Monday, October 27, 2008

in the beginning...the universe was created in a big, hot bang

(from a series of creation narratives used in fusion)

In the beginning…

God authored the universe in a big, hot bang.

The universe expanded from an extremely dense and hot state,
and it continues to expand today,
carrying galaxies with it like raisins in a rising loaf of bread.

Yup…it all started 16 billion years ago +/- 2 billion years.

For the first million years after the Big Bang, the universe expanded, the temperature dropped, and nuclei and atoms began to form.
Matter began to come together and make sweet galaxies under the force of gravity.
It started to rotate,
ultimately making spiral shaped galaxies like ours.
Within those galaxies hydrogen and helium were drawn together,
and got hot and heavy – literally, they got dense and warm.

Nuclear fusion commenced – lift off!

This process (still) provides the major source of fuel for stars.
Larger stars burn faster, smaller stars burn like cosmic crock pots.

As they begin to burn out, stars make heavier elements like carbon and oxygen.
Early in the universe (within the fist few hundred million years) such elements appeared only in the core of these dying stars,
but some of these stars blew up,
flinging heavier elements back into the gas in the galaxy.

Our sun is a second- or third-generation star,
a spatial step child
formed about 5 billion years ago by a great coming together of intergalactic debris.
Other debris, close by but not close enough to get sun-sucked,
became the planets in our solar system.

And, at first, our earth was a very inhospitable place.

The planet was constantly bludgeoned by giant asteroids and meteorites,
one of which actually tore the moon loose from the Earth – the first divorce.
Not surprisingly, rocks dating back 4 billion years or more show absolutely no evidence of life.

A piddling 150 million years later, the earth was crawling with life run amok
– a daystar daycare.

All of these steps in the formation of our solar system are now well described and unlikely to be revised on the basis of additional future information…
aka: we’re really, really sure this happened just like this.

Nearly all of the atoms in your body were once cooked in the nuclear furnace of an ancient supernova.

Yes, Paris – that is hot.

You are, truly, made of stardust.

Nothing grew on land until 400 million years ago,
at which point plants appeared on dry land, derived from aquatic life forms.

Beginning about 230 million years ago, dinosaurs dominated the earth.
They all died a sudden and catastrophic death about 65 million years ago,
at which an asteroid the size of Cuba fell crashed into Mexico,
creating what is now the Yucatan peninsula.
Fine crash-ash has been found around the world.
It ruined the environment and killed the dinosaurs.

This gave room for the mammals to take center stage.

That asteroid may have been the only possible way the dinosaurs could have become extinct and we could have come to power.
We probably wouldn't be here if that asteroid hadn’t slapped our neighbors to the South.

Bones of more than a dozen different man-like species have been discovered in Africa, with steadily increasing brain sizes.

The first proof of “modern” man showed up about 195,000 years ago.
Other men-folk appear to have encountered dead ends:
Neanderthals existed in Europe until 30,000 years ago,
and "hobbits," tiny people with small brains who lived in the island of Flores in Indonesia survived until 13,000 years ago.

No serious biologist today doubts the theory of evolution to explain the marvelous complexity and diversity of life.

Evolution, as a mechanism, can be and must be true.

But that says nothing about the nature of its author.

For those who believe in God, there are reasons now to be more in awe, not less.

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