April Fools: Happy Birthday to the Big Bang

Break out the birthday cake and candles. It’s the anniversary of the publication of the big bang, the theory of our cosmic origin. It’s also the reminder of what has to be one of the funniest scientific April fools’ jokes ever. If you think scientists don’t have a sense of humor, think again.

The theory of the big bang is traced back to an article written by Ralph Alpher and George Gamow that was published on April 1, 1948. Gamow, who was known for being a prankster, included a friend’s name, Hans Gath, on the article submission just for kicks. The friend knew nothing of the theory and nothing of the article. But he did get credited as one of the contributors to a well known scientific model. That’s my kind of April fools’ joke.

At any rate, the notion of the big bang gets diverse responses regarding one’s view of ultimate reality. Could the theory really explain away the need for God or does it merely point to the time when God said “Let there be light”? One thing is certain, the theory is another reminder that the universe is not eternal. And if it’s not eternal we have to ask where it may have come from, or better, who made it?

And if nature had a beginning at a point in the finite past then that means something outside of nature brought it into being. If time, space, matter, and energy had a beginning then something outside of time (something eternal), something outside of space (omnipresent), something outside of matter (spirit), and something outside of energy (omnipotent) brought it into existence. That sounds remarkably similar to the God of the Bible to me. And that’s no joke.