Evidence Is Available!
IN LISTENING to the natural radio noise coming from outer space, scientists have detected something that has caused a great upheaval in their thinking.
We can trace the matter back to 1965 when Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were working with a 20-foot (6-m) horn antenna at the Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. While studying radiation that might affect communications via satellites, they detected dim microwave signals coming from every direction in the sky. In time it was appreciated that they evidently were listening to leftover radiation. Left over from what? The prevailing theory is that the universe originated in a huge explosion—a “big bang”—and that the radiation all around is a faint glow from that fireball explosion.
‘But what bearing does this have on the question of whether there is intelligent life out there?’ you may wonder.
This discovery, for which Penzias and Wilson won the Nobel Prize, convinced many scientists that there was an instant of creation. Noted astronomer Dr. Robert Jastrow explains: “Consider the enormity of the problem. Science has proved that the Universe exploded into being at a certain moment. It asks, What cause produced this effect? Who or what put the matter and energy into the Universe?”
Many now admit that science alone will never be able to provide the full answer. But Jastrow and many other scientists grasp the implication: “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
But the Bible does more than ask ‘Who put matter and energy into the Universe?’ It points to the reasonable answer—the Creator, God. And consistent with Einstein’s discovery that energy and matter are interconvertible, the Bible testifies that the Creator is a source of tremendous “dynamic energy.”—Gen. 1:1; Ps. 90:2; Isa. 40:26-29.
Jastrow concludes: “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.”—God and the Astronomers.
Yet there really is nothing bad about coming to accept the evidence of a Creator. A person who is open-minded enough to admit the possibility of intelligence beyond the earth should find no major difficulty in admitting what the Bible says about the living Creator. For example, the Bible informs us that rather than his having a material body of flesh and blood as we do, the First Cause is a spirit. (John 4:24) Thus, even though we cannot see him we can note what he accomplishes, even as scientists cannot see with their eyes the natural radio waves from space but still can receive and measure them.
Moreover, the existence of an intelligent Creator agrees with the wisdom and design manifest in the universe—from the awe-inspiring stars and galaxies to the incomprehensible intricacies of the atom.
Life on Earth—From Intelligence
If there were ‘intelligent life out there’ in the form of a living, wise Creator, that would help to explain significant things about our life here on earth.
The more that scientists learn about other planets in our solar system, and about the universe as a whole, the more they appreciate how precisely designed our earth is for life. In the lengthy article “Life May Exist Only on Earth, Study Says” the New York Times pointed out: “At a distance of 93 million miles from the sun, earthly temperatures have supported life. But if our earth had been slung into an orbit only 5 percent closer to the sun, a runaway greenhouse effect would have turned the planet into something like Venus—a cloud-shrouded planet with temperatures close to 900° F.
“If, on the other hand, we had been only 1 percent farther from the sun when the earth came into being, runaway glaciation would have enveloped the earth, and 1.7 billion years ago our planet would have become a barren desert similar to Mars.”—April 24, 1979.
Nor is it simply a matter of proper temperature. There are many other necessities for life, including water and the proper atmosphere. A group of 30 scientists attending a University of Maryland meeting on advanced civilizations focused in on what is needed to support life. After admitting that ‘no planet outside of the solar system has yet been discovered,’ they noted: “Even if another planetary system is formed, there is no certainty it will produce a solid planet like Earth, which contains nearly 100 elements, including those essential to life.”
Also, even if the right conditions prevail, which is so on the earth and no other place that is known, life does not exist automatically. In fact, scientists cannot really explain how life on earth appeared, that is, other than draw the conclusion that it was produced by an intelligent Creator.
The August/September 1979 issue of Technology Review called attention to this fact. It admitted that there is “a major gap” between chemicals needed to support life and even the simplest “living systems that could be called protocells.” Some scientists, employing their intelligence, skills and advanced laboratories, have been able to suggest how “prebiotic organic chemicals” (the chemical compounds needed for life) could be present on a primitive earth. “But,” the article said, “how to get from there to a living system which can translate, transmit, and act upon information . . . is what M.I.T.’s Alexander Rich called ‘the big intellectual stumbling block in the synthesis of life.”’
Where Did Life Come From?
As additional research is done on life, the question looms ever larger, ‘How did life originate on earth in the first place?’
Some scientists faced with this problem are reviving a theory presented in 1908 by Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius. It is called the “panspermia theory.” Basically, it holds that the earth may have been accidentally seeded by living cells that are wandering through the universe. Modernizing the idea a bit, Leslie Orgel of the Salk Institute and Nobel Prize-winner Francis H. C. Crick have suggested “directed panspermia.” Their idea is that an advanced civilization elsewhere in the universe deliberately may have “infected” the earth with life as an experiment. What do you think of that possibility?
It becomes clear, does it not, that such theories really do not solve the question of life’s origin. They just sort of avoid the question by transporting the problem off into the distant universe, despite the fact that scientists have not established: 1) that there are planets elsewhere, much less any qualified to support life, 2) that there are civilizations beyond our solar system, and 3) that there is microscopic life on other planets within our solar system.
Furthermore, the modern form of this theory illustrates that, consciously or not, many serious scientists realize that the existence of life must have resulted from the act of an intelligent Being, whom the Bible identifies as God.
In this regard, science editor Albert Rosenfeld relates: “I was chatting about all this with a non-scientific friend, who finally commented: ‘As an early reader of the Book of Genesis, I’m somehow not surprised at the idea that Someone Out There put us here. And if such a magical, mysterious, and powerful intelligence exists that is utterly beyond human imagining, can you give me a good reason why I shouldn’t call it God?’ I could give him no good reason why not.”—Saturday Review/World.
Benefiting from the Intelligence Out There
Earlier we noted a prime motive underlying the search for intelligent life in outer space: Many who are engaged in this search feel that if they could make such a contact we on earth would be in position to benefit. Recall that astronomer Carl Sagan said that extraterrestrial intelligences might help us to end food shortages, war and pollution. It is suggested that even death might thus be conquered. This is most interesting, for the Intelligence, the Creator, to whom the evidence points, has communicated his purpose to end those very things.
Astronauts on the moon have sent messages, even television pictures, back to the earth. So it is not surprising that the Creator can communicate information to humans and has done so in the past. These communiqués have been written down for preservation and wide distribution; they are found in the Bible.
We noted earlier that Dr. Robert Jastrow concluded that information in the Bible is consistent with recent discoveries made by astronomers. Nor is such harmony between the Bible and science limited to the creation of the universe. (Compare Job 26:7; Isaiah 40:22.) So we have good reason to examine what the Bible says as to when and how the Creator will end pollution, war and even death itself. We urge you to treat your examination of the Bible’s information from the Creator just as seriously as scientists have treated their search for life in outer space.
[Blurb on page 12]
“Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world”
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‘No planet outside of the solar system has yet been discovered’
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We have good reason to examine what the Bible says