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Science

The Beginning of the Universe

David Langness | May 8, 2014

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David Langness | May 8, 2014

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

Radio Telescopes

Recently, radio astronomers reported that they had detected the beginning of the universe.

Never before has humanity been able to look back that far in time – 13.8 billion years ago – and only a huge array of radio telescopes at the South Pole accomplished it. With that array, scientists found evidence of the first tiny segment of cosmic time.

As we look out into our universe, of course, we see light that left the most distant stars and galaxies billions of years ago. The vast distances — so great that it takes light billions of years just to reach us – mean we can actually see into the past. And radio telescopes can see much more than just the visual spectrum, with their ability to detect swirls of polarized light at some of the farthest reaches of cosmic time.

This astonishing discovery confirms Einstein’s general theory of relativity and physicist Alan Guth’s 1979 supposition that the Big Bang generated a force called inflation – which made the newly-created universe expand more rapidly than the speed of light. Inflation also helps buttress the scientific reality of the idea of the multiverse, the almost unimaginable concept that our universe is not alone.

As the New York Times reported:

Most of the hundred or so models resulting from Dr. Guth’s original vision suggest that inflation, once started, is eternal. Even as our own universe settled down to a comfortable homey expansion, the rest of the cosmos will continue blowing up, spinning off other bubbles endlessly, a concept known as the multiverse. – Dennis Overbye, March 17, 2014.

South Pole Telescope

South Pole Telescope

No bigger scientific discovery has occurred in recent times. The confirmation of inflation makes for increasing certainty, not only about our origins; but of the fact of multiple, continuing origins. This awe-inspiring idea, which we finite human beings find difficult to comprehend, simply shows that existence has always existed, and will continue to exist forever. We have now penetrated to the very beginnings of known time, 13.8 billion light-years ago — only to find that our own cosmos-creating Big Bang was likely just one of many.

These landmark scientific discoveries also validate and verify the Baha’i view that existence is timeless, with no start or end date. Just as the Creator is inconceivably infinite and eternal, the Baha’i writings say, the creation also has no beginning and no end. Scientists, astronomers and physicists struggle to understand and then express the eternal nature of existence – but somehow the poets and prophets say it best.

In the elegiac, epic language of revelation, Baha’u’llah explains:

Praise be to God, the All-Possessing, the King of incomparable glory, a praise which is immeasurably above the understanding of all created things, and is exalted beyond the grasp of the minds of men. None else besides Him hath ever been able to sing adequately His praise, nor will any man succeed at any time in describing the full measure of His glory. Who is it that can claim to have attained the heights of His exalted Essence, and what mind can measure the depths of His unfathomable mystery? From each and every revelation emanating from the Source of His glory, holy and never-ending evidences of unimaginable splendor have appeared, and out of every manifestation of His invincible power oceans of eternal light have outpoured. How immensely exalted are the wondrous testimonies of His almighty sovereignty, a glimmer of which, if it but touched them, would utterly consume all that are in the heavens and in the earth! How indescribably lofty are the tokens of His consummate power, a single sign of which, however inconsiderable, must transcend the comprehension of whatsoever hath, from the beginning that hath no beginning, been brought into being, or will be created in the future till the end that hath no end.

A drop of the billowing ocean of His endless mercy hath adorned all creation with the ornament of existence, and a breath wafted from His peerless Paradise hath invested all beings with the robe of His sanctity and glory. A sprinkling from the unfathomed deep of His sovereign and all-pervasive Will hath, out of utter nothingness, called into being a creation which is infinite in its range and deathless in its duration. The wonders of His bounty can never cease, and the stream of His merciful grace can never be arrested. The process of His creation hath had no beginning, and can have no end. – Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 60-61.

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Comments

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  • George x
    Jan 9, 2017
    -
    George W
    ”A sprinkling from the unfathomed deep of His sovereign and all-pervasive Will hath, out of utter nothingness, called into being a creation ..”
    "The process of His creation hath had no beginning, and can have no end"
    These two quotes at the end of the article appear contradictory.
    The universe either begun out of nothingness or exists forever.
    Or is it possible that the universe is infinite but the concept of creation occurs everywhere (being infinite)
  • Greg Billington
    Mar 31, 2016
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    As I read about Dr. Kovac's confirmation of inflation theory, which your article depends upon, and the subsequent debunking of that proof, it seems to me that this article needs either revision or deleting. While it is true that many-to-most relevant scientists still believe in some inflation version based upon Guth and Linde's theory, or some version based upon the Hawking-Turok Instanton, nothing is yet proven. If they are not proven, the claims you make about the proof of the Baha'i Cosmogony is also not independently validated.
  • Sep 14, 2015
    -
    "As to thy question concerning the worlds of God. Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range. None can reckon or comprehend them except God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 151)
    "It is necessary, therefore, that we should know what each of the important existences was in the beginning -- for there is no doubt that in the beginning the origin was one: the origin of all numbers is one and not two. Then it is evident that in the beginning ...matter was one, and that one matter appeared in different aspects in each element." (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 180)
    This is direct confirmation from the writings that the Big Bang indeed occurred but that it was not a unique event.
    And still...
    "If we could imagine a time when no beings existed, this imagination would be the denial of the Divinity of God." (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 180)
    "..Therefore it cannot be said there was a time when man was not. All that we can say is that this terrestrial globe at one time did not exist, and at its beginning man did not appear upon it....Therefore it cannot be imagined that the worlds of existence, whether the stars or this earth, were once inhabited by the donkey, cow, mouse, and cat, and that they were without man!" (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 311)
    This last quote has huge implications. Abdu'l-Baha is referring to "man" here not as human beings by themselves but rather as creatures with the capability to know and worship God. So He is saying that such creatures or 'man' have always existed, be it in this universe or some other one. It means the universe(s) and the multiverse is full of intelligent life! Clearly 5 billion years ago, there was no planet Earth or humans, but somewhere in this universe and others there was and there is intelligent life with the capability of knowing God. 30 billion years ago, our universe certainly didn't exist, but since "it cannot be said there was a time when man was not", this obviously means we are living in a multiverse.
    Some modern cosmologists and string theorists among other physicists are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that there really are infinite number of universes....oh and different types of universes too. They have only theorized of seven levels or types of universes, but as Baha'u'llah has stated, they are "infinite in their range!"
    #MindBoggling! #ScienceAndReligionAgree
    Read more...
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