Happy Birthday Universe!


This is from History:

On this day in 4977 B.C., the universe is created, according to German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, considered a founder of modern science. Kepler is best known for his theories explaining the motion of planets.
Kepler was born on December 27, 1571, in Weil der Stadt, Germany. As a university student, he studied the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ theories of planetary ordering. Copernicus (1473-1543) believed that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the solar system, a theory that contradicted the prevailing view of the era that the sun revolved around the earth.
In 1600, Kepler went to Prague to work for Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, the imperial mathematician to Rudolf II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Kepler’s main project was to investigate the orbit of Mars. When Brahe died the following year, Kepler took over his job and inherited Brahe’s extensive collection of astronomy data, which had been painstakingly observed by the naked eye. Over the next decade, Kepler learned about the work of Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who had invented a telescope with which he discovered lunar mountains and craters, the largest four satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Venus, among other things. Kepler corresponded with Galileo and eventually obtained a telescope of his own and improved upon the design. In 1609, Kepler published the first two of his three laws of planetary motion, which held that planets move around the sun in ellipses, not circles (as had been widely believed up to that time), and that planets speed up as they approach the sun and slow down as they move away. In 1619, he produced his third law, which used mathematic principles to relate the time a planet takes to orbit the sun to the average distance of the planet from the sun.
Kepler’s research was slow to gain widespread traction during his lifetime, but it later served as a key influence on the English mathematician Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and his law of gravitational force. Additionally, Kepler did important work in the fields of optics, including demonstrating how the human eye works, and math. He died on November 15, 1630, in Regensberg, Germany. As for Kepler’s calculation about the universe’s birthday, scientists in the 20th century developed the Big Bang theory, which showed that his calculations were off by about 13.7 billion years.

Well… a billion here a billion there…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Phil_NL says:

    “Well… a billion here a billion there…”

    Soon we’ll talking about real money! Oh wait, that one applies to trillions nowadays. All the more reason to enjoy the birthday party!

  2. MarkJ says:

    In God’s eyes, 6,000 years is like 14 billion, and 14 billion like 6,000. No issue there…

  3. 1173justin says:

    Interestingly, Jewish MIT physicist Gerald Schroeder reconciles Einstein’s theory of relativity with the Six Day creation model with the premise that from the point of origin of the big bang, the earth appears to be 6,000 years old. This is a gross over simplification of the premise but I tried to put it in a nutshell.

  4. slainewe says:

    “As for Kepler’s calculation about the universe’s birthday, scientists in the 20th century developed the Big Bang theory, which showed that his calculations were off by about 13.7 billion years.”

    Not if the Lord created the universe 14 billion years old, as he created Adam 30 years old. How old was Adam one year after his creation: one year old or 31 years old? When the Bible says Adam died at the age of 930, was this 900 years from the day of his creation (because he was 30 at birth), or did he live 930 years on earth, (actually making him 960 at death)?

  5. visigrad says:

    At an RCIA class during a very lively discussion on the theories of creation, a gentlemen put an end to the discussion with the following statement ” God could have created the earth to look as old as He wanted” ! Best explanation ever ….

  6. GregB says:

    The Big Bang was first proposed by Monseigneur Georges Lemaître, Belgian Catholic priest and scientist. He didn’t see any conflict between religion and science. He was member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He became its president in March 1960.

  7. Imrahil says:

    Dear slainewe,

    from God Who is outside time’s point of view, can we speak of a real difference between “creating the universe fifteen billion years old” and “creating the universe, taking fifteen billion years for the shaping after the creation out of nothing”?

    (That is, unless there is some hidden sense we may yet discover and which may have to do with what 1173justin wrote.)

    There wasn’t any sentient and/or intelligent being other than God around to whom it would make a difference – except of Course for the angels; but their Notion of time is different from ours as well, if I have the theory correct in my mind.

  8. Peter in Canberra says:

    I am somewhat surprised there hasn’t been a flood of comments defending the ~6000 year figure. In my experience traditionalist circles are well populated with this literal view, most frequently evidenced in impassioned critiques of evolution. I have certainly been burned for not having those views.

  9. slainewe says:

    Dear Imrahil,

    I suppose the only difference is Love. Yes, God is outside time, but, being God, He knew ahead of time what He would make to be our perception of time. I like to think that He constrained Himself to our time in creating our home, for love of us and in anticipation of when He would share in our time at His Incarnation. So He really took six days (as we measure them) to create the Universe and then rested for one more day, GET (Garden of Eden Time).

    But this did not constrain Him from creating things at a particular age in a shorter time, like creating Adam in one day at the age of 30, or the sun at the age of 4.5 billion. What better way to show us that He, although infinite, could become part of our finite world, then by compressing 15 billion years into 6 days?

Comments are closed.