A.S.K 7 – The Big Bang

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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.

A.S.K 6 – Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

21 thoughts on “A.S.K 7 – The Big Bang

  1. It’s interesting that Jesus, talking about human beings, said, “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.” Mark 10:6. That would imply a young earth of thousands not millions of years.
    There’s also Jesus statement, “Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of the prophets that has been shed from the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, . ” Luke 11:50-51.
    For 15,000 Ph.D science articles supporting a young earth see creation.com

  2. Hi David,

    Is John Lennox’s book not called ‘Seven Days that Divide the World’? Or has he produced another resource?

    Bob

  3. Refer you to Albert Mohler’s presentation: “Why Does the Universe Look so Old?’ preached at a Ligonier Annual Conference (Orlando) about 5 -7 years ago. There is an enormous theological problem problem with a universe billions or even millions of years old: the Fall.

    1. David,
      the age of the universe is measured by tracing its expansion process back to its logical start. Because of the nature of the universe, we have to acknowledge that that projected and calculated start to the expansion process was a beginning from which everything can be measured; hence: Steven Hawking, A Brief History of Time. (Bear with me, this will work out.)
      Now, before the discovery of the background radiation from the Big Bang virtually eliminated the idea, many scientists believed in a steady-state universe that had always existed. The idea of a steady-state, eternal universe is no longer tenable but that it was once embraced by many of the most brilliant minds in Science robs the Unbeliever — and everyone else — of any right to think that ‘Who made [the Eternal] God?’ is a meaningful question.
      What’s more, although it is commonsensical to think it much more probable that God made the universe rather than that the universe made itself, we need to guard how we proclaim it. It would be dishonest for example to take God’s name in vain just to garner votes from those who think it their ‘Christian’ duty to attack Science. (It is equally dishonest of course to say that Science proves that there is no god when what is meant is that scientific advances frequently prove that there is no need for a god-of-the-gaps that no-one believes in anyway, anymore, if ever.)
      It might be fair to point out that if it can be claimed that that the ‘nothing’ that everything was made from was a different kind of nothing — an idea perhaps less daft than it sounds — then we will continue to stress the point that the Eternal God who made the heavens and the earth is a different kind of god from the straw-gods of Man’s imagination.
      And finally — I told you to bear with me — If God is whom he has revealed himself to be in his Word, then there can be no objection to him making his universe in mid-process of expansion rather than at the Big Bang. In other words, God created the universe — ‘In the beginning …’ — much closer in time to where we are now than to when calculations indicate the beginning of the expansion process.
      It’s not that the Fall made the earth old, it just remade the earth to be in need of rejuvenation.
      Yours,
      John/.

  4. Quote mining Dawkins is a bit below the belt. Maybe you should quote all the times Dawkins references God in the book and include the context?

    it not more likely that such an intricate and complex creation had a Creator?

    Why could it not have happened without a creator? And just suppose for argument sake it was created. How on earth do you arrive at the conclusion this creator is Yahweh?

    1. Not ‘quote mining’. I actually read Dawkins book several times! AS for the creator being the Almighty, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Creator – that makes a whole lot more sense than demi-gods fighting it out!

  5. You clearly are not a scientist and have fallen fowl of cherry picking at is worst.
    Either the bible is correct or it’s not and on current scientific understanding it isn’t.
    In fact even your current explanation that science moved toward the biblical view is disingenuous the term was given by Hoyle as pejorative term. Further reading required.
    It’s telling that we don’t use god in science, otherwise we might find us saying we don’t understand, so god did it. That failed in the past and will continue to do so.
    Isn’t it your book says, put away childish things, the problem is that’s the book itself.
    One thing for certain the earth isn’t 6 to 10 thousand years old and I wonder where the idea of that nonsense came from?

    1. Wow! Matt,
      Seven jibes without adequate foundation in one reply, well done. It takes a bit of chutzpah, I suppose, to opine, ‘Further reading required’ before concluding with an embarrassingly out-of-touch reference to the godofthegaps debate; a misquotation of Scripture; and a question for which you think there can be no answer. However, with the last —

      One thing for certain the earth isn’t 6 to 10 thousand years old and I wonder where the idea of that nonsense came from?

      — I think I can help you with that one.

      The 6,000 years comprises the two millennia since the birth of Christ plus the 4,000 years calculated by Archbishop Ussher in the 17th century; more about that in a while. The 10,000 years ought also have the 2,000 years added if it is to remain linked to where it came from because the original 10,000 was an off-the-top-of the-head late 19th century expansion of Ussher’s 4,000 years to accommodate the latest findings of physics and chronology. There seemed to be a convergence with historical events and archaeological finds requiring more time and William Thomson/Lord Kelvin’s thermodynamic calculations allowing less and less. Thomson’s calculations were done before radioactivity was discovered — radioactivity generates heat — but the Princeton theologians were not to know that that would happen. They — co-operating with the best scientific advice available to them — found room for the expansion by viewing the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies as having been ‘telescoped’ by missing out generations.
      It has since been demonstrated that ten generations was the conventional length of a genealogical record at the time of the Exodus so in theory, telescoping could accommodate any estimation of time from the Creation to the Flood and from the Flood to Abraham coming into the sphere of Egyptian dominance.
      In practice, the millenium notion has a powerful attraction for most people — as witnessed to by the easy slip from the 4,000 → 10,000 year expansion to the 6,000 → 10,000 year range of your question. Ussher’s chronology was not the only one of his day but, besides the formidable erudition that Ussher put in to his attempt, his chronology was accepted because his was the one that produced the magical 4004 BC dating for the Creation.

      So, Matt, if you’re still reading, your choice of using Ussher’s dates as a stick to beat up David’s putative lack of reading redounds on your head. But I have a carrot for those Bible literalists who are even now demanding ‘Give us back our 4,000 years’: Ussher got his calculations right but was, IMO, wrong about the purpose of his figures. It was never the intention of Scripture, by supplying the figures that are given there, for us to, from them, calculate a date for the creation. We could and probably should argue that the figures are given and add up the way they do for a purpose but we should definitely ask what use was made of the total by those who added them up. The obvious solution is that wise men were counting, not back, but forwards; not calculating the gap between themselves and a moment of origin however long before, but counting on all the promises of a day that was to come; asking, not ‘How long since …?’ but, ‘How long until …?’ Daniel probably realised how a significance read into an addition of the numbers available in the Scriptures correlated with the 490 years — seventy weeks of years — of his own prophecy. In any event it was ‘from the East’ that wise men — Daniel’s successors — came to worship one born King of the Jews. How did they know the significance of the star? Partly by adding up the numbers because it was in the fulness of time that God sent forth his Son. Moreover, although they were a bit slow on the uptake, by the time John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness the atmosphere in Judea, Galilee and even in Samaria was one of Messianic expectation and they didn’t get that from trying to work out how long ago the Creation happened. We have our 4,000 years back but we too should use them wisely.
      Yours,
      John/.

  6. The ‘Old Universe’ view teaches that there was death throughout the millions of years before humans first appeared on the scene. The Bible teaches that death came into the world as a direct consequence of Adam’s sin. Many scientists are already moving away from the Big Bang theory which is in many respects directly at odds with the inspired word of God.

      1. Is this any help?
        A bombshell ‘Open Letter to the Scientific Community’ by 33 leading scientists has been published on the internet (Cosmology statement) and in New Scientist (Lerner, E., Bucking the big bang, New Scientist 182(2448)20, 22 May 2004). An article on http://www.rense.com titled ‘Big bang theory busted by 33 top scientists’ (27 May 2004) says, ‘Our ideas about the history of the universe are dominated by big bang theory. But its dominance rests more on funding decisions than on the scientific method, according to Eric Lerner, mathematician Michael Ibison of Earthtech.org, and dozens of other scientists from around the world.’ Carl Wieland. Creation.com article

      2. Not really – you are aware that atheistic scientists have for years trying to get rid of the Big Bang, because it proves that the universe had a beginning – as the Bible said – they will jump on anything they can to discredit it.

      3. Hi David, I was imprecise in my original comments. I meant to say that I find more and more scientists distancing themselves from the Big Bang theory. What I do find strange is Christians turning to it to back up the teaching of Scripture when on a number of fronts it contradicts the Genesis account – if you take Genesis 1-2 literally as I do, as I do with the rest of Genesis because it is all historical narrative. Somewhere, recently, I read this definition of the big bang theory: the Big Bang is a model describing how the universe expanded from an extremely hot, dense early state into the reality that we see today. Well the Bible says that to start with there was nothing, no extremely hot, dense early state. There was only God. There was nothing to go bang or for God to bang. Over the centuries, Christians have often hitched their wagon to some view of the world, only to unhitch it at a later point in time. I suspect, and hope, that the same will happen with the big bang theory.

        As regards the entrance of death into the world, the natural reading of Romans 5:12 is that death came into the world as a direct consequence of Adam’s sin, as recorded in Genesis 3. So before Adam sinned there was no death at all in the world. This is just one of several theological problems with believing in an old universe. As the late great R C Sproul said, having himself believed in an old universe for many years, such a belief necessitates too much “hermeneutical gymnastics” to be credible.

      4. The scientists who are turning against the Big Bang theory are doing so BECAUSE it supports a biblical cosmology – that the universe had a beginning and that matter is not eternal…So you are saying nothing died before sin…no plant, no organism…that all were eternal?

  7. The person who proposed the ‘Big Bang Theory’ was Georges Lemaitre. So what? Nothing much, except that he was a Catholic priest. Not a lot of people know either of those facts.
    From Wikipedia:
    Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaitre, was a Jesuit trained Belgian Catholic priest, mathematician, astronomer, and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain. He was the first to identify that the recession of nearby galaxies can be explained by a theory of an expanding universe, which was observationally confirmed soon afterwards by Edwin Hubble. He was the first to derive what is now known as Hubble’s law, or the Hubble-Lemaître law, and made the first estimation of what is now called the Hubble constant, which he published in 1927, two years before Hubble’s article.

  8. A ‘Big Bang’ is as good and as educated a guess as has been offered by scientists to explain the physical beginnings of the universe.
    But the question should still be lingering:
    What caused the ‘Big Bang’?
    What crucial event is hidden behind the back of the ‘big bang’ – and well out of view of mankind’s direct perception of it?
    What causes any bang – big or otherwise?
    The obvious, indeed the only answer is an explosion.
    However, such an answer offers only partial elucidation because, as any physicist should confirm, an explosion i.e., the sudden release of energy, will not in itself produce noise.
    Releasing energy needs to be obstructed before noise is emitted, and noise, when it is generated, is both the by-product of, and a witness to an incident of collision between the releasing energy and the obstruction, or resistance which lay in its path.
    Noise – is truly a child of contentious parents. It is a secondary form of energy which derives from the fragmentation and transformation of a primary and previously intact energy source as it imposes, impresses, spends, distorts and breaks itself open against some form of resisting counterforce.
    And so, although a ‘Big Bang’ might have borne witness to the physical birth of this universe it could not have been, as earlier suggested, the cause of creation.
    The cause of creation must have been a massive impact of unimaginable violence between a primary power and a secondary and countering resistance – of which the ‘big bang’ would have been a by-product and witness.
    The actual event which produced the ‘Big Bang’ and subsequently caused the ‘physical’ precipitation of the universe could only have been a collision between a pure eternal power released from a primary, parent and living source and an opposing, resisting and dead state.
    Genesis 1/2: and the earth was* without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep….
    The Hebrew word for ‘was’ is ‘hayah’ and it is more accurately translated ‘became’ in this verse – as it is translated in other subsequent verses.
    Genesis 1/3: Then God said, ”Let there be light”
    God spoke His light (eternal power) and triune order into, and against a dark, disordered and lifeless melee and, in so doing, imparted His order and life into it.
    Simple.

    1. In his article, “Is the big bang really scientific?, Dominic Statham B. Sc; D.I.S.; M.I.E.T,; C. Eng., ( Creation Vol. 41.1)makes the following interesting points:-

      “..the Big Bang theory… order of events contradicts the.Bible … In Genesis the earth is made before the stars”

      “… background heat is actually a major problem for Big Bang theory. This is because its temperature is virtually the same across the universe and this would not be expected from a Big Bang. A conventional explosion would leave behind an uneven pattern of heat, not the extremely even pattern actually observed.”

      Regarding the idea that an explosion just happened to produce a critical rate expansion, he mentions Nobel prize winner Professor Steven Weinberg who has worked out that the required expansion rate would have to have been just right to within 120 decimal places?. Dominic poses the question as to how a process this critical could have happened by chance.

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