THE CONSISTENT CLAIM of the Bible is that everything in the universe was created by an all-powerful and supremely wise being called God:
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’ [Genesis 1.1].
‘The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by under-standing hath he established the heaven’ [Proverbs 3.19].
‘…God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein’ [Acts 14.15].
However many people ask the question: ‘Are such claims made several thousand years ago, to be taken seriously in view of the immense increase in knowledge and understanding of nature and the universe that man has gained in recent years?’ In this section we will review some of the discoveries scientists have made, leaving you to judge whether these findings make God unnecessary and irrelevant, or whether it becomes more reasonable to believe in the existence of an intelligent designer and controller. Are belief in God and scientific discovery necessarily in conflict?
DISCOVERING THE UNIVERSE
A radio telescope
Dotted around the world, usually on the summit of high mountains above the pollution and distortion of the earth's atmosphere, are a number of astrophysical observatories. These very specialised buildings contain huge telescopes that peer out into space with such magnification that they could spot a small coin on the moon, or measure the thickness of a hair fifty miles away. Special cameras take pictures and other instruments record and analyse the light coming from the heavenly bodies. Where light cannot penetrate the vast areas of interstellar dust a special infrared telescope – so sensitive that it can detect the heat of a candle flame a long distance away – pinpoints the presence of unseen bodies in space.
The Hubble telescope
The universe also abounds in radio waves emitted from distant stars that readily penetrate our atmosphere and can be picked up by the massive bowls of radio telescopes that are dotted around the world.
To avoid the problems caused by our weather and atmosphere, there are also flying observatories, notably the Hubble telescope, packed with computer-driven instruments that record the heavens from the comparatively dry and clear atmosphere miles above the earth.