I learned something interesting yesterday. Apparently 95% of the Universe is composed of something that we can’t see or detect in the laboratory. Astronomers call this mysterious “stuff” dark energy and dark matter. Astronomers and astrophysicists believe that dark matter and dark energy exist because they have a profound effect on the 5% of the detectable Universe that is made up of atoms.
Until recently, scientists believed that the expansion of the Universe has been slowing down after the Big Bang due to the attractive force of gravity. That all changed in 1998 when astronomers were able to look deeper into space to study the movement of supernovae with the Hubble Space Telescope. They discovered that the Universe has been ignoring Einstein’s theory of gravity and is actually expanding faster…not slowing down. Although multiple explanations have been brought forward to explain this accelerating expansion, most astronomers believe that it being driven by a yet-to-be-identified energy source that occupies 27% of the Universe that they have affectionately called dark energy.
Dark matter was proposed to explain the fact that there is not enough visible matter in the Universe to generate enough gravity to hold galaxies together. Astrophysicists believe that this mysterious dark matter is acting like scaffolding and is holding everything from flying apart. According to a recent MIT Technology Review blog entry, “astronomers are left scratching their heads. On the one hand, they say dark matter must hold our galaxy together with a vice-like gravitational grip. On the other, its gravitational effect on the Solar System is negligible. Something has to give. This problem of the contradictory effects of dark matter on different scales is fast turning into the most fascinating and urgent problem in physics and astronomy.”
As I have been reading about dark energy and dark matter this week, and trying to understand it (which is not going so well), I realized that dark matter and energy are a lot like faith. You can’t see faith or detect it in the laboratory but you know that it exists because it provides structure and keeps things from flying apart. Over the years faith has also helped men and woman to overcome the gravitational force that has tried to hold them back. Faith laughs at the laws of physics and has been leveraged to part seas, move mountains, cure lepers, turn water into wine and to overcome sin and death by trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible says it this way;
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:9-14
So the reality, as I see it as of Wednesday, July 17, 2013, is that man can’t detect 95% of the Universe and he can barely understand the 5% of the Universe that he can observe. Yet amazingly, many stubborn men and women still have the audacity to scoff at the idea of a Creator and their need for a Savior. Maybe Socrates was right when he said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Dear Lord, I am amazed at the incredible Universe that you have created. I stand in awe of your wisdom and knowledge. You have made yourself visible to all that chose to look at the world through the lens of faith. Creation is wonderfully complex and you have created us in your image with the ability to study your works so that we can glorify you, Lord. You alone are worthy to be praised forever!