God, Science and the Bible: The mystery of dark matter

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God, Science and the Bible

The mystery of dark matter

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The more scientists study the universe, the stranger it sometimes seems.

For instance, did you know that approximately 96 percent of the forces that sustain the universe is not produced by ordinary matter and energy?

Since 1933, scientists have measured the gravitational force holding galactic clusters, galaxies and solar systems together and have determined that only about 4 percent of it consists of ordinary matter. In other words, if you piled up all the known matter in the universe—all the stars, planets, cosmic dust and gases—and measured the gravitational effect their combined mass exerts, it would be only about 4 percent of the force necessary to hold things together!

Where is the remaining 96 percent of the missing mass, scientists ask? This has been a real puzzle for astronomers. One remarked that this is a case not of the dog wagging the tail, but the tail wagging the dog. It's as if more than 90 percent of the universe consisted of something other than atoms and photons, the bedrock of ordinary matter and energy.

The unseen force holding things together, scientists conclude, must be produced by other things—which, for lack of better terms, are classed as "dark matter" and "dark energy" ("dark" meaning they emit no radiation directly perceptible to us, whether visible light or otherwise).

Dark matter, the scientists believe, coexists with normal matter, but they still don't know what it is. Even stranger than dark matter is dark energy, for it appears to work across large distances and in an opposite way to gravity. This antigravity force seems responsible for the accelerating pace of the universe's ongoing expansion.

Just recently, the existence of dark matter appears to have been substantiated when astronomers observed two large clusters of galaxies passing through each other. Dark matter and normal matter seem to have been wrenched apart by the tremendous collision of these two galactic clusters. The discovery, using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, provides supporting evidence for dark matter.

"A universe that's dominated by dark stuff seems preposterous, so we wanted to test whether there were any basic flaws in our thinking," said Doug Clowe of the University of Arizona at Tucson and leader of the study. "These results are direct proof that dark matter exists" (NASA news release, Aug. 21).

This finding also backs the notion that Newtonian gravity on earth and in the solar system works on the huge scales of galaxy clusters as well. "We've closed this loophole about gravity, and we've come closer than ever to seeing this invisible matter," Dr. Clowe said (ibid.).

"But observing dark matter and knowing what it is are very different," cautions an Aug. 23 editorial in The New York Times, "and we are nowhere near the latter. Then, beyond the problem of dark matter lies the greater problem of dark energy. This is a mysterious universe, and the more we know about it the more mysterious it seems."

Hmmm. Dark matter, dark energy—constituting 96 percent of the force that holds things together and more than 10 times the known mass of the universe—yet imperceptible to scientists with even the best of our modern technologies?

Dare we call this unseen force holding the universe together—brace yourself— spiritual in nature?

Isn't it interesting that when we turn to the Bible it says, "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible" (Hebrews 11:3 Hebrews 11:3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

Then notice what Hebrews 1:1-4 Hebrews 1:1-4 [1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, [2] Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; [3] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: [4] Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
American King James Version×
states about Jesus Christ: "God . . . has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."

Where is the missing mass—the so-called dark matter and energy—exerting this enormous force on the entire universe? Is it possible the answer has been hiding in plain sight in Scripture all this time?