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Echoes Of The Big Bang

For centuries the notion of "beginning" [of the universe] was taboo for science; scientists were more comfortable maintaining the Aristotelian model of an eternal universe that kept God out of the picture.

“Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun,” Dennis Overbye recently informed us in The New York Times. A few years ago, scientists suggested that the Big Bang must have passed a series of phases throughout its development into its present size. The most dramatic phase, the cosmological theory asserts, was the Inflation period, which, immediately after the Big Bang, caused the universe “to swell faster than the speed of light for a prodigiously violent instant.”

This inflationary phase, scientists surmised, must have generated gravitational waves, which should be detectable in the universe, same as the cosmic background radiation detected by Penzias and Wilson in 1978. Last month, scientists were able to identify those gravitational waves. The Big Bang was confirmed, again.

In my book, Awesome Creation, I present a Jewish perspective on the Big Bang (combined with a skeptical view on our cognitive abilities to search cosmogony) based primarily on Maimonides’s world of ideas.

In the first chapter, I explain that for decades the Big Bang theory was considered by the scientific community – and criticized for being – a religious theory. The Big Bang theory was the first time the scientific community entertained the notion that the universe had a beginning.

For centuries the notion of “beginning” was taboo for science; scientists were more comfortable maintaining the Aristotelian model of an eternal universe that kept God out of the picture. In the words of science author Simon Singh: “An eternal universe seemed to strike a chord with the scientific community…. If the universe has existed for eternity, then there was no need to explain how it was created, when it was created, why it was created and Who created it. Scientists were particularly proud that they had developed a theory of the universe that no longer relied on invoking God.”

Since 1930, when the expansion of the universe was discovered by Edwin Hubble and the beginning of the universe seemed more and more evident, secular scientists like Fred Hoyle, Arthur Eddington, and Albert Einstein were frustrated. Reflecting on this sentiment Robert Jastrow wrote: “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

In his book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking summarized in one sentence the reason naturalistic scientists resisted a scientific theory that posited a beginning for the universe: “So long as the universe had a beginning we could suppose it had a creator.”

These scientists rejected the Big Bang theory and tried finding an alternative cosmological model that would circumvent the idea of beginning and still be compatible with the proven expansion of the universe. Contemporary theories include the multiverses theory (our universe is just one universe among a multitude universes, which spontaneously begin from time to time); the Big-Crunch or the Oscillating universe (our universe had a beginning in time, but it will eventually shrink, crush and start again, so there was never really an absolute beginning) or Hawking’s no-boundary universe (the universe is like the North Pole, which does not have an end or a beginning).

These theories, with no factual evidence to support them, were formulated with one main goal in mind: avoiding the uncomfortable question posed by the problematic idea of beginning, i.e., Creation.

In light of the increasing soundness of the Big Bang theory, especially after 1978, scientists like Hawking appealed to the “time-factor,” conveying the perception that the Big Bang model is a God-excluding theory because it postulates that the universe is 13.5 billion years old, not 5,774 as biblical religions believe. His argument was very effective. Many religious people today believe the Big Bang opposes religion because of the pivotal differences regarding time since Creation, overlooking the unlikely correspondence between the first word of the Hebrew Bible, bereishit (in the beginning), and the main novelty of the Big Bang theory – namely, that there was indeed a beginning.

About the Author: Born in Argentina, Rabbi Bitton received his rabbinic ordination from Israel's Rabbinate and his dayanut ordination from Rabbi Obadiah Yosef and other leading Israeli rabbis. He recently published his first book in English “Awesome Creation: A Study on the First Three Verses of the Torah.” Rabbi Bitton currently resides in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, serving the Sephardic community of Ohel David uShlomo.

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8 Responses to “Echoes Of The Big Bang”

  1. All beliefs no proofs

  2. Rabbi Yosef Bitton, my respect, but you better take a look of the Bible: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge” Book of Psalms 19:1-2 KJV – Wanna read something else? “The earth is the LORD´s, and the fulness thereof. The world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas and established it upon the floods.” Psalms 24:1-2 – Be good…!!

  3. Sorry Rabbi Bitton, I´m also an argentinian. I´ve posted my answers to your article on facebook. My answers are firstly based on the Bible but I wish I can contacting you directly to discuss what you´ve said in it. Regards.

  4. one second before the Big Bang, Hashem had a thought…

  5. Heidi Vainio says:

    You know..l think the “big bang” went off in the head of the one who dreamed this big…lie …up….

  6. Gary Harper says:

    The singularity, the Word…what is the controversy? The Big Bang (actually an expansion) is straight out of Genesis.

  7. Gary Harper says:

    None of you have considered this. In the Scriptures, Hashem created the earth and all that is in it except for man in five days of Hashem. These are not men's days. The sixth day is the day man was created. It was one of Hashem's days, not men's. You will tell Hashem how long one of His days is?

    The seventh day was created for man. That is the first day of men. The seventh day is when man came to formalize in his mind the knowledge that he was given by Hashem into the Scriptures. Therein is found the promised rest.

    This article discusses events of the sixth day of Hashem. Adam is first man, red man, the man of the clay of Eden, the one shaped by the hand of Hashem; that does not necessarily mean first Homo sapiens. This is in the same manner that Jacob lay his head down on the unhewn rock, and his mind and heart were opened and sacrificed to Hashem, before he crossed over to meet his brother Esau. As Hashem breathed life into Adam, so did he also touch Jacob, and put the life into his children as a testament for all time. Adam hid from Hashem; Jacob wrestled with Him. Adam is first man; and his children chose wives for themselves from among the others. Others were there, but they were not men of Hashem. Adam was the first to see through the veil.

    The universe of the Scriptures is thousands of years of man old. The universe of Hashem is far more ancient, if measured in the days of man, rather than in the days of Hashem.

    The scientific theory of the expansion of the universe starts with a pre-existing singularity of no size or time that always was, and contained everything. Scripture calls it the Word. Of an instant it expanded, and the binding forces weakened enough so that light could escape. "Let there be light." With expansion, the waves of energy became particles, which formed atoms. With expansion, these atoms coalesced into spinning clouds, and stars were placed in the firmament, and their fires ignited. Planets and moons were formed from the dust gathered around them. The planets cooled, and atmospheres were collected and formed the sky and the dawn and dusk, and night was separated from day on the spinning planets.

    With time, the rains that landed could stay, and the waters and the continents were divided into their rightful places. As the seas cooled, and surface bombardment and volcanism decreased, single-celled organisms, then plants, then fish, formed in the sea, and colonized the surface. The animals and birds then sprang forth. Higher forms of animals came; and then, there was Homo sapiens. One day, one among them looked around, and realized that what was invisible and was beyond was the force that drives all of this. With his recognition of the presence of Hashem, Adam was born, just as Jacob was born the next day as Israel.

    Evolutionists owe a great, red-faced debt to Genesis. They shamelessly plagiarized it, in its entirety. This is to be expected, for all of science initially grew out of the speculations of religious men. The only incompatibility between Genesis and the Big Bang theory of the evolution of the universe is the order of the creation of the fish, the birds, and animals; but, if read correctly, in the way that Hebrew literature works, it is not really incompatible. This leaves you with the conundrum of the days. But Hashem’s day is not yours. This you must recognize. The limits imposed upon you are not imposed upon Hashem. The Day of the Lord is a very long day…

    You also have to consider that there are other worlds, are other realms, which of course includes other dimensions. A 6,000 year old universe in one dimension, a 4.6 billion year old solar system in another, a 26 billion year old universe in another, and a universe with no beginning in another dimension are not incompatible. Any theoretical physicist can tell you this. Space and time are warped by a particular presence. The deeper science goes down into the wormhole of sub-atomic particles, the more physicists start to appreciate the Scriptures.

    We each live in our own dimension. Since they are close in nature, we interact easily. There are many more than can be imagined; the Prophets have seen some of them. Those that are similar to ours can interact to a degree with us. Those that are dissimilar do not interact as well. This is dark matter. And those that are vastly dissimilar have very little interaction with our dimensions. They are essentially undetectable to us, but they are there. Countless dimensions, of differing times and spaces. There is far more dark matter than is suspected, as there are components of the universe that have yet to be thought of or considered, that were all contained within the singularity of the Word.

    The expansion of the universe, at the command of Hashem, are both truths. The timeless universe is the 252 billion year old universe is the 26 billion year old universe is the 6,000 year old universe. They are not mutually exclusive, as the universe contains all things, all realms, all dimensions. And Hashem holds the entire universe within His hands. So stop arguing; it all depends upon the dimension you are in.

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