Dec. 21, 2012 Countdown - Day 20: Arno Penzias on GOD, Creation & Big Bang

Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias on GOD, Creation & Big Bang (compiled by Tihomir Dimitrov)


1. “If there are a bunch of fruit trees, one can say that whoever created these fruit trees wanted some apples. In other words, by looking at the order in the world, we can infer purpose and from purpose we begin to get some knowledge of the Creator, the Planner of all this. This is, then, how I look at God. I look at God through the works of God’s hands and from those works imply intentions. From these intentions, I receive an impression of the Almighty.” (Penzias, as cited in ‘The God I Believe in’, Joshua O. Haberman - editor, New York, Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994, 184).

2. In an interview published in the anthology 'The God I Believe in' (1994), Penzias talks about his religious views and the Mount Sinai, where God gave the Ten Commandments to the entire Jewish nation – 3 million people:

“Q: You referred before to Sinai. This brings up one of the most complex problems – revelation. Do you think that God revealed Himself at Sinai?

PENZIAS: Or, maybe God always reveals Himself? Again I think as Psalm 19, ‘the heavens proclaim the glory of God,’ that is, God reveals Himself in all there is. All reality, to a greater or lesser extent, reveals the purpose of God. There is some connection to the purpose and order of the world in all aspects of human experience.

Q: When you read or hear the Torah, is it to you the word of Moses or the word of God?

PENZIAS: Well, to me it is the word of Moses and the word of God through Moses.

Q: Then why did Sinai happen?

PENZIAS: I don’t have a good answer, except that Sinai was important for Judaism and important for the future of the world. It was a place where God chose the Jews, but the Jews also chose God. It was a historical moment in which a spiritual connection was made.

Q: Jewish speculations about the hereafter involve the Messiah. Do you believe in such a redeemer or final redemption from all evil here on earth?

PENZIAS: Yes. I believe the world has a purpose, hopefully a good purpose. So I think that a Messiah is necessary to help achieve a purposeful world.” (Penzias, as cited in ‘The God I Believe in’, Joshua O. Haberman - editor, New York, Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994, 188-190).

3. In connection with the Big Bang theory and the issue of the origin of our highly ordered universe, on March 12, 1978, Dr. Penzias stated to the New York Times:

“The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.” (Penzias, as cited in Bergman 1994, 183; see also Brian 1995, 163).

Arno Penzias’ research into astrophysics has caused him to see “evidence of a plan of divine creation” (Penzias, as cited in Bergman 1994, 183).

4. In an interview published in the scientific anthology The Voice of Genius (1995), Dr. Penzias says:

“Penzias: The Bible talks of purposeful creation. What we have, however, is an amazing amount of order; and when we see order, in our experience it normally reflects purpose.

Brian: And this order is reflected in the Bible?

Penzias: Well, if we read the Bible as a whole we would expect order in the world. Purpose would imply order, and what we actually find is order.

Brian: So we can assume there might be purpose?

Penzias: Exactly. …This world is most consistent with purposeful creation.” (Penzias, as cited in Brian 1995, 163-165).

5. In Gordy Slack’s article “When Science and Religion Collide or Why Einstein Wasn’t an Atheist: Scientists Talk about Why They Believe in God” (1997), Dr. Penzias stated: “If God created the universe, he would have done it elegantly. The absence of any imprint of intervention upon creation is what we would expect from a truly all-powerful Creator. You don’t need somebody diddling around like Frank Morgan in The Wizard of Oz to keep the universe going. Instead, what you have is half a page of mathematics that describes everything. In some sense, the power of the creation lies in its underlying simplicity.” (Penzias, as cited in Slack 1997).

6. Concerning the Big Bang theory and the observational evidence that the universe was created, Penzias pointed out:

“How could the everyday person take sides in this dispute between giants? One held that the universe was created out of nothing, while the other proclaimed the evident eternity of matter. The ‘dogma’ of creation was thwarted by the ‘fact’ of the eternal nature of matter.

Well, today’s dogma holds that matter is eternal. The dogma comes from the intuitive belief of people (including the majority of physicists) who don’t want to accept the observational evidence that the universe was created – despite the fact that the creation of the universe is supported by all the observable data astronomy has produced so far. As a result, the people who reject the data can arguably be described as having a ‘religious’ belief that matter must be eternal. These people regard themselves as objective scientists.” (Penzias, 1983, 3; see also Bergman 1994, 183).