Cosmos Creation Model and the Webb Space Telescope

Cosmos Creation Model and the Webb Space Telescope

One of the beautiful things about science is its methodology. Even when a theory is widely accepted in the scientific community, it still can be proven wrong and end up being discarded. An example of that is suggested by what the latest pictures from the James Webb Telescope are doing to the cosmos creation model.

The classical cosmos creation model suggests that the big bang produced matter/energy, resulting in atoms and molecules. The gravitational attraction of those molecules began to produce clouds of stars and dust. Those clouds then coalesced into small galaxies that grew and merged. Larger galaxies formed over time and are still developing.

Astronomers looking into space see galaxies interacting and sometimes even merging. The Webb telescope looks back farther than ever before toward the beginning of the cosmos. Early galaxies should be small with relatively small masses compared to the enormous galaxies like our Milky Way. However, Dr. Joel Leja from Penn State University has revealed that the latest observations by the Webb telescope do not support the widely accepted cosmos creation model.

The Webb telescope has discovered six large, fully-formed galaxies with huge masses. These supermassive galaxies are near the starting point for the expansion of the cosmos, so researchers are struggling to understand how they can exist. Some suggest they are supermassive black holes, but scientists think that black holes of this size are relatively late productions of galactic evolution.

None of this has any bearing on the cosmological argument for the existence of God as the creator. This research does not answer the question of the origin of space, energy, and time. However, it does upend the classical model of the creation and expansion of the cosmos. God is the creator of the cosmos, and His methods are so complex that human attempts to produce a cosmos creation model will take many more years of study and exploration. Indeed, “The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalms 19:1).

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: “The galaxies that shouldn’t exist” in The Week for March 10, 2023 page 21.

Homogeneous View of the Cosmos

Homogeneous View of the Cosmos and the Giant Arc
The Giant Arc is the curved line of dots in the center

The standard model of cosmology maintains that matter in the universe should be more or less evenly distributed across space. This homogeneous view of the cosmos was based on what astronomers could observe using the instruments available when they developed the first cosmological theories. If the creation started with a singularity, the cosmos as a whole should be relatively even. Gravitational interactions would make some local lumps in the creation, but matter should be evenly distributed through the cosmos as a whole.

In 2021, researcher Alexia Lopez was analyzing the light from distant quasars when she detected a giant arc of galaxies in the constellation of Bootes. It spanned a massive 3.3 billion light years in diameter. That structure is one-fifteenth of the radius of the observable universe. Known as the “Giant Arc,” it violates the homogeneous view of the cosmos, which says that everything should be evenly distributed with no noticeable irregularities.

As the Webb telescope sends more observations to researchers, old theories of galactic formation and the origin of the cosmos may have to be discarded, and new ideas advanced. Nevertheless, the fundamental question of creation continues to lead back to the same conclusion: there was a beginning to time, space, and matter/energy.

The object here is discovering the process God used to make everything we see. The complexity of the creation process was so great that it is very difficult to attribute it to some accidental incidents. The statement in Proverbs 8 gives us more understanding as Wisdom talks about being present before the creation. We see evidence of that in every discovery in astrophysics.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: BBC Report “The giant arcs that may dwarf everything in the cosmos

The Multiverse Fad in Fiction and Science

The Multiverse Fad in Fiction and Science
Scene from It’s A Wonderful Life

Science fiction has toyed with the idea that there are many universes parallel to one another, each having people like us on a planet like ours – but different. Hollywood has used this theme in ever-increasing numbers of films in which characters move from one universe to another. The current Academy Award-winning movie Everything Everywhere All at Once is a prime example. Or who can forget the famous Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life in which George Bailey (James Stewart) sees an alternative universe in which he never lived. Between It’s a Wonderful Life 75 years ago and today’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, the multiverse fad has been used to present many stories. But is it real?

Movies and TV often depict parallel universes that resemble our own but with opposing characters or circumstances, such as in the Star Trek episode Mirror, Mirror, or the 1998 movie Sliding Doors. Atheists have proposed the idea of multiple universes entirely different from each other. Knowing that the odds of explaining the fine-tuning of our universe without design or purpose are infinitely small, they suggest that with an infinite number of universes, life will eventually happen by chance alone. We just happen to live in the one universe that got everything right.

However, the multiverse fad is not confined to entertainment and atheism. Some scientists, both unbelievers and believers, propose a multiverse theory. There are three main versions: (1) Eternal inflation presents the idea that pocket universes continuously pop into existence with stars, planets, and galaxies like ours. (2) String theory suggests the cosmos is made up of tiny, undetectable vibrating strings in the fabric of space-time in which an unlimited number of universes come into existence all by chance. (3) The many worlds idea is a product of quantum mechanics in which the splitting of space/time produces an ever-growing array of universes. In this concept, every universe would look the same and have the same history – so in another universe, there would be a copy of you reading an article like this one.

These ideas may be helpful for producing science fiction books or movies or giving imaginative material for debate among intellectuals, but they are not science. To be scientific, something must have evidence that allows it to be tested and falsified. If you can’t test a theory, it is pure speculation and has no scientific basis. No multiverse theory is supported by evidence. The mathematics used to support the theories have literally billions of possible solutions and don’t contribute to their validity.

The bottom line is that the multiverse fad is an interesting facet of human imagination. Skeptics can try to use it to discount God’s creation of the cosmos, but that is not science and does not contribute to our knowledge. Massive evidence shows God created the cosmos and created humans uniquely in His image. Science and faith are friends, and the Bible equips us to live in this constantly changing world.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: “Mapping the Multiverse” in the March/April 2023 issue of Discover magazine

Listening for Messages from Space

Listening for Messages from Space
Radio Telescope in Pushino, Russia

In 1960 radio astronomer Frank Drake began research to find alien civilizations in deep space by aiming an 85-foot radio telescope at some sun-like stars. He found nothing, but it was the beginning of a program known as SETI – Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The program has continued for 63 years, with many radio telescopes listening for messages from space. Researchers have spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars with zero results. They have detected no deep-space radio signals containing any intelligence – only noise.

Radio signals continuously originate from stars, nebula, and other space objects, but it is all noise. How do the SETI scientists know it’s just noise and not intelligence? Intelligence has a pattern. They may not understand the language, but they can tell language from random noise. They can distinguish random, accidental, chance blips from something created by an intelligent being.

Thus, scientists have confidence that they know the difference between information transmitted by an intelligent being and random noise when listening for messages from space. How about when examining the DNA within living cells? Does the complex pattern of information that creates the blueprint within each living cell show intelligence behind it – or is it random noise? Does it resemble a computer program written by a super-intelligence, or does it display random, accidental chance? If we can tell the difference between intelligence and randomness in space, why can’t we tell the difference in our own bodies? Is the problem that some people want to find signs of intelligence in deep space but don’t want to see it within our cells?

Frank Drake admitted that in 1974 he transmitted an encoded message toward a star cluster 25,000 light-years away in the constellation Hercules. That means the message should reach its target in 25,000 years (minus 49 years). If any intelligent being gets the message and responds immediately, the return message will take 25,000 years. Unfortunately, Drake died in 2022, at age 92, without getting a message back.

Is it possible that there really is an intelligent Being out there listening and waiting to hear from us? Is it possible that Being is not limited by time and space? Is it possible that the Being has already communicated with us by coming to Earth and taking on human form? Is it possible that while spending time and money listening for messages from space, we are not listening to Him?

— Roland Earnst © 2023

We have dealt with SETI before, as you will find HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

The Gravitational Constant and Earth’s Mass

The Gravitational Constant

“How much does planet Earth weigh?” We can’t put the planet on a scale, and the correct question is, “What is Earth’s Mass?” The scientific literature tells us Earth’s mass is six ronnagrams. That is six followed by 27 zeros (6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 g). Newton’s law of gravitation is expressed in the equation F=G(mm’/x2). The m and m’ are the masses of two objects, x is how far they are from each other, and G is the gravitational constant which makes the equation work. The value of G is 6.67430 x 10-11, that is .0000000000667430.

Any two objects with mass will attract each other. For example, you and the Earth are attracting each other, and you are attracted to the person sitting next to you, such as your spouse or significant other. So why don’t you feel that attraction to each other? (Gravitationally, that is.) If you put your mass and the other person’s mass into that equation, you will find that the force is extremely small. However, if you were in outer space and floating isolated from any other mass, you and that person would be drawn together.

So what is the point? This design of the gravitational constant is an amazing display of God’s wisdom and intelligence. Earth’s mass is so large that you can feel its attraction for you. That prevents you from flying off into space while allowing all of life to have mobility on the planet’s surface. The attraction of gravity on all objects in space pulls them together, with the force depending on the mass of the objects. The matter clumps into meteoroids, asteroids, and comets if the mass is relatively small. Greater mass results in stars and planets, with gravity pulling them into spherical shapes. Gravity also keeps solar systems and galaxies from flying apart. The gravitational constant acting on mass allows the cleansing of debris from space and the continuing production of new astronomical bodies.

The value of the gravitational constant (G) allows the creation of the universe, the Milky Way galaxy, our solar system, and planet Earth. It is just one of many mathematical constants that must be just right to allow matter and life to exist. How did such numbers get chosen? Is this some cosmological accident, or is it the product of intelligence?

Atheists respond by suggesting there are an infinite number of universes with different constants. We just happen to be in the one that got everything right. Unfortunately, there is no way to test this multiverse theory scientifically. It is more like a religious idea that has no purpose except to avoid believing in the existence of an intelligent Creator.

The gravitational constant is only one of many constants that must be fine-tuned for the existence of life in any universe. We have no reason to believe there are other universes, but if there are, they would also have to be created. We believe God created our universe for a purpose. The Bible gives a purpose for human life and states clearly that the creation described in Genesis 1:1 was by a God who created with Wisdom, as we read in Proverbs 8:1, 22 -31.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

The Most Mysterious Number in Physics

The Most Mysterious Number in Physics

Many physical constants determine the structure of the universe. All of them have units or dimensions, such as the speed of light (c) or the gravity constant (G). That is, all of them except one. That one is the fine-structure constant represented by the Greek letter alpha (α). The fine-structure constant seems to be a random number with no units or dimensions, but it keeps showing up in physics calculations. It has been described as the most mysterious number in physics. American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman called it “a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by humans.”

Recognition of the fine-structure constant originated with German theoretical physicist Arnold Sommerfeld in 1916. Chemists can identify different elements in the lab by the spectral lines they emit or absorb when their electrons change energy levels. Astronomers analyze the spectral lines of stars to determine what elements they contain. Some spectral lines are split, showing a fine structure. To explain this, Sommerfeld introduced a new constant into his equations and called it the fine-structure constant. It has no units like the speed of light or other constants. It is just a number – a ratio.

The fine-structure constant shows the strength of the interaction between electrons and photons. It also shows up in many other ratios in physics. The value is approximately 0.007,297,352,569 or 1/137. Physicists consider it mysterious because they don’t know where it came from or why it has that value. They can’t explain why it exists at all. But if you are not a physicist, why should you care about the most mysterious number in physics?

If the fine-structure constant had any other value, life as we know it would not be possible. If you changed that number, you would change the universe. A different value for the fine-structure constant would change the size of atoms and alter chemistry and nuclear reactions. No stable matter, no life, and no intelligent beings would exist. We wouldn’t be here.

Richard Feynman wrote that “all good theoretical physicists put this number up on their wall and worry about it.” Apparently, they worry about where it came from and why it is what it is. Feynman further wrote, “You might say the ‘hand of God’ wrote that number, and ‘we don’t know how He pushed His pencil.”

Feynman was joking about the most mysterious number in physics, but we think it was written by the “hand of God.” We also believe “He pushed His pencil” so that He could create humans for a purpose. More on that tomorrow.

— Roland Earnst © 2023

Feynman quotes taken from The Strange Theory of Light and Matter by Richard Feynman Princeton University Press ©1985

The Uniqueness of Planet Earth

The Uniqueness of Planet Earth

One of the positive things about science is that its methodology allows change. When new data become available, theories are either supported or discarded, resulting in the constant evolution of what scientists believe to be true. This applies to our understanding of the uniqueness of planet Earth.

Experts from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre have announced that a widespread assumption about life on other planets is not valid. Science has assumed that other stars similar to our Sun in size and type also have similar stability. The Sun has not changed significantly in brightness and temperature in the hundreds of years that scientists have been observing and measuring it. Recent measurements of similar stars show that three-quarters of them go through changes in both brightness and temperature.

Dr. Noah Tuchow of NASA says that the number of alien worlds that could contain life has been “vastly overestimated.” The planetary zone where water could exist as a liquid is known as the “Goldilocks Zone.” A planet would have to be orbiting a star with relatively constant heat output to be in such a zone. Planets that formed too close to be in the star’s habitable zone would have their water boiled away. Those that began beyond the habitable zone would have frozen water that would take a long time to melt. Either way, they would have a relatively short time to support life. This shows the uniqueness of planet Earth.

NASA has created a new label for planets that enter the habitable zone after their formation due to orbiting a changing star. They call it the “Belatedly Habitable Zone” (BHZ). Dr. Tuchow says, “A planet’s history dictates its current potential to host habitable conditions and life.”

Our point is the uniqueness of planet Earth, not whether it is the only place where life exists. However, if life exists elsewhere, God created it. Every discovery scientists make shows that Earth is an extraordinary place and our Sun is an exceptional star. Considering what we have learned about the cosmos, the statement of Psalms 19:1 is more meaningful today than when it was written thousands of years ago: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky shows His handiwork. Day to day they utter speech, and night to night they show knowledge.”

Please go to our website to see a chart titledEvidence for Design in the Universe,” listing 47 of the vast number of variables required for a life-sustaining planet. The constancy of the parent’s star adds one more limiting variable to what it takes to have a world able to support life.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

References: ARXIV and

Asking a Computer if God Exists

Asking a Computer if God Exists

Years ago, I heard a joke that went something like this. Scientists developed a massively powerful computer that could answer any question. The researchers asked the computer, “How did the universe begin?” The computer whirred, lights flashed, and out popped this answer: “See Genesis 1:1.” That joke originated when computers filled a large room, had spinning reels of tape and flashing lights, and used punch cards. Now, computers are small, use keyboards and monitors, have voice recognition, and speak in many languages. Soon we may have quantum computers with capabilities only dreamed of today. Have you ever tried asking a computer if God exists?

A topic that has received much publicity in recent months is artificial intelligence (AI). As computers become more humanlike with their ability to speak and answer questions, we are coming to depend on them more and more. Knowledgeable people suggest that the growth of AI will dramatically affect business, medicine, and entertainment. Other areas expected to face major changes because of AI are work, war, and education.

Recently, I have seen articles concerning a new AI development that worries educators. It’s called ChatGPT. This app can do more than answer questions. It can write essays. A student with an assignment to write a 500-word essay on a subject can input the topic and let ChatGPT write the paper. I decided this would be a good opportunity for asking a computer if God exists.

Going back to that old story, I asked the computer, “How did the universe begin?” ChatGPT responded with a 237-word essay on the Big Bang that agreed with current scientific theories. It was nicely worded, grammatically correct, and would probably satisfy a school teacher. However, it didn’t fully answer the question, just as the Big Bang theory does not.

Then I asked ChatGPT to write an essay about proving the existence of God. The result was 430 words that read in part:

“One of the most commonly cited arguments for the existence of God is the cosmological argument. This argument states that the universe had a beginning, and that everything that begins to exist must have a cause. Therefore, it is reasoned that the universe must have been caused by something that exists outside of the universe, and that this cause is God. This argument is based on the principle of causality, which states that for every effect, there must be a cause.
Another argument for the existence of God is the teleological argument. This argument states that the universe is complex and ordered, with many intricate systems and processes that work together in harmony. This complexity and order is argued to be the result of an intelligent designer, which is God. The design argument is based on the idea that the universe is too complex and ordered to be the result of chance, and that it must have been created by an intelligent being.
A third argument that is often used to prove the existence of God is the moral argument. This argument states that humans have a moral sense, and that this moral sense must come from a higher being, which is God. The moral argument is based on the idea that moral laws and values cannot be explained by natural causes, but must be the result of an intelligent and moral being.
Some people argue that the existence of God can be known through personal experience, through faith. They believe that God can reveal himself in personal experiences, such as through prayer, meditation, or other spiritual practices. They argue that the existence of God is something that can be known through a personal relationship with God, and not something that can be proven through reason or science.”

That summarized the arguments for God’s existence. Then, however, I decided to make the question more direct by asking a computer if God exists. So I asked ChatGPT, “Does God exist?” The answer came back in 195 words that concluded with:

“Ultimately, the question of whether or not God exists is a matter of personal belief and faith. It is important for individuals to form their own opinions on the matter based on their own experiences, beliefs and personal understanding of the world.”

Since ChatGPT never referred me to Genesis 1:1, I decided to ask, “What do we learn from Genesis 1:1?” I received this response:

“It teaches that God is the creator of all things, including the heavens and the earth. Additionally, it implies that God’s creation of the universe was a purposeful and deliberate act, rather than the result of chance or natural processes.”

I certainly can’t argue with that. I conclude that asking a computer if God exists will never result in a definitive answer to the question. Each of us must reach our own conclusion based on examining the evidence with an open mind.

— Roland Earnst © 2023

Reference: ChatGPT from OpenAI

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

Perhaps the most sought-after quest in physics today is what scientists call the unified theory of everything. Physics researchers are pushing to discover a uniting concept that would combine all the forces in the universe into one equation and one understanding.

For most of us, this goal seems useless, but every new understanding of the forces in the natural world has led to good things for humanity. For example, Newton’s laws of gravity and mechanics led to the industrial revolution, which raised the standard of living for everyone on the planet. Maxwell and Faraday discovered the laws of electricity and magnetism, which gave us all the conveniences electricity provides. Heisenberg and Schrodinger discovered the quantum laws which led to lasers, transistors, computers, and the internet.

As modern researchers explore the details of all these theories looking for the theory of everything, it becomes increasingly apparent that they all come from the same source. There is a single relationship that connects all of the forces in the creation. Understanding the design of each of those forces brings us new applications to improve our lives in the future.

Dr. Michio Kaku has been a leader in this quest to find the theory of everything, and his latest book is titled, The God Equation. It is striking that these new understandings are very compatible with the biblical concept of God. The Bible portrays God as outside of time and space. His properties include being in a different dimension from the creation and the single source of all things. While the media popularizes string theory and time travel, they are the products of a vivid imagination. The real application of the unified theory of everything is the fact that there is a single source to all we see and experience, and that single source is God.

Science and faith always agree and support each other. It is human limitations that stop us from advancing scientifically and spiritually. How one comes to faith in God varies from person to person, but the teachings of Jesus Christ are easily understood and lead us to faith in the one Source of everything now and for eternity – God.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Reference: Discover magazine for Jan/Feb 2023, pages 9-11.

Potential Life-Supporting Planets are Hard to Find

Potential Life-Supporting Planets are Hard to Find
Exoplanet Concept

Astronomers have discovered over 5,000 exoplanets in the last 30 years, and 2022 was a banner year. Exoplanets are planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. Astronomers are looking for potential life-supporting planets similar to Earth but orbiting another star like our Sun.

If you are going to find life in space, it would have to be on a planet with surface water and an atmosphere that provides oxidation and protects the surface from radiation and meteorite bombardment. Unfortunately, potential life-supporting planets are hard to find. Here is the breakdown of exoplanet characteristics so far:

*30% of all exoplanets are gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn.
*35% are like Neptune or Uranus, with densities so low that no life form could exist and no surface features that could sustain life.
*31% of all exoplanets are called super-earths which may have rocky surfaces but are too massive to support the chemicals needed for life. They lie somewhere between the mass of Earth and the mass of Neptune.
*Only 4% of all exoplanets are considered to be terrestrial, like Earth. However, many of them orbit the wrong kind of star, have no magnetic field, or have other properties that would be hostile to any life form.

The bottom line is that the study of exoplanets has shown the exceptional qualities of our planet and solar system. We must take care of planet Earth because we have no other potential life-supporting planets to migrate to if we make this planet hostile to life. God designed not only the life on our planet but also the conditions that allow that life to exist.

There are many possible explanations for why exoplanets exist. For example, they may be debris from the construction of our universe or the preparation for other life forms in the distant future. The message of exoplanets is that our planet is unique. The statement “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies show the work of His hands” takes on a special meaning in the light of what we see in space.

— John N. Clayton © 2023

Data from NASA/JPL-Caltech reported in Discover magazine January/February 2023.