Hugh Ross literally found God in the cosmos.
Some people see science as the antithesis of faith, but Ross, who is both a pastor and an astronomer, finds proof of a biblical God in the great, dark expanse of the universe.
"I'm a Christian because of the Big Bang Theory," he said, referring to the astronomical event, not the popular television sitcom.
"Astronomy is never witnessing the present; we are always witnessing the past," said Ross, who is scheduled to speak Tuesday at Asbury Theological Seminary.
"If you look far enough away, ... you can actually watch God bringing the universe into existence," he said.
Scientists postulate that the universe began 13.7 billion years ago. The light and radiation left over from this cosmic birth are still measurable.
Ross, who did post-doctoral studies on quasars at the California Institute of Technology, said most people aren't aware that "physicists produce theorems that space and time have a beginning," and that beginning is "compatible with the God in the Bible."
Ross said his interest in stars began as a child, and he has long been a devotee of science. He was the youngest person ever to be a director of observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical Society.
About age 19, he began to study religion and science in earnest, becoming a Christian about eight years later.
After working as a physicist, he founded Reasons to Believe, which is designed to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research consistently support the Bible and the idea of a personal and transcendent God.
The group, he said, "is founded on the idea that God has given us two books, the book of nature and the book of scripture."
God is nearly everywhere you look, he said.
"What we see in different life forms is a very sophisticated level of design, and it is repeated" in a wide variety of forms both plant and animal," he said.
Not all scientists believe as he does. Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time, gave a speech last week outlining why the universe didn't need God's help to emerge.
"What was God doing before He made the world?" Hawking asked in a presentation at the California Institute of Technology on April 16. "Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?"
Hugh said he's used to criticism. Often, he said, his more ardent foes are believers.
"It's disturbing," he said, "I get attacked a lot more within the Christian community than outside the religious community."
He said he takes the attitude set out in the Bible for the followers of Jesus Christ. He tries to act with "gentleness, respect and a clear conscience."
He said he has lectured all across the country, and many engineers and scientists have come up to him in tears after his talks. Being able to reconcile their intellectual and spiritual sides provides great relief, he said.
He feels it himself.
With warring halves, he said, "I don't think the heart can rejoice. It is important that our heart and our mind be in sync."
He said he's not going to have an altar call after his talk, just an extended time for questions.
"I'm not trying to rush people," he said, "I am just trying to get them started."
IF YOU GO
Speeches by Hugh Ross
What: Hugh Ross, founder of Reasons to Believe, discusses his organization's work to prove the accuracy of the Christian Gospel through science.
When: He offers two speeches — 'Cosmic Reasons to Believe in Christ' at 11 a.m. April 23, and 'Genesis and Science: Enemies or Allies?' at 3:30 p.m. April 23.
Where: Asbury Theological Seminar, 204 N. Lexington Ave., Wilmore. The 11 a.m. speech is in the Cordelia Thomas Dining Room A&B, and the 3:30 p.m. speech is in room 157 of the Beeson Center.
Learn more: Go to Reasons.org and click on "Events."
Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: Bluegrassmoms.com