Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
Disclaimer: I am not a scientist. This is not intended to be an apologetics article, more like comments on phenomena we don’t fully understand presented as food-for-thought.
We shouldn’t be able to observe the fascinating, terrifying cosmic events known as black holes. They have an event horizon – the area around the black hole itself – and a singularity (the “center”). We have no way to determine what came before it because no information can escape its gravity. This “black hole information paradox” has been a headache-inducing puzzle for this era’s brightest minds. Some have attempted explanations (Engelhardt, Page, etc), but the issue is far from resolved.
As observers, we could not see something go into the singularity because time would slow to a stop. This is caused by gravitational time dilation – something we experience on earth everyday. Time – from an observer’s perspective – is effected by gravity. The satellites orbiting our earth experience time at a slightly faster rate, something we have to account for with things like GPS. Time even moves slightly faster at high altitudes on earth than it does at sea level. Gravity affects the way we observe time. Higher gravity makes time appear to move slower, lower gravity makes it appear to move faster.
Gravitational time dilation also means that we can’t watch the birth of these terrifying cosmic events because it would take an infinite amount of time. Yet they do exist, and we can “see” them. We have photographic proof of their existence with M87, and we’ve seen enough to infer the existence of Sgr A at the center of our own galaxy.
So, if a black hole takes an infinite amount of time to form, how can we observe it? Einstein himself was doubtful of their existence because he couldn’t justify it with general relativity (Annals of Mathematics, Vol 40, No. 4, 922). Almost everything in the universe is explainable through two major theories: quantum mechanics and general relativity. General Relativity describes big, heavy stuff (planets, stars, galaxies); Quantum Mechanics is for tiny stuff that isn’t gravity-related (subatomic particles, atoms).
When it comes to black holes, though, these two theories collide. We don’t have a Theory of Everything that satisfactorily explains why these two can’t work together. Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity should not be able to coexist in one cosmic phenomenon.
So how do they? How can we observe something that should take an infinite amount of time to form? What could unify General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics – both of which have been verified repeatedly – and account for their coexistence in a black hole? What is the missing puzzle piece in the Theory of Everything?
Is it so irrational to assume that something not affected by either is the answer? Is it bad science to posit an infinite power source as the unifying agent of the two theories? As a believer, the answer that makes perfect sense is God. An infinitely powerful being is the Theory of Everything. He created the black hole at the same time as other stars (Gen 1.14-19). He bridges the gap between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanic’s explanations of reality (Heb 1.3).
To me, the black hole is one of the most compelling evidences of God’s existence. The only way we could ever observe something infinite is if something infinite put it there. Who else could be powerful enough to let general relativity and quantum mechanics play in the same phenomenon? Would he not be the perfect unifier of the two? I believe we can observe cosmic events – like black holes – because God put them there in our timeline.