Creator and Sustainer: God's Essential Role
in the Universe

in-the-beginning

Robert Kaita, Ph. D.
Plasma Physics Laboratory
Princeton University

The year 2005 is the international year of physics. It commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of Albert Einstein's papers that changed the way we see the world. These papers included evidence for why everything is made up of atoms and an explanation of phenomena on that very small scale in terms of what eventually became quantum mechanics. One of the papers also introduced the world to the special theory of relativity.

Einstein posed a question that scientists, as scientists, still cannot answer. He asked why the universe is comprehensible. We do not know, for example, why there are only a few laws of physics. The same law of gravity can be used to describe how we are held to the earth, but also how immense galaxies are attracted to each other to form clusters.

We know that the universe is very old but that it is not infinitely old. We do not know why it had a moment of origin, which is now commonly called the "Big Bang." This frivolous name was invented by adherents to a "steady-state" universe, and was meant to reflect their contempt for a universe with a beginning. However, astronomers found evidence for the "Big Bang" by looking at the way distant galaxies were moving away from us. As the theory predicts, those farthest away also had the fastest velocities.

We think that carbon was made inside stars long ago. However, we do not know why enough of it was created in this process, relative to heavier elements, to make life possible on Earth. The carbon is believed to have been released when the stars exploded, and enough eventually coalesced on our planet during its formation to become a part of every living organism.

Some scientists explain all of this by saying that it is just the way it has to be. In other words, if the universe were different, we would not be around to ask why things are the way they are. This "explanation" actually has a formal label. It is the "Anthropic Cosmological Principle," and the first word in the name reflects its emphasis on the existence of human beings as the reason for everything we observe.

Other scientists, like myself, are perfectly comfortable in saying that our universe is all the work of a creator. Everyone would have to agree, however, that a person can hold either position and still be a good scientist. It takes just as much faith to claim that there is no creator behind what I just described as to believe that there is one…

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          Creator and Sustainer: God’s Essential Role in the Universe