Prays Together: The Honest Scientist Is a Humble One
By David Ward Miller
What is our universe made of? When I attended Biola University several decades ago, I was taught in physical science what every college text book taught – the universe was made up almost entirely of atoms. That theory has changed big time.
Here is the present thinking by astronomers of what comprises the universe: under 5% atoms (baryonic matter); about 25% dark matter; about 70% dark energy.
This means that most of the ingredients of the universe are what we cannot see!
What is dark matter? We really don’t know, but most astronomers believe the best suggestion is dark matter is made up of MaCHOs and/or WIMPs. I love these contrasting acrostics.
Ironically, WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Participles) are winning over MaCHOs (Massive Compact Halo Objects) as the best possibility for making up dark matter. But the participles scientists think make up WIMPs have yet to be detected.
What is dark energy? Other than it affects the expansion of the universe, what makes up most of our universe is a total mystery.
So, in the last 25-30 years we have come to know that we don’t know what comprises over 95% of the universe.
When the Psalmist wrote that God “counts the stars and calls them all by name,” (Psalm 147:4 NLT), one could count all the visible stars in the sky, with a total of around 5,000. Ships would navigate by stars. With modern telescopes and projections, we estimate our universe contains 200 billion galaxies with a grand total of sextillion stars (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). But there could be more. And God named them all. As we learn more of the cosmos, we get much smaller and God gets much bigger.
After viewing the space show that rapidly telescoped out our tiny planet out to the mindboggling huge universe, Steven J. Heine, PhD., and professor of social and cultural psychology wrote ““I recently saw the space who at the planetarium and needless to say it was the most dramatic elicitor of feelings of smallness and insignificance that I have yet encountered.” Popular cosmologist, Niel deGrasse Tyson who has long lived with the realities of our massive universe said, “If you go in [to the space show] feeling large and come out feeling small you went into the show with an unjustifiable high ego to begin with.”
Are we designed in God’s image or smart primates? Aggressive atheist activist and evolutionary biologists, Richard Dawkins, similarly wrote: “Human beings are animals. We aren’t plants and we aren’t bacteria, we are animals. Among animals we are apes, specifically African apes.”
“I’m a primate. You’re a primate… Humans are primates,” wrote Erin Wayman in the Smithsonian, agreeing with a prevailing science classification.
Before he died, the brilliant theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking said, “We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.” He also said, “I am an atheist.”
It is my conviction that Hawking was wrong on all three counts: we are not just smart monkeys; we cannot understand the universe; God exists.
Hawking’s worldview meant he saw his lot as a human primate was a combination of both bad luck and good luck from a purposeless nature—given the debilitating disease of ALS and a brilliant brain.
Who replaced the Creator God for Hawking? Gravity. He famously theorized, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”
Well, that takes way too much faith for me to believe.The more we learn of inner space and outer space the more we know we don’t know or what we thought we knew was off. We build on past discoveries, even as we revise and discard past science.
An honest scientifically minded atheist once told me that the problem with humans is the failure to understand we may be the smartest primates, but still just primates trying to figure out everything about the universe—origins, how things work from living things to the expansive cosmos. He used the analogy of a bunch of chimpanzees trying to figure out a new pickup truck placed in the jungle. He rightly concluded all the chimpanzees will never come close to understanding the truck due the limits of their finite minds.
This is not to discourage scientific investigation. I love science and find it only enhances my worship of an amazing God. Best we admit the limits of both science and our minds as we learn. The universe of outer space and inner space is humbling even to the greatest minds.
“There’s as many atoms in a single molecule of your DNA as there are stars in the typical galaxy. We are, each of us, a little universe,” wrote Niel deGrasse Tyson in Cosmos.
One of the most brilliant minds of all time was that of the Christian theist, Isaac Newton, who famously said: “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter.” – Proverbs 25:2
“The heavens declare the glory of God.” – Psalm 19:1
David Miller is pastor of the Church of Rocky Hill Community Church. He may be reached by calling 559-623-5063.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.