Science meets Religion is a blog series that provide conversation about the middle ground between Science and Religion as we seek answer to the universe and life's big questions. The first article of the series is the "Origin of the Universe"
Cosmological ideas have been proposed for as long as people have been trying to make sense of the cosmos. The most well-supported idea for the creation of our universe revolves around an event known as the big bang. This notion arose from the discovery that other galaxies are rapidly moving away from our own in all directions, as if propelled by a powerful ancient explosive force. Furthermore, in many of these cosmological ideas, the concept of a deity is central. God is the single creator and sustainer of the cosmos, according to most monotheistic religions.
Islam and Judaism, for example, believe in a transcendent and sovereign God who created and sustains the universe. The cosmos exists solely because of an ultimate and supernatural cause that is "neither blind and fortuitous, but astonishingly well trained in Mechanics and Geometry," as Newton phrased it. Cosmology has always been an element of theism, whether in a general philosophical or scientific sense, but it is only recently that cosmology based on physics and astronomy has joined the debate over God's existence and purpose. The cosmological repercussions of the law of entropy rise were eagerly studied in regard to Christian notions of a world with a beginning and end in time in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The most commonly held idea concerning the origins of the universe is the Big Bang Theory. It argues that the universe as we know it began with an infinitely hot, endlessly dense singularity that swelled over the following 13.8 billion years, at first at an incomprehensible rate, then at a more quantifiable rate to become the cosmos we observe today. Because existing tools do not allow astronomers to gaze back in time to witness the origin of the universe, we have to rely on mathematical formulas and models to explain the Big Bang Theory. The "echo" of the expansion, however, can be seen by astronomers thanks to a phenomenon known as the cosmic microwave background.
Everything we know about 13.7 billion years ago was an infinitesimally small singularity, a point of infinite density and limitless heat. Then came the explosive expansion, which accelerated the expansion of our cosmos beyond the speed of light. According to scientist Alan Guth's 1980 theory, which transformed the way we think about the Big Bang forever, this was a phase of cosmic inflation that lasted only fractions of a second, around 10-32 of a second. The more orthodox Big Bang explanations took hold when cosmic inflation came to an abrupt and still-mysterious halt. A deluge of matter and radiation known as "reheating" began the process of populating our universe with the stuff we know today — particles, atoms, stars, galaxies, and so on.
The ring of an eclipse | Photo Credit: Pixabay
According to NASA, all of this happened within the first second of the universe's birth, when the temperature of everything was around 10 billion degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 billion degrees Celsius). The Universe now comprised a broad array of fundamental particles including neutrons, electrons, and protons, which would eventually serve as the building blocks or raw material for everything we see today. Because light couldn't pass through it, this early soup would have been difficult to look at. According to NASA, "the unbound electrons would have caused light (photons) to scatter in the same manner that sunlight scatters off cloud droplets." However, after time, the released electrons collided with nuclei, producing neutral atoms. Light was able to travel 380,000 years after the Big Bang because of this.
The exceptionally tight quarters are also thought to have enabled the universe's first particles to mix, blend, and settle at a temperature that is virtually identical. Then, in a fraction of a second, all that matter and energy expanded equally outward, with slight variances provided by quantum-scale fluctuations. Inflation, a scenario of fast growth, could explain why the universe's temperature and matter distribution are so uniform. The cosmos continued to grow after inflation, although at a considerably slower rate. It's still a mystery what fueled inflation.
Many Christians believe that the Genesis account and the Big Bang are incompatible. Rather than the seven days of Genesis' creation myth, the Big Bang pointed to a planet that evolved over many billions of years. This is known as the fundamental perspective, which holds that Genesis is literally true in every aspect and that the tale cannot be questioned. As a result, it contradicts the Big Bang theory.
Following that, we'll focus almost entirely on the case of western monotheism—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—and even more specifically on Christian variants. Nonetheless, we find a wide range of Christian beliefs and attitudes toward science in general, and scientific cosmology in particular, to be quite diverse. Ultra-traditional Christian versions emphasize the literal reading of Scripture and frequently define theological teachings in terms of ancient Greek philosophical categories
Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christian theists have slight, but not insignificant, variances in attitude. As a result, we should not regard theism as a single set of teachings that are either consistent or incompatible with scientific cosmology.
The Big Bang theory, according to many Hindus, poses no threat to their belief in creation. It is a scientific idea that coexists with their religious convictions. It does not refute Brahman's (the creator's) perspective, nor does it refute the belief in the eternal cycle of creation, preservation, and destruction. There is no mention of the Atman (soul) or any attempt to downplay its eternal character in the Big Bang theory.
Muslims consider the existence of the universe to be proof of Allah's, the creator's, existence. They also think that Allah's Qur'an is a divine revelation that cannot be questioned. However, the Qur'an can be interpreted in a variety of ways. According to some Muslims, the Big Bang might be viewed as additional proof of Allah's creation and hence recognized as scientific truth. However, because it makes no mention of a designer or creator, it is at best partial, detailing merely the method by which Allah created the world.
The Earth and Moon | Photo Credit: Pixabay
If there are any differences between the two views, most Muslims feel the Qur'an's teachings are correct. Allah's statements are better to those of human scientists. Some Muslims take a less literal approach, yet this does not diminish Allah's importance. They are more concerned with the story's significance. The belief that Allah is great is at the center of the story. This is a core principle that is expressed in the five daily calls to prayer.
Furthermore, while most theological contacts with cosmology have occurred within the Christian tradition, the distinguishing element of Christianity (namely, Christ's unique function) has rarely (if ever—played any explicit role in these interactions).
“Why does the universe exist?” is a question that many people ask. ” accepts solutions from both traditional religions and modern cosmic theories. Neither of these explanations, according to Bede Rundle (2004), is required because philosophical analysis is sufficient to prove the existence of a physical cosmos. While some argue that science has supplanted all theological explanations, others argue that science supports the belief that God created the cosmos. Indeed, the story of the interplay between scientific cosmology and theology is far from a straightforward tale of a superior theory supplanting an inferior one, nor is it a straightforward story of the convergence of disparate sources of knowledge.
Big bang cosmology might be seen as providing new support for theism, while alternatives like steady-state cosmology are seen as atheistic backlashes, according to a naïve or ideological reading of twentieth-century cosmology. However, such a perspective overlooks several nuances, both in the historical record and in the logical structure of these difficulties. From a historical perspective, there hasn't been much of a link between scientific cosmologists' religious beliefs and their suggested cosmological models. There are various hurdles to asserting that the big bang reveals the existence of God from an epistemic standpoint. Even in big bang models, God's hand is not seen from a metaphysical standpoint: these models have no first state for God to create, and no time for God to exist before the big bang.
We are not claiming that scientific cosmology and religion are nonoverlapping magisterial by pointing out some of the nuances in their interaction (to borrow a phrase from Stephen Jay Gould). Contemporary cosmology, on the other hand, is fascinating because of its deep logical relationships with classic philosophical and theological difficulties.