The accompanying resource material was prepared by Matthew Riley – Research Associate, Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale.
The Big Bang, which Swimme calls “the great flaring forth”, is dated as13.7 billion years ago.
In the earliest moment of the great flaring forth, all of the matter, energy, space, and time of the observable universe rushed out from a single, dense point. It was a moment of great heat, reaching trillions of degrees, in which boundless amounts of light and heat expanded quickly outwards.
The scientific Summary sections provided background information on the formation of elementary particles, and their eventual conversion into plasma and then atoms.
Other sections had the titles Beginning of the Universe, The Formation of Galaxies, The Emanating Brilliance of Stars, Our Solar System, Life’s Emergence and Living and Dying.
The whole scale of cosmic actions left us all in awe of the powerful gigantic actions, beyond our comprehension that have been going on for billions of years. We have certainly been put in our places!
Some of the points discussed are as follows:
- The exact balance achieved in the rate of expansion of the universe. If it were slightly slower everything would have collapsed inward, and slightly faster would not have allowed particles to join together, but fortunately for us it is just right.
- The realisation that every atom in all the cosmos, including those which make up our bodies, have existed from the big bang.
- We are quite literally made of stardust!
(Notes by John M)