Letter to the Editor

 

 

The Big Bang And The Big Crunch

From: PSCF 45 (September 1993): 217

I wish to stimulate discussion of the fascinating philosophical and theological implications of the scientifically renowned Big Bang (Einstein-Freidmann) theory of the origin of our universe. Many of us who affirm both God and good science are interested in serious thoughts concerning such cosmic issues.

For instance, discussion might begin with why so many theists who believe that our universe was initially created in the absolute sense by God favor the Big Bang model in which our expanding universe will not eventually contract, while so many materialists favor the "Big Crunch" Big Bang model in which our universe was never created in the absolute sense but rather is infinitely old and has been oscillating eternally, in and out from each Big Bang.

While I dispute the "Big Crunch" and contend that our universe will not contract (our universe being, in my view, only the latest in an infinite series of temporal or non-eternal Big Bang creations), I also argue that an oscillating "Big Crunch" universe might be compatible with the idea of absolute creation of our universe by God. That is, it may be that God created our universe in the absolute sense, say, many centillions of oscillations ago, and it seems sensible enough to suggest, in view of the scientific principle of entropy, that each oscillation has been, say, an inch shorter than the preceding one. Eventually, then, in that model our universe will become one inert, cold and dead mass; over subsequent eons it might dissipate from existence entirely. Long before that occurs, in some part of infinity very distant from that lifeless mass, might come the brilliant burst of a new Creation, to evolve in its own unique way, after its own absolute beginning in the context of an infinite series.

However, in connection with materialists who uphold the view that our universe was never created in the absolute sense by God and has been oscillating eternally, in and out from each Big Bang, I realize that, in regard to my modest suggestion that each oscillation might be an inch shorter due to entropy, logically such materialist must vigorously dispute even that inch, and with it, even the principle of entropy itself. They must admit that, in the context of eternity, logically such a gradually diminishing, infinitely old universe would have become inert centillions of eons ago. Yet stubbornly they hope that the final great repudiation of theism will occur upon scientific acceptance of the view that our universe has been oscillating eternally, a view in which not even the slightest reduction in length of oscillations can be admitted as due to entropyˇand in which, by the way, scientific acceptance of the principle of perpetual motion must necessarily occur also, for clearly an eternally oscillating universe represents perpetual motion.

Therefore it might astonish some readers that I submit that, contrary to the said hopes of materialist in this connection, theism will continue even if evidence surfaces that ours is an eternally oscillating universe. After all, numerous Christians and others over the centuries have believed in and eternal universe existing with an eternal God. In fact, my favorite theologian, William Newton Clarke (1841-1912) of Colgate University, who taught the great religious liberal Harry Emerson Fosdick, so believed.

Robert E. Crenshaw
Route 4, Box 1703
Laurens, SC 29360-9437