, and if it does have purpose, then what would that mean to me?” “Would it change the way I lead my life?” “How?”
Lyles, a Poway resident, is an author and film producer. Reach him at email@example.com.
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