This morning the television was showing a Jewish Rabbi talking about God and the interviewer asked him what was before God.
It is, of course, a natural question. If God created the universe and the earth in just seven days, where was he before that?
Scientists and atheists suffer the same dilemma. They can take the universe back to the big bang and the question is then posed, “What came before the big bang?” or “Who made the big bang?”
This is where you find yourself stuck with one answer or another. You either believe that God existed in some other plane and magicked the universe out of something he had to hand, or you believe that the big bang was an accidental occurrence which popped into existence from another location or perhaps was the result of a big crunch.
So the God believers are rather stuck with a further question as to where their deity exists. Is he, or she presumably, living in a community of gods in some suburb of heaven or does he live in some splendid isolation.
Let’s have a look at his creation.
We could go back to pre-Copernican times and see a creation which was perhaps a few thousand miles in diameter. At this size I suppose that it was not too unexpected that people thought it could have been the creation of a deity and religion took off in a big way.
However, as we start to learn more about the extent of the universe it all becomes rather silly. Very few people are able to grasp the size of the solar system, let alone our galaxy, the local cluster of galaxies or the whole universe.
But it really is important to get some grasp of the sizes involved.
A journey to the moon takes a couple of days, Mars would take six months and the outer planets take years to reach. The 1975 Voyager has only just passed out of the confines of the solar system … our backyard, and it has been travelling for over 35 years at enormous speed.
To start to understand distances in the cosmos we need a larger unit of measurement and light years are the usual scientific measure. This is the distance travelled by light in an earth year.
It is a simple calculation: 186,000 miles per second X 60 in a minute X 60 in an hour X 24 in a day X 365 days per year. The product of that is 5,865,696,000,000 miles or 23,462,784 the distance to the moon. Are you getting some idea of the distance of a single light year. If the late lamented space shuttle at its maximum 20,000 miles per hour were to set off to travel just one light year it would take 33,480 years to cover it. Just try to grasp the magnitude of that. If it had been able to start at the dawn of recorded history it would have covered only 15% of that single light year.
But a light year, in the scheme of the universe is a tiny distance. The nearest star is five light years away and would take the shuttle over 150,000 years to arrive. But then things start to get really big, mindblowingly big! The image shows a galaxy. This one is called M31 and is the nearest neighbour to our own Milky Way – yes the Milky Way is a galaxy just like this, but we don’t see the shape because we are around half to three quarters of the way out along one of its spiral arms. If you want “big” you might think this is it because the diameter of our galaxy is around 110,000 light years across. Our shuttle could cross the galaxy in just 16,500,000,000. If it started when the universe came into existence it would still be travelling and would only have covered 80% of the distance, because the universe is only 13,500,000,000 years old.
Our galaxy is also rotating. It rotates once every 50,000,000 years.What is all the smoky material you can see in M31? They are stars. Our galaxy contains some 300,000,000,000 stars or about 40 stars for every man woman and child on earth.
M31 is actually more than twice the size of our own galaxy and contains around 1,000,000,000,000 stars. It is about 2,500,000 light years away from us so the good old shuttle could get there in just 83,700,000,000 years. As a comparison, some scientists believe the universe could have died by that time! Seven times the current age of the universe to get from one galaxy to the nearest neighbour travelling at 20,000 miles per hour. Get the idea? By the way, we will collide with M31 in about 4,500,000,000 years so better get some life insurance quick.
However, we are only part of an insignificant local group of galaxies. Since the use of the Hubble space telescope the estimated number of galaxies in the universe has grown rapidly and is expected to exceed 300,000,000,000 and each of them contain 200 to 300 billion stars. So how many stars are there in the universe?
It is 75,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 and we now know there are planets around lots of them. Hundreds discovered in just the last couple of years with the new generation of telescopes.
So Earth is a poxy little planet in an unspectacular solar system, two thirds of the way out along an undistinguished spiral arm of a galaxy which is itself is not even the largest member of a group of about 30 local galaxies in an universe made up of 10,000,000,000 groups of such galaxies.
And you believers think that this entire universe was created by a supreme being who did it all so that he could watch your piddling little lives and take an interest in whether you used a swear word yesterday, had a carnal thought today or forgot to pray to him last week. You must be having a laugh!
It is all absolute baloney.
Mind you, at least this explains why praying never works. If you pray for something and it happens then it is pure coincidence and you all know, full well, that the bulk of things you pray for are never fulfilled. Why? Because no one is listening, stupid!
Grow up and learn to live without this nonentity crutch. Do good because it is good. Do no harm, not because you fear a vicious reprisal at the end of your pitiful life, but because it is good for other people.
Next time we’ll maybe have a look at how the eye is obviously the product of evolution. One of the mainstays of the creationists!
If I have hurt your feelings then I apologise, but, frankly, you should not be reading this. There is an ancient book beginning with a B which is packed with nonsense ravings and you might find that more amenable as it will not bore you with any facts.
Oh dear, I seem to have worn the colour off my zero key!