A well-known astronomer posits in a new Scientific American article that aliens could be the answer to a question that has perplexed many in the modern scientific community: What existed before the big bang?
But his suggestion is drawing criticism from Answers in Genesis founder and CEO Ken Ham, who writes on his blog: “So a Creator God is dismissed out of hand, but advanced aliens making an entire universe out of nothing in a lab” is possible? Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry.
The astronomer, Avi Loeb, is the former chair (2011-2020) of the astronomy department at Harvard University and the author of several books, including Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. Loeb is frequently quoted by media outlets on astronomy subjects.
“The biggest mystery concerning the history of our universe is what happened before the big bang. Where did our universe come from?” Loeb asks in the Scientific American article. “Nearly a century ago, Albert Einstein searched for steady-state alternatives to the big bang model because a beginning in time was not philosophically satisfying in his mind.
“... A less explored possibility,” Loeb writes, “is that our universe was created in the laboratory of an advanced technological civilization. Since our universe has a flat geometry with a zero net energy, an advanced civilization could have developed a technology that created a baby universe out of nothing through quantum tunneling.”
The idea, he asserts, “unifies the religious notion of a creator with the secular notion of quantum gravity.”
“We do not possess a predictive theory that combines the two pillars of modern physics: quantum mechanics and gravity,” Loeb writes. “But a more advanced civilization might have accomplished this feat and mastered the technology of creating baby universes. If that happened, then not only could it account for the origin of our universe, but it would also suggest that a universe like our own – which in this picture hosts an advanced technological civilization that gives birth to a new flat universe – is like a biological system that maintains the longevity of its genetic material through multiple generations.”
Loeb concludes, “We must allow ourselves to look humbly through new telescopes, as envisioned by the recently announced Galileo Project, and search for smarter kids on our cosmic block.”
Ham, on his blog, says Loeb’s argument acknowledges the need for an intelligent designer of the universe.
“It’s obvious our universe didn’t come from nothing and that there is a Creator – but sinful hearts suppress the truth and will believe in anything (literally anything) rather than accept the truth of God’s Word,” Ham writes.
Loeb’s argument, Ham writes, “highlights the truth of Romans 1:18-23,” which says, in part, that men “suppress the truth.”
“Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things,” the biblical passage says.
Ham closes, “Dr. Loeb, I encourage you to discover the true origins of the universe, the earth, and life itself by looking to God’s Word, beginning in Genesis, which states, ‘In the beginning God. ...’ (Genesis 1:1). By the way, science confirms life and the universe could only come about as a result of an intelligence.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.