LIMITS FOR THE UNIVERSE

by Hugh Ross


 

 

 
Copyright � 1988

 
Reasons to Believe
P. O. Box 5978 
Pasadena, CA 91107
(818) 355-6058

 
Printed in the United States of America

 

 

 
about the author

 
Hugh Ross received a B.Sc. in physics from the
University of British Columbia and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in astronomy
from the University of Toronto.  For several years he continued his
research on quasars and galaxies as a research fellow in radio
astronomy at the California Institute of Technology.  For eleven
years he served as minister of evangelism at Sierra Madre
Congregational Church.  He now directs the research efforts of
Reasons to Believe, a Christian apologetic organization.
 introduction
One of the most persistent traits of man is his
belief in the reality of a Creator-God.  Attacks on this belief have
arisen from time to time and from place to place, none posing serious
threat.  None, that is, until the assault mustered in Europe during
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Through those years
scientific and philosophical forces allied to proclaim the universe
infinite.
The shock waves still reverberate.  In an
infinite universe, depending on the nature of the infinity, almost
anything is possible.  It may be that every thing simply is.  Any
value or meaning�or God�may just emanate from the minds of men.
Science did not stop, however.  The twentieth
century, in fact, brought a veritable explosion of inquiry and
discovery�all of which began to blow holes in the models of
infinitude.  Reluctant to relinquish apotheosis, many scientists
suppressed or wrestled against their findings.  Ironically, by the
1980's, their struggle brought forth the most powerful evidence yet
for God's existence and the accuracy of the Biblical account of
creation.  What follows is an account of this dramatic story.

 
agnostic cosmology
Borrowing an argument from Giordano Bruno, the
German philosopher Immanuel Kant presumed that experience of either a
void time or a void space is impossible and that the universe must
therefore be infinitely large and infinitely old.1, 2  On this basis,
he proceeded to work out a strictly mechanistic model of the
universe.  For him, everything could be accounted for by the laws of
mechanics newly decribed by Sir Isaac Newton.  Thus, God became
unnecessary to explain such a universe.  Since Kant also presumed
that knowledge is limited to that which comes through the five
senses, he concluded that God's existence necessarily lay beyond the
reach of man's knowing.3 
The leap-frog advances in astronomy during the
nineteenth century seemed to validate Kant's agnosticism.  Larger
telescopes revealed an ever multiplying number of stars and nebulae. 
No matter how far the newer telescopes penetrated, the universe
appeared the same�no hint of boundary, no hint of change.  When
many faint nebulae were resolved into stars, infinitude seemed
certain.  Billions of stars and thousands of nebulae stretched
imaginations to the breaking point.  This mind-boggling universe
powerfully suggested countless stars spread throughout limitless
space.  Thus, even the admittedly remote prospect of atoms
self-assembling into living organisms now seemed to fall within the
realm of possibility.

 
early objections to agnostic cosmology
Throughout the nineteenth century the
reliability of Newton's laws of mechanics and Maxwell's equations for
electromagnetics was demonstrated so repeatedly and widely that
scientists believed them applicable to all natural phenomena.  Toward
the close of the century many physicists became even smug.  They
voiced the opinion that the only work left for their successors was
merely to �make measurements to the next decimal place.�  No
significant cosmological developments were anticipated, and the
Newtonian infinite universe model was cast in concrete.
However, the concrete began to crack almost
before it dried.  The disturbance came from three unexpected
developments in physics and astronomy:
1. discovery of heat transfer by radiation
In 1879 Josef Stefan's experiments showed that
for any given body the rate of energy radiated from all wavelengths
combined increases proportionately with the temperature of the body
to the fourth power (W = sT4).  Five years later Ludwig Boltzmann,
working independently, derived the same conclusion from statistical
mechanics.  In general, radiant energy is both emitted from and
absorbed by the surface of a body.  The difference between the rates
of emission and absorption is simply the rate of heat transfer.  It
then follows from the laws of thermodynamics that a body eventually
will assume the temperature of its surroundings and, therefore,
radiate as much energy as it receives.
This finding should have quashed the
long-accepted proposition that an interstellar medium absorbs the
excess light from more distant stars.  In the absorption process this
medium would reach a temperature at which it radiates as much light
as it receives.  Thus, the mere fact that the night sky is dark
indicates that a universe governed by Newtonian mechanics could not
have had an infinite number of evenly distributed stars over an
infinite period of time.4, 5  Unfortunately, this explanation was not
applied to the infinite universe model until 1960,6 though its
principles were routinely taught in undergraduate physics courses
from the 1890's onward. 
2. gravitational potential paradox
Not until 1871 did anyone attempt to calculate
the gravitational potential within an infinite Newtonian universe. 
In that year Johann Friedrich Z�llner presented proofs that the
gravitational potential becomes infinite at any point within an
infinite homogeneous universe�a conclusion clearly at odds with all
observations.  Despite Z�llner's fame as professor of astrophysics
at Leipzig, however, his objection to the infinite Newtonian universe
was ignored.  Only when his objection was independently raised by
Hugo Seeliger in 1895 and by Carl Neumann in 1896 did astronomers
acknowledge a significant problem.7  Ironically, rather than abandon
the Newtonian model, Seeliger and Neumann sought to save it by
introducing ad hoca  an exponential factor to generate cosmical
repulsion at large distances.
3. results of the Michelson-Morley Experiment
In the 1880's physicists were convinced, on the
basis of Maxwell's equations, that �light propagates with a fixed
velocity relative to an all-pervading �ther.�8  The aberration of
starlight (slight cyclical shift in apparent star positions caused by
the earth's orbital motion), first observed in 1728, proved that this
Ҿther� cannot travel with the earth.9, 10  In 1887 two American
physicists, Albert Michelson and Edward Morley, took up the challenge
to determine the absolute velocity of the earth in the �ther by
measuring the speed of light in different directions and at different
positions of the earth in its orbit about the sun.  To their
astonishment, the experiment failed to reveal any motion of the earth
at all.
It was immediately obvious that the
Michelson-Morley experiment posed  a severe threat to any kind of
Newtonian universe model.  But, for almost twenty years physicists
attempted to patch up the classical theories.  They proposed all
manner of hypotheses.  One suggested that all material bodies
contract in the direction of motion.  Another that the velocity of a
light wave remains associated with the velocity of its source. 
Various experiments and astronomical observations, however, forced
the rejection of all these desperate stabs.
Any one of these new developments should have
been sufficient reason to discard the infinite Newtonian universe
model.  However, such was the attachment of most scientists to
Kantian philosophy and their conficence in Newton's gravitational
theory, that the century closed with the infinite Newtonian universe
model still reigning supreme.

 
special relativity
As the twentieth century dawned, the only
conclusions consistent with all observations of the velocity of light
were these two:
1.	There is no absolute reference system from
which absolute motions in space can be measured.
2.	The speed of light with respect to all
observers is always the same.
In 1905 Albert Einstein, who was employed as an
engineer in the Swiss patent office and but worked on physics in his
spare time, formally conceded these conclusions in his paper on the
theory of special relativity.11, 12  Further, he derived equations
which revealed exactly how much two observers moving with respect to
one another would disagree on their measurements of length, velocity,
mass, and time.  Typically, the equations of classical physics would
need to be multiplied by the dilation or expansion factor,

 
D = 1/�(1 - v2/c2)	(1)        

 
where v is the velocity of one observer with
respect to the second, and c is the speed of light.b   In other
words, length, velocity, mass, and time are unaffected by velocities
under classical physics but change according to the observer's
velocity under relativistic physics.    
Applying this dilation factor to the classical
expressions for momentum and to Newton's law of force, we can easily
derive the famous equation governing the conversion of matter into
energy:13 

 
E = mc2	(2)

 
Einstein should probably be credited more with
audacity than with genius.  The theory of special relativity should
have followed within months�or at most a year or two�of the
Michelson-Morley experiment.  However, the old cosmology held such
sway that to suggest an entirely new way of thinking about the
universe was considered impudent.  In short, emotional resistance
kept special relativity at bay.  

 
convincing experimental evidence
Resistance to Einstein's theory abated only when
experiments and observations repeatedly confirmed all of its dilation
predictions.  Even before the theory of special relativity emerged,
an increase in mass for moving electrons had been observed.  
In 1909 the dependence of electron mass on
velocity according to equation (1) was verified for electron
velocities from 0 to 0.7c, and since then it has been verified to
better than 0.99c.  In 1921, during the first experiments in
artificial radioactivity, Ernest Rutherford confirmed the validity of
equation (2).  Further testing showed the lifetimes of unstable
particles, such as mesons, to be dilated in perfect agreement with
equation (1).  Much better known are the measurements of mass
conversion into energy in nuclear reactors and bombs, as well as the
publicized clock experiments on orbiting space craft.  
The success of Einstein's equations in
predicting all manner of observations and experiments was
overwhelming.14, 15  In fact, one experiment in 1986 successfully
demonstrated the accuracy of the relativistic dilation factor
(equation 1) to within one part in 1021.16  These confirmations have
led to virtually universal acceptance of the validity of special
relativity.    

 
general relativity
The triumph of special relativity gave Einstein
the boldness in 1915 to extend his theory beyond the velocity effects
and on to the acceleration effects between observers.17, 18  Widely
considered as beyond the comprehension of all but a few brilliant
scientists, general relativity, nonetheless, has cosmological
implications that can be understood by all.  To be sure, the
foundational equations of general relativity may seem intimidating. 
But, if one is willing to put aside his/her fears for the moment and
plunge ahead, an amazing simplicity appears.  
Given that matter spreads uniformly (at least
roughly so) throughout the universe, then the behavior  of the
universe over time (including its origin and termination) is
described by the following equations:  

 
2(d2R/dt2)/R  +  [(dR/dt)/R]2  +  kc2/R2  =
-8ppGp/c2	(3)

 
		    [(dR/dt)/R]2  +  kc2/R2  =  8ppGr/3	(4)

 
where R is the scale factor for the universe
(basically its length or diameter), t is time, k is a constant
describing the geometry of the universe, c is the speed of light, G
is the constant of gravity, p is the pressure within the universe,
and r is the density of matter and radiation within the universe. 
The terms dR/dt and d2R/dt2 simply represent velocity and
acceleration in calculus notation.
A surprising physical consequence results from
merely subtracting equation (4) from equation (3):

 
 2(d2R/dt2)/R  =  -8ppG(r + 3p/c2)/3	(5)

 
The left hand side of equation (5) is
essentially 2/R times the radial acceleration for the universe. 
Since the constant of gravitation expresses a force of attraction, it
is positive.  Hence the equation shows that the universe is
decelerating.
Another important consequence follows from
noting that for any but very small values of R the pressure in the
universe is very much smaller than the density.  Therefore, the
pressure term can be ignored.  Straightforward calculus solutions of
equation (5) then yield the result that R either increases
indefinitely with time or increases to a maximum value and then
decreases.  In other words, the universe must be expanding or it has
been expanding in the past.
Through the years the general theory of
relativity has been confirmed by observable effects to a precision of
better than one hundredth of a percent.  A summary of results from
observational tests is given in Table 1.  Needless to say, so much
evidence now has accumulated that validity of the general theory of
relativity is now firmly established.

 

 
Table 1:  Observational verifications of general
relativity
The symbol � means �change in.�  Hence, �P
means change in the period, while �n means change in the frequency
(inverse of the wavelength).  Note that the periastronc  advance for
the pulsard  PSR 1913+16 is more than 35,000 times greater than the
perihelion advance for Mercury.

 
1. comparison of theoretical and observed
centennial precessions of planetary orbits19
planet	general relativity	observations
Mercury	43.03"	43.11"�0.45
Venus	8.6"	8.4"�4.8
Earth	3.8"	5.0"�1.2
Icarus	10.3"	9.8"�0.8
2. gravitational deflection of starlight20
general relativity:  1.751" 		observations:
 1.70"�0.10
3. gravitational deflection of radio signals
from quasars21
general relativity:  1.751"		observations: 
1.73"�0.05
4. radar measurement of Mercury's perihelionc
advance22
general relativity:  43.03"		observations: 
43.20"�0.30
5. rate of advance of periastron for the binary
pulsar PSR 1913+1623, 24
general relativity:  4.2��0.3 per
year	observations:  4.225��0.002 per year
6. orbital period change due to gravitational
radiation for the binary pulsar PSR 1913+1624
�Pexperiment/�Ptheory = 1.13�0.19
7. echo delays of laser signals reflected from
Apollo-placed cubes on the moon25
general relativity beta parameter =
1.0	observations:  1.003�0.005
general relativity gamma parameter =
1.0	observations:  1.008�0.008
8. gravitational red shift of spectral lines on
the earth's surface (M�ssbauer effect)26
�nexperiment/�ntheory = 0.9970�0.0076
9. gravitational retardation of radio signals27
general relativity gamma parameter =
1.0	observations:  1.000�0.001
10. gravitational red shift of the neutral
hydrogen spectral line28
�nexperiment/�ntheory = 1.000000�0.000070
11. gravitational lens effect on quasare  
images29, 30, 31, 32

 
theological implications
While the character of the general relativity
observed in the universe implies an age for the universe vastly
beyond a few thousand years,f   it also implies that there is,
indeed, a definite creation date.  Expansion, coupled with
deceleration, indicates a universe that is exploding outward from a
point.  In fact, through the equations of general relativity, we can
trace that �explosion� backward to its origin, an instant when
the entire physical universe burst forth from a single point of
infinite density.  That instant when the universe originated from a
point of no size at all is called the singularity.g     No scientific
model, no application of the laws of physics, can describe what
happens before it.  Somehow, from beyond itself the universe came to
be.  It began.  It began a limited time ago.  It is finite, not
infinite.
The implications only can be described as
monumental.  Atheism, Darwinism, and virtually all the isms emanating
from eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century philosophies
were built upon the incorrect assumption that the universe is
infinite.  The singularity has brought us face to face with the
cause�or causer�beyond/behind/before the universe and all that it
contains, including life itself.  Simply put, according to the
centuries old cosmological argument for God's existence:39
1) everything that begins to exist must have a
cause of its existence,
2) the universe began to exist (now
scientifically verifiable),
therefore, the universe must have a cause of its
existence.
What, then, has been the response of the
scientific community?

 
quest for loopholes
1. Einstein's cosmological constant
To escape the philosophical and theological
implications of general relativity, Einstein introduced a
cosmological �fudge factor� to get his equations to yield a
static, i.e. eternal, model for the universe.40  Einstein postulated
a cosmical force of repulsion to cancel off exactly the attractive
force of gravity.  However, since the effects of such a force had
never been observed, Einstein had to further postulate that this
force would only take on significance at extreme and, at that time
unobserved, distances.  Unlike all other forces, this force would
mean that the farther apart two bodies are from one another the more
strongly they would repel.
One year after the publication of Einstein's
brainstorm, the 100-inch telescope on Mt. Wilson began its service. 
By 1923 Edwin Hubble's photographs through this telescope had proved
that many of the enigmatic nebulae were galaxies just like the Milky
Way system.  Hubble next set about measuring the velocities and
distances of these galaxies and, by 1929, was prepared to announce
the law of red shifts: the more distant a galaxy, the greater, in
direct proportion, is its velocity of recession (determined by the
shift of its spectral lines to longer, or redder, wavelengths).41 
This observation by Hubble was exactly what Einstein's original
equations of general relativity would predict.
At the same time, Arthur Eddington and other
theoreticians found that Einstein's static universe could not be kept
static.  The formation of galaxies would upset the stability, and
result in a quick collapse.42, 43, 44, 45  Further, the observation
that the emission of radiant energy in any part of the universe is
far in excess of the apsorption of energy means that the universe
departs too radically from thermodynamic equilibrium to remain
static.
As early as 1919 Einstein admitted that his
cosmological force constant was �gravely detrimental to the formal
beauty of the theory.�46  Following the publication of Hubble's law
of red shifts, he finally discarded the factor from his equations. 
Conceding that its introduction was �the greatest mistake of his
life,�47 Einstein eventually gave grudging acceptance to �the
necessity for a beginning�47 and to �the presence of a superior
reasoning power.�48

 
#

 
	time = t	time = 2t	time = 4t

 

 
Figure 1:  The expanding universe and the law of
red shifts
In an expanding universe the galaxies (and other
objects) within it move farther and farther away from one another. 
Galaxies that are more distant from one another will appear to move
more rapidly away from one another.  As time goes on, all the
galaxies will move faster and faster away from one another.  The
spectral lines of galaxies moving away from ours will shift, owing to
the doppler effect, to longer, or redder, wavelengths.  Because all
galaxies exhibit random velocities due to their gravitational
interactions, a few blue shifts for the very nearby galaxies (where
the recessional velocities from the expansion of the universe are
relatively small) are expected and observed.  

 
2. the hesitating universe
While the general expansion of the universe was
no longer questioned, a Belgian priest, Georges Lema�tre, sought to
lengthen the age of the universe by proposing in 1927 that the
general expansion had been interrupted sometime in the past by a near
static phase.  In Lema�tre's model the universe expands rapidly
from a singularity, but the density of the universe is such that
gravity slowly brings the expansion to a halt.  Then, through a
judicious reintroduction of Einstein's cosmological constant and a
careful choice of its value, just when gravity is taking the steam
out of the cosmic explosion, the repulsive force builds up to cancel
off the gravitational effects.  Expansion is slowed almost to a
standstill yielding a quasi-static period.  Eventually, the cosmic
repulsion begins to dominate again, producing a second phase of
general expansion.
Eddington expressed his irritation that
Lema�tre's model still required �a sudden and peculiar beginning
of things.�48  Unwilling to face the theological implications of a
beginning for the universe, however, Eddington devised his own
loophole.  He stretched Lema�tre's quasi-static period to infinity,
putting the �repugnant� beginning point all but out of the
picture (to �allow evolution an infinite time to get started�49).
Not until the 1970's was enough evidence
marshalled against Lema�tre's, Eddington's, and others' hesitation
models to eliminate them from contention.  Vah� Petrosian
theoretically established that if the universe hesitates, the
galaxies and quasars would be confined to more restrictive limits
than for an uninterrupted expansion.50  Observations now show that
those limits are exceeded.51, 52, 53  Further, theoreticians have
proved that if the quasi-static period exceeds a trillion years,
galaxy formation during that period is guaranteed, but so is a
subsequent and relatively immediate collapse back to the initial
singularity.45  A summary of evidence against the hesitating universe
models appears in Table 2.

 
Table 2:  Evidence against hesitation models

 
1.	The number of galaxies and quasars with red
shifts (z) greater than 2.5 is much too large to permit hesitation.
2.	Hesitation models with long quasi-static
periods are unstable, and will collapse.
3.	The observed deceleration parameter, qo, in
the expansion of the universe contradicts the acceleration required
by hesitation.
4.	Nuclear chronometers and color-luminosity
diagrams for star clusters indicate that stars have existed for only
a relatively short time (about 20 billion years).
5.	Hesitation requires a non-zero value for the
cosmological constant, L, but L is the quantity in physics most
accurately measured to be zero�less than 10-122 in dimensionless
units.
6.	Disintegration of a primeval atom (a version
of the hesitation model) cannot explain the observed abundances of
the elements.
7.	The cold bang hesitation models offer no
explanation for the observed background radiation, nor do they
account for the observed entropyh   of the universe.
#

 

 
Figure 2:  Seven types of models for the
universe
Observations have ruled out all but the standard
and inflationary big bang models.

 
3. the steady state universe
In 1948 three British astrophysicists, Herman
Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle, attempted to circumvent the
beginning by proposing continual creation.54, 55  In their models,
the universe, though expanding indefinitely, takes on an unchanging
and eternal quality since the voids that result from expansion are
filled by the continual spontaneous creation of new matter.  Their
proposal made the creation of matter no longer a miracle from the
past, but an on-going law of nature that can be tested by
observations.
Right from the beginning the steady state
proponents made their intentions clear.  Bondi stated that the
�problem� with other theories was that creation was �being
handed over to metaphysics.�56  Hoyle in his opening paper
confesses that he has �aesthetic objections to the creation of the
universe in the remote past.�57  Later, he objected to the
Christian view of creation as offering to man �an eternity of
frustration,�58 and in 1982 unveiled his pantheistic colors, �The
attribution of definite age to the Universe, whatever it might be, is
to exalt the concept of time above the Universe, and since the
Universe is everything this is crackpot in itself.�59 
(capitalizations in the original)
During the 1960's, 70's, and early 80's a series
of highly complex observational and theoretical tests were developed
to prove or disprove the steady state model.  But the simplest test,
applied last of all, was proposed by Sir James Jeans in the 1920's: a
universe that has no beginning and no end should manifest a �steady�
population.  The number of stars and galaxies in various stages of
development should be proportional to the time required to pass
through these stages.  That is, there should be balanced numbers of
infants and elderly, as well as middle-aged, stars and galaxies.60
While it is true that stars with ages all the
way from just a few days to billions of years can be seen, no star
anywhere in the universe has ever been measured with an age exceeding
18 billion years.  As for galaxies, all are middle-aged.  We see no
newly formed galaxies.  Neither are there any extinct varieties.  In
fact, in 1985 Donald Hamilton determined that all the galaxies were
formed at approximately the same time.61  Table 3 contains a summary
of evidence against the steady state models.

 
Table 3:  Evidence against steady state models

 
1.	No galaxies older than 18 billion years may
be found in our vicinity.
2.	No galaxies younger than 14 billion years may
be found in our vicinity.
3.	The lack of red shifts beyond z = 4.5 implies
a limit for the universe much less than what would be expected for an
infinite steady state universe.
4.	Steady state models incorporate no physical
mechanism (such as the primeval explosion) to drive the observed
expansion of the universe.
5.	The microwave background radiation is
perfectly explained by the cooling off of the primordial fireball but
has no explanation if the universe is steady state.
6.	The huge entropy of the universe defies
explanation unless the universe began with some kind of big bang.
7.	The gravitational force and gravitational
potential for all points in space becomes indefinite for an infinite
steady state universe.
8.	The measured helium abundance for the
universe has exactly the value that the big bang would predict.  In a
steady state universe the created matter must have a specified ratio
of helium to hydrogen, and that ratio must decrease with respect to
time in an entirely ad hoc manner.
9.	The abundances of deuterium, light helium,
and lithium in the universe are predicted as consequences of the big
bang.  These abundances have no physical explanation in a steady
state universe.
10.	Galaxies and quasars of distances so great
that we are viewing them from the remote past appear to differ
substantially in character and distribution from nearby, more
contemporary, galaxies and quasars.

 
4. the oscillating universe
Yet another challenge to a universe of finite
age arose in the oscillation model.  This model actually had its
roots in ancient Hindu and Roman beliefs.  Restated in the 1930's62,
63 and revived by Robert Dicke and his colleagues in 1965,64 the
universe is presumed to have enough mass to bring the expansion to a
halt (via gravity) and subsequently cause the universe to implode
back on itself.  However, rather than crunching itself into a
singularity, the universe somehow bounces back and expands again,
thereby repeating the cycle.  An infinite number of such cycles is
thought to �relieve us of the necessity of understanding the origin
of matter at any finite time in the past.�64
Since 1965, when the oscillation model first
became popular, astronomers have been engaged in a tireless effort to
find sufficient mass to halt the observed expansion of the universe. 
So far, all the evidence, both observational and theoretical, points
in the opposite direction.65 - 73
In 1983 and 1984, Marc Sher, Alan Guth, and
Sidney Bludman74, 75 demonstrated that even if the universe contained
enough mass to halt its current expansion, the collapse would yield
not a bounce but a thud.   Because of the huge entropyh of the
universe, any ultimate collapse would lack the energy to bounce.  In
other words, the universe more closely resembles a wet lump of clay
than a basketball.  The universe either expands continuously or goes
through just one cycle of expansion and contraction.  A summary of
evidence against oscillation models is given in Table 4.

 
Table 4:  Evidence against oscillation models

 
1. 	The maximum radius of the universe must
increase from cycle to cycle because of irreversible thermodynamic
changes.
2. 	The observed density of the universe is at
most only three-tenths of what is needed to force a collapse.
3. 	The density implied by the inflationary
model will not force a collapse.
4.	No known physical mechanism can ever reverse
a cosmic contraction.
5.	Even if the universe were to collapse, a
bounce would be impossible because of the huge entropy in the
universe.

 
5. quantum tunneling
In 1968 and 1970 three British astrophysicists,
Stephen Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose, extended the
solution of the equations of general relativity to include space and
time.76, 77  Their papers showed that if these equations are valid
for the universe, then, under reasonably general conditions,i   space
and time also must have an origin, an origin coincident with that for
matter and energy.  In other words, time must have a beginning.  In
1970 general relativity still had not been overwhelmingly established
by observations.  But, by 1980, as Table 1 indicates, observations
removed any doubts.
Three independent lines of research yield a
definite and consistent age for the universe.  The results,
summarized in Table 5, reveal that the universe is 20 � 3 billion
years old.

 
Table 5:  The Age of the Universe

 
measuring method	age (billions of years)
color-luminosity fitting of globular cluster
stars61, 81, 82 	20 � 3
nucleochronology of supernovae nuclides80 	20.4
� 3.4
Hubble time for the expansion of the universe61,
78, 79	19.2 � 5.2

 
	mean age = 20 � 3 billion years

 
Still fighting, some physicists, notably Paul
Davies, equate time with cause-and-effect relationships.  Claiming
that God could only create through cause-and-effect, Davies uses the
evidence for the origin of time to argue against God's agency in the
creation of the universe.83  Then, noting that virtual particles can
pop into existence from nothingness through quantum tunneling,j    he
employs the new grand unified theories to suggest that in the same
manner the whole universe popped into existence.
Davies' �God,� was a straw man.  To say that
God cannot act beyond the four dimensions of the universe is to
neglect the possibility of such extra dimensions.84  Ironically, the
theory of superstrings, now very popular with theoretical physicists,
is founded upon the evidence for dimensions beyond the four we
experience.85
While God is not limited, quantum mechanical
processes are.  Quantum mechanics is founded on the concept that
there are finite probabilities for quantum events to take place
within certain time intervals.  The greater the interval of time, the
greater the probability.  But, without time no quantum event is
possible.k    Therefore, the origin of time (and space, matter, and
energy) eliminates quantum tunneling as �Creator.�
To his credit, Paul Davies has publicly
relinquished his atheisic position.  He recently argued that the laws
of physics �seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly
ingenious design, the universe must have a purpose.�86
6. the anthropic principle
Now that the limits and parameters of the
universe have come within the measuring capacity of astronomers and
physicists, the design characteristics of the universe are being
examined and acknowledged.  Anything but the slightest disturbance in
the values for the constants of physics and for the parameters of the
universe would yield a universe unsuitable to support life.  Some
examples are given in Table 6.  One astrophysicist likened the
�coincidental� nature of these constants and parameters to the
chance of balancing thousands of pencils upright on their points.

 
Table 6: Evidence for a universe designed to
support life87 - 94

 
1. gravitational coupling constant
if larger: no stars less than 1.4 solar masses,
hence short stellar lifespans
if smaller: no stars more than 0.8 solar masses,
hence no heavy element production
2. strong nuclear force coupling constant
if larger: no hydrogen; nuclei essential for
life are unstable
if smaller: no elements other than hydrogen
3. weak nuclear force coupling constant
if larger: all hydrogen is converted to helium
in the big bang, hence too much heavy elements
if smaller: no helium produced from big bang,
hence not enough heavy elements
4. electromagnetic coupling constant
if larger: no chemical bonding
if smaller: no chemical bonding
5. ratio of electron to proton mass
if larger: no chemical bonding
if smaller: no chemical bonding
6. expansion rate of the universe
if larger: no galaxy formation
if smaller: universe collapses prior to star
formation
7. entropy level of the universe
if larger: no star condensation within the
proto-galaxies
if smaller: no proto-galaxy formation
8. mass of the universe
if larger: too much deuterium from big bang,
hence stars burn too rapidly
if smaller: no helium from big bang, hence not
enough heavy elements
9. age of the universe
	if older: no solar-type stars in a stable
burning phase in the right part of the galaxy
	if younger: solar-type stars in a stable
burning phase would not yet have formed
10. uniformity of the universe
	if smoother: stars, star clusters, and galaxies
would not have formed
	if coarser: universe by now would be mostly
black holes and empty space
11. average distance between stars
if larger: heavy element density too thin for
rocky planet production
if smaller: planetary orbits become destabilized
12. solar luminosity
if increases too soon: runaway green house
effect
if increases too late: frozen oceans
13. fine structure constant (a function of three
other fundamental constants, Planck's constant, the velocity of
light, and the electron charge)
if larger: no stars more than 0.7 solar masses
if smaller: no stars less than 1.8 solar masses
14. 12C to 16O energy level ratio
if larger: insufficient oxygen
if smaller: insufficient carbon
15. decay rate of the proton
	if greater: life would be exterminated by the
release of radiation
	if smaller: insufficient matter in the universe
for life

 
Design characteristics also are becoming
apparent for our planet earth.  Some examples are listed in Table 7.

 
Table 7: Evidence for design of the
sun-earth-moon system to support life95 - 112 
Some of these parameters are more narrowly
confining than others.  For example, the first parameter would
eliminate only half the stars from candidacy for life-supporting
systems, whereas parameters five, six, and eight would each eliminate
more than ninety-nine in a hundred star-planet systems.    Not only
must the parameters for life support fall within a certain
restrictive range, but they must remain relatively constant over
time.   And we know that several, such as parameters fourteen through
nineteen, are subject to potentially catastrophic fluctuation. In
addition to the parameters listed here, there are others, such as the
eccentricity of a planet's orbit, that have an upper (or a lower)
limit only.  Complications aside, one safely can say that the
universe contains too few stars and planets to explain by natural
processes the existence of even one habitable planet.

 
1. number of star companions	
if more than one: tidal interactions would
disrupt planetary orbits
if less than one: insufficient heat
2. parent star birth date
if more recent: star would not have reached
stable burning phase 
if less recent: stellar system would not contain
enough heavy elements 
3. parent star age
if older: luminosity output from the star would
not be sufficiently stable 
if younger: luminosity output from the star
would not be sufficiently stable 
4. parent star distance from center of galaxy
if larger: not enough heavy elements to make
rocky planets
if smaller: stellar density and radiation would
be too great
5. distance from parent star
if larger: too cool for a stable water cycle
if smaller: too warm for a stable water cycle
6. parent star mass
if larger: luminosity output from the star would
not be sufficiently stable
if smaller: tidal forces would disrupt the
rotational period for a planet of the right distance;
continuously habitable zone is too narrow
7. parent star color
	if redder: insufficient photosynthetic response
	if bluer: insufficient photosynthetic response
8. surface gravity
if larger: planet's atmosphere would retain huge
amounts of ammonia and methane
if smaller: planet's atmosphere would lose too
much water vapor
9. thickness of crust
if larger: too much oxygen would be transferred
from the atmosphere to the crust
if smaller: volcanic and tectonic activity would
be too great
10. rotation period
if longer: diurnal temperature differences would
be too great
if shorter: atmospheric wind velocities would be
too great
11. gravitational interaction with a moon
if greater: tidal effects on the oceans,
atmosphere, and rotational period would be too severe
if smaller: earth's orbital obliquity would
change too much causing climatic instabilities 
12. magnetic field
if larger: electromagnetic storms would be too
severe
if smaller: no protection from solar wind
particles
13. axial tilt
if larger: temperature differences on the planet
would be too great 
if smaller: temperature differences on the
planet would be too great  
14. albedo (ratio of reflected light to the
total amount of light falling upon a body)
if larger: runaway ice age would develop
if smaller: runaway greenhouse effect would
develop
15. oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere
if larger: life functions would proceed too
quickly
if smaller: life functions would proceed too
slowly
16. carbon dioxide and water vapor levels in
atmosphere
if greater: runaway greenhouse effect would
develop 
if smaller: insufficient greenhouse effect
17. ozone level in atmosphere
if greater: surface temperatures would become
too low
if smaller: too much uv radiation at surface;
surface temperatures would be too high
18. atmospheric electric discharge rate
if greater: too much fire destruction	
if smaller: too little nitrogen fixing in the
soil
19. seismic activity
	if greater: destruction of too many life-forms
	if smaller: nutrients on ocean floors would not
be uplifted and recycled

 

 
These lists, each of which grows longer each
year, provide additional evidence for a Creator.  Yet, for whatever
reasons, a few astrophysicists continue to contest this conclusion. 
The evidence for design is compelling.  There must exist a designer. 
But, if God is not the designer, who is?  The only alternative, some
say, is man himself.
The evidence proffered for man as the creator
comes from an analogy to delayed-choice experiments in quantum
mechanics, where, according to some interpreters, it appears that the
observer causes the outcome of quantum mechanical events.  However,
quantum mechanics merely states that in the micro world of particle
physics man is limited in his ability to measure quantum effects (the
Heisenberg uncertainty principle).  If the human observer pushes
against those limits he will disturb the particle(s)/wave(s) and
thereby lose some information about the original state of the system.
 The human observer simply chooses what portion of the information he
wishes to receive.  Both relativity and the gauge theory of quantum
mechanics, backed by much experimental evidence,113 state that the
correct description of nature is that in which the human observer is
irrelevant.  Hence, this version of the �anthropic principle�
fails in its attempt to deify man.

 
insufficient universe
Now that the limits of the universe have been
established, it is possible to calculate whether it is large enough
and old enough to produce life by natural processes.  The universe
contains no more than 1080 baryonsl  and has been in existence for no
more than 1018 seconds.
Compared to the inorganic systems comprising the
universe, biological systems are enormously complex.  The genome for
the DNA of an E Coli bacterium has the equivalent of about two
million amino acid residues.  A single human cell contains the
equivalent of about six billion amino acid residues.  Moreover,
unlike inorganic systems, the sequence in which the individual
components (amino acids) are assembled is critical for the survival
of biological systems.  Also, only amino acids with left handed
configurations can be used in protein synthesis, the amino acids can
be joined only by peptide bonds, each amino acid first must be
activated by a specific enzyme, and multiple special enzymes are
required to bind messenger RNA to ribosomes before protein systhesis
can begin or end.
The bottom line is that the universe is at least
ten billion orders of magnitude (a factor of 1010,000,000,000 times)
too small or too young to permit life to be assembled by natural
processes.  This calculation has been done by researchers in a
variety of disciplines including both non-theists and theists.114 -
129
Invoking other universes cannot solve the
problem.  All such models require that the additional universes
remain totally out of contact with one another, that is, their
space-time manifolds cannot overlap.  Thus, the only explanation for
how living organisms received their highly complex and ordered
configurations is that an intelligent, transcendent Creator
personally infused this information. 

 
conclusion
This review by no means addresses all attempts
to avoid theistic implications about the origin of the universe. 
Rather, the focus has been to examine those theories for the origin
and development of the universe that are subject to observational
tests.  A new set of models, mostly variations on themes introduced
by Richard Gott130 and by Fran�ois Englert and his colleagues,131
seek to escape the dread singularity by postulating special
conditions during the �period of ignorance� between what most
would be willing to call the creation event and 10-43 seconds. Their
postulations, however, are simply speculations about things we cannot
confirm or deny.132  For the sake of integrity, we should restrict
our arguments to those things which can be observed and measured.133
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aBy ad hoc I mean �without observational or
experimental support,� motivated by no other purpose than to save a
hypothesis.

 
bBecause of the magnitude of the speed of light,
the dilation factor 1/�(1 - v2/c2) has been measurable for only the
last hundred years.  For a high speed locomotive, for example, the
correction factor is less than a trillionth of a percent.  Even when
the astronaut, John Glenn, orbited the earth several times at 18,000
mph, the correction to his travel time amounted to less than a ten
thousandth of a second.

 

 
cThe periastron and the perihelion are the
points in the orbit of bodies (respectively a star or a planet or
asteroid) where that body is nearest respectively to its companion
star or the sun.

 
dPulsars are the collapsed remains of exploded
stars (supernovae).  In the process of collapsing from a several
million mile diameter star down to an object just a few miles across,
the rotation period of the star accelerates to once every few seconds
(in some cases once every few milliseconds).  Since typically the
axis of spin and the axis for the star's magnetic field do not
coincide, radiation associated with the magnetic field, to a distant
observer, will appear to pulsate like the light in a lighthouse�its
magnetic bright spot appearing once per stellar rotation.

 
eThe quasars are the most powerful known bodies
in the universe.  Some of them emit the energy flow of over a
thousand normal galaxies from a volume only one trillionth the size
of a normal galaxy.  Most of the quasars are located at distances
beyond a billion light years.

 
fProponents of a young universe position
(�10,000 years)  must reject both general and special
relativity.33, 34, 35, 36, 37  Those who knowingly do so, base their
rejection on:
1.	inaccuracies in the measurements by Eddington
et al38 of the deflection of starlight, and
2.	oblateness of the sun as a possible
explanation for the perihelion advances of the planets.
An abundance of new experimental and Biblical
exegetical evidence,118 however, removes any basis for such arguments
(see Table 1).

 
gThe singularity is not really a point, but more
like a whole three-dimensional space, albeit one of zero size.

 
hEntropy of a system is the energy that is
unavailable to perform work.  A candle flame, for example, dissipates
most of its energy as heat and light leaving little energy to perform
work.  The universe, by comparison, has a specific entropy that is
five billion times greater than that of a candle flame.

 
iThe specific conditions are:
1. The spacetime manifold for our universe
satisfies the equations of general relativity.
2. Timetravel into the past is impossible.
3. Principle of causality is not violated (no
closed timelike curves).
4. Mass density and pressure of matter never
becomes negative.
5. There is enough matter present to generate a
trapped surface.
6. The spacetime manifold is not too highly
symmetric.

 
jQuantum tunneling is the process by which
quantum mechanical particles penetrate barriers that would be
insurmountable to classical objects.

 
kSince complete understanding about anything is
lacking for that instant of the universe before 10-43 seconds after
the beginning, there necessarily exists the possibility that the
relationship between time and the probability for certain quantum
events may break down.

 
lBaryons are protons and other fundamental
particles, such as neutrons, that decay into protons.