Continual cosmic expansion under fixed physical laws from an actual beginning of matter, energy, space, and time is the heart and soul of the biblical cosmic creation model.
Continual cosmic expansion under fixed physical laws from an actual beginning of matter, energy, space, and time is the heart and soul of the biblical cosmic creation model. Moreover, the physical constants that govern cosmic expansion, namely dark energy and the cosmic mass density, provide the most spectacular confirmed scientific evidence for the supernatural design of the universe for the benefit of humanity.
One way to measure the properties of dark energy and the cosmic mass density is to measure the expansion history of the universe. This also serves to strengthen the biblical cosmic creation model. However, while astronomers have successfully measured the expansion rate of the universe over the latter half of the universe’s history, they have struggled to gain accurate measures over the first half of cosmic history.
The problem for astronomers is to find objects bright enough at great distances (because of the velocity of light, the greater the distance, the farther back in time astronomers make measurements) that they can measure the necessary properties to determine cosmic expansion. The only objects (besides a handful of supernovae) meeting the specifications are gamma-ray bursts.
As the name implies, gamma-ray bursts are flashes of intense gamma rays—so intense, in fact, that they rank as the brightest events to have ever occurred in the universe since the beginning of the universe itself. The intense nature of the long burst events (up to a few minutes) appear to be well explained by giant stars collapsing into a black hole. The short burst events (as brief as a fraction of a second) seem to be caused by the collision of two neutron stars.
Bradley Schaefer, an astronomer from Louisiana State University, assembled data on 69 different gamma-ray burst events that covered the portion of cosmic history ranging from 1.5 to 12 billion years ago. His study included more than three times as many well-analyzed gamma-ray burst events as any previously published work. He achieved an accuracy (for measuring cosmic expansion) that was just a factor of two worse than the best studies done for epochs covering the past 7 billion years.
Schaefer was able to draw two important conclusions about the expansion of the universe. First, the analysis of events corresponding to 7 to 12 billion years ago was consistent with conclusions drawn from analysis of events corresponding to the past 7 billion years. Second, the analysis favored the “concordance” model of the universe. The concordance model states that the cosmic dark energy density remains at a constant value throughout all of cosmic history. In other words, dark energy is explained by Einstein’s cosmological constant. Another way to word it is that Schaefer’s work shows there cannot be any major anomaly in the physics of the universe that would put aside the most significant conclusions astronomers are drawing about dark energy.
Thanks to Schaefer’s work, scientists and laypeople alike can be even more confident that what the Bible teaches about cosmic creation is correct. They also can celebrate the increasing scientific confirmation for the supernatural design of the density parameters that govern the expansion of the universe for the benefit of humanity.