Does big bang cosmology best explain the universe’s history? The model has been subjected to exhaustive testing, but one test that could solidify the case has—until now—eluded researchers.
If the big bang model is correct, then it should account for the size and structure of the universe’s largest galaxies. It apparently has not.
In big bang cosmology the universe starts off perfectly homogeneous and uniform. Thereafter, primordial random density fluctuations gradually grow to generate clusters and superclusters of galaxies with giant voids in between. The big bang predicts an upper limit to the sizes of the superclusters and voids. Consequently, in 2000 an international team of astronomers began a project, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), to map the galaxies, galaxy clusters, and superclusters of galaxies in the observable universe.
In 2005 the SDSS revealed what came to be known as the Sloan Great Wall (SGW), a thick filamentary structure of galaxies that appears to be contiguous over a scale of more than 1.3 billion light-years. The size of the structure seemed too large for the big bang model, which had successfully passed every other observational test. Specifically, the structure appeared too large for a flat geometry universe dominated by dark energy, wherein most of the universe’s mass is exotic dark matter in a cold state (the flat ΛCDM model).
Princeton astronomer John Richard Gott partnered with a team of five Korean astronomers to test if the SGW posed an actual, rather than perceived, problem for the flat ΛCDM model. They performed the Horizon Run 2, which is, by far, the largest computer simulation of the universe’s growth arising from a big bang creation event.1
Not only did the team find the SGW to be “perfectly consistent with the ΛCDM model,” but also they drew the same conclusion from their discovery in the SDSS of a void much larger than the SGW. Based on the simulation and according to the ΛCDM model, the researchers predicted that a future galaxy survey, four times deeper than the SDSS, should reveal the largest structure of bright galaxies—an even bigger “wall” about twice as large as the SGW.
Thanks to the work of Gott and his team of astronomers, it can now be said that the big bang creation model has passed every test thrown its way. First posited by Benedictine monk Georges Lemaître in 1925, big bang cosmology dates back even earlier. Bible believers hold that the book of nature and the book of Scripture reveal the glory and righteousness of God. Results such as these affirm the Bible’s predictive power and the reliability and trustworthiness of its revelation.
Update: The recently discovered Large Quasar Group2 (8.5 billion light years away, characteristic size =1.6 billion light years, longest dimension = 4 billion light years) also fits within the bounds of what the Horizon Run 2 would predict for the ΛCDM model.
For over 2,000 years the Bible has gone on the record declaring:
1. The universe arises from a beginning of space, time, matter, and energy.
2. The entire universe experiences ongoing expansion.
3. The laws that govern the universe are unchanging.
4. One of the unchanging laws is a pervasive law of decay.