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» A Universe Without a Beginning?

 


Reality may seem like science fiction, suggests Bruno Bento, a physicist from the U. of Liverpool in the U.K. A student of the nature of time, Bento has a new theory he calls the casual set theory which theorizes that space and time are broken down into chunks of space-time. He and his colleagues have used this idea to explore the beginning of the universe and actually believe that perhaps the universe has had no beginning.

The causal set theory imagines space-time as a series of chunks called space-time “atoms.” Looking at space-time according to this approach would be like looking at a television or computer screen. While the picture on the screen may seem smooth, by looking at it through a strong magnifying glass, one can see it is actually made up of tiny bits of light called pixels (see illustration). Just as two images on the screen cannot be brought together any closer than a pixel, two space-time “atoms” cannot be any closer than a single atom.

"I was thrilled to find this theory, which not only tries to go as fundamental as possible — being an approach to quantum gravity and actually rethinking the notion of space-time itself — but which also gives a central role to time and what it physically means for time to pass, how physical your past really is and whether the future exists already or not," Bento said.

Causal set theory has implications for the Big Bang theory. The popular general relativity theory can’t explain the Big Bang, which is called a “singularity” because no current laws of physics can explain it. However, singularities can’t exist according to Bento’s theory because it is impossible for any bit of matter to be compresseddown to an infinitely tiny point such as must have existed before the Big Bang. Nothing could be smaller than a space-time atom.

So, what does the beginning of the universe look like without the Big Bang? The new theory leaves open the idea that the set of casual atoms would exist infinitely into the past, meaning the universe has had no beginning and has always existed. The so-called Big Bang would then just be a moment in time. But a lot of work still needs to be done to determine if this theory makes more sense than current theories.

"One can still ask whether this [causal set approach] can be interpreted in a 'reasonable' way, or what such dynamics physically means in a broader sense, but we showed that a framework is indeed possible," Bento said. "So at least mathematically, this can be done."

Comments: How often do we read descriptions of the past which just assume that the universe has begun in a Big Bang? Wikipediacalls the Big Bang the “prevailing cosmological model explaining the existence of the observable universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution.” Yet, Wikipedia does correctly call it a theory.

Careful scientists though will point out problems with the Big Bang. Astronomy magazine asks “Is the Big Bang in crisis?” because astronomers are struggling so much to understand such ideas as dark matter, dark energy, and cosmic expansion. The article above makes clear that not all scientists, even secular ones, are entirely on board the currenttheory of the Big Bang.

The beginning or early history of the universe is one of those historical science questions which cannot possibly be satisfactorily answered scientifically—for who was around at the time to observe it and take measurements? Why do scientists even bother trying to answer this question? Perhaps they get enjoyment from dreaming up new wild speculations such as the causal set theory.

For Bible believers, the question of whether or not the universe has had a beginning has a clear answer. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Even though the universe had a beginning, God has not. He is eternal. “Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity you are God” (Psalm 90:2).

God created each one of us. Yet, although we each have had a beginning, we who believewill not have an end, just a momentarily pause when we pass from temporal earthly life to never-ending life in heaven. And eternity is a gift available for everyone who believes in Jesus. For the wages of sin is death, but the undeserved gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

By Warren Krug

Reference: Paul Sutter, “What if the universe had no beginning?” Live Science[October 11, 2021].

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Why is the human liver so remarkable?

The liver can function adequately at only 30% capacity. And in most cases it can even regenerate.

Source: David Demick, “Extra Evidence for a Generous Creator,” Answers [July-September, 2021], page 32.

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About Me--Warren Krug
Decades ago I attended a so-called Lutheran university where I could have lost my faith. The science professors promoted the theory of evolution and made fun of anybody who believed in the account of creation as presented in the book of Genesis. Thanks be to God, some creationist literature and the Bible soon helped get me back on the right track. Ever since then I have taken an active interest in the creation/evolution controversy.

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