In the past two years, a set of breakthrough discoveries has stirred waves of exuberance from the scientific community. Carlos Frenk, of Britain's Durham University, exclaimed to reporters, "[It's] the most exciting thing that's happened in my life as a cosmologist." Cambridge University's Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Stephen Hawking, a master of theoretical physics and of understatement, described just one of the several breakthroughs as "the discovery of the century, if not of all time." Michael Turner, University of Chicago and Fermilab astrophysicist, said researchers have found "the Holy Grail of cosmology."
What is this "holy grail" to which Turner refers? The answer is perhaps best stated by George Smoot, University of California at Berkeley astronomer and leader of one of the breakthrough projects: "What we have found is evidence of the birth of the universe. … It's like looking at God." According to science historian Frederic B. Burnham, many scientists have suddenly come to consider God's creation of the universe "a more respectable hypothesis today than in any time in the last 100 years."
This set of discoveries brings cause for celebration not only among scientists, but also among Christians. There is substance here for encouraging our faith and for developing a more effective outreach to the unbelieving. God has revealed his glory in new and dramatic ways.
Until April 1992, astronomers knew only of ordinary matter, the stuff that we and these pages are made of - protons, neutrons, electrons, and a small host of other fundamental particles that strongly interact with radiation. The stuff that researchers have just found evidence for is different. It is called "exotic" matter, for it does not strongly ...