Dr. Stephen C. Meyer is my favorite defender of Christianity these days. His first book covered the origin of life. His second book covered the sudden origin of body plans in the fossil record. And his third book covered the origin of the universe and fine-tuning. In this post, we’ll see a recent popular-level article he wrote for The Federalist, and 6 new short videos he made for Prager University.
Here is latest article from my favorite news source – The Federalist. He explains how scientific discoveries provide evidence for a Creator of the universe:
From the first astronomical investigations about the early history of the universe, light, and other forms of radiant energy, have yielded the most important clues about cosmic origins. During the 1920s, astronomers discovered that the wavelengths of light coming from distant galaxies were stretched out, or “red-shifted,” as if the galaxies were moving away from us. Just as sound coming from a train whistle drops in pitch as the result of the sound waves being stretched out as the train recedes, light coming from a distant galaxy changes color (becomes more red) as light waves are elongated as galaxies move away from Earth.
Soon after the discovery of the red shift, Belgian priest-physicist Georges Lemaître and Caltech astronomer Edwin Hubble showed that galaxies farther away from Earth were receding faster than those close at hand. That suggested a spherical expansion of the universe in all directions of space like a balloon inflating from a singular explosive beginning—from a “Big Bang.”
Then in 1965, physicists discovered a different kind of light they thought provided further evidence of the Big Bang. While working at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, physicists Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson inadvertently discovered an extremely low-energy radiation on their highly sensitive, large antennas. This radiant energy, now known as the Cosmic Background Radiation, is postulated to be a remnant of the earliest moments after the Big Bang when the universe was immensely hot and densely compacted.
Those are the 3 most common pieces of evidence for a cosmic beginning – and therefore, a Cosmic Beginner. And this evidence is likely to be enhanced by NASA’s newest telescope, which Dr. Meyer talks about:
[O]n December 22 NASA will launch a new satellite capable of seeing the first starlight from just after the Big Bang—a light, and an event, that tell us about the creation of the universe and, in their own ways, reveal God to the world.
NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope will be carried into space this week from French Guiana on the back of an Ariane 5 rocket. The $10 billion, 21-foot telescope features a massive umbrella-like sun shield. It also boasts 15 times the range of motion and six times the light-gathering capability of the Hubble Space Telescope—NASA’s next best instrument for peering deep into space and far back in time.
The light that NASA’s new telescope seeks to detect comes, not from those very earliest moments after the beginning, but from the first stars and galaxies that formed an estimated several hundred thousand years later. Detecting that light will nevertheless provide further confirmation of an expanding universe.
Since the new telescope can detect infrared light—invisible light with extremely long wave-lengths—it can establish whether the most distant galaxies exhibit the amount of red shift that astronomers expect given the Big Bang.
[…]This additional evidence of an expanding universe would further deepen the mystery associated with the Big Bang and add weight to a growing science-based “God hypothesis.” If the physical universe of matter, energy, space, and time had a beginning—as observational astronomy and theoretical physics increasingly suggest—it becomes extremely difficult to conceive of any physical or materialistic cause for the origin of the universe. After all, it was matter and energy that first came into existence at the Big Bang. Before that, no matter or energy—no physics—would have yet existed that could have caused the universe to begin.
Instead, whatever caused the universe to originate must not have been material and must exist beyond space and time. It must further have been capable of initiating a great change of state, from nothing to everything that exists. Such considerations have led other scientists—former Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Gerald Schroeder and the late Caltech astrophysicist Allan Sandage, for example—to posit an external creator as the best explanation for the origin of the universe as revealed by modern cosmology.
This new telescope creates an interesting situation for Christians and atheists. Christians are excited about this telescope, and anxious to get back the results that will confirm a supernatural Creator. Atheists are nervous about this telescope. They are committed to an eternally existing universe. One that doesn’t implicate any kind of supernatural first cause of the natural world. If the universe has a beginning, then by definition, the cause of the universe must be supernatural and eternal. Because it existed causally prior to the beginning of the universe. It is not material, because it created matter. It is not in time, because it created the physical universe that marks the passage of time.
Anyway, to share this information, Dr. Meyer has created six new short videos for Prager University. I’ve embedded the 6 videos below, and each title is a link to Prager University where you can find a transcript. These are perfect for busy people to get the big picture.
If you’re looking for a longer lecture, delivered to an audience of students, this one from 2015 is 95 minutes long, and has over 900,000 views:
What I’d like to see is parents and pastors stop worrying about how Christians feel,and whether we are like. Step one of being a Christian is knowing and showing that God exists. It’s not about feelings, community or peer approval. This is not Disney. This is not romance novels. What we need is young Christians who can have productive conversations about Christianity. And those conversations are easy – if we are trained in the mainstream science that confirms the existence of the supernatural Creator / Designer.