Science in Christian Perspective
W. Roger Rusk, M. S., Associate Professor of Physics,
George K. Schweitzer, Ph. D., Associate Professor of Chemistry,
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville 16
For as far back as written records allow us to go, we find that men have always been interested in the origin of the universe. The area of investigation and the beliefs concerning the origin of the universe are generally termedcosmogony.1 This word is derived from the Greek word kosmos (world) and the root of the Greek word ginesthai (to be born).2 Thus cosmogony is area defined as cosmology, which is the study of the general character of the universe.3 2. Early beliefs.
Much speculation in religions and philosophies has centered on the question of how the world came to be: (1) whether it was eternal, or (2) whether it had a beginning; and if the latter view is assumed, how it originated.4 Historical and archaeological investigations have given us detailed information on the early cosmogonic beliefs of many groups including Babylonian, Buddhist, Central American, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Iranian, Japanese, Mohammedan, North American, Roman, South American, and Teutonic ones.5
Most of the early cosmogonies were mythological, assigning the creation of the world to animals or gods, and using preexisting materials such as living creatures, water, slime, or vapors. One of the oldest and most interesting of such accounts is the Babylonian one, which dates back to at least 1600 BC.6. Another example is afforded by the Theogony of the Greek Hesiod from the ninth century BC.7 The idea that the world was made from the parts of a giant's body occurs in early Vedic and Teutonic hymns.8 Very few early creation myths convey the idea of creation without the use of previously existing materials.9
3. Transitional beliefs
Six centuries before Christ the Ionian philosophers of Greece questioned the previous mythologies, and cosmogony passed into the realm of philosophy. This group believed that the world came from some "simple stuff" which arose by natural causes and then separated into various parts.10 About 200 years later Plato wrote that the world was formed out of four eternal elements (fire, air, earth, water) by the action of a supernatural being.11
The next important advance was not made until 1692, when we find Newton commenting on the origin of the sun and the stars. He believed that finely divided matter had been evenly dispersed throughout an infinite space. This matter then proceeded to group together to form an infinite number of bodies. Gravity was said to be the agency of the grouping.12 In 1775, Kant gave assent to Newton's ideas, making some small changes in minor points.13 In 1796, LaPlace set forth his "nebular hypothesis," which was to last for about 100 years. In essence, it represented no basic alterations in the original act of formation, but some details about the genesis of the planets were changed.144. Recent beliefs.
When the theory of relativity had been developed sufficiently, it was applied to the universe.15 Einstein in 1916 first set up a model universe which was finite in extent.16 It was static in that it would remain unchanged over a long span of time even though developments in relatively small regions such as galaxies could occur. This universe was filled with matter at rest. But the model was found to be too small to represent the actual universe.
Less than a year afterwards, de Sitter formulated another proposed model of the universe.17 This model was both static and finite. A particle of matter placed in it would be repelled from the origin, but there was one insurmountable difficulty. The model would work only if the universe were absolutely empty.
A few more years passed, and then Friedmann and Lemaitre reworked Einstein's model, considering nonstatic solutions.18. They developed relations which allowed the conclusion that the slightest disturbance would cause the universe either to contract or to expand. Such was the status of cosmological theory toward the end of the 1920s.5. Prospect.
Since 1920, numerous observations have been made on the universe.19 These have necessitated some radical changes in our views on cosmogony. In succeeding sections of this discussion, we will consider the observed facts as of today, the two major interpretations of these facts, and Scriptural statements bearing upon the facts and their interpretations.
1. Enclycopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, 1954, vol. 6, p. 498.
2. Webster's New International Dictionary, Merriam Co., Springfield Mass., 1954, 1), 601.
3. Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, 1954, vol. 6, p. 503.
4. J. L. E. Dreyer, A History of Astronomy, Dover Publns., New York, 1953.
5. J. Hastings, editor, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Schribner's Sons, New York, vol. 4, pp. 125-179, 226-231; J. A. McCulloch, editor, The Mythology of All Races, Archaeological Institute of America, Boston, 1932, vol. 13, pp. 92-94; S., M. Jackson, editor, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1950, vol. 3, pp. 296-304.
6. A Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1951; G. A. Barton, Archaeology and the Bible, American Sunday School Union, Philadelphia, 1946, pp. 275310.
7. J. L. E. Dreyer, A History of Astronomy, Dover Publns., New York, 1953, pp. 7-8.
8. G. A. Barton, Religionsi of the World, Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1937, pp. 148-149, 309-310.
9. A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, Judson Press, Philadelphia, 1907, pp. 376-377.
10. F. S. Taylor, Science Post and Present, Heinemann, Ltd., London, 1945, pp. 16-17.
11. S. F. Mason, A History of the Sciences, Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., London, 953, p. 24.
12. G. J. Whitrow, The Structure of the Universe, Hutchinson's Univ. Library, New York, 1949, pp. 75-76; Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., Chicago, 1954, vol. 6, p. 498.
13. S. F. Mason, A History of the Sciences, Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., London, 1953, p. 239.
14, W. C. Dampier, A History of Science, Macmillan Co., New York, 1949, p. 180.
15. R. C. Tolman, Relativity, Thermodynamics, and Cosniology, Oxford Univ. Press, New York, section 10.
16. P. Couderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber, London, 1952, pp. 161-172.
17. W. de Sitter, Kosmos, Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1932.
18. G. Lemaitre, The Primeval Atom, Van Nostrand Co., Inc., New York, 1950.
19. D. ter Haar, Revs. Mod. PhyS. BB, 119 (1950) ; P. Couderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber, London, 1952; G. J~ Whitrow, The Structure of the Universe, Hutchinson's Univ. Library, New York, 1949;H. Shapley, Galaxies, Churchill, London 1947.
However, to make this distinction clearly becomes very necessary whenever we require to pass in review the conflicting opinions and conclusions of men with respect to the same set of observed natural phenomena. Such is the problem we now undertake, and the following discussion is aimed at setting forth in some separated form the information that comprises the observations, and only the observations, that men make of celestial phenomena.2. Instruments and methods.
All celestial observations are made by means of radiation, since radiation is the principal physical entity that passes between celestial bodies. Thus optical instruments and optical methods become the chief concern of the astronomer. The primary instrument is the telescope, the function of which is to intercept far more light than can be admitted by the eye. The telescope utilizes the light by forming an image of the distant object. This image can be scrutinized visually with an eyepiece or recorded permanently on a photographic plate. The tremendous advantage of the photograph is that it can accumulate light throughout a long time exposure and thus record the light of objects too faint to be seen with the eye. A distance scale applied to the photographic plate will yield information which can be transformed into angular measure. A measure of the photographic density on the plate can be transformed into a measure of brightness, giving due regard to color and any filters used.2
The character of the light received from a distant object is analyzed by means of a spectroscope, which separates light into its component wavelengths or colors. The spectroscope gaves a measure of the various wavelengths of light present and their relative intensities. A spectrograph, making a permanent record on a photographic plate, is normally used as an accessory to a telescope.3
The overall radiation received from a celestial object is usually measured by means of a photoelectric cell, which gives a measure of brightness, and by means of a bolometer, which gives a measure of temperature.43. Measurements of distance.
For objects relatively near, trigonometric techniques are used in measuring distance, although the order of discrimination involved taxes the limits of accuracy of the mechanisms supporting and guiding our larger telescopes. The parallactic displacement of the near stars against the background of the general star population is better observed and more accurately measured by means of photographs taken approximately six months apart. Acceptable measurements of this type can be made of distances to about 5000 stars which liewithin a radius of a few hundred light years.5
For stars beyond the range of trigonometric parallax, other methods are employed. The apparent brightness of a star (its apparent magnitude) depends upon its intrinsic brightness or absolute magnitude and its distance. The absolute magnitude of a star is its apparent magnitude if seen from a standard distance of 10 parsecs or 2.6 light years. Among those stars whose distances are determined by parallax, a study of the distances and apparent magnitudes leads to a determination of the absolute magnitudes. A further study leads to a definite relationship between absolute magnitudes and star types as revealed by the spectroscope. Thus the spectral type of a star becomes a measure of absolute magnitude, and the distance can be calculated by measuring the apparent magnitude.6
The brightness of many stars undergoes periodic changes. These variable stars are of several types, but it is the type known as the Cepheid variables that becomes significant in measurements of distance. The Cepheid variables are very bright stars, and the period of their variations in brightness is remarkably constant. Their characteristic light curves obtained by plotting apparent magnitude against time makes for easy identification. The amazing fact about these stars is the relationship between the period of variation in brightness which ranges from 1 to 50 days and the absolute magnitude. The longer the period, the brighter is the absolute magnitude. Once identified by the periodicity of the light curve, the distance is obtained as in the previous case involving apparent and absolute magnitudes.74. Measurements of velocities.
The transverse motion of stars across our line of sight is a function of the star's angular velocity and distance.8 The measurement of motion along our line of sight, either toward us or away from us, requires a less direct approach. When a luminous source is approaching an observer, the light waves pack so as to produce an effect of shortening of the obscured wavelength. The observer thus sees the light as more blue than normal. On the other hand, light waves from a luminous source receding from the observer, stretch out so as to produce an effect of lengthening the observed wavelength. The observer then sees the light as more red than normal. This change in observed wavelength that is produced by radical velocities with respect to the observer is known as the Doppler effect or Doppler shift.95. The Milky Way.10
Both visually and photographically, the Milky Way is observed to be myriad hosts of stars. Measurements of distances and velocities, together with the observed angular distributions, show that the Milky Way is a vast system of stars, of which our sun is but a feeble member. This system of stars occupies a region of space roughly lens-shaped. Its overall diameter is approximately 80,000 light years, and its thickness at the center is about one-fifth this distance. This world of stars contains an estimated one hundred billion suns, with a concentration of population near the center of the system. The central nucleus of suns which would otherwise be gloriously bright is obscured f rom our view by vast clouds of dust and dark material which lie along the central plane of the system. It is of interest that recent observations with radio telescopes show this center to be a strong source of radiation whose wavelength is too long to be obscured by the intervening matter.6. Other galaxies.
Our Milky Way system is but one galaxy of stars among many such galaxies. As we look out between the stars of our own system, we see very little beyond them but empty space. However, at least one of the heavy patches of light we see in the night sky turns out to be, when photographed, a huge system of stars similar to our own. There are many others, too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. Their distances away from us as well as their distances apart are very large compared to the dimensions of each system. Therefore, they have been called "island universes" and they comprise the structural and organizational units of the matter of the universe. Each such system, like ours, contains several billions of suns.117. Distribution of galaxies.
The galaxies are distributed throughout space as far as telescopes can photograph them. They appear alone, in pairs, and in clusters. We see more of them at right angles to the plane of our galaxy than along the plane because of the large amount of interstellar matter within our galaxy which obscures the faint light of distant galaxies. When allowance is made for local bunching, and the angular distribution with respect to our galactic plane is considered, the general distribution of galaxies in space is homogeneous, or we may say the density of population of galaxies is uniform.12
Distances to the galaxies are measured by means of the Cepheid variables observed as individual stars in the thinly populated regions of some of the nearer galaxies, and also by magnitude measurements of a particular class of blue stars. The Great Nebula in Andromeda, our closest large neighbor, is thus determined to be about two million light years away. Our galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy are members of a local group of about fourteen. Beyond the local group, the nearest galaxies are those in a group in the direction of Virgo. This cluster contains about 500 galaxies and is situated approximately sixteen million light years away. In the direction of the constellation Coma Berenices is a cluster of over 2000 galaxies which is roughly ninety million light years distant.13
Individual stars have been observed in the galaxies of the local group and in some of the galaxies of the Virgo cluster. Most galaxies, however, are too far away for individual stars to be resolved on the photographic plate, and other means must be utilized in determining distances. Such a means is the general overall brightness of galaxies. Unlike individual stars, whose absolute magnitude varies throughout a range of a million or more, the absolute magnitudes of entire galaxies have a much smaller range, which is from one-half the average to about twice the average for most galaxies. Thus a study of magnitudes of galaxies within the range of distances determined by means of individual stars in them yields a statistical method of determining the greater distances to fainter and yet fainter galaxies.14
The number of galaxies within the range of the Mt. Palomar telescope now exceeds five hundred million. These are within a radius of about one billion light years, and they appear to be distributed uniformly throughout space.158. Types of galaxies.16
Photographs of galaxies reveal many different types. Several attempts have been made to classify them. The most accepted scheme regards them in four general categories: elliptical, spiral, barred spiral, and irregular.
The irregular galaxies exhibit no structural pattern which would allow further type subdivisions, except for the general stellar density. The barred spirals have spiral arms streaming from the two ends of an extended rigid-appearing central bar. The spiral galaxies show a winding spiral structure throughout, and are distinguished from each other by compactness or tightness of the spiral arms. Three degrees of tightness are recognized. The symbol Sa is used for the most tightly wound spirals, Sb and Sc designating successive degrees of openness in the spiral arms. The barred spirals are designated by the symbol SB with subtypes a, b, and c as in the case of spirals. The elliptical galaxies are further classified as to their apparent sphericity or lack of it. The symbol EO is used to designate a spherical galaxy or an ellipsoidal galaxy presenting a circular face. Other symbols fron-i El to E7 are used to designate the varying degrees of flattening. An E7 galaxy is seen edge on and would appear circular if viewed at right angles to its central plane.
A further distinction should be noted. The spiral galaxies contain much obscuring matter, such as nonluminous gaseous material and dust clouds, and are surrounded by a swarm of several hundred globular star clusters, similar in many respects to our own galaxy, which is a type Sb spiral. The elliptical galaxies, on the other hand, are relatively free of interstellar matter, are attended by few or no globular clusters, and show a symmetrical distribution of stars from the dens ely-popu lated center to the thinly-populated outer edges.
Within a cluster, the galaxies may be of more than one type. In pairs of galaxies, both may be spirals, or both elliptical, or one spiral and one elliptical, In multiple clusters, all types may be represented. In our own local group, there are three spiral, six elliptical, and four or five irregular galaxies. The spirals (our galaxy and two others) are large, luminous, and contain many stars in contrast to the elliptical galaxies which are smaller, not so luminous and contain fewer stars.
About seventy-five per cent of all observed galaxies are spiral, about twenty per cent elliptical, and the remaining five per cent are irregular.9. Light from galaxies.
When we investigate the character of the light received from galaxies, there are two principal observations to be made with the spectrograph. One is the presence and relative intensity of particular wavelengths of light which identify the chemical elements responsible for the light. The other is a comparison of these measured wavelengths with measurements of light from the same elements near at hand in close stars or In the laboratory.
We might have expected that the light from a galaxy, originating in so many stars of different spectral types, would be a composite smear or a continuous spectrum without recognizable lines on the film of the spectrograph, but such is not the case. In spite of the fact that the light of the brilliant blue stars is quite dif ferent in character, the pattern of light from most galaxies is very much like that of the light from our sun. Now the bright blue stars are relatively few in number, and are seen in the outer regions of a galaxy. However, the light of more numerous red and yellow stars in the bright center of a galaxy predominates, giving an overall quality of light which approximates that of a small yellow star such as our sun. In the spectra of a great number of the galaxies, there a few well defined absorption lines strong enough to afford wavelength measurements on the photographic plate. The lines ordinarily used are the so-called H and K lines of calcium situated in the blue region of the spectrum.
In the case of star spectra, it has been indicated that a change in observed wavelength of a spectral line is a measure of radial velocity, toward the observer if the shift is into the blue end of the spectrum, away from the observer if the shift is toward the red end of the spectrum. The radical velocities of thousands of stars within our galaxy have been measured in this way. These velocities are of the order of several hundred miles per second.17
When the same general technique is applied to the spectra of galaxies, a problem is raised which becomes of prime importance to all other questions in cosmology. The problem arose in the following manner. Between 1912 and 1924, Slipher, of the Lowel Observatory, investigated the spectra of 43 galaxies, and found a shift toward the red in 38 of them. He also found that the shift was more pronounced for the fainter galaxies, the corresponding radical velocities amounting to as much as 1200 miles per second.
Humanson and Hubble at Mt. Wilson followed this with an intensive investigation of the red shift in the spectra of galaxies. They showed successively that the shift increased with faintness and therefore the shift increased with distance. The,necessary conclusion was that the galaxies are receding from us, and with radial velocities proportional to their distances. In other words, the farther away from us a galaxy is observed, the faster it is moving away from us, and the velocity we observe becomes a measure of distance. The universe is expanding.
This conclusion was not readily accepted. There were doubts and objections. Is the red shift an observation of radial velocity? Is radial velocity an erroneous inference from observational data which required some other explanation? As long as the Doppler shift indicated the modest velocities of stars in our own galaxy, no one doubted that it was a valid measure of velocity. Such measured velocities were welcome information in piecing together a picture of the dynamics of our galaxy. However, as soon as large velocities were required to match a large displacement of the spectral lines, many minds rebelled. Confidence in the Doppler effect was shaken. Other interpretations were attempted, but in time abandoned.
The observational data remain. It is a hard fact that the H and K lines of calcium are displaced on the plate of a spectograph when the spectrum of a faint galaxy is photographed. The shifts are measured with a millimeter scale, which is one of the simplest acts of measurement to be made. According to the Doppler idea, the distance measurement is indirectly a valid measure of radical velocity. No suggested alternative has been able to survive the fierce criticisms and conflicting opinions of the past generation to the extent of commanding the respect of many who think upon these things.
The work of.the Mt. Wilson and Mt. Palomar telescopes have greatly extended the observed values of velocities of recession. Several measured values are of the order of 50,000 miles per second. It is estimated that in the future the Palomar telescope may be able to see galaxies with a velocity of recession of 100,000 miles per second, or more than one-half the velocity of light. This corresponds to a distance of about 2 billion light years.
What will the result be when even greater velocities are observed? What will the Doppler shift in spectra of galaxies receding with almost the velocity of light be? Calculations show that this shift would be from the extreme blue end of the spectrum to the near infrared, a shift well within the photographic range of a grating spectograph. Finally, any greater value of the velocity of recession than the velocity of light could not be observed at all, since the light from such a source could never reach us. Thus the observable universe is limited to a radius of about 5 billion light years.17
B: R. H. Baker Astronomy, Van Nostrand Co., New York, 1955.
C: P. Couderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber, London, 1952.
K: W. S. Krogdahl, The Astronomical Universe, Macmillan Co., New York, 1952.
P: C. Payne- Gaposchkin, Introduction to Astronomy, Prentice-Hall, Inc., New York, 1954.
S: W. T. Skilling and R. S. Richardson, A Brief Text in Astronomy, Holt and Co., New York, 1954.
V: P. van de Kamp, Basic Astronomy, Random House, New York, 1952.
1. C. A. Coulson, Science and Christian Faith, Oxford Univ. Press, London, 1955, pp. 29-63.
2. B:1-108 K:549-559, P:79-88, SA-11, V:7-9, 9295.
3. B:86-90, K:238-246, P:89-90, S:5-8, V:22-23, 181188.4. B:324, P:88, S:89, J. Ctrong, Procedures in Experimental
14. G. J. Whitrow, The Structure of the Universe, Hutchinson's Univ. Library, New York, 1949, p. 26.15. C:25.
17. 13:503-511, C:84-113, K:511-514, Pi458-641, C:285-Z88, V: 368-369.
The recognition of a universe which is expanding has led to several interesting theories of its age and origin1. Although there are many variations of theories based on the concept of an expanding universe, there are two general groups which may be considered as major contributions to cosmogony. The first is the group consisting of the ideas of Eddington, Lemaitre, Garnow, and von Weiszsacker2. The other is the group consisting of the ideas of Bondi, Gold, and Hoyle3. Both of these groups of theories accept the expansion of the universe as a fact, but place quite different interpretations upon it when it is considered with certain assumptions and other observational data.
The first group of theories proposes a beginning of the universe at a particular time in the remote past. The second group postulates a universe of infinite duration4.
It in now our purpose to set forth the tenets of the first group of theories, regard them as one general theory, and then proceed to examine this general theory with respect to the observed data it purports to explain and with respect to the several objections that have been raised against it.2. Statement of the theory.
Briefly, the sequence of ideas which comprises a cosmogony calling for a universe of finite duration is as follows. (1) Many processes taking place in nature are irreversible in character, and therefore could not have been taking place for an infinite period Of time5. (2) Assuming the laws of physics are valid throughout both space and time, extrapolations can be made in the cases of a number of such processes showing a finite duration for each. Calculations reveal a remarkable consistency of values for the time of the beginning of these processes6. (3) The expansion of the universe could have proceeded only from a very compact and highly dense state at a time ago which agrees with the time calculated by examining other natural processes7. (4) Applying the laws of physics to such a hyperdense state of the universe, the present condition of the universe can be accounted for in many of its details.83. The nature of processes.
The unceasing and inevitable changes in nature are apparent to all. "Change and decay in all around I see" are the words of the familiar hymn. Some of these changes are cyclical processes, recurring phenomena, such as the circulation of water from ocean to atmosphere to land to ocean again, or the revolution of the planets about the sun. Some natural processes are reversible in character, such as the condensation and evaporation of dew.
Most changes in nature, however, are observed to be taking place in one direction only, and if our scale of time and space are large enough, perhaps all are9. The planets are slowing down. The sun is cooling off. Given enough time, the temperature of the earth will be too low for the water cycle to operate as it does today.
Such processes occur simply because there is a finite amount of matter involved in these changes, or because there is but a finite amount of energy associated with each process. to maintain it. The entire matter of the universe is not included within any one set of events that go to make up the activity of the universe. Neither is the total energy of the universe available for maintaining any one set of events.
If it can be shown that a particular process involves a finite quantity of energy and a finite quantity of matter, then such a process must be irreversible, and therefore must run its course from a beginning to an end. A study of rates should reveal something about the duration of the process.4. Age determinations.
There are roughly three groups of phenomena which may be examined in such a way as to permit a calculation of age. The first group pertains to earth processes and yields an age for the earth. The second group involves stellar processes and yields an age for our galaxy. The third group involves intergalactic relationships and yields an age for the universe. One of the best and most complete reviews of these various age determinations was written by Dr. Haar late in 1953.10 The results of these age determinations are briefly outlined below.
(1) Cooling of the earth's crust. The rate at which the earth's crust must have cooled from a molten state to its present temperature, giving due consideration to the presence of radioactive materials, leads to an age for the earth of from 2 to 4 billion years.11
(2) Salinity of the ocean. The present amount of salt in the oceans and the rate at which salt has been carried to the ocean allow calculations which give an age for the oceans of 4 to 7 billion years.12
(3) Formation of sedimentary rocks. The rate at which igneous rocks have been changed into sedimentary rocks yields an estimated age for the earth of 3 to 4 billion years.13
(4) Radioactive element presences. The presence of radioactive uranium (235 and 238) and thorium. (232) in appreciable quantities now indicates that the earth cannot be older than about 10 billion years.14
(5) Isotopic ratios. The present ratio of the uranium isotopes (235 and 238) and the present ratios of several lead isotopes give a value for the age of the earth of from 3 to 6 billion years.15
(6) Decay products. A study of the ratios of uranium and thorium to lead and helium in ores gives a value of about 3 billion years for the age of the earth.16
(7) Recession of the moon. The counter effect of tides upon the moon increases the moon's angular velocity and therefore its distance from the earth. Studies of the rate of recession of the moon from the earth yield a time of from 2 to billion years ago for this recession to have started.17
(8) Age of meteorites. An examination of the uranium, lead, and helium contents of meteorites which fall to the earth gives an upper limit of 7 billion years for the age of meteorites.18
(9) Distribution of stars among stellar classes. From the spectra of stars we learn of their compositions, particularly the ratio of hydrogen to helium in their atmospheres. This ratio is thought to change throughout the history of a star. The distribution of stars among the various spectral types found in the main-sequence stars is the basis for computing an upperlimit for the age of the stars of 100 billion years. The methods used do not include white dwarfs, red supergiants, and others not in the main-sequence. An age determination based upon stellar evolution is therefore very uncertain at our present stage of understanding of the processes involved.19
(10) Distribution of kinetic energy among stars. A study of the physical properties of the stars (mass, period of variable brightness, spectrum) and their motion within the galaxy reveals certain correlations which indicate a relationship between physical state and kinetic energy. On the basis of rather meager data, the age of our galaxy is estimated to be of the order of a few billion years.20
(11) Separation in binary systems. The separation between the two component stars of a binary system is thought to increase with time, due to gravitational interaction with other nearby stars. A study reveals that for greater separations there are fewer binaries, thus pointing to an age for our galaxy of not more than 10 billion years.21
(12) Openness of star clusters. A typical open star cluster, as distinguished from a densely populated globular cluster, is undergoing a disintegration which will lead to a random dispersion in about 2 or 3 billion years. A study of the number of clusters and their present degree of openness leads to a value for the age of our galaxy of from to 5 billion years.22
(13) Galaxial clusters. Galaxies are found to occur in clusters. The density of population of galaxies within such a cluster is considered as an indication of the age of the cluster. A study of their density distribution leads to an estimated age of the universe of from 2 to 4 billion years.23
(14) Velocities of galaxial recession. Since the dis tance to a galaxy is proportional to the velocity of recession, as revealed by the red shift, it follows that as we consider more remote times in the past, the galaxies were closer together. A calculation based on the value of the red shift indicates a universe of small volume and high density about to 5 billion years ago.24
Thus it is seen that of the fourteen different approaches to the determinations of the ages of the earth, our galaxy, and the universe, only one leads to a value which is anomalous, and this is the most uncertain value of the group. All the rest lead to values that are remarkably consistent, even to values that are of the same order, namely 1 to 10 billion years. It hardly seems possible that this is mere accident.25
5. The beginning.
Assuming that the total amount of matter and radiation in the universe is a constant throughout time, an expanding universe could not have expanded forever. Either the universe as we now see it is a particular phase of an oscillating universe, or it must be the result of a unique event, which may be termed as beginning.26 Various models of an oscillating universe have been proposed27, but none calling for short period or small amplitude oscillations.
The universe cannot be static insofar as the distribution of galaxies in space is concerned, unless there exists a force exactly equal and opposite to gravitation.28 The arbitrary assumption of such a force of repulsion was a feature of an early model proposed by Einstein, but later abandoned. In the absence of such a force, the universe would eventually collapse as a result of mutual gravitational attraction, or would expand without limit if the velocities of recession were such as to overcome gravitation The latter is declared to be the case,29 since the kinetic energy due to gravitational attraction, as shown by the red shift. Thus gravitational interaction can never in the future slow down the receding galaxies nor ultimately produce a general collapse. The expansion of the universe is irreversible.
Obviously such an expansion could not have proceeded from any thing like the present state of affairs in the universe.30 The age-velocity-distance relationships revealed by our observations indicate that the present process has been going on for quite some time, and that the universe was formerly much smaller than it is today. We assume that this process of expansion is a continuous one, since there is no evidence of any discontinuities this side of the absolute limit, which is a universe of zero radius and zero age. Thus the irreversible and continuous expansion of the universe must have had a beginning.316. The hyperdense state.
Calculations based upon the laws of physics can be made which give us some ideas of the nature of the universe when it was very small and very young. These calculations assume the conservation of the sum of matter and energy, as well as the validity of other physical laws. Let us now consider some of the ideas to which such calculations lead.
Eddington and Lemaitre postulate a small exceedingly dense body of matter which expanded or epploded into the present universe.32 The density of this primordial lump, or "primeval atom" as Lemaitre called it, was of the same order as the density of the nucleus of an atom, or about 100 million tons per cubic centimeter. At this density all the matter of the known universe would be contained. within a sphere about the size of the planet Mars. The terrific forces inherent within such a densely-packed conglomerate of particles brought about its disintegration and explosion. The resulting fragments were not homogeneously distributed in space at any given subsequent time and this turbulence allowed gravitational attraction to bring about an association of particles into clouds of material which later became galaxies. The temperature of the initial explosion would be very high-higher than exists anywhere in the universe today, even considering the interiors of stars. At such temperature all material particles would be radioactive in character and may well be considered as light quanta, rather than matter. Lemaitre suggests the initial process as being the emission of quanta of fantastically high energy and frequency which gave birth to material particles in the subsequent expansion. In other words, the universe began with an exceedingly intense burst of light.33
Gamow developed this idea further and showed that the density of radiation decreased faster in an expanding universe than did the density of matter.34 Near the beginning therefore, the density of radiation exceeded the matter density, the universe being almost entirely radiative in its initial stages. Thus during the first 5 minutes of this expansion, the universe was a mixture of as yet undifferentiated radiation and matter with radiation outweighing matter. Somewhere between 5 minutes and 30 minutes, the matter density became greater, and elemental particles began to coalesce into heavier atoms. The theory proposes that in this super-hot explosive mixture of radiation and matter conditions were such as to provide the opportunity for the formation of the elements in the relative abundances we find throughout the universe today.35 Garnow dodges the issue of an ultimate be ginning by assuming a universe that spent an infinity of time contracting into this hyperdense state about 5 billion years ago, from which it is now expanding and will continue to expand for an infinite time.36 However, one should be careful to recognize that the nature of the hyperdense state was such as to prevent us from knowing anything at all about such a previously existing universe, and even makes its very existence purely conjectural.37
This general theory of the hyperdense state has many attractive features. It contains no assumptions just to make the theory work. It proceeds from observations, and by means of deductive and inductive reasoning arrives at a conclusion which is consonant with many of the known facts of the universe. It does not call for the violation of any presently-accepted physical law. It accounts for the recession of the galaxies, the ages and abundances of the elements, and several other observed phenomena. The theory calls for a universe which behaves according to the second law of thermodynamics. It presents a universe which may be described by one of the models corrected general theory of relativity.
374, 391, 395, 397, 400, 411.
17. H. Jeffries, The Earth, Cambridge Univ. Press, Lon don, 1952, ch. 8.
18. J. W. Arrol, et al., Nature 149, 235 (1942) ; B. J. Bok, M.N.R.A.S. 106, 61 (1946); A. Z. Unsold, Astrophys. 24, 2780948) ; C. A. Bauer, Phys. Rev. 72, 354(1947) ; Phys. Rev. 74, 5010948); Sci. Dig. 37, 34(Apr 1955).
19. A. Z. Unsold, Astrophys. 24, 287(1948); H. N. Russell, Sci. Mo. 55, 233(1942) ; C. F. von Weizsacker, Physik. u. 39, 6330988) ; H, A. Bethe, Phys. Rev. 55, 434(1939) ; P. Ledoux, Ann. Astrophys. 11, 174(1948); F. Hoyle, M.N.R.A.S. 107, (1947) .
20. B. J. Bok, M.N.R.A.S. 106, 61(1946); A. N. Vyssotsky, Astrophys. J. 97, 38(1943) ; A. N. Vyssotsky and E. T. R. Williams, Astrophys. J. 98, 187(1943) ; F. Z. Gondolatsch, Astrophys. 24, 330(1948).
21. S. Chandrasekhar, Astrophys. J. 99, 54(1949) ; G. P. Kuiper, Astrophys. J, 95, 212(1942).
22. S. Chandrasekhar, Principles of Stellar Dynamics, Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1942, ch.5.
23. M. Tuberg, Astrophys. J. 98, 501(1943) ; G. C. Omer, Jr Sky and Telescope 8, 123(1949).~4. G. Gamow, Sci. Am. 190, 610954).
28. P. Couderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber, London, 1952, p. 144.
29. G. Garnow, The Creation of the Universe, Viking Press, New York, 1952, p. 35.
30. P. Couderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and
Faber, London, 1952, p. 201.
31. R. E. D. Clark, The Universe: Plan or Accidentf, Peternoster Press, London, 1950.
32. G. Lemaitre, The Primeval Atom, Van Nostrand, New York, 1950, p. 134.
33. P. Couderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber, London, 1952, p. 190.
34. G. Garnow, The Creation of the Universe, Viking Press, New York, 1952, p. 40; Sci. Am. 190, 62(1954).
35. R. A. Alpber and R. C. Herman, Rev. Mod. Phys. 22, 1530950) ; G. Garnow, The Creation of the Universe, Viking Press, New York 1952, p. 44.
36. G. Gamow, Sci. Am. 190, 63(1954).
37. G. Gamow, The Creation of the Universe, Viking Press, New York, 1952, p. 29; Sci. Am. 190, 63(1954).
D. Continuous Creation
In 1948, Bondi and Gold,1 as well as Hoyle2 set forth a steady-state theory of the universe. Since then the idea has also been treated theoretically by McCrea,3 and several semipopular articles4 and popular articles5 on it have appeared. In addition, Hoyle has written a popular book6 which has had a wide circulation. The basic idea says that all the matter of the universe is the result of a process of continuous creation which is proceeding in all places and at all times. The matter as it appears is then thrown out into infinity by expansion, clumping up in the process.
The major implications of the idea are that the universe is not the result of one unique event of creation at some time in the past, that the universe is infinite in extent, that it has existed for an infinite past time, that it will continue to exist for an infinite future time and that creation of matter is a continuous process The idea of contitious creation is not a new one, having been proposed in various forms previously by both philosophers7 and scientists.8. But never before has the idea received as wide a consideration.9 In fact, some think that these newest proposals may serve to initiate a new era in cosmology.102. The cosmological, principles.
Almost every theory of the universe has treated it as if it were homogeneous, that is, as if the contents could be regarded as a continuous distribution of a constant density fluid. Every observer would thus see the universe as symmetrical with respect to himself. This hypothesis of the homogeneity of the universe has been called the cosmological principle.11 The exponents of this recent steady-state theory have extended the cosmological principle. They assume that the universe is also homogeneous in time, which means that an observer sees the same thing regardless of when he looks out at the universe. This extension has been termed the perfect cosmological principle.123. The observational limit.13
As has been previously indicated, the most accepted idea concerning the galaxial red shifts is that the universe is expanding. The rate of expansion (which is proportional to the distance) is such that this rate becomes equal to the speed of light at a distance of about5 billion light years. At this distance, then, we have an observational horizon, beyond which we will never be able to see. All objects beyond that distance are receding with speeds greater than that of light. Therefore, their light can never reach us, because the distance is stretching more rapidly than the light can travel. Thus there is a cosmic curtain which makes a secret out of all things on its far side.
4. Preliminary ideas.14
According to the hyperense state theory, all the galaxial material must have been concentrated in a relatively small region about 5 billion years back. An explosion then occurred, and the initially compact universe went flying out into all directions. Eventually, as far as science can foresee, an observer in our galaxy would be able to see no other galaxy, all of them having passed to the other side of the cosmic curtain.
. These hyperdense state ideas satisfy the cosmological principle, but they do not tie in with the perfect cosmological principle. The reason is that a universe based on the hyperdense state theory does not appear homogeneous in time. According to this theory the mean density of the universe will decrease with time. The only way to keep the density constant (and to preserve the idea of expansion) is to assume that matter is being continually created in space.5. The total picture.15
The theory of continuous creation considers the observable universe as a unit. Galaxies are constantly crossing the observational limit, and thus are being lost to this unit. However, matter is being created in the space within this definitional unit at a rate which just compensates for the above-mentioned loss. The rate turns out to be 10-43 grams per second per cubic centimeter (mass of one hydrogen atom per billion years per litter). This implies that about 1032 tons (about the mass of 50,000 suns) are created every second in our observational unit.
As the matter is created, it begins to participate in the expansion, and as it does so it slowly condenses into galaxies. Thus while galaxies are continually reaching the horizon of observation, other galaxies are being born within it. These changes are pictured as having gone on for an infinite time. Thus the picture of the universe would be the same, regardless of when one observes it, today, a billion years ago, or even 100 billion years ago. Change in detail is occurring, but from a large scale point of view, the picture remains constant. Any individual galaxy, star, or planet may be said to have had a beginning, but not the whole observable unit or the universe.
It is proposed that the universe acts as a sink of radioactive energy, this sink supplying the energy of expansion. Photons emitted by stars travel through space until they are absorbed by matter. The emitting
space until they are absorbed by matter. The emitting star and the absorbing matter are receding. Thus the frequency of the photon as seen by an observer on the absorbing matter will be reduced. The energy that it imparts to the absorbing matter will be smaller than that it removed from the star, The difference is what is postulated to flow into the radiative sink.6. The created matter.16
The proposed created matter would be electrically neutral, for if it were not it would repel itself. One might also expect a simple form of matter. The three major contenders seem to be: (a) protons and electrons created separately, (b) hydrogen atoms, and (c) neutrons. The creation of hydrogen atoms is preferred by almost all supporters of the theory.
The creation of matter is pictured as "out of nothing." It is viewed as a true creation, not as a shaping or forming of pre-existing material, or even as a conversion of energy into matter.7. Tests of the theory.
It is unfortunate that the two major ideas involved in the theory of continuous creation do not lend themselves to measurement. The rate of creation of matter is so small that it cannot be observed.17. Also, in order to test the idea of the homogeneity of the universe in time (to see if the density is decreasing or remaining constant), at least a billion years would be needed.18
Many workers believe that the best experimental approach for testing the Bondi-Gold-Hoyle hypothesis is a study of galaxial ages.19 The continuous creation theory predicts a mixture of galaxies of various ages at all distances from an observer. The hyperdense state theory postulates that all galaxies (or at least the material of the galaxies) have the same age. Exponents of both theories have claimed that the present data upholds their ideas, but the fact seems to be that we are not yet able to date galaxies with a high degree of certainty.20 In 1948, Stebbins and Whitford2l found that elliptical galaxies show extra reddening (in addition to the red shift), while spiral galaxies do not. The extra reddening increases with distance. This extra reddening is generally thought to be due to the- presence of more red and less blue stars in the elliptical galaxies. If this view is correct, then the excess redness of the elliptical galaxies is due to the fact that we see them now as they were in the distant past when they were much redder. Such an interpretation would mean that galaxies in the past differed from those of today, which contradicts the Bondi-Gold-Hoyle hypothesis.72
One of the most important things that any cosmological theory should be able to explain is the observed abundance of the chemical elements.23 The hyperdense state theory holds that the elements were generated in their present day abundances during and just after the initial explosion.24 In the theory of continuous creation, some method for the production of the heavier elements from hydrogen which is occurring today is required.25 Only one process has been pro.posed, namely, that the heavy elements are products of supernova explosions.26 There are at present many unsatisfactory features of this proposal, one being that supernova are too rare to give the observed abundance curve, another being that different conditions must be chosen to explain different regions of the abundance curve.27
One of the starting points in the development of the recent theory of continuous creation was a discrepancy in the age of the universe (calculated to be about 2 billion years) and the age of the earth (calculated to be over twice this number of years).28 Recent investigations, however, have pointed out an error in previous age determinations of the universe.29 and the age has been revised to about 5 billion years, which fits very well. In fact, ter Haar feels that the almost exact agreement of the ages of the earth the moon, the sun, our galaxy, and the universe constitutes a strong argument against the Bondi-Gold-Hoyle position of belief.30
A few other points have been advanced by various writers, these points either claiming to substantiate the hyperdense state theory or to negate the continuous creation theory. These include galaxial sizes,31 cosmic rays,32 and the ratio of visible to invisible matter '33 In general, none of them comes near to being conclusive.8. Philosophical aspects.
Dingle, in several articles,34 has severely criticized the philosophical basis of the theory of continuous creation. He points out that the cosmological principle is supported by some evidence and should be called the cosmological assumption, but that the perfect cosmological principle is supported by not one experimental observation and therefore should he called the cosmological presumption, Dingle says that science has generally accepted that no statement about nature should be made for which there is no evidence, but that recent investigators (including Bondi, Gold, and Hoyle) have operated on the principle that any statement may be made which cannot immediately be refuted. The theory of continuous creation, he states, has no more basis than the fancy of a few mathematicians who have concluded what they wanted in a universe, and then have set out to fit mathematical relations to their preconceived ideas. Dingle argues that the final court of appeal in science must always be experimental observations, and as of now, the Bondi-Gold-Hoyle hypothesis has not even presented itself in court. Dingle may perhaps be too critical, but his ideas cannot be discounted, since he is widely known in the field of the philosophy of science, and is acclaimed for his clarity of thought.It is also of interest to note that the theory of cont tinuous creation would force us to modify several of our basic principles, namely: (a) physics recognizes no process capable of building up nucleons (protons and neutrons) from any immaterial form of energy or from nothing, neither any process of annihilation of nucleons;35 (b) the overall entropy of the universe has been held to be increasing, but in the theory of continuous creation, it would remain constant;36 (c) the law of conservation of matter and energy, since matter is purported to be in continual creation.37 It thus appears that the Bondi-Gold-Hoyle hypothesis creates more problems than it solves. Not that the three ideas mentioned above should be held to be above examination and criticism, but it does not seem proper that an idea which has no direct observational foundations should be allowed to supersede three ideas which are based upon extrapolations of numerous experimental evidences.
A word concerning the popular work of Hoyle6 might be in order as a conclusion to this paper. Almost all of the scientists who have reviewed this work strongly caution the reader against believing everything that Hoyle asserts.38 They feel that he dogmatizes too much and that he mixes well-tested conceptual schemes, broad working hypotheses, and purely speculative notions without bothering to erect any guideposts. One writer makes the interesting comment about the idea of continuous creation as presented in Hoyle's volume that every physicist would probably believe in creation if the Bible had not said something about it years ago.39
2. F. Hoyle M.N.R.A.S. 108, 372(1948); 365(1949); Nature 163, 196(1949); 165, 68(1950).3. W. W. McCrea, Proc. Roy. Soc. 106A, 562(1951).
4. W. H. McCrea, Endeavor 9, 3 (1950) ; J. Trans. Vict. Ins. 83, 105(1951).
5. H. S. Jones, Sci. Digest 32, 53 (Nov. 1952) ; Sci. News 32 190954).
6.. F. Hoyle, The Nature of the Universe, New American Library, New York, 1950.7. J. H. Thomas Hibbert J. 50, 153(1951-2).
8. J. H. jeans, Astronomy and Cosmogony, Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1928 p. 352; P. A. M'. Dirac, Nature 139, 323 (1937) ; R. 0. Kapp, Science versus Naturalism, London, 1940; P. Jordan, Nature 164, 637(1949) ; R. Kotze, The Scheme of Things London 1949; A. Vorontzoff-Velyaminoff, GGaseous Nebulae and New Stars, Russian Acad. of Sci., Moscow, 199, pp. 110, 315 .
9. F. Joyle, Harper's Mag. 201, 23(Dec. 1950) ; 202, 70(jan, 1951; 68(Feb, 1951) ; 64(Mar, 1951) ; 89(Apr, 1951) ; Time 51, 56(Feb 9, 1948) ; 56, 84(Nov 20, 1950) ; 64, 49(Sept 27, 1954; Readers Digest 30, 84(Mar, 1951).
10. H. Bondi, Cosmology, Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1952.
11. H. Dingle Science 120, 513 (1954) ; H. Bondi, Cosmology, Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1952, pp. 11-15.
12. W. H. McCrea, Endeavor 9, 3 (1950) ; H. Dingle, Science 120, 513(1954).13. H. S. Jones, Sci. News 32, 27(1954).
15 ' F. Hoyle The Nature ~of the Universe, New American Library, New York, 1950, pp. 97-119.
16. W. H. McCrea, J. Trans. Vict. Inst. 83, 114(1951); Endeavor 9, 6(1950).
17. W. H. McCrea, Endeavor 9, 6(1950) ; J. Trans. Vict. Inst. 83, 119(1951) ; E. H. Betts, J. Trans. Vict. Inst 83, 127(1951) ; C. A. Coulson, J. Trans. Vict. Inst. 83, 129 (195).18. W. H. McCrea, Endeavor 9, 3(1950).
19. H. Bondi, Cosmology, Cambridge Univ. Press, New York, 1952 p. 166; W. H. McCrea, Endeavor 9, 9(1950).
20. H. Bondi, Cosmology, Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1952, p. 166.
21. J. Stebbins and A. E. Shitford, Astrophys. J. 108, 413 (1948) ; J. Stebbins, M.N.R.A.S. 110, 416(1950) ; Sci. Am. 186, 56(1952).
22. G. Gamow, Sci. Am. 190, 58(1954); The Creation of the Universe, Viking Press, New York, 1952, pp. 32-34.
23. R. A. Alpher and R. C. Herman, Revs. Mod. Phys. 22, 153(1950).
24. G. Gamow, The Creation of the Universe, Viking Press, New York, 1952, pp. 44-73; Phys. Rev. 74, 505(1948) ; Revs. Mod. Phys. 21, 367(1949).
25. H. Bondi, Cosmology, Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1952, p. 167.
26. F. Hoyle M.N.R.A.S. 106, 343(1946) ; Proc. Roy. Soc. Land. 59, 9720947).
27. G. Gamow, The Creation of the Universe, Viking Press, New York, 1952, p. 52.
28. G. Gamow, Sci. Am.190, ERAVTFDQ; H. Bondi, Cosmology, Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1952 p. 165.
29, R. H. Baker, Astronomy, Van Nostrand Co., Inc., New York, 1955, p. 341.30. D. ter Haar, Sci. Mo. 77, 173(1953).
32. P. Couderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber' London, 1952, pp. 189-192.
33. H. Bondi, Cosmology Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1952, pp. 167-168; P. Couderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber, London, 1952, p. 221.
34. H. Dingle, Nature 166, 82(1950) ; Scientific Adventure, Philosophical Library, New York 1953, pp. 151-169; M.N.R.A.S. 113, 3(1953); Nature 173, 574(1954) ; Science 120, Evc (1954).
35. P. Cauderc, The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber, London, 1952, p. 219.
36. L. Spitzer, Jr., Am. Sci. 43, 324(1955) ; H. Bondi, Cosmology, Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1952, P. Couderc The Expansion of the Universe, Faber and Faber, London, 1952, p. 222.
37. H. Bondi, Cosmology, Cambridge Univ. Press, London, 1952, p. 140; W E. Vilmer, J. Trans. Vict. Ins. 83, 124(1951).
38. K. F. Mather, Science wc, 427(1951) ; Chr. Century 68,
1407(1951) ; G. P. Thomson, New Republic 124, 19(Apr 30,
1951) ; H. Dingle, Nature 166, 82(1950) ; C. Speilberger,
Nation 172, 570(1951) ; H. Brown, Sat. Rev. Lit. 34, 19(Apr
28, 1951) ; G. S. Spinks, Hibbert J. 49, 192(jan, 1951) ; D.
S. Evans, Discovery 9, 305(1950).
39. G. P. Thomson, New Republic 124, 19(Apr 30, 1951
E. Scriptural View
i. Sources, of knowledge.
Final answers in the matter of creation cannot come from research (science) or reason (philosophy)." Science can observe, systematize, and interpret changes, but it does not lend itself to final or ultimate pronouncements in the realm of origins. Neither can reason make terminal statements on cosmogony. If however, God exists, and if He has chosen to reveal to mankind information about the origin of the universe, there is another source of knowledge that can be appealed to, namely revelation. Christians believe that God has spoken to men, and that He has com-
be appealed to, namely revelation. Christians believe that God has spoken to men, and that He has communicated to us in the Biblical revelation a doctrine of creation, including some pertinent information on cosmogony.22. Biblical language.
The language of the Bible with reference to natural phenomena (including cosmogony) is not that of modern-day science.3 The language is popular ' phennomenal, and often poetical or metaphorical. This' however, does not prevent us from recognizing the basic Scriptual view of cosmogony. It is well also to remember that the major purpose of the Biblical writings is spiritual, and not scientific.3. The Biblical passages.
The basic Biblical pronouncement concerning the creation is Genesis 1:1,4 which reads, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Another very important passage is Hebrews 11 :3,5 stating "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear." Many other Scripture passages support and amplify these.6 When all these are read, it is obvious that the message they carry is that the whole universe is dependent upon God for its beginning and continued existence.7 4. Time and eternity.
The first phrase in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning," is extremely important since it appears to involve the concept of time. The Hebrew word berashith which is involved here generally denotes the first in place, time, order, or rank when it is used in the Old Testament.8 The Greek wordarche is somewhat equivalent to this Hebrew word,9 and it is used many times in the New Testairient.10 Thus the Scriptures require us to trace the universe back to a beginning or a commencement.
With regard to time, Christian theology has generally held that it was created. Since God's nature is eternal, it is asserted that He therefore must be the cause of time." Thus the Bible references to the timeeternity problem may be seen to lead us to conclude that the world did not have a beginning in time, but that time came into existence simultaneously with the world.
A few writers, however, both ancient and modern, have argued that if an eternal Being acts or creates, He may (or even must) create from eternity.12 There are several objections that have been given to this idea,13 some Scriptural, some philosophical, and the general feeling at this time seems to be against the concept.
Thus with regard to time, the "point with time" view of creation is much more tenable than the "eternal" one from a Biblical viewpoint.
The second phrase in Genesis 1:1, "God created," is also of import since it appears to deal with an act itself. The Hebrew word for create bara does not necessarily mean creation without the use of preexisting materials, although it may.14 Nonetheless, consideration of the context and of other Scripture passages15 indicates that the Biblical doctrine of creation involves the concept ofex nihilo creation. This means that matter is not eternal; nor is time, nor is space, for God is said to be Creator of all things.1c) 6. The universe.
Consideration of the third phrase in Genesis 1 :1 "the heavens and the earth" is now in order. The Hebrews had no single word for the universe, the nearest approach to it being the phrase "the heavens and the earth.1117 The Hebrew words(shamayint, erets)18 do not exactly convey the modern idea; for the uninspired Hebrew of Biblical times, the earth was central and the heavenly bodies were mere adjuncts.19 Two interpretations are possible: (1) that the phrase refers to the whole universe, or (2) that it refers to an immediate vicinity (whether this is the solar system, a local star cluster, this galaxy, or some other real or imagined unit). The former interpretation seems more reasonable since the phrase "the heavens" would probably refer to what the Hebrew saw when he looked up into the sky at night.
Only in the New Testament do we find the universe or "all creation" distinctly referred to. This occurs in phrases utilizing the expressions "all things" (panta) and "the whole creation" (pasa he ktisis).17
In summary then, the most valid exegesis of the Bible's references to creation would seem to be that the whole visible and invisible universe had a beginning coeval with time, God being the one and only Creator, creating by a free act, and creating without preexisting materials.207. Entropy.
A corollary of the second law of thermodynamics deals with the concept of entropy.21 In essence, this corollary is a recognition of the fact that the universe seems to be running down, going from order to disorder. This process is generally recognized as being irreversible. The idea has often been used as an argument for creation.22
The Scripture writers agree with the conclusion that things seem to be running down, for several passages record their observations, and they teach the concept in a prescientific form.238. Immanence and transcendance.
Christianity is unique in teaching both the transcendance and the immanence of God. Not only is He author of and above His creation, He also pervades everything, both organic and inorganic. These concepts are carefully balanced, to prevent deism (stress ing transcendance) and pantheism (stressing immanence).249. The hyperdense state theory.
This theory seems to agree quite well with the Scriptures, as has been shown by several previous authors.2-5 There is a point with time that may be called the beginning, an act which could have been the creation, and the whole universe seems to have been involved.io. The continuous creation theory.
This theory appears to be difficult to reconcile with a conservative view order to do so, one would have to (1) treat the Scriptual references as entirely unrelated to reality and as purely theological in character, (2) treat the word "beginning" as allowing creation from eternity, or (3) treat the phrase "the heavens and the earth" as referring to a local situation only. Unless these approaches or similar ones are made, the idea of continuous creation cannot be harmonized with the language of the Scriptures.
In addition, the idea of entropy is involved since continuous creation will not fit into the previously held pattern of thought. Then, too, this theory might be said to overemphasize the immanence of God, although such a point is open to question. Finally, the Scriptures imply that creation in some way was terminated and the providence or sustaining activity of God took over.26 Thus, it should be evident that there are some pronounced difficulties in acceptance of the theory of Hoyle, Bondi, and Gold and in an adherence to a conservative view of the Christian Scriptures.i i. Conclusion.
No person can come to the problem of cosmogony without some preconceived ideas. The concept of creation is so basic to Christianity that it forms a sub stratum on which our theology is built. This makes cosmogony particularly controversial in our society Attempts to avoid the idea of creation are all through the scientific literature, indicating the presence of much prejudice. Many writers are not content to just leave the idea alone, which would be a true scientific attitude since science does not deal with origins, but they take pains to point out possibilities for an eternally-existing universe.31
The wide acceptance among many laymen of the ideas of Hoyle as set forth in his book might be traced partially to a desire (either conscious or unconscious) to escape the idea of creation and therefore to escape the idea of God.31 This seems to have been a hobby of mankind down through the ages. However, most astrophysicists express serious doubts about the concept of continuous creation, preferring the hyperdense state theory at the present.
Perhaps the hyperdense state theory is true, perhaps not. Maybe we have gotten completely down the wrong trail and some other theory, hot even dreamed of today, will turn out to be the correct one. ut regardless of the coming and going of models and interpretations of the observed facts, we can always turn our eyes skyward and know that the heavens are telling us the glory of God and the wonder of His Krorks.32 With reference to our positions as scientists we must not make a premature judgment on the mechanism of creation, but as children of the Highest, we may affirm with the inspired author of Hebrews that by faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God.
1. A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, Judson Press, Philadelphia, 1907, p. 374; H. Dingle, Nature 173, 574(1954).
2. T. C. Hammond, In Understanding Be Men, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Chicago, 1951, pp. 58-60.
3. B. Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1954, pp. 65-80.
4. The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Nelson and Sons, New York, 1952, p. 1 of the Old Testament.
5. The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Nelson and Sons, New York, 1952, p. 252 of the New Testament.
6. Gen 2:1, 4, Exod 20: 11, 1 Sam 2:8, 2 Ki 19:5, 1 Chr 16:26, Neh 8:6, Job 9:8-9, 26:8-13, Psa 8:3, 19:1, 24:1, 33:6-9, 74:16, 89:11, 90:2, 96.5, 102:25, 104:2, 121:2, 124:8, 136:5-9, 146:6, 148:3-5, Prov 3:19, 8:27, 16:4, 26:10, Eccl 3:11, Isa 37:16, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 18, 48:13, 51:13, Jer 10:12, 31:35, 32:17, 33:2, 51:15, Amos 5:8, 9:6, Zech 12:1, Mk 10:6, 13:19, Acts 4:24, 7:50, 14:15, 17:24, Rom 1:20, 11:36, 1 Cor 8:6, 2 Cor 5:18, Eph 3:9, 1 Tim 6:13, Heb 1:1, 3:4, 11:3, Rev 4:11, 10:6, 14:7.
7. A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, Judson Press, Philadelphia, 1907, p. 374 ff.
8. J. Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible, Methodist Book Concern, New York, 1890, p. 106, ref. 7225; J. Orr, editor, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1952, p. 426; Gen 1:1, 10:10, 49:3, Deut 11:12, 21:17, Job 8:7, 42:12 Psa 111:10, Prov 1:7; 8:22, 17:14, Eccl 7:8, Isa 46:10, Jer 26:1, 27:1, 28:1, 49:34, Mic 1:13.
9. J. Orr, editor, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,
Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1925, p. 426; J.
Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Greek Testament, Metho- McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1941, pp. 150-168.
dist Book Concern, New York, 1890, p. 16, ref. 746. 22. A. E. D. Clark, The Universes Plan or Accidentf, Pater
10. Mt 19:4, 8, 24:8, 21, Mk 1:1, 10:6, 13:8, 19, Lk 1:2, moster Press, London,,1949, pp. 11-31.
Jn 1: 1, 2, 2:11, 6:64, 8:25, 44, 15:27, 16:4, Acts 11:15, Phil 23. F. Davidson, editor, The New Bible Commentary, Inter
4:15, Col 1: 18, 2 Thess 2:13, Heb 1: 10, 3:14, 7:3, 2 Pet varsity Fellowship, London, 1953, pp. 484, 1093.
3:4, 1 Jn 1:1, 2:7, 13, 14, 24, 3:8, 11, 2 Jn 5, 6, Rev. 1: 18, 24. T. C. Hammond, In Understanding Be Men, Intervar
3:14, 21:6, 22:13.
11. Exod 3:14, Deut 32:40, Psa 90:2, 102:12-14, 27, Isa 41:4, 1 Cor 2:7, Col 1:7, Eph 1:4, 1 Tim 1:17, 6:16, Heb. 9:14, Jude 25; A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, Judson Press, Philadelphia, 1907, pp. 275-278.
12. J. H. Thomas, Hibbert J. 50, 153 (1951-2).
13. A. H. Strong, Systematic Theology, Judson Press, Philadelphia, 1907, pp. 386-389.
14. See references 7 and 13,
15. Rom 4:17, Heb 11:3, 1 Cor 1:28, 2 Cor 4:6.
16, Jn 1:3, Rom 8:22, 11:36, 1 Cor 8:6, Eph 3:9, Heb 2:10, 3:4, Rev. 4:11.
17. J. Orr, editor, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1952, p. 3106.
18. J. Strong, Dictionary of the Hebrew Bible, Methodist Book Concern, New York, 1890, pp. 17, 118.
19. J. L. E. Dreyer, A History of Astronomy, Dover Publns., Inc., New York, 1953, pp. 2-3.
20. T. C. Hammond, In Understanding Be Men, Intervarsy Christian Fellowship, Chicago, 1951, pp. 58-64.
21. L. E. Steiner, Introduction to Chemical Thermodynamics
25. P. W. Stoner in Modern Science and Christian Faith, Van Kampen Press, Wheaton, Ill., 1950, pp. 9-22; A. R. Short, Modern Discovery and the Bible, Intervarsity Fellowship, London, 1952, pp. 29-31, 89, 92; R. E. D. Clark, Creation, Tyndale Press, London, 1950 pp. 5-13; B. Ramm The Christian View of Science and Scripture, Eerdmans Publ. Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1954, pp. 143-156.
27. G. J. Whitrow, The Structure of the Universe, Hutchinson's Univ. Library, New York, 1949, chapter 10.28. H. Dingle, Nature 173, 576(1954).
31. F. Hoyle, The Nature of the Universe, New American Library, New York, 1950, p. 119; G. Gamow, The Creation of the Universe, Viking Press, New York, 1952, pp. vii, 29-38.
32. W. M. Smart, The Origni of the Earth, Cambridge Univ. Press, New York, 1951, p. 235.