Friday, September 7

God in Science

Inside my military prison cell some 27 years ago, I was engrossed with a book about the "Cosmos" written by the late and popular cosmologist Carl Sagan.

Among the many of the fascinating wonders of our universe Sagan described, was the fact that at the time he wrote the book in 1978 or earlier, there were already some 10 billion known galaxies, each galaxy with a specific name or code number for identification, containing anywhere from 3 billion to as many as 100 billion stars each.

Now some thirty years later, astrophysicists tell us that the total number of known galaxies have grown by at least ten fold, or 100 billion and still increasing every day. These scientists have also found out (only recently in 1998) that the expansion rate of the universe continues to ACCELERATE ever since the "Big Bang" exploded some 13.4 billion years ago. As of last year, the estimated radius of the universe is AT LEAST 10 billion LIGHT YEARS, in ALL DIRECTIONS reckoned from the Earth.

And so, the most faraway galaxy must also be at least 10 billion light years away from our astronomers’ observation points here on earth. If so, that farthest galaxy must be as of today 8 September 2007, AT LEAST 186,000 x 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365.25 days x 10 billion miles away from the Earth. Or 587 Billion miles multiplied by 100 billion! That galaxy is also going farther away at the rate of at least 186,000 miles per second, the distance traveled by light in one second.

Consider the fact that one of those 100 billion plus galaxies, is our own Milky Way, whose number of stars was first estimated many years ago to be some 3 billion. It is now even considered to have as many as 100 billion stars. One of those multi-billion stars is our own sun, to which our planet (meaning wandering body), Earth with its one solitary moon, is only one of eight (8) real planets revolving around the sun - - Pluto having been delisted last year. Our bigger wandering neighbors even have multiple moons. Neptune has 13, Uranus 27, Saturn 47 and Jupiter has 63 with 8 of them regular and 55 irregular moons!

My early fascination and wonder about our cosmos as a result of reading Carl Sagan, have more than doubled ever since I subscribed to the magazine Scientific American ( At this point however, I must first admit in transparent honesty dear readers/visitors, that these factual astronomical premises, have been trotted out in order to set you up! Yes, in order to lead as many of you as possible into, maybe just maybe, realizing how humblingly small and puny each of us are, in comparison with the Great Prime Being, who if He truly exists and which yours truly firmly believes He does exist and whom I call GOD our Almighty Father, must have been responsible for creating this mind-bogglingly limitless "cosmos". Its mathematically precise orderliness yet still with unfathomable complexity could not have been the result of random unplanned chance. Unless, unless one can logically believe that something like IBM’s Big Blue super computer which beat Kasparov in a chess match, can also be a product of self-design-and-construction by mere CHANCE. To me therefore, God must be far beyond our own individual or even collective minds to fully fathom, much less to second-guess or deny His existence.

Thus, I would like to "light a fire" or even just a small spark in the minds of my readers/visitors, and in my own mind even more, that human humility is not just a laudable virtue but a logically necessary attitude for truly understanding ourselves, human society and the whole wide world as well.

In my book Light a Fire II ( on Chapter 18, page 292 thereof, I referred to Charles Townes, the co-inventor of the laser and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics, who was honored for his long and excellent record of talks and writings about the importance of relating science and religion. Some of these articles were published by IBM and M.I.T. of Cambridge, Mass. For that Mr. Townes also won the Templeton Prize for Progress on research and discoveries about spiritual realities. The much belated recognition and award was worth £795,000 pounds-sterling, or more than U.S. $1.5 Million in March 2005.

During the award ceremonies Townes said that "Many people can’t realize that science basically involves assumption and faith", and that therefore "nothing is absolutely proved!"
In the November 2006 edition of Scientific American, astrophysicist Abraham Loeb’s article "The Dark Ages of the Universe", started with the following similar thoughts about the transcendent nature of mankind and the universe:

"When I look up into the sky at night, I often wonder whether we humans are too preoccupied with ourselves. There is much more to the universe than meets the eye on earth. As an astrophysicist I have the privilege of being paid to think about it, and it puts things in perspective for me. There are things that I would otherwise be bothered by – my own death, for example. Everyone will die sometime, but when I see the universe as a whole, it gives me a sense of longevity. I do not care so much about myself as I would otherwise, because of the big picture.

Cosmologists are addressing some of the fundamental questions that people attempted to resolve over the centuries through philosophical thinking, but we are doing so based on systematic observation and a quantitative methodology. Perhaps the greatest triumph of the past century has been a model of the universe that is supported by a large body of data. The value of such a model to our society is sometimes underappreciated. When I open the daily newspaper as part of my morning routine, I often see lengthy descriptions of conflicts between people about borders, possessions or liberties. Today’s news is often forgotten a few days later. But when one opens ancient texts that have appealed to a broad audience over a longer period of time, such as the Bible (emphasis supplied!), what does one often find in the opening chapter? A discussion of how the constituents of the universe – light, stars, life – were created. Although humans are often caught up with mundane problems, they are curious about the big picture. As citizens of the universe we cannot help but wonder how the first sources of light formed, how life came into existence and whether we are alone as intelligent beings in this vast space. Astronomers in the 21st century are uniquely positioned to answer these big questions."

Some 2,000 years ago, a former killer-Pharisee suddenly and dramatically turned Christian apostle, wrote about his unbelieving erstwhile colleagues as follows:

"For everything that could have been known about God was clear to them: God Himself made it plain. For though we cannot see Him, we can at least discover Him through His works, for He created the world and (thereby) we understand Him to be eternal and all-powerful, and to be God." (Romans 1: 19-20)

Enough for today! But I shall continue and proceed from these lines of thought next Wednesday September 12.