I was in Harrogate last week when the news broke that a signal from the Big Bang had been freshly detected and identified. The cosmologists and astrophysicists were very excited. It has yet to under-go a lot of thorough examination to check that the implications of this newly measured phenomenon are indeed justified, though.
I tried to dig a little behind the headlines. It was a bit confusing. I wondered if it was because you had journalists rather than scientists writing the releases – or perhaps because it was scientists trying to explain things in a way like journalists do.
What was recorded was patterns in polarisation of light from space that is known as the cosmic background radiation – light noise from space, if you like. This stuff is weird because it seems to come equally from every direction in space, ignoring the rules of sensible things like stars and galaxies, which send light which seems to come from ‘somewhere’ not ‘everywhere!’ It is thought, therefore, to be left over from the big bang.
You may not know much about polarisation, but it is something that happens to light. If you are photographer, you will have some across it. But then it seems that gravity waves have caused this polarisation in a tiny interval of time in the ‘inflation’ of the universe.
I don’t know this physics, but others will be very familiar with the mathematics of it, and it will fit in with what they know. I have to take it on trust.
But, like they say, ‘what’s that got to do with the price of eggs?’ In other words, ‘So what?’
Well, it’s applying logic, with the powerful tools of mathematics, to make sense of how our universe ticks. New discoveries usually leads to even more questions, though, which are a scientists delight. I have no doubt about the integrity of the people building this story of how the universe could have come into being.
I also have no doubt that applying the same integrity to questions like the implications of the resurrection of Jesus (it is a historical fact, by the way, if you do your history with integrity) points so clearly to the practical outworking of God’s love in the lives of men and women in past and current history. It is the ‘foreground radiation’ of the reality of God. I guess you could say it is his glory.
Don’t knock the physicists, but ensure they face the question ‘so what?’
And when someone asks you of the resurrection ‘so what?,’ make sure you have an answer. A practical and personal one! Shine! It’s even more important than the price of eggs.