Skip to comments.The Three Supernovas
Posted on 10/20/2018 4:11:44 PM PDT by pcottraux
The Three Supernovas
By Philip Cottraux
Atheists used to believe the universe was eternally pre-existing and static. By rejecting the biblical creation account, they couldnt accept the idea of a universe that had a beginning. Bertrand Russell, Charles Darwin, and at one time even Einstein labored under this philosophy. The idea of the whole universe condensed to a small state whose expansion was triggered by a colossal explosion was first proposed by a Catholic priest, Georges LeMaitres. The idea seemed so preposterous that astronomer Fred Hoyle first coined the phrase big bang as a term of ridicule.
But two years later, in 1918, Edwin Hubble first observed galaxies moving further apart, validating LeMaitres proposal. If the universe is expanding, it follows logically that it originated at a starting point and was driven to outward momentum by some extremely powerful force. Einstein expressed profound irritation by the discovery because of its theistic implications.
It supports the ancient Kalaam argument for God, which follows three steps:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
After all, if space, time, and physics didnt exist until after the beginning of the universe, the cause was by definition eternal, immaterial, and not bound by the laws of physics. Isaiah 45:12: I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
The Big Bang model was more or less proven in 1965 when Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson quite accidentally discovered faint traces of radiation in space from an antenna at Bell Labs in New Jersey. This turned out to be cosmic background radiation, the faded afterglow from the Big Bang. The explosion had been so massive that 14 billion years later, remnants of its after effects can still be found in space!
In its first stage, the universe was a formless soup of quarks, gluons, and leptons cooking at a temperature of a hundred thousand million degrees centigrade. But this first cosmic era only lasted one ten-thousandth of a second before every particle rushed suddenly in every direction. This incomprehensible flash of light and energy formed the familiar atomic structure of protons, neutrons, and electrons, the building blocks of the universe. It would be another half million years before the heat of the explosion would cool enough for radiation to separate from matter, and another billion years after that before fluctuations in the shape of the universe could start forming the first galaxies, but the entire initial big bang only lasted about three minutes.
We will call this the first supernova.
We could go on about the details of Darwins theory of evolution and whether or not species are able to mutate into more complex forms, but that isnt what I want to focus on. His model for the origin of species was an evolutionary tree. His premise was that all life originated from a single-cell organism. Through natural causes, these organisms gradually got more advanced until they started branching off into different species altogether. The long stem of microscopic life eventually diverges, forming the many categories of life as we understand them today: mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish.
Darwin admitted that the fossil record could make or break his theory. And break it it did. Its common knowledge that the evolutionary tree has been debunked by modern science, though its sadly still taught as fact in schools.
In the last 150 years, major fossil discoveries in the Cambrian era of geologic history (541 to 485 million years ago) have turned Darwins tree upside down. The Cambrian explosion, as its now known, is often referred to as the Big Bang of biology. Rather than a slow evolution from single-cell organisms, the majority of the phyla of the animal kingdom appears to have materialized suddenly in a very compressed period of time. The Cambrian explosion lasted for about 5 million years, which sounds like a long time but put in the perspective of the earths age, is actually very short. If you were to compare Earths lifespan (4 billion years) to a 24-hour day, the Cambrian explosion would be the equivalent one minute.
While scientists have no idea how and when life first originated, evidence for the first microscopic organisms exists at least 3 billion years ago. There was nothing but these single cells swimming in the oceans until about 500 million years ago, then BOOM! Out of nowhere, virtually all of the major biological categories appeared on the scene. Suddenly, there were jellyfish, sponges, arthropods, and trilobites with advanced nervous systems and no clear evolutionary ancestors. Rather than a tree, the Cambrian explosion resembles a lawn as diverse species exploded all over the planet. The amount of genetic information it would take to suddenly create this kind of complexity in such short order remains a mystery. Its almost as if someone said Let there be life.
We will call this the second supernova.
The third supernova wasnt nearly as ancient, occurring about 1,900 years ago.
Judaism was practiced by desert nomads for the first phase of its existence. Even after those wanderers conquered their promised land, it was confined to the nation of Israel. But by the time of the Roman Empire, two invasions and exiles had scattered it across the ancient world. A Jewish population was in almost every major city from one end of the empire to the other. God had slowly put the elements in place for the next great explosion.
It started with a lowly Galilean carpenter who claimed to be the Messiah who would redeem mankind. From that man came 12 followers. From those twelve came 120 gathered in Jerusalem. Over the next 70 years or so, the apostles traveled to every corner of the known world. They went to synagogues first, where people who understood the Messianic prophesies of the Old Testament could comprehend the message of Christ. Churches were planted. The past exiles had proven to be the gunpowder that would ignite with the flames of a movement that would change the world.
None of the original founders of Christianity lived to see it. But the seeds were sewn. Historians call the period from 100-200 AD the great Christian Supernova. Christianity exploded with a thunderous boom, expanding across the Roman Empire faster than anyone could explain. You could almost call it the Big Bang of Christianity.
The Cambrian explosion seemed to suddenly propel species to populate the entire planet, despite the inhospitable conditions of a primitive world. The Christian supernova is no different, taking place in the hostile environment of ancient Rome. It thrived under persecution. Just like the Cambrian explosions vast arrays of life forms, Christianity was amazingly diverse since its inception (contrary to popular belief). By 200 AD, there were Jewish believers and Gentile converts. There were Orthodox and Coptic Christians. There were Marcionites, Gnostics, and Montanists. Though some of these subgroups would go extinct, Christianity would only get more diverse as it grew.
In the coming centuries, there would be Catholics, Quakers, Huguenots, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Anabaptists. Each group only led to more subgroups like a living, evolving organism (despite obvious growing pains). Today there are Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and Episcopalians. It all traces back to that first explosion.
The Big Bang was such an immense cosmic event that 14 billion years later, its effects still linger. The galaxies are still moving further apart. Likewise, the Christian supernova was so intense that almost 2,000 years later, the boundaries of Christianity are still expanding. It started on the streets of Jerusalem. But it would spread from Rome to Europe and Africa, then to North and South America. Eventually it reached Australia, the Philippines, and the Far East. Its now on every major continent, continuing to spread. Now only a few remote places are left that have never heard the message of Christ.
Considering its origins from the mind of a lowly Jewish teacher, the birth of Christianity has been the major event that has had the most profound effect on the human race. And contrary to what its opponents would have you think, it will never die. It is the unstoppable force that brings light to the darkest places of the human race. And then the end will come. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come (Matthew 24:14).
-Strobel, Lee. The Case for a Creator. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2004, pages 47, 79, 94.
-Polkinghorne, John. The Faith of a Physicist. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1994, pages 71-72.
-Wallace, J. Warner. Gods Crime Scene. David C Cook, Colorado Springs, CO, 2015, pages 35, 36.
-Geisler, Norman and Turek, Frank. I Dont Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2004, pages 81-83.
-Manscheck, Clyde L. A History of Christianity in the World. Second Edition. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1985, pages 21-27.
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This article is misusing the term supernova so badly it makes my head spin.
And by the way, the plural of supernova isnt supernovas. Its supernovae.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.
There’s a lot of different interpretations of the creation story of Genesis (and that scripture in Exodus). There is the literal young-Earth version (which I find unconvincing), the day-age view (that the seven days are not literal 24-hour periods but cosmic spans of time...”for a day is as a thousand years to God,” etc.), there is the Genesis gap doctrine (most of Earth’s geologic history including the age of the dinosaurs took place between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, with the fall of Lucifer explaining the Earth in it’s condition in verse 2, “void, and without form, and darkness was upon the face of the deep”...this is at the end of the Ice Age), there is theistic evolution.
Most orthodox religions now believe that none of Genesis is to be taken literally, that it’s all a parable up until Abraham. While I lean towards Old Earth creationism, I’m not willing to take it that far.
But the point is that any one of them could be right. The important thing is believing in the resurrection of Christ. Romans 10:9 says “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
It doesn’t say “That if thou shalt confess that the earth is 6,000 years old, thou shalt be saved.”
Wasn't that a film with Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short in it?
Excellent article. Thank you!
IMHO, why would God change His integrity to promote a false narrative in Genesis?
Seems simpler to just accept what He says and who He is, than to create highly contrived speculations only justified by very tenuous extreme visceral exponential and multiple assumption based premises.
“...Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson quite accidentally discovered faint traces of radiation in space from an antenna at Bell Labs in New Jersey”
Not true. Karl Jansky was the one who discovered the background radiation.
You’re welcome! Thank you for the one positive comment I’ve gotten so far (to be fair, I had a feeling this one might be controversial).
If you’re right, that doesn’t prove anything really because Darwin’s tree premise is still subverted.
A false premise people tend to assume is that natural explanations by definition disprove God. They don’t. God created the laws of nature, and can use them any way he sees fit. Theologically speaking, when God uses the laws of physics to make His will happen, this is divine providence. When He violates those laws, this is a miracle. Sometimes God does things miraculously, sometimes He does it through divine providence.
Natural forces are just one instrument in His toolbelt.
"False narrative" is an inaccurate description. Genesis was written some time in the mid 1400s BC, and much of it is a product of oral traditions while some is revelation of the Spirit. This is a book to an ancient audience with an account of creation they could understand. God couldn't explain photons to them because they didn't know what photons were.
We also need to apply the rigorous discipline of hermeneutics. Whether we like it or not, sometimes our English translations have screwed up a few words or verses. This isn't the fault of God, or any translator, it's just the inevitable consequence of translating ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic into a modern language that is very different. Some Hebrew words have different possible meanings. For example, "aleph" could mean "thousand," OR "tribal head" (this could blow away how you've always understood Numbers).
The point is that the Word of God is the MESSAGE, not the literal words on the page.
Seems simpler to just accept what He says and who He is, than to create highly contrived speculations
The problem here is that Young Earth creationism is the most highly contrived speculation! You're operating under the false presumption that Young Eartherism is the default interpretation of Genesis. It isn't. The Bible never gives a specific date for the 7 days, but Young Earth Creationism is a relatively new phenomenon, the product of a 19th century 7th Day Adventist "prophetess" named Ellen White.
The Old Earth interpretation of Genesis was actually the default position of Christians dating back to the beginning. Interestingly enough, they even pre-date scientific discoveries of the age OF the Earth.
Don't rule out the "apparent age" theory in the Young Earth Creation explanation. When God created the first man, he didn't begin with an embryo but a fully grown man, ditto the woman. The mistake some people make is that they think they NEED to explain Scripture based upon whatever the science at the time can determine. What we know is that man's understanding of the natural world is limited just as the words used to describe that understanding. "Facts" determined by scientists can and do change. God's word is eternal. It stands REGARDLESS of man's current knowledge. Our goal should be we believe what God says by faith and we don't lean unto our own understanding.
The way I look at it, the Bible is like the solar system. The core is our sun, a bright star that the smaller planets all revolve around through gravity.
The resurrection of Christ is the sun...the core that all the other Bible stories revolve around. All things before the resurrection point towards it and everything that comes afterwards points back to it.
The furthest story from the resurrection is Adam and Eve. It’s like Pluto...so far out there we can’t decide if it’s a planet or not. It’s murky way out there in the distance. Adam and Eve and how they connect to anthropological evidence for man’s origins is like that too...it’s just so far back in time that there are many different interpretations of just what it means.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which interpretation is correct as long as Jesus still rose from the dead, which redeems mankind.
Not that I reject Genesis...on the contrary, I believe Adam and Eve and the Eden are certainly historical, as reading Jesus’ words in the New Testament clearly support that. I just don’t know WHEN it happened, and I think obsessing over the literal point it time really misses the point of the Bible.
A young Earth Creationist once challenged me by accusing me of denying Genesis, “the foundation.” Puh-leeze. The resurrection is clearly the foundation of Christian faith!
If He had wanted to explain photons, He easily could have. Even modern day physicists are now recounting their understanding of photons.
Remember, the Genesis account is of creation, not evolution and creation is different than the making of things.
It only takes a smidgen more faith than no faith whatsoever for a saving faith.
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