BIBLE READING: Genesis 1:1-23
TEXT: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:1-2).
One of the big problems that many young people face
is when they are told something is what ‘Christianity’ teaches – when it is nothing of the sort. Just as we must not take away from the Bible – so we must not add to it. Some Christians express far more certainty based upon their interpretations, than they do upon the Bible itself.
This question reflects that. Because it is based upon the wrong premise – that Christianity does not accept the Big Bang theory. But many Christians have no difficulty with the Big Bang theory. Some Christians don’t like it because it suggests a universe billions of years old. And they believe that the Bible teaches that the universe is only a few thousand years old. This is an area where Bible-believing Christians disagree.
So let’s ask first of all what the Big Bang theory is. It states that the universe had a beginning and that that beginning was a Big Bang! This is a big improvement on the general scientific consensus in the first half of the twentieth century which stated that the universe was eternal and had no beginning. But then the scientists caught up with the Bible and because of the discovery of the Big Bang, they came to realise that Genesis 1:1 was after all correct. There was a beginning.
Then let’s think about it from a Christian perspective. God spoke and the universe came into being. Do you think he did it with a whimper, or with awesome power?! So there is really no contradiction between the Bible and the Big Bang theory.
I don’t see why you can’t believe both.
But what about the age of the universe? Again the Bible doesn’t really have anything to say on this. Look at our verses again. God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing. The universe was formless and void before he then went on to the sequence of creation described in Genesis 1.
I am not a scientist but I have read a lot about what scientists have said about this. For example, Arno Penzias, the Nobel Prize winning scientist who discovered the background radiation that proved the Big Bang stated:
‘The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.’
Then Robert Jastrow, an Astrophysicist, writes,
‘Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ,
but the essential elements and the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.’
Another top scientist confesses,
‘I am personally persuaded that a super-intelligent Creator exists beyond and within the cosmos, and that
the rich context of congeniality shown by our universe, permitting and encouraging the existence of self-conscious life, is part of the Creator’s design and purpose’ (Owen Gingerich, God’s Universe).
Even the atheist scientist, Stephen Hawking, wrote in his most famous book, A Brief History of Time:
‘It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.’
It is very difficult. Which is why his book is so hard to read – because he tries to explain away the obvious. It’s amazing that the heavens declare the glory of God, that the creation testifies to the Creator, and yet such is the blindness of human beings, that even the cleverest shut their eyes and refuse to see.
It’s not Christians who deny the Big Bang. We affirm the one who created through the Big Bang. It’s non-Christians who have the enormous difficulties of trying to explain what banged and who did the banging!
CONSIDER: Stephen Hawking points out that if the rate of expansion, one second after the Big Bang, had been smaller by even one part in ten thousand million million, the universe would have re-collapsed before it ever reached its present state. If it had been greater by one part in a million then the stars and planets would not have been able to form. Constants like the speed of light, the force of gravity and electromagnetism all need to work precisely together for there to be life. There are fifteen such constants. Do you really think that this all just happened by chance? Is it not more likely that such an intricate and complex creation had a Creator?
RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING:
Seven Days that Shook the Earth – John Lennox
PRAYER: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge They have no speech, they use no words;no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world (Psalm 19:1-4).
O Lord, help us to listen and to see your glory revealed in your creation. Amen.