The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) James Webb Space Telescope has confirmed evidence of a long-held Christian belief: the universe had an absolute beginning.
According to NASA, the Webb telescope has confirmed the accuracy of the universe’s expansion rate – known as the Hubble constant – a value originally measured by 20th century American astronomer Edwin Hubble.
Hubble’s original calculation of the constant helped affirm the now-paradigmatic belief that the universe is expanding. Hubble realized that “galaxies were moving away from each other at a rate constant to the distance between them (Hubble’s Law)” by observing the redshift in the light wavelengths between galaxies.
This made it possible to estimate the rate of the universe’s expansion and when the universe came into being.
Since Hubble’s observation, the discovery of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation has reinforced our knowledge of the universe’s expansion.
For much of history, scientists held to a “steady state” model of the universe, that is, many believed the universe was eternal and static – that it did not have a beginning, is not changing and is not expanding.
But Albert Einstein’s proposed theory of general relativity, along with subsequent discoveries like the redshift of the galaxies and the cosmic microwave background radiation of the universe, led to the creation and confirmation of a new model of the origin of the universe – the Friedmann-Lemaître model (colloquially called the Big Bang).
An expanding universe is exactly what we would expect if the universe had an absolute beginning at a finite time in the past.
As a family ministry, Focus on the Family does not take a position on the exact age of the universe. However, even assuming an “old-age” theory of the universe, a universe that is expanding necessitates an absolute beginning, since it can no longer be viewed as eternal and unchanging.
Since the universe had a beginning, something (or Someone) outside of the universe must have caused it to come into being. As Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig has pointed out, this cause must be spaceless, timeless, immaterial, uncaused, powerful and personal – which sounds a lot like the Christian conception of God.
According to Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, a Christian, leading scientist and founder of the Center for Science and Culture and the Discovery Institute, the scientific developments of the last century “are very confirmatory, and even expected from the standpoint of the theistic worldview which affirms a master programmer, a Creator, an intelligent mind behind the universe.”
Scientific historian Dr. Frederic Burnham has said,
The idea that God created the universe is a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last 100 years.
As Christians we shouldn’t be surprised that science – the study of the natural world through observation and empirical evidence – aligns with our faith. After all, the very first verse of Scripture declares:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1, ESV).
As scientists continue to study the universe, and reveal more of God’s creation, the psalmist’s proclamation in Psalm 19:1 become all the more evident,
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork (ESV).
Photo Credit: James Webb Space Telescope
Related articles and resources:
Homicide detective J. Warner Wallace recently appeared on the Focus on the Family Broadcast to discuss the evidence for the historicity and deity of Jesus Christ. To listen to his broadcast, The Proof You Need to Believe in Jesus Christ, click here.
Additionally, you can check out a copy of Wallace’s most recent book, Person of Interest, here.
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Photo from James Webb Space Telescope.