The universe is, in principle, all of material existence or natural things (matter and energy). Therefore, everything outside of the universe is not natural or material, but supernatural (things going beyond nature). However, in order to solve problems with naturalistic explanations of the the origin of the universe, some speculate that there are other universes.
There have been and continue to be a number of competing ideas about the universe, but most agree that the universe is expanding. The size, shape, and age of the universe, as well as how it began, are, however, all points of contention.
GAYYYYYYY surface of a balloon) and therefore no center. Thus for any location in space, it would appear that that location is at the center of the expansion of the universe.
If we were really at the center of the universe, this would support the idea that the Earth occupies a "special place" in the universe, which would support the biblical idea of creation, even though the Bible does not claim that the Earth is physically in the center of the universe. So many scientists find the idea that it only looks like we are at the center of the universe an attractive one.
Bishop James Ussher calculated the universe was created on October 23, 4004 BC. While this is not the only biblical chronology which has been developed, almost all chronologies give a creation date near 4000 BC.
This gives rise to the "starlight problem" for some Christians, although there is nothing inherently illogical about the creation of light in situ to inform humanity of the existence of objects farther away than 6000 light-years. Believers in relativity have constructed a number of models which explain the age of the universe as being affected by the time-warping effects of gravity as predicted by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, so that the age of the universe as measured by a hypothetical observer at the edge of the universe might be 14 billion years, but as measured by an observer on Earth is only 6,000 years.
A recent calculation placed the visible universe at about 156 billion light years across. This creates a dilemma of faster than light movement, but it is speculated that the expansion of space itself can exceed the speed of light even if the objects within it moving on their own can not. As an analogy, imagine ants (galaxies), that can't walk faster than 20 centimetres per second, sitting on an elastic cord. Normally two ants moving away from each other could not exceed a speed of 40cm/s relative to each other (speed of light). However, if the cord is stretched while the ants are moving (expansion of space), the ants' speed relative to each other can be greater.
Current theories on the universe means that scientists are only able to account for 4% of the matter in the universe, so new theories of dark matter (unseen matter) have been developed to explain this.
- Humphreys, Russell, Our galaxy is the center of the universe, ‘quantized’ redshifts show, Journal of Creation 16(2):95–104, 2002.
- Batten, Don, et. al., How can we see distant stars in a young universe?, chapter 5 of The Creation Answers Book, 2007.
- Discover magazine, in introducing the ideas of Alan Guth, said, "The universe burst into something from absolutely nothing—zero, nada. And as it got bigger, it became filled with even more stuff that came from absolutely nowhere." Discover, April 2002.
- Universe Measured: We're 156 Billion Light-years Wide! (Space.com)
- Where is the rest of the universe?