No Escape from “In the Beginning”
The universe had a beginning.
Cyclic universes don’t work.
As shown in this short Illustra video below, many cosmologists rejected the Big Bang when it was proposed because it demanded a beginning for the universe. Robert Jastrow’s book God and the Astronomers called attention to the emotional reaction to a beginning. Jastrow was no theist, but he found it odd that his colleagues got so uptight about it.
Prior to the acceptance of big bang theory, scientific materialists had thought that the universe was eternal. A universe that never began could just be thought of as a given; no Creator would be necessary. Faced with a real physical beginning to space and time, some astronomers still had a way out: a cyclic universe. Maybe we live in just one of an infinite cycle of big bangs and collapses.
Now, cosmologists at the University of Buffalo are taking away that option.
Do ‘bouncing universes’ have a beginning? (University of Buffalo News Center, 4 Aug 2022).
Some cosmological models propose that the universe expands and contracts in infinite cycles, but new research finds a crucial flaw in the latest version of this theory.
Will Kinney and Nina Stein, physicists at the University of Buffalo, point out that the Second Law of Thermodynamics rules out an infinite series of big bangs. Each bang proceeds with less energy after a collapse (were a collapse to occur), such that eventually the cycle would come to a stop. And if no further bang is possible, that points to a beginning of the cycles. This is not the first time that cosmologists have raised this objection to a cyclic universe, but apparently some have tried to bring it back recently.
“People proposed bouncing universes to make the universe infinite into the past, but what we show is that one of the newest types of these models doesn’t work,” says Kinney, PhD, professor of physics in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. “In this new type of model, which addresses problems with entropy, even if the universe has cycles, it still has to have a beginning.”
“There are a lot of reasons to be curious about the early universe, but I think my favorite is the natural human tendency to want to know what came before,” says Stein, a UB PhD student in physics, regarding the importance of research. “Across cultures and histories, humans have told stories about creation, about ‘in the beginning.’ We always want to know where we came from.”
Kinney and Stein have published their refutation of a cyclic universe in the June 10 issue of the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics.
The couple knows about inflation (the Guth Goof) and other variations that have tried to circumvent the entropy problem by proposing a “stretching” of the entropy by inflation. Kinney claims that there’s no escape; “in solving the entropy problem, you create a situation where the universe had to have a beginning,” he says. “Our proof shows in general that any cyclic model which removes entropy by expansion must have a beginning.”
Their proof, however, “does not apply to a cyclic model proposed by Roger Penrose, in which the universe expands infinitely in each cycle.” Kinney adds, “We’re working on that one.” But expanding infinitely in each cycle? That’s really a stretch! Others have argued that there are no physical infinities, because such proposals lead to absurdities (see Robert J. Marks discuss this at MindMatters.ai). Most likely Penrose’s speculative cyclic universe will fall by the wayside for the same reason, or will fall because it is non-physical.
Facing the Music of the Spheres
Do Kinney and Stein themselves have an emotional response to a beginning?
“The idea that there was a point in time before which there was nothing, no time, bothers us, and we want to know what there was before that — scientists included,” Stein says. “But as far as we can tell, there must have been a ‘beginning.’ There is a point for which there is no answer to the question, ‘What came before that?’ ”
There’s a psychological research project hidden in that statement. Why should scientists be “bothered” by a beginning?
This article shows, once again, that resistance to the Genesis account of the beginning of matter, space and time “In the beginning” because “God created” it all is not coming from science, but from willful unbelief. And once you accept the creation account, who needs billions of years? God tells us what he did: he created everything in six days (Genesis 1). Nobody should be “bothered” by an Eyewitness account that meets the observational evidence… unless sin is lurking in the fallen nature of humankind.
> For those wondering about the common atheist comeback, “If God made everything, who made God?” see this answer by Dr Jonathan Sarfati.
I, for one, am glad that the universe had a beginning. I’m glad that time is linear, because it means that there is an eternal purpose to our existence and actions. A cyclic universe has no lasting purpose; everything we do will be destroyed and forgotten. A beginning also means there will come a day of justice and reward. And it means that this world of injustice and sorrow will have a new beginning with a new heavens and new earth. And so I’m glad the Biblical story of redemption begins with creation. Why? Because I once was lost, but now am found. When you come to God by faith in Christ, it all makes sense. It’s not a bother any more; it is very satisfying. Follow the Site Map to the pathway of peace with God and with yourself.