Reasons to Believe

Most Detailed Map of Cosmic Background Radiation Confirms Biblical Creation Model

A team of American and Canadian astronomers dramatically strengthened the case for a big bang creation

A team of American and Canadian astronomers dramatically strengthened the case for a big bang creation (thoroughly biblical1) when they released the latest map of radiation left over from the cosmic origin event.2 The team made public their analysis based on three years' continuous observations of that cosmic background radiation via satellite-the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). This analysis, by far the most thorough and detailed to date, yields five independent confirmations of the hot big bang creation model.3

Inflation confirmation

This hot big bang model proposes that the continuous and relatively constant expansion of the universe from an actual beginning of space, time, matter, and energy was interrupted by a very brief period of extremely rapid expansion when the universe was less than a quadrillionth of a quadrillionth of a second old. This hyper-inflation of the early universe would explain how the universe remains thermally connected. Because of its ability to provide the first-ever full-sky picture of the background radiation's polarization, the WMAP was able to determine with remarkable certainty that early, rapid inflation did indeed occur.4

Nucleosynthesis confirmation

According to the hot big bang creation model, a certain fraction of the universe's hydrogen fused into helium during the first four minutes after the beginning. WMAP data allows astronomers to calculate what that fraction would be if the hot big bang creation model is correct. This fraction can then be compared with the observed and measured abundance of helium in the universe's first-born stars. The measured helium percentage in the first-formed stars is 0.249 ± 0.009.5 The WMAP figure is 0.24815 ± 0.00033.6 Such a remarkable fit between the expected abundance and the observed abundance makes for a potent proof of the model.

Quintessence confirmation

"Quintessence" is a catchall term for as yet unknown constants or laws of physics or for yet unseen variations in one or more constants of physics. Astronomers tend to invoke these as a way around (or at least to reduce) the phenomenal level of design required by their findings about cosmic mass density and dark energy density. Astronomers proposed a way to determine the "possible" level of quintessence, and that way was to measure something they called the w parameter. The new WMAP data permits the first accurate measurement of this w parameter. If quintessence does not exist, the w parameter should = 1.0. If quintessence does exist, the w parameter will diverge significantly from 1.0. According to the WMAP results, w = 0.97 ± 0.08.7 This measurement allows little room to escape the extraordinary level of design in the cosmic mass density and dark energy density.

Galactic seed confirmation

In big bang cosmology, hot spots in the radiation left over from the cosmic creation event are thought to serve as the "seeds" around which galaxies and galaxy clusters form. The new WMAP results are so detailed that astronomers can closely compare, for the first time, the locations of hot spots in the radiation with the locations of galaxies and galaxy clusters, as observed in such studies as the recent Sloan Digital Sky Survey. These comparisons reveal a precise match.

Age confirmation

The WMAP results also allow the most accurate measure to date of how much time has passed since the cosmic creation event. That figure is 13.73 ± 0.15 billion years.8 The extension of decimal places and shrinking error bar confirm a prediction of big bang cosmology-the prediction that ongoing research will yield increasing consistency and decreasing disparity among the various cosmic age measurements.

By these five independent tests, the new WMAP results potently challenge speculative attempts to escape the conclusion that an Agent beyond space and time created the universe and exquisitely designed it so that humans can exist. Like so many other breakthrough discoveries in astronomy, the latest WMAP findings support the premise that scientific advance is an ally, not an enemy, to the Christian's faith.

[For a more detailed account of this discovery and its theological significance go to the March 21 and May 2 (2006) Creation Update archived broadcasts at www.reasons.org.]

Subjects: Astronomy and the Bible, Biblical Evidence for an Old Earth , Big Bang, Constants of Physics, Einstein / Relativity, Laws of Physics, Origin of the Universe, Particle Physics, Scientific Evidence for a Young Earth? , Scientific Evidence for an Old Earth, TCM - Cosmic Design, TCM - Origin of the Universe, Unification, Universe Design

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.

References

  1. Given that the Bible thousands of years ago predicted the fundamental features of big bang cosmology, including continuous cosmic expansion from an actual beginning of space and time, astronomical proofs for that type of creation event are equivalent to evidences attesting the biblical creation explanation. See Hugh Ross, "Big Bang-The Bible Taught It First," in The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001), 23-29.
  2. Christopher Wanjek, "Ringside Seat to the Universe's First Split Second," Goddard Space Flight Center Press Release, March 16, 2006,
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/starsgalaxies/wmap_pol.html.
  3. D. N. Spergel et al., "Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Three Year Results: Implications for Cosmology," Astrophysical Journal Supplement (2006), in press.
  4. The polarization results allowed the WMAP team to calculate the "scalar spectral index" for the universe. For a universe without inflation this index would be greater than or equal to 1.0. For a universe with inflation the index would be 0.95. The WMAP answer was 0.951 ± 0.017.
  5. Keith A. Olive and Evan D. Skillman, "A Realistic Determination of the Error on the Primordial Helium Abundance: Steps Toward Nonparametric Nebular Helium Abundances," Astrophysical Journal 617 (2004): 29-49.
  6. D. N. Spergel et al., in press.
  7. D. N. Spergel et al., in press.
  8. D. N. Spergel et al., in press.