Since the Hubble telescope was placed into orbit, the scientists of today now have a much better view of the universe than their predecessors ever dreamed of having. Yet even with this superior view, which makes it possible to look into some of the deepest areas of the universe, they are still baffled by what they have discovered. Increased technology has opened up new and distant galaxies, black holes, quasars and more; but instead of answering many of the unanswered questions concerning the universe, it has added many more.
Who Knows the Age of the Universe?
In the past, scientists have estimated that this universe came into existence some 10 or 12 billion years ago. Some cosmologists say that the universe may be 8 to 15 billion years old, while others claim it could be 16 to 19 billion years old. Since the Hubble telescope findings, astronomers have been able to make the most credible estimates to date. Because of the findings of this telescope, they now estimate the universe to be between 8 and 12 billion years old.
Most still cannot fully agree on the age of the universe, but one major theme that almost all of these scientists do agree on is that it all began with the “Big Bang.” Reading statements like “Big Bang” is usually a sign to me that the ones making them refuse to consider that there is a God in heaven who created this vast universe; that creation demands a Creator; that according to the Bible, all God had to do was speak, and it was accomplished. “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth…. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6, 9). All God had to do was to speak, and it was done. This seems ridiculous for those who deny a Creator God.
Could God have used the “Big Bang” as scientists say? Of course He could have. God could have started it any way He wanted to. The problem with those who deny the existence of God is they must rely solely on physical knowledge to get answers to things that are basically spiritual in nature.
New Age Findings Present a Crisis
The astronomers who have made these latest discoveries are not inexperienced or untrustworthy, but highly respected in their field, according to the article “Crisis in the Cosmos” (Discover, March 1995). This 14-member group is led by Wendy Freedman of Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. They claim, “There is almost no doubt that the oldest stars in the Milky Way, which live in the globular star clusters that orbit the galaxy’s central bulge, are at least 14 billion years old, and probably even more ancient than that.” This does present a problem, because according to the previous estimation, the age of the universe was 8 to 12 billion years old. Stars billions of years older than the universe? This is also a dilemma for those who claim the universe is older. “The universe may be 8 to 15 billion years old, while others claim it could be 16 to 19 billion years old. Because the oldest stars can’t be older than the universe in which they lie, this age paradox presents a thorny problem for astronomers” (“The Age Paradox,” Astronomy, June 1993).
Now we can see why they call it a crisis. “It would be premature to panic, but if these results are confirmed, we theorists will be in trouble. We really have no good ways of explaining these observations,” said David Weinberg, an astronomer at Ohio State University. Perhaps, as the article states, “the Big Bang itself will have to give.” That in itself is quite a statement!
These findings were confirmed by their colleagues. They state that “Wendy Freedman … and a group of colleagues used the Hubble telescope, to peg the age [of the universe] at somewhere between 8 to 12 billion years—which would make the cosmos 2 billion years younger than some of the stars it contains.” In light of this recent information, Christopher Impey of the University of Arizona states, “You can’t be older than your ma.” How can some stars be older than the universe? “At stake are answers to some of the most fundamental questions facing humanity: What is the origin of the universe? What is it made of? And what is its ultimate destiny?” (March 6, 1995 Time, “Unraveling Universe”).
The Key to Understanding the Universe
These scientists probably have more training in this field than all of us (reading this article) put together; but those who hold fast to a relationship with the Creator God, believing what He has said in the Bible concerning the creation of the universe, can have the unique understanding about why this universe was created in the first place. The questions scientists have could be answered if they would search into the source of all knowledge, the Bible. By going to the very source of the one who created all of this vast universe, which is so baffling to these scientists, they would find answers that would astound them. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever” (Psalm 111:10).
When we realize what a perfectly organized creation the universe is, it shouldn’t take a scholar to realize that a mighty, organized, all-powerful God brought all of this into existence. “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth” (Isaiah 40:26). Not only does this God know how old the universe is, He knows exactly how many stars there are. He even calls them all by name! “…There is no searching of his understanding (verse 28).
The great expanse of heaven is the work of God’s hands. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). The word firmament is better rendered, “the expanse of heaven.”
In the last few years, scientists have uncovered the existence of the Great Wall—a huge conglomeration of galaxies which stretches across the universe for 500 million light years. This great wall is also 200 million light years wide and 15 million light years thick. “Because it runs off the edge of our survey, we don’t know how big it really is” (Margaret Geller, Time, Nov. 27, 1989). Wow! A wall of galaxies that would take 500 million years to travel from one end to the other, that is, if we could travel at 186,000 miles per second! This article also states that the universe got under way with the “Big Bang” and could be 10 to 20 billion years old.
Scientists seldom agree among themselves about their findings, but they all seem to agree on two things: the universe began with a “Big Bang” and there is not such a Being as a God in heaven who has brought all of this into existence.
An October 1988 Plain Truth article titled “What on Earth is God Doing?” showed that two enormous arcs were discovered in the far off heavens, composed of hundreds of millions of stars spread out in perfectly formed arcs. They are by far the largest structures in the universe ever seen by human eyes. What is most perplexing to theorists is the sheer size and symmetry of these formations. “You could wrap our galaxy three or four times with this thing. It looks like God created something like a long rope, cut it into simple pieces and plopped it up in the sky” (Plain Truth). These findings are simply baffling to many scientists.
In addressing the hypothetical subject of “cosmic strings,” astronomers say these strings are smaller than a proton in cross section, but loop for millions of light years across space. A single cosmic string could weigh as much as a billion suns. Of course, they say these might or might not exist. James Peebles, a leading astronomer at Princeton University, said, “Astronomers rely on what nature chooses to throw our way.” According to Modern Maturity, Peebles later “compared scientists attempting to comprehend the universe with slightly befuddled kindergarten children, while nature is a patient teacher ‘who keeps presenting us with hints, we’re still not getting the point, but at least we’re working toward it’” (Oct./Nov. 1988).
Why can’t these learned scientists see God’s hand in this? They have access to the greatest technology ever to study God’s creation. Why do they believe this all just happened with a Big Bang? I’ve read many articles about the universe, written by many “educated” individuals, yet what I find lacking in almost all of them is God.
When David went out in the field and looked at the heavens and saw the stars that God created, he was simply overwhelmed. He had no doubt that there had to be a Creator God who created this universe. He said, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psalm 8:3-4). David wondered why a God so powerful would even bother with the likes of men.
Herbert Armstrong proved in his booklet, Seven Proofs God Exists, that there are laws in the universe—laws so precise that even clocks here on Earth are set by the universe. He taught that the existence of law demands a lawgiver and a sustainer of those laws—that creation also demands a Creator and life demands a lifegiver. God has not hidden the fact that He created the universe.
God even taught astronomy to the patriarchs of old. Notice what Job wrote many thousands of years ago: “Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea; Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south” (Job 9:7-9). Any student of astronomy knows that “Arcturus, Pleiades and Orion” are great constellations, and God said He created them.
In Orion, there are two giant stars—Rigel and Betelgeuse. The latter sun is so large that if it were placed where our sun is, it would engulf not only our sun, but all the distance inside the earth’s orbit of the sun. This gigantic sun is between 180 to 200 million miles in diameter. God has created such a unique and magnificent universe. But He has created it in such a way as to confuse those who choose to deny His existence.
Big Bang Theory
If this universe started off as one big ball, and then the Big Bang thrust all of these galaxies and their stars speeding into outer space, doesn’t it stand to reason that all galaxies, stars and planets are all speeding along in the same direction—away from where the “bang” occurred? In fact, “cosmologists say with some confidence that the universe started out in a very hot dense state somewhere between 8 billion and 25 billion years ago, and that it has been expanding outward ever since—the Big Bang in a nutshell” (“Unraveling Universe”).
According to the article “Crisis in the Cosmos,” the latest observations threaten the Big Bang theory. It states, “These days cosmology seems to be collapsing in on itself…new discoveries have come along, observations so disconcerting that they threaten to shake the field to its foundation. The first is that galaxies in a huge chunk of the universe, a region at least 1 billion light years across that includes our own Milky Way, appear to be moving, all in the same direction, at about 435 miles per second or 1.56 million miles per hour.” That is a dazzling and dizzying speed. The article goes on to say, “Even if you’re a cosmologist, and are used to such ridiculous distances and speeds, you have trouble explaining that observation.” The only force they say that could set such a large fraction of the universe in motion is gravity. This conflicts with the Big Bang theory which should have thrusted everything out in the same direction. This “force of gravity” would have to be already farther out in the universe, larger than the galaxies that were spewed out by the Big Bang.
If we accept this gravity theory, it would have to be large enough to draw other objects to it by its greater gravity. When cosmologists attribute the origin of the universe to such theories as Big Bang or the force of gravity, aren’t they saying that this force of gravity or this power of Big Bang is intelligent enough to actually have created the universe? Since you can’t have a creation without a Creator, they would, figuratively speaking, be making these powerful forces god, even though they would not admit to this.
This is not the only problem with the Big Bang theory. The closest galaxy to our own Milky Way is the Andromeda. It is said that even traveling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) it would take 2,300,000 years just to reach that galaxy. But according to the article “Unraveling Universe,” the galaxy Andromeda is being pulled closer to the Milky Way. Doesn’t that seem strange? If there was a “Big Bang,” everything should be heading out in the same direction. Yet here we see two galaxies traveling toward one another. Both of these galaxies are being pulled toward the Virgo supercluster of galaxies which in turn are being pulled toward the Great Attractor.
Our Milky Way galaxy and many other galaxies are streaming toward a region of the universe called the Great Attractor. “Whereas galaxy clusters contain many galaxies in a small region, the Great Attractor has in it many galaxies spread over an enormous volume of space. As we see it, over five thousand galaxies in the Great Attractor splay across 60 degrees of the sky, covering one-third of the southern hemisphere. … Astronomers estimate that all the matter within the Great Attractor has a mass of about 50 million billion suns, or 50,000 times the mass of galaxies like the Milky Way. … The Great Attractor, the Virgo Supercluster and other galactic groups all tug at one another yet in different directions (“Cosmic Tug of War,” Astronomy, July 1993).
“Our planet orbits the sun, which orbits the core of the Milky Way, which is being pulled by Andromeda and by Virgo and by the Great Attractor” (“Crisis in the Cosmos”). This means the Earth is moving along at this fantastic rate of speed—pulled by all these powerful forces. It seems a giant river in space has been discovered and everything in the universe seems to be carried along in this stream, downstream so to speak.
The article uses this analogy: “Imagine you’re sitting in a rowboat in some body of water. You’re rowing hard toward a friend you see sitting in another boat. Glancing off to one side, though, you notice that you’re also closing fast with some rocks on shore. How could you be approaching both your friend and the rocks at the same time?” Even though you are both getting closer to one another, you’re both being pulled by the current downstream. That closely explains what is happening in the universe. Even though the galaxies are being pulled toward one another by gravitational pull, they’re also traveling in the same direction in this giant river in space.
“What could this mean? Earth can’t be streaking through space in two entirely different directions at once” (Discover, March 1995). The article explains that a billion light years worth of matter is sliding sideways across the universe at a velocity of 435 miles per second, caused by the “hypothetical Great Attractor.” This was called distressing news because it could not be explained. They just can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that a Creator God exists who set all these forces in motion.
It seems as if God’s creation just continues to baffle those who study the universe. Adding to the confusion about this vast universe are black holes. The regions of the universe are infinite. Many facts are unknown. Most astronomers using telescopes can only notice what they can see. About 90 percent of the universe is dark and some of this dark matter has been explained as “black holes.” Not knowing exactly what these dark holes are, many theories have been developed. One is that a black hole is a collapsed star; stars come into being, they grow, and eventually die, and as the star nears the end, its core begins to collapse. A point exists during the collapse, when even light cannot escape the gravitational pull. So when light cannot escape, this leads to the idea that nothing can escape the black hole. For this reason, John Archibald Wheeler, an American physicist, named this dark region a “black hole.” Black holes, being invisible, can only be detected by their gravitational pull. Their gravitational pull can be so strong that a star can orbit the hole. But while the star is orbiting, it will gradually be sucked into the hole.
Some believe the center of our galaxy is a massive black hole. According to Astronomy magazine, massive black holes probably lie at the center of most giant galaxies (May 1995). The trouble with black holes is they are by their very nature tough to study. Even the existence of an ordinary black hole is difficult to prove. Although the galaxy probably contains roughly 100 million black holes, astronomers have found only four good candidates in the Milky Way. In these systems, a normal star circles an invisible one so quickly that the invisible star’s mass probably represents a black hole. Although black holes have more mass than the sun physically, they are not as large.
“Some have suggested that the intergalactic reaches may be peppered with ‘black holes,’ super-dense objects, whose gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape it. If the Earth were squeezed down to the black hole density, it would be the size of a golf ball” (Modern Maturity, October 1988). Another analogy would be the compaction of neutron material into the size of a period. The period would weigh twenty million pounds.
“If our retinas could register wavelengths, we would witness a firmament of such turbulence and incandescent splendor that it would make the fourth of July fireworks look like a backyard sparkler. We would see black holes slurp up their neighbors and jets of plasma stream across the sky with the energy of 100 million suns. We would see stars—so small they would fit comfortably in Lake Tahoe—spin an astounding 643 times per second. We would see neutron stars so dense that a teaspoonful of their tiny bodies would weigh one billion tons and clouds bigger than our solar system collapse like a poorly timed souffle” (Newsweek, June 1991).
In the universe, many things exist that cannot be explained or proven. The detection of black holes is directly related to scientific theories which describe the properties and effects of black holes. Black holes probably do exist, but scientists aren’t certain if they do. They have to base their thoughts about the universe, not only on observation and fact, but also on what they believe. This article closes with an astounding admission: “Time and time again, astronomers have been humbled by the realization that nature’s imagination is much greater than their own.” Notice they just cannot say GOD! They use the word nature instead.
Why This Vast Universe?
Astronomers are at a loss because they leave God out of the picture. After a study on “dark matter,” James Trefil stated, “the presence of dark matter… has determined the way the universe operates almost from the beginning. Given that it will also determine the end of the universe, you have to come to the conclusion that ordinary matter—the sort of stuff we are made of—just isn’t terrifically important in the grand scheme of things” (Smithsonian, June 1993). The astronomer simply wasn’t there when the universe began. But God was there, and He can quickly tell us what happened. If only these astronomers could understand that God fully intends for them to be able to understand and study the universe; that God intends for them to someday be able to visit all of these far off galaxies and super clusters; that He intends us to, in fact, further develop these galaxies! But that will occur only after mankind has qualified by developing godly character in this life, and then being born into God’s Family.
When they find large clusters of galaxies moving along in perfect order, controlled by laws that regulate them, scientists should realize that something so great and so organized could not have just happened. There had to be one who designed and then created, and who today sustains that great creation! With their “education,” they should know that.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Some do believe in a Supreme Being, but do they open the Word of God and read and believe what it has to say about outer space? Do they get so wrapped up in what they are doing that they forget the God who brought all of this into existence?
“He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7). “Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 148:4-5). “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4).
We are told in just these few scriptures that all God had to do was speak, and they were created. Mankind is without excuse for embracing the theory of evolution which denies the existence of God. Only a fool would say there is no God (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Even though one might be educated with many degrees, he should be considered a fool if he denies the existence of the Creator God.
God Does Have a Plan
But what about this universe? What about all of these multiple billions of super galaxies with their multiple billions of suns, which no doubt have an enormous number of planets orbiting them? Did God just place them out there to baffle the scientists? Or does God have a plan? Does God plan for mankind to someday rule over this universe?
As impossible as this might seem to the average person, it is exactly what the Bible reveals. “God … hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2). All things is rendered universe in the Moffatt and some other translations. Someone might say, “But that tells us Christ inherits the universe, not man.” But we have the opportunity to share in that inheritance with Christ after certain conditions are met!
Notice what God inspired the apostle Paul to write: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17). Did you notice that? Paul wrote that we—after repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands, which begets us with God’s Spirit—become the children of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. That means whatever He inherits, we inherit. This is the knowledge scientists know nothing about. That’s because it must be revealed by God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9).
We are even going to look like Christ. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:5). “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49). A description of Jesus Christ in His glorified form is given in Revelation 1:14-16. To be joint-heirs along with Jesus Christ, and to actually look as He does, with our faces shining as bright as the sun, is difficult to comprehend. But this is exactly what God has promised to give His sons who overcome. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son” (Rev. 21:7). God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).
Knowing these mysteries, we can now begin to understand the answer to David’s question: “What is man, that you are mindful of him?” God is adding to His Family by reproducing Himself through mankind. Just as we reproduce and have our offspring, we are to be God’s offspring (Acts 17:28-29). The marriage and family relationship are meant to be a type of the God Family (Genesis 1:26; Ephesians 5:32). Those in the true Church today are the only ones in all of God’s creation who have this God-plane relationship of love, marriage and family.
The Unfinished Universe
But what about the universe we are to inherit? What are we going to do with all those galaxies, suns and their planets? Since God’s Family will never cease to grow (Isaiah 9:7), God fully intends to use those barren, wasted planets.
In his book The Incredible Human Potential, Herbert Armstrong wrote, “This truth will amaze, astound, fascinate and move you more irresistibly than the most gripping thriller—and make you praise the great Creator God for giving you life and this awesome potential.” That was written on the inside cover of the hardback edition. On page 24, he wrote, “Haven’t you wondered about them? Are any of them inhabited? Did they evolve, as most scientists—astronomers, biologists, geologists—theorize? Or were they created by an all-intelligent, all-powerful Creator Being? Were they created and set in space for a purpose? Do any of the planets contain any kind of life, or are all like our moon—dead, decayed, lifeless, waste, empty, uninhabitable? And if they are in a dead state of decay and lifeless, why would an intelligent Creator have created them thus?”
God did not create them this way! He created these planets in a state of beauty and non-decay. But something happened to cause this deterioration. Why are the planets in this condition?
After God created this earth in its perfect beauty, the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7). It was going to be the home for them. God then placed the angels on this planet under the great archangel Lucifer. Not being satisfied with what God had given him, Lucifer devised a plan to take over the throne of God (Isaiah 14:12-14). He eventually convinced a third of the angels to follow him in this rebellion against their Creator (Revelation 12:4). What followed was a devastating universal war in which Lucifer and his angels were thoroughly defeated. That great war left the planets in a state of waste and decay, which is the condition we find the planets in today. But God’s plan continues.
God plans to put all things in subjection under man’s feet. “For in that He put all in subjection under him [man], he left nothing that is not put under him” (Hebrews 2:8). Is it possible God could mean what he says—all things? Nothing excluded? Notice, the theme here is the “world to come” (verse 5). “For unto the angels hath He [God] not put into subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.” We have already seen that Christ inherits the universe and that we are joint-heirs with Christ. We are now only heirs—not yet possessors. But Christ has already inherited it (Hebrews 1:1-3).
In Romans 8:29, we read that Christ is the firstborn of many brethren. Christ is the pioneer who has gone before, and we shall follow at the resurrection of the just when He returns to Earth in supreme power and glory. At His return to Earth in power and glory, those who have been converted and who have received God’s Holy Spirit, shall be born into the God Family by a resurrection. They shall reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Then the entire universe will be put into subjection under them.
This universe, which is now filled with planets that are not capable of sustaining life, will be set free from its bondage to decay. “When we (converted humans) are born of God—then having the power and glory of God—we are going to do as God did when this earth had been laid ‘waste and empty’—Hebrew tohu and bohu (Genesis 1:2). Christ, who ‘renewed the face of the earth’ (Psalm 104:30), was renewing what had been destroyed by the rebellion of the sinning angels. … This passage indicates precisely what all astronomers and scientific evidence indicates—the suns are as balls of fire, giving out light and heat; but the planets, except for this Earth, are in a state of death, decay and futility—but not forever—waiting until converted humans are born the children of God; born into the very Divine Family of God, forming the Kingdom of God” (Incredible Human Potential). Mr. Armstrong goes on to show our potential is to be born into the God Family, receiving total power!
We are to be given jurisdiction over the entire universe. “What are we going to do then? These scriptures indicate we shall impart life to billions and billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this Earth. We shall create, as God directs and instructs. We shall rule through all eternity! Revelation 21 and 22 show there will then be no pain, no suffering, no evil, because we shall have learned to choose God’s way of good. It will be an eternal life of accomplishment ….
“We shall never grow tired and weary. Always alive—full of joyous energy, vitality, exuberant life and strength and power.
“What a potential!” (Incredible Human Potential).
Earth to Become Universe Headquarters
The last book Mr. Armstrong wrote before his death wasMystery of the Ages. This book clearly covers God’s plan for this universe and the destiny of man. Notice what Mr. Armstrong wrote in the final chapter of this inspiring book: “Finally, even God the Father will come to this Earth. His throne over the whole universe will be established on this Earth. … In Revelation 21:3: ‘And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.’
“And further in Revelation 22:3: ‘And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.’
“When it speaks of God and the Lamb, the Lamb represents Christ and God refers to the Father.
“Finally the at-one-ment shall be completed. Both God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ in us and we united with them as the one great supreme God Family.”
What a future mankind has, yet scientists, physicists, astronomers and the inhabitants of the world cannot even imagine a future such as this (1 Corinthians 2:9). But the day is coming when they will. Some day these very scientists who now study the universe with its billions of galaxies and have all of these unanswered questions will, after they have qualified, become members of the Family of God. They will then be able to travel to the outer edges of this vast universe and receive answers to all of their questions.
Continuing in Mystery of the Ages: “How wonderful beyond the ability of words to express is the glory of God and His wonderful purpose actually now in progress. Praise, honor and glory be to God and to Jesus Christ forever and forever.
“With God’s great master plan of seven thousand years finally completed—the mystery of the ages finally revealed, and with the re-creating of the vast universe and eternity lying ahead, we come finally to the beginning.”