Converging and Convincing Proof of God: At the Limits of Science
For the next several articles, we will focus upon empirical experience
Working backwards from the universe's current expansion, the classical Big Bang theory strongly suggests that there was an infinite point of beginning of the universe, in both space and time, before which there was no space and no time, the Hawking-Penrose singularity. Before this time, there was no physical universe in time and place. Since nothing comes from nothing, and there is before the Big Bang a physical nothing, we are left with the reasonable and responsible proposal that behind the Big Bang is a transcendental Something, which is to say, God.
For the next several articles, we will focus upon empirical experience. In other words, we will focus on science and modern physics, and see what our scientific knowledge of the physical world, in particular theories about its history and its origin, might suggest about God's existence as transcendent Creator.
Much of our discussion will be guided by the insights of the book New Proofs for the Existence of God by Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. For those interested in more detail, I would suggest starting off by acquiring a copy of that book. These are some difficult, complex matters that cannot be discussed in a proverbial tea cup, much less a two-page article, and I intend only to address them in a most perfunctory manner.
Proofs based on scientific knowledge are, to some extent, limited by our current state of scientific knowledge. They are therefore perhaps less stable than those metaphysically-based proofs with which we dealt in earlier articles, and which concerned common human experiences which are part and parcel of our very nature such as love, desire for truth, the idea of perfection as real, the sense of moral obligation, hope, joy, and various aspects of the human condition, such as angst, fragility of life, our sense that we are an enigma to ourselves, and religious mysticism.
At the same time, new developments in physics--in particular in our current knowledge of the beginning of our universe--have allowed us "new proofs" that were not available prior to the current state of scientific knowledge. In some cases, advances in the sciences have given life to old proofs.
In this article, we will focus on the classic formulation of Big Bang cosmology. In the classical formulation of the Big Bang theory, first proposed in germ by the Belgian Catholic scientist and priest Fr. Georges Lemaitre, the observable universe is calculated to be 13.7 billion years old.
In this theory, which at least in its main form is considered "historical fact" under the current state of science according to Fr. Spitzer, the universe was seen as expanding out from a theoretic center of origin, like a sort of expanding balloon, 13.7 billion light years in all directions. (This expansion of space is called the "Hubble expansion.")
Working backwards from the universe's current expansion, the classical Big Bang theory strongly suggests to the point of scientific certainty that there was an infinite point of beginning of the universe, in both space and time, before which there was no space and no time. Current calculations, which take into account the effect of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB or CBR) discovered by Penzias and Wilson and consider other corroborative evidence, determine this beginning to be about 13.7 billion years ago.
In the classical Big Bang theory, this point of beginning in both space and time, when the universe as we know it began, is known as the Hawking-Penrose singularity. All mass, and therefore all time, was at a 0 point.
While science can tell us something about what happened at and after the Big Bang, it cannot tell us what happened before it, i.e., before physical history in time and place. Nor can it tell us what is happening beyond the observable universe (we can only see 13.7 billion light years out, whatever else is out there has not reached us). For example, we do not know if the ...
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