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What happened before the big bang?


Published: 20 May 2012 (GMT+10)
How the Universe works

Illustrated by Caleb Salisbury

A BBC documentary with this title was aired on SBS-TV in Australia in April, 2012. In it, several cosmologists discuss ‘the unthinkable’—perhaps the big bang was not the beginning of everything after all. It seems that scientists have discovered a new law. Well, not actually new—just one that has been treated as if it didn’t exist for the last half century or so by ‘big-bangers’ such as Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, Paul Davies, Edwin Hubble, et al, namely the law of Cause and Effect.

The program explains that the concept of the big bang1 postulates that “everything we see in the universe today—us, trees, galaxies, zebras—emerged, in an instant, from nothing. And that’s a problem. It’s all effect and no cause.” We are then given five different explanations from five different scientists concerning what this cause may (or may not) have been.

Prof. Michio Kaku and the meaning of ‘nothing’

The big bang postulates that everything we see in the universe today emerged in an instant from nothing. And that’s a problem. It’s all effect and no cause.

Dr Michio Kaku is Professor of Theoretical Physics at City University, New York. He asks: “How can it be that everything comes from nothing?” His solution: “If you think about it a while, you begin to realise it all depends on how you define ‘nothing’!”2

We are then shown a huge NASA vacuum chamber, the largest in the world—the nearest we can get to a state of nothing, but which still has dimensions (‘nothing in 3D’), and through which light can pass. Prof. Kaku tells us: “I think there are two kinds of nothing. First there is something I call absolute nothing: no equations, no space, no time, no anything that the human mind can conceive of, just nothing. Then there is the vacuum which is nothing but the absence of matter.”

The host then comments: “Prof. Kaku’s version of nothing is the perfect vacuum where on the face of it there is only energy. But in a perfect vacuum, energy sometimes transforms itself temporarily and briefly into matter. It is one of these tiny explosions that might have been going on and ended up in the big bang.”

Prof. Kaku: “So for me the universe did not come from absolute nothing—that is a state of no equations, no empty space, no time; it came from a pre-existing state—also a state of nothing. Our universe did in fact come from an infinitesimally tiny little explosion that took place giving us the big bang, and giving us the galaxies and stars we have today.”

The host: “For Prof. Kaku, the laws of physics did not arrive with the big bang. The appearance of matter did not start with the clock of time. His interpretation of nothing tells us there was, in short, a ‘before’. If he is right, there is an opportunity for a cause to have an effect, after all.”

Prof. Andrei Linde’s ‘radical explanation’—inflation

The host continues: “The idea of the big bang was a very bold idea but it had problems. … Why is the universe as big as it is now? Who made it expand? What caused the explosion? The big bang was clearly a very special explosion. Ordinary explosions are messy. This one produced a universe that wasn’t messy at all. Our universe is, more or less, the same in every direction. It was an observation that required a radical explanation.”

According to Dr Andrei Linde, who is Professor of Physics at Stanford University: “Just after matter first appeared, rather than a messy explosion, there was instead a massive and unprecedented growth in the size of the universe. This is called Inflation. If one assumes there was a period of exponential expansion of the universe in some energetic vacuum-like state, then you can explain why the universe is so large, why the universe is so small at a very large scale, why properties of the universe in different parts are so similar to each other. All these questions can be addressed if one uses inflation.”

The host: “Inflation was a pre-existing condition that has been there, well, for ever. For Prof. Linde, the big bang wasn’t really a starting point at all; he thinks that it was simply the end of something else. The universe appeared out of what he calls eternal inflation. Our universe is not the only one. There are others, all co-existing. He has counted them. There are ten to the power 10 to the power 10 to the power 7. His ideas of a multi-verse, as odd as they seem, are now within the scientific mainstream. For many cosmologists eternal inflation is in itself a reasonable explanation of what existed before our universe. For others it’s utter nonsense.” (Emphasis added.)

Dr Param Singh, the big bounce

Dr Singh is a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. In the program he tells us: “The principal mathematical objection [to the universe expanding from nothing] is that as the clock is wound back and Hubble’s zero hour is approached, all the stuff in the universe is crammed into a smaller and smaller space. Eventually that space will become infinitely small. And in mathematics, invoking infinity is the same as giving up, or cheating.” (Emphasis added.)

His solution: “Instead of emerging from nothing, our universe owes its existence to a previous one that had the misfortune to collapse in on itself. Then, thanks to some clever maths, rebounded to what we see today. So the big bang was not a bang at all. It was rather a big bounce. … Of course it might all be nothing more than a fantasy world of maths and little else, and there’s always the nagging question of what started the infinite bouncing in the first place. It was certainly not the big bang. That is impossible.” (Emphasis added.)

Prof. Lee Smolin, natural selection

Prof. Smolin is a researcher at the Perimeter Institute in Canada. We are told that his solution owes more to Charles Darwin than to Albert Einstein. It has been called ‘cosmological natural selection’. He believes that the universe had an ancestor which had another ancestor. According to this hypothesis, the universe was born inside a black hole.

Prof. Smolin: “There is a bounce inside every black hole. Material contracts and contracts and contracts again, and then begins to expand again, and that is the big bang which initiates the new region of the universe.” The commentator adds: “Smolin’s natural selection idea proposes that for a universe to prosper it must reproduce and for that to happen it must contain black holes that, according to Smolin, spawn offspring universes.”

Prof Smolin: “Before the big bang there was another universe much like our own. In that universe was a big cloud of gases. It collapsed to form a massive star. That star exploded. It left behind a black hole and in that black hole there was a region, if you were misfortunate enough to fall in, you would find it becoming denser and denser and denser. You wouldn’t survive this but imagine you did—then all of a sudden you would explode again and that would be our big bang.”

Dr Neil Turok, membranes collided

Dr Neil Turok is the Executive Director of the Perimeter Institute in Canada.3 He says: “There are essentially two possibilities at the beginning. Either time did not exist before the beginning; somehow time sprang into existence. That’s a notion we have no grasp of and which may be a logical contradiction. The other possibility is that this event which initiated our universe was a violent event in a pre-existing universe.

His solution requires ten special dimensions plus time. Dr Turok: “We live on an extended object called a brane (short for membrane). … You can’t have only one; there must be at least two, separated by a gap. These two branes collide. When they collide they remain extended; it’s not all of space shrinking to a point. … They fill with a density of plasma and matter, but it’s finite. Everything is a definite number which you can calculate, and which you can then describe using definite mathematical laws. That’s the essential picture of the big bang in our model.”

The host comments: “For many cosmologists this is mathematical sleight of hand.” (Emphasis added.)

The program then conveniently summarizes these ideas and asks which is correct:

Michio Kaku: Stop thinking of nothing as nothing, but rather just the absence of stuff.

Andrei Linde: He redefined the big bang as inflationary energy of a mega burst dying out ten to the power 10 to the power 10 to the power 7.

Param Singh: No big bang at all; just the big bounce, again and again and again.

Lee Smolin: Our big bang was simply the other side of a black hole in a galaxy far, far away.

Neil Turok: Colliding branes in another dimension.

The host: “They would be easier to dismiss as the half-baked musings of the lunatic fringe were it not for the fact that some of the very people who constructed the everything-from-nothing big bang model are themselves starting to dismantle it.”

Sir Roger Penrose

Sir Roger Penrose is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. For many years he spent much of his time dismissing the idea of ‘before the big bang’. He now says: “The current picture of the universe is that it starts with a big bang and it ends with an exponentially expanding universe, where it eventually cools off with not much left except protons. … This very expanded universe is the equivalent to a big bang of another one. … This universe is one eon of a succession of eons. Each expanding universe accounts for the big bang of the next.”

The host adds: “Because of this a nearly infinitely large universe could just as well be the infinitely small starting point for the next one. A simplistic system with a ‘before’ and an ‘after’. Quite a bold thrust for a man who was until five years ago a pre-big-bang denier.”

We are then told that “in science ideas are just ideas until they are confirmed or denied by observations” and the program discusses how researchers are investigating gravity waves in an effort to observe the big bang itself.

The program concludes with Prof. Kaku telling us: “My parents were Buddhists. In Buddhism there is no beginning, no end, there is just nirvana.4 As a child I also went to Sunday school, where we learned that there was an instant where God said, ‘Let there be light.’ I kept these two mutually contrasting paradigms in my head, but now we can know these two paradigms together in a pleasing whole. Yes, there was a genesis. Yes, there was a big bang. And it happens all the time.”

Some concluding thoughts

Discerning viewers of this BBC program will have noticed several things:

  1. Almost all the concepts of the big bang are now under attack by secular scientists, e.g. that everything came from nothing, that everything was once contained in a singularity, the beginning of time, the origin of the laws of physics.
  2. All the ‘solutions’ to the problem of what happened before the big bang involve pre-existing universes or conditions, at least one of which is said to have existed for ever, despite the second law of thermodynamics (which says this is an impossibility).
  3. The proponents of these ‘solutions’ provide no physical evidence whatsoever in support of their ideas.
  4. Not one says how his postulated first universe came into existence.
How much better to take Genesis at its face value (as indeed Jesus Christ Himself always did) and build one’s scientific models on the rock of Scripture.

When atheists reject the eternal truth of the Word of God in the Bible, we should not be surprised to find that their attempts to find alternative explanations fail to stand the test of time and evaluation by true scientific laws.

Christians who have tried to write the big bang into Genesis have problems. First, of course, it contradicts the Bible (e.g. the big bang has Sun appearing long before Earth; Genesis has Earth created before Sun). Second, all this rethinking and, frankly, confusion, makes one thing quite obvious. Namely, that building a theology of origins on an allegedly ‘assured’ and ‘scientific’ foundation such as the ‘big bang’ idea is in reality building it on shifting sand.

How much better to take Genesis at its face value (as indeed Jesus Christ Himself always did) and build one’s scientific models on the rock of Scripture.

Related Articles


  1. Arising as it does from Edwin Hubble’s deduction that the universe has been expanding ever since its beginning. Return to text.
  2. One is reminded of Humpty Dumpty’s words in Lewis Carroll’s book Through the Looking Glass: “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be the master, that’s all.’” Return to text.
  3. Dr Neil Turok currently holds the Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University, where he is also the Director of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. He has been a colleague of Professor Stephen Hawking for several years. Return to text.
  4. The cessation of individual existence in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Ronald R., United States, 3 January 2013

You were doing very well, as I read through the different ideas on how the cosmos began to be through different scientist views until you got to the nonsense of a God. My mother at 91 years old said: "Which one? Possibly Zeus? How about Horus?" If only man can get away from this nonsense! Read D.M. Murdoc and follow her "Time line" for religions of the world and you will be intensely enlightened on the existence of so many Gods (They have been with us since we were primitive primates and began to realize that we were mortals). Like Einstein said "I cannot imagine a god who rewards and punishes the objects of his own creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own - a god in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty." Carl Sagan said let's skip a step and eliminate god from the equation, you are only adding an unnecessary step. I personally have more difficulty understanding how people can believe in an imaginary god than understanding the complexity of our cosmos. I do know that through other readings, religious personalities try to diminish scientific progress so that they can maintain their god. In other words: Science is corrosive to religion and that is a good thing. Eventually, when science unravels more of nature’s mysteries, we will be able to dismantle religion entirely. Science discovered the long predicted Higgs Boson. Peter Higgs and others predicted its existence in 1962 and on the 4th of July 2012 the boson showed itself in the Large Hadrons Collider. Now, we have a better understanding of mass. Science has always corrected religion. Religion is a dogma built in concrete, science is always changing for better ideas that can achieve the test of time. As Stephen Hawking said "science will win because it is correct". Religion is mostly geographic,

Carl Wieland responds

Others may want to comment on some of this, but re the way in which you seem to use the Higgs Boson discovery as allegedly being some triumph of science over religion, see the article by nuclear physicist Dr Jim Mason here.

Pintu K., India, 14 August 2012

One person gave example of ant moving on a expanding baloon. I would like to ask, that baloon is spreading in a space which is on our earth. But in universe case, in which space our universe is expanding ?

Carl Wieland responds

The ant example is commonly used to explain the Big Banger’s way of getting around some of the difficulties. The balloon is expanding in 3 dimensions, and the ant is in 2D space on its surface. In that 2D space,

a) There is no centre and no edge

b) In 2 dimensional terms, every object is moving away from every other object as this 2D space expands

c) If the ant kept travelling in one direction far enough, it could come back to where it began.

The analogy used involves moving everything up one dimension. Thus, our 3D universe is postulated to be on the surface of a 4D sphere (whatever that might mean) so that there is no centre or edge to the universe. This conveniently avoids having us be somewhere near the middle, i.e. in a favoured spot, to explain why everything appears to be rushing away from us on a cosmic scale. (Their answer is that it would look the same from a distant galaxy anywhere in the cosmos).

This philosophical assumption also means that by having no centre, there is no centre of mass/gravity, which would prevent the postulated singularity from expanding in the first place. (If all the mass of the universe in concentrated in one spot, that would be the ultimate black hole from which nothing could escape. But if there is no centre, problem solved, i.e a philosophical assumption is made to avoid a difficulty.

However, recent observations have strongly suggested that there is a centre to the cosmos, and that our galaxy is somewhere near that centre after all. See

Thomas C., United States, 24 June 2012

Still the main point of all this is that man as finite cannot comprehend infinite and therefore the authority above all others is God and His word. Additionally, if it is not observed, how can it be scientific finding?

Geoff C. W., Australia, 8 June 2012

Can't the Big Bang be dismissed as easily as this (I'm not completely familiar with the theory, so my assumptions may be wrong here):

If we say that a clump of matter existed since minus eternity, and then at some 'time' it exploded, we have a philosophical impossibility. If something has remained unchanged for infinite time*, then it can't possibly change at [infinite time plus one minute], because that is still the same time (infinity plus one equals infinity). In other words, if something has not changed over infinite time, then it can never change.

*Infinite time is also an impossible concept for the same reason. Infinite time plus one minute is still infinite time - no advancement. Time must be measured from some finite point if it is to make sense.

Aubrey M., Australia, 3 June 2012

To paraphrase what the late Henry Morris said in his book "The Genisis Record" 'We humans have two choices:

1. Eternal God or

2. Eternal matter

- both equally unfruitful to our finite minds.' It is perfectly rational therefore to choose the concept of a transcendent, omnipotent Creator. I see it just as scientifically accurate as believing that 'something came from nothing'.

Simon B., Australia, 2 June 2012

The hosts anaysis of Prof. Andrei Linde's radical explanation challenges my mind. "Our universe is not the only one. There are others, all co-existing. He has counted them. There are ten to the power 10 to the power 10 to the power 7. His ideas of a multi-verse, as odd as they seem, are now within the scientific mainstream." These multi- verses he has counted,three questions; 1.Where do they start and finish? 2.How long did it take him to count them? 3. How old is he? At just one per second surely it would have taken him the best part of 11 days without stopping for sleep, eating or drinking to get to the first million.

Hans G., Australia, 2 June 2012

As a creationist I realize that what ever is there has being designed and placed there, so that evolutionist can discover this too. It is this desire/ provide principal. A baby is hungry, there is food provided.I like to swim, there is water to do so.When God said to Adam:"...fill the earth and subdue (rule)it." This indicated very clearly that man has to search,look for,explore,find out and discover the

earth and in a broader sense the way how creation works.But man can only do so if the information are being placed so man can find them.No father put the desire to go to a theme park in his children if there is none.

So when evolutionists searching for where all the 'stuff' was/is coming from and don't realize that those information had to be in preexistence,than their quantum fluctuation equation can be 10m long it is meaningless;and there is a time factor too with the fluctuation but not Billions of years. They look for a 'miraculous thing' now in the nothingness because the evolution in the existential world doesn't work.

So, I don't need Dr. titles and other educational recognition to make a point,the instruction book of the creator is for everyone to understand and says what we need to know and when all creationists would stay firm with God's word what can evolution man do to them?

Stephen S., United States, 1 June 2012

As referred to, scientific observation leads to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning. The biblical account of creation is a direct statement that the universe had a beginning as well as a description of how it began. The BB theory is an attempt to use mathematical equations to describe how it could have unfolded in time and space. What we have to understand is that it did unfold in time and space and perhaps it could be described with equations, but the BB theory is not a workable theory with workable equations. It is much too simplistic. The more we learn through science, the more we discover that we don't know. Not only are the equations to describe how the beginning of the universe unfolded in time more complicated than the BB theory, they are possibly so complicated that it is humanly impossible to write or understand them.

Then, any rational, thinking person must also accept that the universe could not have come from nothing. That would be totally absurd! Some men are at least honest enough to admit this. Sadly, some are quite dishonest, such as Stephen Hawking, and insist that a fluctation in a quantum vacuum is nothing, when it is not. The universe could not have come from nothing, and whatever it came from could not have come from nothing, etc. on to infinity. Now, as stated, many scientists don't want to admit to infinity, but it is inevitable. No matter how hard anyone tries to deny it, infinity is inevitable. The only intelligent answer is that the existence of the universe brings us back to infinity. I believe the real reason so many do not want to accept infinity is because infinity is an infinite personal being we call God.

Hans G., Australia, 1 June 2012

Sounds like ex nihilo or creation.......

Hans G., Australia, 1 June 2012

If everything, matter and energy [even emptiness]were in a singularity in whatever small proportion, where did the energy game from to 'crack' this ball(?) open?

Hans G., Australia, 1 June 2012

The host then comments: “Prof. Kaku’s version of nothing is the perfect vacuum where on the face of it there is only energy..........So, it's got locations?

This Kaku is a clown ...

Hey Professor would you believe me when I tell you here in Australia once pigs could fly ? There are two holes in front of their nose, one is for the air speed, the other for the air temperature; the tail is the remnant of a propeller and the ears were once the stabilizing wings in front.Is this logical? Now print it as a new finding out of nothing...a perfect nothing.

Also: If everything, matter and energy [even emptiness] where in a singularity from whatever small proportion, where did the energy come from to 'crack' this ball(?) open?

Carl Wieland responds

Big bangers often posit that the universe arose from a 'quantum fluctuation', which is not nothing, of course, as it presupposes the laws of quantum mechanics (QM). Given QM, the energy dilemma you pose is not hard for BB'ers to get around, as the negative energy in the cosmos can balance out the positive energy. So just as +1 and -1 = 0, they propose that from O, +1 and -1 arose. The maths works out, but one still has the cause and effect problem. Nevertheless, the lesson is that one should be careful positing 'problems' before seeking to understand what the proponents of such belief systems themselves say, lest one suffer from 'egg on face' syndrome. I.e. if one mocks in ignorance of their actual belief, then BB'ers who know better will look at it as a "typical YEC know-nothing". Which unfortunately permits them to evade the real problems in their theory, as shown in the book Dismantling the Big Bang, by Hartnett and Williams (available - Hartnett is a Research Professor of physics at the University of Western Australia).

D.P., South Africa, 1 June 2012

Interesting development in the sciences. I am sure that the concept of the universe originating out of nothing actually comes from Hinduism, which most likely developed from the paganism/polytheism we read of in the Bible. We find no evidence for "creation out of nothing" in the Bible. The Hindu believes that the earth /universe was created out of nothing by their god Brahma. This supports the idea that evolution is just another belief system.

Carl Wieland responds

(Note: well before publishing this comment, I wrote to D.P. with my response below, this response, inviting further interaction, including the opportunity to rephrase and/or withdraw the comment, as I thought there may have been confusion of terms - CW).

I have to strongly contradict the notion that there is no concept of ‘creation out of nothing’ in the Bible. I think the problem may be that you mean something different from what is usually meant by that term. Perhaps you mean that nothing pre-existed the universe, which obviously is not biblically correct. Hindus may well teach that the universe created itself, or came from nothing at all, I don’t know. But the Bible teaches that God created the universe out of nothing, i.e. nothing in the sense of no pre-existing material substance. Here is the logic (apart from and in addition to such verses as Hebrews 11:3): All things that exist other than God are creations of God, i.e. there is no infinite or eternal matter, since eternality is a divine quality, so this would make something else in addition to God divine. Thus when God first created something, there was no existing ‘something’, so it was created out of nothing. I.e. nothing material. Of course God may have created it out of His own essence, but that is not denied when talking about creation ex nihilo, a fundamental Christian doctrine.

Fred T., Panama, 31 May 2012

Even if nothing was defined as some sort of type or kind of vacuum with some sort or type of energy as the cause for an inflation, we would have to regress to the actual point of the initial existence of the vacuum and energy.

Every other theory has a problem with the definition of nothing, it would seem like they are trying very hard to sell something non-existent as something that exists without honestly admitting that nothing is the non existence of anything, period.

O. B., New Zealand, 31 May 2012

...and the Muppets were created by an explosion in a mattress factory. Yeah, right!

Randy S., United States, 22 May 2012

Almost all these men are playing into your hand, yet you hold such antipathy towards a small, dense, hot start to the universe that you cannot see just how close their brand of science comes to validating the very opening lines of Genesis! I invite you to lay aside your predisposed CMI views momentarily and think independently. First, consider that the bang did not erupt from a singularity, but was in fact, an aperture – a very small opening of time – through which pre-existent matter had to squeeze, so to speak. Second, consider that God really did create the heavens and earth – vast fields of matter, all at once, in proto form, sans energy (for instance, no suns) – in his eternal, timeless domain. Third, consider that since matter requires time to exist, its introduction into a timeless region threw a momentary, God-ordained, on-purpose tension into creation which lasted approximately 10^-43 second. Fourth, consider that pre-existent matter forced time, a fourth and entirely distinct dimension, to jolt into existence. Fifth, consider that light and energy flooded the system as matter and space pushed through the small opening of time and began to expand. Sixth, consider that the initial size of the opening at the first tick of time was nowhere near a diminutive classical big bang size, but was in fact, more the like the size of a grapefruit, around 7 – 8 cms in radius. Seventh, consider that this comparatively large opening, along with the speed of the expansion allowed heavy metals to condense in billions of planetary pockets around the system, such that differentiated planets, like Earth, actually pre-dated suns! Eighth, consider that the earth was fully differentiated, thoroughly cooled, and quietly rotating by the close of the first 24 hours of creation time. Ninth, consider that three days later, trillions of clouds of dust and gases had sufficiently condensed to ignite suns and stars everywhere in the system. Tenth, consider that though the big bang paradigm in its current form cannot work, yet with a creationist do-over, it likely presents the best chance of any creationist paradigm to date of touching every detail of the Genesis 1:1+ story of origins. Eleventh, consider that the big bang is a characteristically flexible model and adapts well to the rule of a young universe paradigm (I have published the numbers). Twelfth, consider that these men may actually be closer to the truth (yet so far away from its author) than even CMI!

Carl Wieland responds

Actually, we don’t have an antipathy to a ‘small, dense, hot start to the universe’. We also don’t have any intrinsic problem with the idea that the cosmos has expanded substantially, and the most favoured creationist cosmologies of the present day incorporate such expansion, though they see no need to extrapolate that expansion back to any sort of singularity. So in that sense a substantially modified BB (and the key is ‘substantially’, so much so that it would probably not be acceptable to secular thought) could be thoroughly biblical. And having multiple models would be a healthy thing, IMHO.

What we are consistently opposed to is Scripture-twisting (and this is not referring to your comments, which don't show that at all) in an effort to have the Bible fit a currently fashionable scenario. (See Sarfati’s classic Refuting Compromise which specifically tackles Rossism, the most popular paradigm for trying to marry the BB and Scripture) In Rossist thought, there is definitely no earth before the sun. This is presumably because no current popular model of a BB origin, AFAIK, incorporates the idea that the earth could exist prior to the sun. So your comments intrigue me, as you seem to be, like us, starting with the assumption that the biblical account is truthful and authoritative. We are not intractably wedded to any models, and would be happy to see a proliferation of creationist models that commence with that axiom if they stand the test of soundness otherwise.

I have checked with the editor-in-chief of our Journal of Creation, Dr Pierre Jerlstroem, and he confirmed that he would welcome your submission of a paper within the published (on guidelines, on the understanding that it would then go to knowledgeable peer reviewers as is usual for similar journals. POST-SCRIPT: Randy let us know that his ideas had already been published in the Sixth Proceedings of the International Conference on Creationism. CW

Narindra R., Madagascar, 21 May 2012

I read somewhere that what makes the Big Bang theory irrelevant is that if all the current matter of the universe was concentrated in a singularity, i.e. an infinitely small space, gravity would have been so strong that time would have "gone back to the past in a myriad of moments equivalent to eternity" (sic). Is it a scientifically sound argument ?

Carl Wieland responds

I'll have a go at the answer from my non-physicist understanding, subject to correction by my more qualified colleagues in due course. Current BB theory does not ignore such an obvious problem, but it postulates that the universe has no centre and no edge, i.e. our universe is like a 3- D space on the surface of a 4-D sphere, which is expanding. The significance of this is that without a centre for the universe, there can be no centre of mass for all gravitational forces to point to, so it neatly gets the BB theory out of this dilemma. To help grasp the concept, think of an ant crawling on the surface of a balloon. As the balloon expands in 3-D, the ant's 'world' expands so that every object moves away from every other object. And the ant's world has no centre, and no edge to fall off of. Now move all this up one dimension. BB'ers then point out that this is why all objects on a cosmic scale appear to be moving away from Earth; it is not that Earth is the centre of the expansion/explosion, but that if we were on one of the far-away galaxies, we would see the same thing. They need this in order to support their philosophical assumption known as the Copernican Principle, or Cosmological Principle, namely that we are not in some special location, and in fact there is no special location in the universe. From this comes the notion that no matter how far you travel in the cosmos, you will never reach the edge, but may in fact come back to where you started (like the ant, even though it keeps moving in a straight line, can come back to the same spot). However, there have been some observations on 'concentric onion-ring shells' of galaxies, which, if they hold up, strongly suggest that there is a centre, and that we (or at least our Milky Way Galaxy) are somewhere near the centre after all (believe it or not, 100m lightyears is 'somewhere near' in cosmological terms). If there is such a centre, which seems hard to dispute given the redshift observations involved (see it denies this fundamental 'starting assumption' of BB theory.

Ace M., New Zealand, 21 May 2012

You do know that none of the ideas are in fact "new". Andrei Linde, for example, proposed the chaotic inflation model many years ago and meaning of nothing as Kaku puts it has been around since Guth first postulated inflation theory. Not one of them is "unthinkable"

Robert P., Australia, 21 May 2012

"He has counted them".....hysterically funny!!!

Sean V., Australia, 21 May 2012

After reading this article I feel like asking the next atheist I meet "If nothing created everything then who created nothing?"

A. C., United States, 21 May 2012

Atheist cosmologists have always been uncomfortable with the absolute beginning implied by the big bang and only reluctantly accepted it. They realized that a universe coming from absolute nothingness doesnt make any sense which is why they posit pre big bang eras and eternal infationary universes. The problem however is that all these scenarios such as eternal inflation and brane cosmology even if true cannot be eternal into the past! They must have an absolute beginning and therefore the purpose they were developed for is defeated. All these scenarios are susceptible to a very powerful theorem developed in theoretical physics called the Borde Vilenkin Guth(BVG) theorem which shows that all cosmologies with an average cosmic expansion that is positive MUST be past incomplete, or finitely old. They all must contain a first primordial singularity which ontologically speaking is equivalent to nothing. All this was recently confirmed this year for Hawking 70th birthday in a meeting of scientists discussing the state of modern cosmology. Alexander vilenkin is quoted as saying,“All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning."

Also the article says that the big bang says the sun came before the earth. It says no such thing. Thats the nebular hypothesis not the big bang theory. The big bang only says the universe started out extremely small and hot and then expanded rapidly. Thats all. The big bang heavily implies creation ex nihilo since a singularity is unavoidable.

Carl Wieland responds

The last part of this comment may cause unnecessary confusion. I would defend the brief comment within this article that the Big Bang (BB) ‘says’ Sun before Earth, because this sequence of appearance is a necessary corollary of the Big Bang (BB). The Nebular Hypothesis (NH) was not being specifically referred to. The NH per se could be overthrown or confirmed within a BB framework, without that framework being affected. But what the BB framework leaves no room for is the idea that the earth formed before the stars, of which the sun is one. In BB theory, stars condense out of the expanding cosmos first.

One can indirectly confirm this by looking at attempts to use the BB as an apologetic for biblical creation (which the commenter might well be sympathetic to, judging from his comments on creation ex nihilo). The most wellknown exponent of this is astrophysicist Hugh Ross. Even though Genesis plainly teaches that the earth was made before the sun, moon and stars, such attempts to marry the BB with Genesis are always compelled to build in a ‘fudge factor’ absent in the text. They are forced to try to claim that the Genesis language is only meant to refer to when the sun and stars ‘appeared’ to a hypothetical observer on Earth.

Such torturing of the text would not be required if it were not for the fact that BB thinking does not permit a lone planet to condense prior to every other body in the cosmos. It is indeed philosophically possible to draw intellectual boundaries and seek to limit one’s definition of the BB to ‘only’ singularity and expansion. But it is about as artificial and unrealistic as when one hears evolutionists say that it’s unfair to critique ideas of astronomical evolution or chemical evolution (origin of life) because Darwin’s theory only applies to how one-celled creatures gave rise to all others. One can seek to isolate aspects of evolution, but those are artificial intellectual constructs that try to evade the reality of evolutionary thinking overall: i.e. grandscale scenarios to seek to explain how all of nature could have created its own order and complexity by means of natural, material, processes and properties alone. In short, to evade the biblical idea of supernatural, fiat creation. The comments by the secular people cited in this article reinforce how unwise it is to try to marry one’s theology to the currently fashionable secular theory, because one is likely to be widowed tomorrow.

Finally, the commenter is correct that 'infinitely old' universes simply don't work. This must be so according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, regardless of whether cosmologies have positive or negative cosmic expansions, or even no expansions at all. If the cosmos were infinitely old, it would have long ago reached the point of heat death, maximum entropy. A cycle of oscillating universes doesn't save the believer in eternal matter for the same reason that a ball bouncing loses available energy with each bounce. I recommend not just Hartnett and Williams' 'Dismantling the Big Bang', but specifically Sarfati's classic 'Refuting Compromise', structured around a refutation of Rossist thinking in general, which it does comprehensively from both a biblical and scientific perspective.

Antonio F., Australia, 20 May 2012

I am glad that God created the Earth before the Sun, otherwise many more people would believe that the big bang was the mechanism He used. The Law of 'Cause and Effect', ha ha, sums it up perfectly, can't have something from nothing and the more materialists keep churning the more the reality sinks in. The evidence of His work is all around us. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega.

C. M., United States, 20 May 2012

To be blunt, you make yourself look ignorant and foolish ..., and, oh yeah, slippery, slimy and intentianally deceitful, too.

Suffice to say, what you stated is [not] the "Big Bang Theory. Not even close.

There are rational ways to advance your legitimate agenda. THAT was not one of them.

Carl Wieland responds

Perhaps you need to read "Dismantling the Big Bang" by Williams and Hartnett (the latter is a Research Professor of Physics at a major Australian university).

Jack C., Australia, 19 May 2012

It's interesting watching these scientists trying to come up with hypothetical answers that require a purely faith based view since there's no physical evidence at all, just like that of the true Christian stance. When are they going to admit it's just one faith versus another faith, and then to admit the Christian one makes the most sense and it provides the only viable answer, even according to their own rules, such as Occam's Razor?

Anthony & Naomi M., Australia, 19 May 2012

Wow! My wife and I had a discussion with an atheist science student once. When we asked what was there before the big bang, or what caused the big bang, the answer astounded me. His answer was, words to the effect of, "There must have been a supreme being or something that cause it..." The more I read and hear of these less than honest scientists, the more I believe in Our Creator God.

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