Expanding Universe

“It is He (God) who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” – Isaiah 40: 22

“Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.”  – Psalm 104: 1 – 2

Expanding-universe

Image Source: http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/balloon0.html

1.  Did you know that science has now concluded that space is racing every direction at a pace of roughly 216,000 km/hr (or about 134,000 miles/hr)?

  • This has been verified as a result of experiments done by both the Hubble Telescope (this rate of expansion of the universe is referred to as the Hubble Constant by the way) and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.
  • Both devices were launched by NASA Space Shuttles (the former in 1990 and the latter in 1999). 1

2.  David is writing this Psalm 3000 years ago; Isaiah is scribing his work some 2700 years ago

  • We’ve only proven this for certain in the past century

3.  Incidentally, did you notice that the presumption of the Bible is that Space is not infinite – in other words, it does not go forever…?

  • COBE Satellite findings…(see further explanation below)
  • Absolute Kelvin is 0 (-460F); Average Temperature of Universe is 2.73K (-457F)
  • Note: Water Freezes at 273K; Water boils at 373K 2

4.  The Bible is accurate in its astrophysics as it relates to space

Further Explanation:

There is a point where space itself just stops.  There is an end to the universe.  You can’t just go on forever and ever.  Science has now demonstrated that this universe has an end! In other words, not even space is omnipresent – that domain is reserved for the Creator alone. Now make no mistake about it; space is expanding.  However, for something to expand – it has to move to a place where it is not already. Confusing?  Perhaps so.  What is not confusing is how accurate the verse on the slide is in light of this!  For the Bible speaks of a finite spatial universe, that is expanding.  In the passages shown above, the Bible uses “the heavens” as a designation for “space”.  Remember -for something to be stretched, it has to move to a place where it is not already.

The Bible testifies to a finite spatial universe that is expanding.  In fact, quite a few verses speak to this. How do we know that space is finite?  To demonstrate how science has proved this, let’s set up an analogy:

1.  Suppose you are in a closed system, let’s say a one-room house out in Iowa.  The temperature both inside and outside is 0 F.  You have all the windows and doors shut.  You turn your radiator on and set it to 70 F.  Over time, you can expect the temperature of your one room house to begin to rise.  Eventually it will start to approach 70 F – given enough time.

2.  Now let’s move our radiator to another closed system, but this time we’ll head off to the Metrodome in Minnesota (FYI: the Metrodome is a large domed sporting complex in Minneapolis). Again, the temperature both inside and out is 0 F.  You have all the windows and doors shut.  You turn your radiator on and set it to 70 F.  Given enough time, you can expect the temperature of even the Metrodome to begin to rise.  Eventually it will start to approach 70 F – given enough time.

3.  Finally, let’s take our radiator and set it out in an open field in the middle of Nebraska.  Again, the temperature is 0 F.  You turn your radiator on and set it to 70 F.  Given enough time, what will happen?  Well unfortunately due to the fact that we now have an open system – the temperature rise throughout Nebraska will be imperceptible.  The heat will continue to be lost.

If you understand this analogy, then the results of the COBE satellite experiments back in 1990 can take on meaning.  COBE or Cosmic Earth Background Explorer was sent up by NASA to measure the universe’s background radiation. In short, it was to determine the average temperature of the universe.  If the universe was an open system (that is, it went on forever and ever) the average temperature of the universe should be 0 K.0 K (roughly – 273 C or – 460 F) is known as Absolute Kelvin.  It is the temperature at which all motion ceases and energy/heat is no longer given off or produced.  Using our analogy above, all of the stars – planets – people – galaxies; everything that gives off heat or has ever given off heat would serve as a little radiator.  (For those who are hard core scientists, COBE is measuring radio wavelengths to determine cosmic background radiation – and thereby, derive the average temperature of the universe.)

If the universe went on forever (i.e., if space was infinite), then the average temperature of the universe should still be – 273 C (or Absolute Kelvin).  In other words, no amount of energy would be able to raise the average temperature of the background radiation.

Instead, COBE found that the background temperature was only – 270.27 C (or about 2.73 C higher than it would be with an infinite universe).  There are many ramifications to this – for our purposes, it is proof of a finite universe!

Notes:

  1. Source: See Hugh Ross’s Creator and the Cosmos
  2. Source: See Hugh Ross’s Creator and the Cosmos