More on the recently launched James WebbSpace Telescope (JWST). If this is a subject of interest and you have not already done so take a look at my first post on December 24th, 2021 with the same name.
In this post, Creation Ministries International (CMI) will try and help you understand how a biblical perspective already informs on prospective discoveries. I have extracted content from their article. Go to their website http://www.creation.com to view the complete article.
We know that the Bible contains an accurate eyewitness testimony of the origins of the universe, and man’s interpretations from telescopic data is just speculation compared with the biblical written record. Is this 10 billion dollars then wasted or could it have been better spent?
Webb’s scientific objectives are vast. Webb’s senior project scientist John Mather, said:
“Webb will have an ambitious science agenda stretching from studying small worlds in our solar system to surveying the outer reaches of the universe. “We’re going to look at everything there is in the universe that we can see.”
NASA have split the scientific objectives into four categories:
- Early Universe
- Galaxies Over Time
- Star Lifecycle
- Other Worlds
We will explore the questions scientists are hoping Webb will answer, under these categories, giving a biblical perspective on each question:
1. Early Universe:
”Webb will be a powerful time machine with infrared vision that will peer back over 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe.”
We are told that Webb will see stars and galaxies as they appeared 13.5 billion years ago, which is what is meant by “early”. Note that this is a claim based on belief in the big bang model. What Webb will actually observe will be light from galaxies and stars that are very far away. How long that light takes to get to the JWST is another question. In fact, even the assumed vast distances to the very far away galaxies9 are model and parameter dependent. What can be said without any layers of interpretation is that Webb is expected to observe objects with redshifts (see box entitled Redshift) up to Z=15 with 100 times the sensitivity of the Hubble
Why are the furthest away stars and galaxies of interest?
Cosmologists are hoping that Webb will find Population III galaxies which would consist of stars that are made up of ONLY Hydrogen and Helium (and trace amounts of lithium) and NO heavier elements.
These are the hypothetical first-generation stars in the big bang model, and therefore should be the most distant stars.
So far only Population II and Population I stars have been directly observed. Even distant quasar spectra reveal heavier elements (i.e. the gas surrounding quasars contain elements heavier than Hydrogen and Helium), and yet the big bang theory relies on the existence of Population III stars:
It is proposed that reionization was triggered by these Population III stars, and they were the source of the heavier elements. Therefore, no Population III stars; no carbon, no oxygen, no silicon, no earth, no me and no you!
2. Galaxies Over Time
“Webb’s unprecedented infrared sensitivity will help astronomers to compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today’s grand spirals and ellipticals, helping us to understand how galaxies assemble over billions of years.”
Again, note the assumption that the faintest, furthest away galaxies are the earliest. Whilst distance might be a proxy for a relative time scale, the big bang timescale is dependent upon its assumptions. Galaxy evolution has long been a problem for the big bang.
The astronomer, Edwin Hubble, was the first to classify galaxies based on their morphology, and he came up with the following categories:
- Ellipticals (E)
- Lenticular (SO)
- Spirals (S)
- Barred Spirals (SB)
- Irregulars (Irr).
Although Hubble didn’t necessarily intend to suggest that galaxies evolve from simple to complex, it was thought that galaxies start off looking like ellipticals and then mature on towards spirals.
However, there are an increasing number of strange looking galaxies that astronomers are struggling to fit into the evolutionary theory, for example ring galaxies.
The two opposite competing theories of galaxy formation currently are the bottom-up theory and the top-down theory. Top-down theory postulates that the largest structures in the universe formed first and then divided into clusters, groups, and galaxies. Bottom-up theories speculate that the primordial fluctuations first formed protogalaxies, which by gravitational attraction grew into galaxies, groups, clusters etc.
Whilst astronomers are expecting Webb and other new observations to help develop these theories, the one answer that is rarely considered is that God made them that way!
3. Star Lifecycle
“Webb will be able to see right through and into massive clouds of dust that are opaque to visible-light observatories like Hubble, where stars and planetary systems are being born.”
Spectroscopy can be used to calculate the precise amounts of elements within stars. By using particle and quantum physics theories, well tested here on Earth, we can calculate how long a star will burn which fuel for, and how that star will change over time.
Whilst these theories are well established, the currently accepted theory for star formation (Jeans collapse of molecular clouds) has a number of unproven assumptions.
From NASA’s JWST website we see listed two of the open questions the JWST is to answer:
- How do clouds of gas and dust collapse down to the dense cores that form stars?
- What is the early evolution of protostars?
Another JWST website page says:
“Researchers still do not know the details of how clouds of gas and dust collapse to form stars, or why most stars form in groups, or exactly how planetary systems form.
What we do have is a collection of images of gas clouds with different densities and temperatures. We are told that they are images of gas clouds in the stellar formation process, but they could simply be a variety of created cosmic objects.
Whilst biblical history tells us it is not necessary for stars to form naturalistically, the big bang timeline demands it. 13.8 billion years is beyond the lifetime of most stars. Therefore, to uphold the big bang paradigm, many of the stars we see today must have been created within this timeline, not just near the beginning. In fact, to have the 1022 stars existing today, they must be created on a daily basis over the alleged 13.8 billion years.
Prominent atheist, Carl Sagan famously said, ‘we’re made of star stuff.’ He was referring to the theory that most of the atomic nuclei in our bodies were forged by the nuclear furnaces and explosive deaths of stars in the ancient universe. The Nucleosynthesis theory (the secular story for how all the elements came about), is said to explain the production and origin of all the elements in the universe. Big bang nucleosynthesis is the part of the story presented, not only as the explanation of the abundance of the light elements (hydrogen, deuterium, and helium), but as evidence of the big bang. We have critiqued that claim here.
The abundance of the heavier elements (heavier than iron) is much more contested in the evolutionary community, as the naturalistic production of some elements has not yet been observed, let alone the ability of that natural process to produce the abundances of the different elements found in the universe.
With the James Webb space telescope viewing the near and mid-infrared spectrum unimpeded by the earth’s atmosphere it is well placed to see such spectral features. If LIGO or VIRGO or any other yet-to-be-built gravitational wave interferometer detects a neutron star merger, then Web will almost certainly be repositioned to observe the merger in the hope of identifying the spectral signatures of the heavier elements.
JWST’s infrared capability and position above the earth’s atmosphere make it a unique tool32 for looking at rotating circumstellar disks of dense gas and dust surrounding stars, and it is within these that we are told planets form. They hence have the name, protoplanetary disks.
We are told that planet formation is a simple extension of star formation:
”According to our current knowledge, planets are formed around a new star by condensing in a disc of molecular gas and dust, embedded within a larger molecular cloud. Condensation increases until they become giant planets, which are heated, then cleanse their orbits in the disc and possibly bend it. Remaining gas in the disc finally disappears, leaving planets, a disc of dust and debris.”
Whilst naturalistic planet formation has always been a problem, further difficulties have arisen in the last 20 years, since the discovery of now over 4,000 known exoplanets: Before the discovery of the first exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b in 1995, the only known planets on which to base a planet formation theory on were the planets in our solar system.
The discovery of exoplanetary systems inconsistent with long-held planetary formation theories caused the invention of many modifications and even completely new theories. The JWST website admits:
“The continual discovery of new and unusual planetary systems has made scientists re-think their ideas and theories about how planets are formed.”
4. Other Worlds
”Webb will tell us more about the atmospheres of extrasolar planets, and perhaps even find the building blocks of life elsewhere in the universe. In addition to other planetary systems, Webb will also study objects within our own Solar System.”
We have previously commented on Webb’s ability to detect exoplanet atmospheres.
As well as delivering information about planetary atmospheres through investigating their chemical composition (fig 9), Webb will also capture direct images of exoplanets, with the use of its onboard coronagraph. As of December 2021, only 104 exoplanets have been directly imaged (roughly 0.2% of all reported exoplanets).
It is easy to see that many of the questions to be answered under the category ‘other worlds’ are directly related to the public’s increased interest in extra-terrestrial life. They include for example:
- Can we find planets orbiting in the habitable zones of stars where it is possible for water, or perhaps life, to exist?
- How did life develop on Earth?
- Was there ever life on Mars?
- From our own solar system to distant star systems—what can we understand about planet formation, evolution, and the suitability of planets as habitats?
- What are the sources of water and organics for planets in habitable zones?
- What is the origin of water and organic materials in a planetary system?
The JWST is uniquely designed to answer these questions because of its capability and sensitivity in the infrared range (see fig 9).
Notice that the origin of water is still a major problem for evolutionists! And once the water has arrived on Earth or an exoplanet in the habitable zone, there is then the problem that water poses to the origin of life.
With our knowledge of the Bible and understanding that God created the universe (Hebrews 11:3), we can confidently predict that the JWST observations will further contradict and complicate evolutionary theories on the origin of the universe, the origin of stars, the origin of planets, the origin of water on Earth, and the origin of life. With regards to the latter, we expect JWST will dismiss the possibility of life on Mars or any exoplanet.
We hope and pray that this telescope will open many eyes to the Glory of God and the amazing and unique habitability of the earth:
For this is what the LORD says— he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited—he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.—Isaiah 45:18
Maybe humanity’s next eye in the sky, the JWST, will cause many to recognise truth that Jesus Christ is Creator and Lord and there is no other!