Genesis Wins Nobel Prize

David Cowles

May 29, 2022

Traditionally, Nobels are awarded only to ‘living recipients’ and only for work completed in the preceding year. In its statement, the committee said it felt an exception was needed in this instance “in order to right a grievous wrong.”

Stockholm, Sweden – October 2030. The Nobel Committee has just announced the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics. The prize has been awarded posthumously to the authors and editors of the Old Testament Book of Genesis in recognition of Genesis’s groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe.’

Traditionally, Nobels are awarded only to ‘living recipients’ and only for work completed in the preceding year. In its statement, the committee said it felt an exception was needed in this instance “in order to right a grievous wrong.”


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In 2000, Pope John Paul II apologized for the Church’s 17th century mistreatment of Galileo Galilei. Today, the Nobel Committee reciprocated by acknowledging that throughout the period known, ironically, as ‘The Enlightenment,’ the scientific establishment systematically misread Genesis.

Science banished Genesis from the ‘academy;' but like all events, this event turned out to be a double-edged sword. There is no doubt that religious faith was undermined…but so was faith in science. Enlightenment science (were I in a more cantankerous mood, I might have written, ‘enlightenment science, an oxymoron,’ but I’m not) split our world in two. In place of the traditional consensus that both science and theology have something to contribute to our understanding of Being, we now have two ‘armed camps’ (in some cases, quite literally) – one composed of people who dismiss theology, and another composed of people who dismiss science.

Often the science that wins a Nobel Prize is so complicated and arcane that only a handful of experts can understand it. Not this time! The ideas contained in Genesis can be understood and appreciated by almost everyone:

“… God said let there be light and there was light.”

We recognize this as the event we call the Big Bang: the emergence of energy (waves) and massless particles (photons).

“God then separated the light from the darkness.”

Prior to the Big Bang, ‘universe,’ if you can call it that, was a state of maximal entropy, which Genesis aptly described as: “…without form or shape with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind.”

Does this conflict with the Judeo-Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo, that the universe was created out of nothing? It does not!

The Big Bang is the birth of order, and order is what being is. What else could being be? ‘To be’ or ‘not to be’ - ‘that is the question’ and the primal distinction; it is the foundation of all order. Later, the Gospel of John reprised Genesis by explicitly linking being and order through the concept of logos. You could read the first chapter of John as a commentary on Genesis. Without order, there literally is nothing (nihilo). Creation is the creation of order. Therefore, all creation is ex nihilo… it has to be! There isn’t any other way for it to happen.

Any process that is not ex nihilo is not ‘creation.’ Creation requires a Tabula Rasa (‘a blank slate’). To create is not to modify, not even to ameliorate; to create is to bring a thing into being ex nihilo.

Creating is not rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. To create is to bring into being de nuovo the chairs, the boat, the ocean, the planet, the cosmos – all ex nihilo – all from nothing. True ‘creation’ is always creatio ex nihilo. At the Big Bang, maximal entropy (chaos) becomes minimal entropy (order). That’s what Big Bang is! A phase change – the emergence of order. Instantly, maximal disorder (entropy) becomes maximal order (negentropy).

The Big Bang begins the process of distinguishing order from chaos, light from darkness. The sudden reduction in entropy manifests as energy, i.e., light. Residual entropy is what we call darkness. The distinction of order (negentropy) from disorder (entropy) is the primordial distinction, the first step in the evolution of a universe that has given us such wonders as the Grand Canyon, Disney World, and the Big Mac.

On to Step Two in the ‘genesis’ of the cosmos:

“Evening came and morning followed – the first day.”

Entropy tends to increase over time. Stephen Hawking suggested that entropy might even be time. Time is Duration (present) plus Sequence (past, future). Sequence, states of lower entropy following states of higher entropy, is the substructure of time. From sequence comes ‘interval’ and ‘duration’ which Genesis designates jointly by the word ‘day.’ B happens after A and before C. The gap between A and C is their ‘interval’ and that interval is the ‘duration’ of B. Sequence, interval and duration are inextricably linked.

After temporal distinction (sequence, interval, duration, ‘day’) comes spatial distinction. Space is a rotation of time. According to current cosmological theory, there can be only one temporal dimension, but there may be an unspecified number of spatial dimensions.

The emergence of space is both caused by and required for the emergence of mass. Turns out, mass and space are synonymous (Higgs). No mass, no space; no space, no mass! In the Genesis account, ‘massive particles’ manifest as dry land, earth, sea, vegetation, and animals, including conscious life forms such as human beings.

Now, compared to a college textbook on cosmology, this account might seem a bit ‘spare.’ Certainly, there are things we know today about Cosmogenesis that even the celebrated and now properly, if belatedly, recognized authors of Genesis did not know.

But consider this: for 2,500 years, Genesis was our most comprehensive and plausible theory of Cosmogenesis. So, congratulations to the Nobel Committee: job well done…if long overdue!

 

David Cowles, editor-in-chief, Aletheia Today magazine

David Cowles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Aletheia Today Magazine. He lives with his family in Massachusetts where he studies and writes about philosophy, science, theology, and scripture. He can be reached at david@aletheiatoday.com.




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