The Expanding Universe Might Not Depend on How You Measure It, but When – A Spiritual Insight

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Recently, researchers have published a paper [1] on the cosmological implications of measurements of the void-galaxy cross-correlations that provide evidence for late-time acceleration of the expansion of the universe due to dark energy. One of the most interesting observations being made in cosmology is how different ways of measuring the expansion of the universe leads to different results. For example, by looking at further distances (older) verses closer distances (younger). The measurement technique does not simply consist of two ways to measure. There are twelve ways to perform analysis of the data, and the major issue is they don’t agree with one another. The set of results from the analysis of the data can differ by as much as 9% which is greater than the uncertainties that are involved in the measurement. The source of the error cannot be identified, or has yet to be identified. A new method for measuring the expansion rate of the universe suggests that the expansion of the Universe depends on “when” the measurement was made, and not “how” you measure it.

References

  1. Seshadri Nadathur, Will J. Percival, Florian Beutler, Hans Winther, “Testing low-redshift cosmic acceleration with large-scale structure,” 2020, Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (astro-ph.CO), https://arxiv.org/abs/2001.11044v1

Ten years ago, three independent measurements together revealed the properties of the Universe in a comprehensive, complementary, and independent way.

  1. Measurements by the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation
  2. Measurements by the clustering of galaxies, galaxy clusters, and other features of the large scale structure of the Universe.
  3. Measurements of distances and redshifts of individual objects, from nearby stars to distant supernovae across the Universe.

These methods of measurement to ascertain the expansion of the universe all led to be relatively consistent with one another, which yielded a Universe that consists of 5% normal matter, 25% dark matter, and 70% dark energy, with an expansion rate of 71 km/s/Mpc (megaparsec Mpc = 1.917e+19 miles). The various parameters that go into the models for each of these three independent sets of measurements were all consistent with one another. The Science behind these models become very well understood, which then led to better instrumentation and more precise observations which led to improved (more accurate) data sets to work with. As the data sets got more precise and larger, some observations began to emerge. The microwave background results become more precise (from better instrumentation such as the Planck satellite). Patterns of fluctuations began to show up, such as, the initial seed fluctuations from cosmic inflation, the evolution of the fluctuations due to combined forces such as gravity, and the interaction of normal matter with radiation, and the propagation speed of signals in the dense, early Universe. These new results led to a slower expansion rate of 67 km/s/Mpc. As time proceeded following the formation of the Universe, signals (light and gravity) began to feel the effects of one another. For example, light travels at a finite speed, and gravity travels too at a finite speed which has been shown to be equal to the speed of light. The scale of the fluctuations correspond to gravitational interactions, gravitational collapse, or a collapse of matter, and this phenomenon in the data is related to a physical scale at which one is more likely to find a galaxy at a particular distance from another galaxy, as opposed to the galaxy being slightly closer or farther away. (This scale seems to provide a periodicity in the form of galaxy spacing.) This is what is called the acoustic scale and corresponds to a distance of approximately 500 million light years. The early time signal of this acoustic scale is imprinted on the cosmic microwave background radiation, and the later time scale is found in the galaxy clustering. These time scales, when included in the data set produce a similar expansion rate of the Universe of 67-68 km/s/Mpc.

This recent publication [1] describes the direct measurements of distances and redshifts of individual objects. This method uses parallaxes (a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight) are measured for star distance, and these are measured in galaxies that have type 1a supernovae. This method yields a higher rate of expansion of 73-74 km/s/Mpc. Other methods use galaxy surface brightness fluctuations, gravitational lensing of quasars, etc all of which also yield expansion rates of 72-76 km/s/Mpc. None of these offer the lower value of 67 km/s/Mpc. Note, the lower rate of expansion is linked to the early stages of the universe’s expansion (i.e. more distant observations).

The achievement of the new research [1] is to factor in the effect of cosmic voids and empty regions of space between the strands of the cosmic web that show the large scale structure of the universe. Using this new technique, when factoring in galaxies and quasars that cluster in nearby time-frame Universe, produce expansion rates of 72-73 km/s/Mpc. When adding galaxy and quasars that cluster in distant locations which are described as earlier time-frame Universe (greater distance), this drops the value of the expansion to 69 km/s/Mpc. The conclusions are that measurements of nearby galaxies lead to a higher expansion rate as compared to galaxies farther away. This is how scientists reason the late versus early time-frames, respectively. This is the first time a single method of measurement has actually yielded two different results. The expansion of the Universe has been an issue of discussion for a long time in cosmology. Lots of questions remain, the major question is whether we will discover something new, that we have not seen before. Even more precise measurements for better data sets and greater accuracy are ahead with the satellites such as Euclid, LSST observatory, and WFIRST observatory.

The Spiritual insight that we receive from this type of research is related to this very same controversy that we see going on on the study of the expansion of the Universe. Looking to a more recent time as opposed to an ancient time-frame provides us with different perspectives on the nature of faith and faithfulness in the God of Israel. Note how belief in the God of Israel is an ancient faith going back to the beginning of creation! Just as gravitational lensing can warp and distort star systems and effect the measure of distances to objects in space, tradition has warped and distorted our perception of some very important truths about the Scriptures. This has led and is leading to a massive broad scale breakdown of the Christian faith due to the rejection of Torah, the truth and foundation of the Scriptures! One such difficulty is on the question of whether Christians are required to follow the Torah? The confusion arises because most do not understand what “Torah” (תורה) means. Does the Word “Torah” equal the entire law code presented to Israel at Sinai? (i.e. all 613 mitzvot given with the sprinkling of blood over the sons of Levi and Israel?) Does “Torah” refer to only the Aseret HaDibrot (עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת) the ten words, or ten commandments? Or, does “Torah” refer simply to the will of God? As we look through history, with the advent of the Christian church, these things have become somewhat distorted. Paul wrote in Galatians and Romans, and the author of Hebrews, about the covenant relationship with God and faith in Yeshua the Messiah who was prefigured in the various karbanot (sacrifices) in the Torah. We are told that Yeshua is our Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) by reason of the priesthood of Malki-Tzedek (Ming of Righteousness) and the New covenant. If we carefully examine (labor) over Paul’s writings coupled with the Torah, we come to the conclusion that the major issue is of being in a relationship with God. This was that kind of relationship that Moshe had with the Lord, if we note how the Torah describes Moshe spoke panim el panim (face to face) with the Lord God in the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting). According to Parashat Ki Tisa, the children of Israel had sinned, Moshe had broken the tablets of the Ten Commandments, and many people had died due to their sins. We are told Moshe moved the Ohel Moed outside of the camp of Israel, and Moshe would go and commune with God there, each man would stand at the entrance to the door of his tent (Shemot / Exodus 33:10) when Moshe would go to the tent, and the pillar of cloud would appear, and each man would worship at his tent. The way Moshe experienced God in the tabernacle, he called upon the mercy and grace of God, and it was only then that he found hope in his relationship with God. This is the point and the conclusion from all of Scripture (Tanach and NT), we enter into a relationship with God through faith. The point is simply, the Torah, the law code, was not given to ancient Israel as a means to determine someone’s relationship with God. It is not by observance of Torah, or of the commands, that we enter into a relationship with God.  These concepts were understood in the first century, and Yeshua spoke of them according to Matthew 23:15.

Matthew 23:15
23:15 ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (NASB)

Here Yeshua warned of pride, self righteousness, and of becoming a disciple of such. The Apostle Paul also wrote about this in the following way.

Galatians 4:21-5:1
4:21 Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? 4:22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 4:23 But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. 4:24 This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. 4:25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. 4:27 For it is written, ‘Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; For more numerous are the children of the desolate Than of the one who has a husband.’ 4:28 And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. 4:29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 4:30 But what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.’ 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (NASB)

Notice here how Paul is not speaking ill willed of the Torah or of the commands. If we read carefully, we can see how he delineates the differences between the children of the flesh versus the children of the promise. The point he is making is related to what Yeshua said, of taking the command, living self-righteously, and presuming the Torah was a means for entering into a relationship with God. Paul parallels the one who lives self-righteously through obedience to the command as a child of Hagar as opposed to those who live by faith as the children of the promise. Those who live by faith are as Paul wrote to Phillipians 2:13, saying “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (NASB) The difference here is the power of God by His Spirit that dwells within, it is because of God’s presence in our lives that we have the desire to obey His Word! The word “Torah” means “instruction,” and is related to our responsibility as God’s people, having a relationship with God beginning with faith. The Lord God Almighty gave us His Son to deliver us from sin and death and its penalty. We do not go to the Torah as a way to earn righteous deeds. We seek the Lord God in heaven, and remain in Christ the Messiah for our righteousness. This is the meaning of the Scripture that states “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be anyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.’” (Galatians 3:10) Paul wrote that we are justified by faith, and sanctified by grace, and the Lord God in heaven dwells in our hearts by His Holy Spirit, and works in us to produce the fruit of the Spirit. What is the fruit of the Spirit? It certainly is not sin! Sin is disobedience to the commands. The fruit of the Spirit therefore is obedience to the command, obedience to Torah! This is why Paul wrote what he did in Galatians 3:21-26.

Galatians 3:21-26
3:21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 3:22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (NASB)

Paul is speaking of these opposing concepts that are related to the idea that one earns his place in a relationship with God through Torah obedience. This is what is being taught in the modern theologies today that ancient Israel had to obey the Torah in order to be saved. With this type of teaching, the question is, will one find hope on the day of death before a holy and righteous God by in trusting in one’s own adherence to the Torah? The obvious answer is NO! Our appeal before God will be made because of what Yeshua had done!  And, the evidence of God working and living through us! We have been given access to the Holy of Holies in heaven in the name of Yeshua the Son of God! In the scientific research, astrophysicists are looking for convergence in the various methods and measurements conducted on the known Universe to answer the question of the expansion rate of the Universe. The recent paper [1] suggests the time at which one observes the universe determines the expansion rate. The parallel here to the scientific research is to understand how faith works from a Torah perspective. Looking from the present, to ancient times, even in the midst of antiquity, Yeshua was correcting the children of Israel on the matter of faith and the commandments warning against pride, self righteousness, and of becoming a disciple of such. (Matthew 23:15) We enter into a relationship with God through faith. The point is simply, the Torah, the law code, was not given to ancient Israel as a means to determine someone’s relationship with God. It is not by observance of Torah, or of the commands, that we enter into a relationship with God. The Torah was given after Israel was delivered from slavery in a very powerful way, and after they had entered into a relationship with God by faith! When we consider all of Scripture, looking at the ancient and the present time-frame, there is convergence on the means for a relationship with God by faith! The uncertainty measurement here in relation to the Scriptures is 0% meaning that from the beginning of time, a relationship with God has always been through faith by grace! The uncertain that enters in is found in the theologies and traditions that teach man earned his salvation in the Torah. The uncertainty comes with the anti-Torah rhetoric through the constructs of modern theologies. The takeaway is we have freedom in Yeshua the Messiah, because it is God living and working in and through us. (Phillipians 2:13). When we truly become a people of faith, obeying God’s Word occurs by walking in the power of God’s Holy Spirit, which brings peace, freedom, liberty, and joy! (2 Corinthians 3:17) This is why Paul was so zealous for the grace and mercy of God saying, “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13) It is by faith that we take hold of the promises of Abraham and become the beloved Children of God, and it is by the power of God through the Spirit that we live each day for His glory!

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Dr. Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!