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 |   EXISTENCE |

 

 

What is the Big Bang?

How the world began.

 

RABBI MOSHE BEN-CHAIM
Founder: Mesora.org & the Jewishtimes

 

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Edwin Hubble’s (1889-1953) observations showed that distant galaxies were soaring away from us at huge speeds: the discovery of the expanding universe. And Belgian priest/astrophysicist Georges Lemaitre (1894-1966) was able to trace those expanding galaxies back to a single point of origin for the universe, an idea that became known as the “Big Bang Theory.” The Big Bang refers to the start of the universe—a tremendous explosion—which occurred nearly 14 billion years ago. Since that bang when all matter began, all galaxies are today still zooming away from the center of that bang. Tracing the galaxies’ paths backwards, Lemaitre calculated where that bang took place.

But as science is based on observable matter and laws, which did not exist prior to the Big Bang, science cannot know what caused the Big Bang. Judaism teaches that God caused the creation of the universe from nothingness. This is truly astonishing. People doubt this due to their inability to think outside their experience. As all they see is caused by something prior, like animals coming from a parent, they also believe the start of the universe must have had some prior physical source. They are stuck in a “causal” mindset. However, as natural laws of cause and effect did not exist before the universe, nothing demands the universe’s creation followed natural laws as we know them today. Therefore it is possible that God made the universe from literally nothing.

 

Another argument rejecting a causal explanation for the universe follows. If one suggests the universe was made from something physical called X, we must ask from what X was made. We might say X was made from W, which was made from V, which was made from U. This would go back infinitely. But it is impossible to have an endless chain of causes, with no first cause. For without a first cause, nothing started the chain to exist, and thus, the chain cannot exist. But as the chain does exist, an infinite chain of causes is impossible.

 

The Big Bang explained as creation from nothingness—creatio ex nihilo—is viewed as impossible only by those who insist that prior to natural causal law, natural causal law existed. But this is a contradiction. For once you say “before X existed,” this rejects bringing X back into the picture in a prior era. Thus, before natural causal law existed, matter did not rely on a prior substance to come into being. Matter could have been made out of nothingness.

 

 

 

 

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