The Nation Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announced last week that the National Science Foundation approved $9.5 million in funding to expand HERA – the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array. It is sometimes called the “Cosmic Dawn” telescope.
The project will use radio waves to study the hydrogen atoms that filled the universe around the time that the first stars began to form and discover what the universe looked like as the very first galaxies blazed into existence. The additional $9.5 million in funding will increase the number of radio antennas by more than 10 times what is currently planned, from 19 to 240, by 2018
According to HERA scientists, about a half a million years after the universe exploded into existence with the Big Bang, the cosmos was filled with a thick fog of neutral hydrogen atoms When the first stars were born, an event sometimes called the "cosmic dawn", much of the light they emitted was blocked by the hydrogen fog. Over time, the radiation from those stars and galaxies effectively began to clear away the fog freeing electrons from those neutral hydrogen atoms. The newly formed stars eventually made the universe transparent. This process lasted nearly a billion years and is known as cosmic reionization.
NRAO also stated, “Rather than looking for light from those early stars and galaxies, HERA will study the neutral hydrogen that lies between those early cosmic candles. The telescope's radio antennae's will focus on a specific wavelength that corresponds to light emitted by the slowly vanishing sea of neutral hydrogen that filled the space between the galaxies,"
Did you catch all of that? I’m not sure I did. It is indeed an interesting theory and a bold and expensive scientific endeavor. Is their method correct? Again, I’m not sure partly because I have no idea what they are really doing and how. And also partly because I was not there for the so-called Big Bang or the billion year process they are figuring into their work. And for that matter, neither were they. It always intrigues me when any scientific conclusion begins with presuppositions and not on fully provable facts. And while I marvel at their intellect and zeal for research, there seems to be a far better place to start on this one – but a place that sometimes does not always perfectly line up.
The Bible makes sit clear from its very first words about how everything started. Gen 1:1 states, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." And in verses 14-16 we read, "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth'; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also." Those of us who believe in the literal 24-hour day periods of biblical creation would feel that the stars could be seen from earth by man, who came into existence on day six according to verses 26-27. This might raise some serious issues with what HERA and others who are presenting that the light from the stars were blocked for extremely lengthy periods of time.
Scripture makes many references to the stars. Most give God the credit for creating them and even paying very special attention to each and every one. Psalm 8:3 again speaks of God’s creative hand. "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained." And Psalm 147:4 goes even beyond that declaring, "He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name." That is a staggering thought!
Again, modern science has made incredible advances in many spheres including astronomy. And most of what they have accomplished has helped mankind in general making life on the planet far better than it would have been otherwise. I am as grateful as anyone for so many of the blessings that have come through the efforts of so many dedicated and gifted minds.
But the problem arises when God is not part of the equation and, even worse, completely bypassed despite the rather obvious evidence of His existence and creative power. The problem comes when some discovery of how some complex part of the universe works receives more glory than does the One who designed, made and maintains it all.
So just why is giving God the credit He deserves first so crucial? The answer is seen in Romans 1:20-23. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools" Then verse 28 adds, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting." The word "debased" means worthless or unable to judge simple right from wrong or truth from error.
The bottom-line for why humanity is in the overall mess it now is, begins with not properly glorifying God. It arises from going about as though man knows best how to live and has no need of any relationship with his Creator. This is severely compounds the problem when there is then no sense of personal sin and thus no need for a personal Savior to save anyone from it. These have become the tragic embodiment of Psalm 53:1. “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God." And that view has certain devastating eternal consequences!
The vast creation of almighty God is a miraculous and mysterious thing indeed. Only the infinite God could have made what is there. (Col.1:16) And the only thing that can match, and even exceed it, is the spiritual creation of a fully forgiven soul through faith in God’s Son as described in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."