Good Heavens!  The Human Side of Astronomy
Escaping the Beginning? Part Two with Astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink

Escaping the Beginning? Part Two with Astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink

June 18, 2022

The best science of the universe seems strongly to suggest our universe did indeed have a beginning. Why are the best minds in astrophysics trying to create models of the universe without a beginning? Are these models anywhere close to explaining a beginningless universe? 

As we heard last week, there is indeed an anti-supernatural bias in the sciences today against the idea of God having anything to do with our universe. The late Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, are just a few examples of cosmologists who have openly expressed their intent to explain the cosmos without reference to God. 

How then does the message of the cross speak to modern cosmology? If science found a way to explain the universe without a beginning would that force us to reinterpret Genesis?  

By no means. Our guest again this week is astrophysicist Dr. Jeff Zweerink. On part two Jeff gives us more background into why beginningless models of the cosmos simply don't work, especially those which overtly attempt to "get rid of God." Jeff also offers how he sees our Christian faith in light of modern cosmology. 

Astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink is a research scholar for Reasons to Believe (RTB), an organization dedicated to demonstrating the compatibility of science and the Christian faith. Jeff’s work focuses on helping people of all backgrounds bridge the perceived gap between science and the Christian faith.

Jeff has also made many media appearances, on television, radio, and in print. He earned a BS in physics and a PhD in astrophysics with a focus on gamma rays from Iowa State University. He taught and ran the planetarium at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, until postdoctoral research in gamma rays led him to the University of California, Riverside.

Prior to joining RTB, Jeff spent years working on the STACEE and VERITAS gamma-ray telescopes and was involved in research projects such as the Solar Two project and the Whipple Collaboration. He continues to work as a project scientist at UCLA on GAPS, a balloon experiment seeking to detect dark matter. Jeff is also a coauthor on more than 30 academic papers published in peer-reviewed journals, such as Astrophysical Journal, Astroparticle Physics, and Astrobiology.

A Christian from childhood, Jeff struggled to reconcile his love of science and his desire to serve God. While an undergrad at Iowa State University, he heard astrophysicist and RTB founder Hugh Ross speak on the constructive integration of science and faith. Hugh’s old-earth perspective introduced Jeff to a creation view that aligns with both Scripture and science. Ten years later, a professor encouraged Jeff to enroll in RTB’s volunteer apologetics program. This involvement eventually led to a scholar position in 2005.

Today, Jeff writes and speaks on the compatibility of science and the Christian faith and on evidence for intentional design from a multiverse theory, dark energy and dark matter, and exoplanets. His speaking engagements take him to universities, churches, and other venues around the world, including high schools and youth groups and numerous conference proceedings. He is also the author of Is There Life Out There?, Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse?, and Escaping the Beginning?.


Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Escaping the Beginning? Part One with Astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink

Escaping the Beginning? Part One with Astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink

June 10, 2022

Moses knew it long before any of the best minds in physics and cosmology knew it. And what did Moses know? That "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." 

Just a hundred years ago, the sciences of the heavens had stumbled across what appeared in the mathematical and observational data as evidence that our universe did in fact have a beginning. 

But like Moses, philosophers and theologians of earlier centuries understood our universe to have had a beginning. But the burgeoning skepticism of the 18th-century Enlightenment philosophy led many to believe the universe could be explained without God. 

Faced with what many thought was a reversion back to religion and philosophy, modern cosmological science stood face-to-face with the possibility our universe did in fact have a beginning. 

This was a radically new idea in the contemporary sciences of the universe. To consider the universe as not only expanding but as having a beginning was, to say the least, not a bit unsettling. How could this be? 

The best minds have been brought to bear on the question of the origin of our universe. And many alternative models and explanations have been offered that attempt to circumvent a beginning of the universe and thus once more eliminate God from the picture. 

Our special guest on the next two episodes of Good Heavens! astrophysicist and researcher at Reasons to Believe, Dr. Jeff Zweerink walks us through his exploration of these alternative models and shares why he thinks none of them succeed in "escaping the beginning."  

Jeff's 2019 book Escaping the Beginning?

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Does the Fine-Tuning Argument Disprove God’s Existence?

Does the Fine-Tuning Argument Disprove God’s Existence?

June 3, 2022

A special edition of Good Heavens! There is a video version of this that will be available Friday (6-3-2022).
https://youtu.be/BIpyvSiUgZM

A theist wrote a 2017 article suggesting the fine-tuning argument is not evidence for God.   We take a look at the basics of the fine-tuning argument, how it began, what it is, and why  it remains a good argument, despite the article's conclusions.   

Original article can be found here.
https://nautil.us/fine-tuning-does-not-imply-a-fine-tuner-10235/ 

Books mentioned in the broadcast.  

Patrick Glynn God the Evidence 

David Alcalde Cosmology without God?

Alex Vilenkin Many Worlds in One – The Search for Other Universes 

William Lane Craig and Joseph E. Gorra A Reasonable Response, Answers to Tough Questions on God, Christianity and the Bible 

For Watchman Fellowship go to: https://www.watchman.org

Book: https://www.thestoryofthecosmos.com 

1 Cor. 10:31.

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Expect the Unexpected!  Supernovae Part 2

Expect the Unexpected! Supernovae Part 2

May 17, 2022

No one in the observatory on that increasingly foggy London evening had even imagined they were all about to be a part of an unexpected discovery of a supernova. But as students were munching away at their pizza, they decided to aim their telescope at a target near the Big Dipper 

Boom.  That's when they saw it. 

You just never know. While most of us will likely never be the first to discover a supernova, if we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no end to the surprises and wonders He can and will do for us. The universe is filled with His stars. He created them, for signs and for seasons, and for days and years. He knows their names, He numbers all of them, not one of them is missing. He knows their days and their place. 

If God cares for the stars in such detail, how much more so will He care for you? (Isaiah 40:26ff). 

God can and will do exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ask or imagine, for His glory. 

So in the midst of your daily routines, God can break in like a supernova and answer your prayers beyond anything you might have been expecting. 

Come along with Wayne and me as we talk about the numinous wonders of supernovae and how they can be a reminder to us of God's glory and His care for us. 

SN1987A from Hubble, NASA, and the ESA. https://hubblesite.org/contents/news-releases/2017/news-2017-08.html. 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Supernovae and the Glory of God, Part 1

Supernovae and the Glory of God, Part 1

May 9, 2022

God's fireworks! Stars that explode. What could be more exciting? What are supernovae? Why do stars explode? And how do such wonders point us to God's glory? Find out on the next two episodes of Good Heavens! 

Wayne's article on supernovae. 

https://creationanswers.net/answersblog/2022/05/02/stellar-fireworks/

Some spectacular supernovae

What is a supernova?
https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/definition-what-is-a-supernova/

SN1987A (the views expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of Watchman.org or Good Heavens)

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/30-year-anniversary-supernova-1987a

https://earthsky.org/space/supernova-1987a-closest-brightest-supernova-star-death/

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

See Four Planets this Spring!

See Four Planets this Spring!

April 22, 2022

From now through the beginning of June, you can see four planets closely aligned - Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn. 

On this special episode, we give you some pointers about how you can see these celestial diadems just before sunrise and we offer some thoughts about how they remind us of God's glory. 

One may not agree with Lewis's use of medieval symbol and pagan mythology as imaginative symbols pointing to Christ. We are not suggesting it is an appropriate apologetic approach for everyone. Certainly Christianity teaches the rejection of pagan idolatry in both the Old and New Testaments. Yet it was the apostle Paul himself who took ideas from pagan Greek poetry about the gods and related it to Jesus to the philosophers and stoics gathered atop Mars Hill in Athens (see Acts 17 and an episode on our sister podcast Apologetics Profile about Paul on Mars Hill here)

For any questions or concerns, drop us a line at Psalm1968@gmail.com

Books mentioned on this episode: 

Planet Narnia - The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis  

Nightwatch  

Living The Sky - The Cosmos of the American Indian  

Our book The Story of the Cosmos - How the Heavens Declare the Glory of God  

 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

The Wonders of the Webb

The Wonders of the Webb

April 1, 2022

No, we aren't talking about the Internet! But about the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), now roaming about the heavens a million miles from planet Earth.  It was launched Christmas morning, December 25, 2021 from a European spaceport in French Guiana, in South America.

A brand-new, ten-billion-dollar telescope venture, the James Webb Space Telescope is an infrared telescope and will be able to pick up some of the faintest light in the most distant regions of the cosmos. The James Webb telescope supercedes the Spitzer Space Telescope that went before it.  Spitzer was also an Infrared telescope.  Come and find out about where the James Webb telescope is located and why astronomers are so excited about it.    

Every time we build a bigger telescope, our understanding of the cosmos is radically changed. What wonders await us? Whatever Webb uncovers it is exciting to consider that no eye has ever seen the things God is about to reveal to us through the honey-combed mirrors of this new telescope. 

Come along with Wayne and Dan as they ponder how telescopes have changed our understanding of the universe we inhabit and how it all might point to the glory of God in Christ. 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Image:  The picture is an infrared colored image from the Spitzer Space Telescope, produced by NASA (cropped and resized for this). 

The Heavens - A Different View - with Dr. Danny Faulkner

The Heavens - A Different View - with Dr. Danny Faulkner

February 21, 2022

As you know, we here at Good Heavens! can't stop talking about the heavens. So when a beautiful picture book comes out with the title The Heavens, how can we not talk about it! 

The heavens declare the glory of God. They are His creation, attesting to His invisible attributes of faithfulness, wisdom, love, power, and glory. 

Come and see the wonders of the heavens in a magnificent new pictorial book from astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner of Answers in Genesis along with two backyard astrophotographers Glen Fountain and Jim Bonser (I mispronounced his name in the podcast, my apologies!). 

From the sun and moon to way out in deep space where beauteous nebulae and galaxies, this book not only showcases stunning, high quality images of the cosmos, all taken by Danny, Glen, or Jim, but also combines science and Scripture in a meaningful, down-to-earth, and encouraging way. 

The video of this program shows beautiful photography and gives a great introduction to observational astronomy.  To watch the video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73iGfxGFvIc

Dr. Danny Faulkner holds an MS in Physics from Clemson University and an MA and PhD in Astronomy from Indiana University and taught at the University of South Carolina Lancaster for over 26 years. He serves as editor of the Creation Research Society Quarterly and has published over 100 papers in various journals. He now works as a researcher, author, and speaker for Answers in Genesis.

To get a copy of Danny's book.  

To get a copy of The Story of the Cosmos  

More on Danny Faulkner  

Visit our ministry's website for resources on apologetics, other religions, cults, and non-Christian worldviews. https://www.watchman.org.   

The views expressed by Dr. Faulkner do not necessarily represent those of Watchman Fellowship, Inc. We hope to present a balanced perspective on the questions of the age of the universe. Watchman Fellowship does not openly or publicly endorse one side or the other in the age debate.

Image is from the VLT Survey Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile. Licensed from ESO and Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  Image was cropped and resized.

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Chariots of the Gods? No.

Chariots of the Gods? No.

February 6, 2022

Spoiler Alert! 
On this episode Wayne and Dan debunk the "ancient alien" idea! 

What are some modern prejudices we hold about the ancient past? Were ancient people not as smart as we are? Did their civilizations require the intervention of highly advanced alien beings? Has modern scientific knowledge fully debunked the idea of God? Is God just a myth created out of the ignorance of our ancestors? 

We tackle these questions and a lot more, including how belief in UFOs and aliens often does lead into the occult and cult-like practices and beliefs. 

Watchman Fellowship https://www.watchman.org

Wayne's article on ancient aliens:

https://creationanswers.net/reviews/ancientaliens_pseudoarch.htm

Ancient Aliens Debunked (Video by Chris White. 3 hrs, 10 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9w-i5oZqaQ

Website by Chris White.  Has some references related to topics in the video above.
https://www.ancientaliensdebunked.com

Bible scholar Michael Heiser - Ancient Aliens Debunked
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5dER45rkGk

See also this website by Michael Heiser.
http://SitchinIsWrong.com

Watchman Fellowship profiles on alien cults: 

Heaven's Gate

https://www.watchman.org/profiles/pdf/heavensgateprofile.pdf

Raelians 

https://www.watchman.org/profiles/pdf/raelianprofile.pdf

Previous episodes with Gary Bates on UFOs

Part One: https://goodheavens.podbean.com/e/aliens-ufos-and-the-bible-part-1-with-gary-bates/

Part Two: https://goodheavens.podbean.com/e/aliens-ufos-and-the-bible-part-2-with-gary-bates/

 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

The First Star - Are Modern Scientific Theories and Scripture Compatible?

The First Star - Are Modern Scientific Theories and Scripture Compatible?

January 21, 2022

Was there a first star? If so, how did it form? Believe it or not, the secular material sciences have no real evidence to support theoretical models of how the first stars came to be or how the stars we see today came into existence. 

How then should we as Christians best understand naturalist models of the cosmos that take no account for God's glory? 

On this special episode of Good Heavens! Dan offers some reflections about the nature of scientific models and Christian theology. 

Book mentioned by Dr. Emma Chapman 

Podbean enables our podcast to be on Apple Podcasts and other major podcast platforms.  To support Good Heavens! on Podbean as a patron, you can use the Podbean app, or go to https://patron.podbean.com/goodheavens.  This goes to Wayne Spencer. If you would like to give to the ministry of Watchman Fellowship or to Daniel Ray, you can donate at https://www.watchman.org/daniel. Donations to Watchman are tax deductible.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App