{3}           God (2): Origin of the universe

12.            Can the Big Bang Theory explain the origin of the universe? Does it conflict with the Bible?

a.  The Big Bang Theory: The theory describes the origin of the universe from a big explosion from an extremely small and hot primordial nucleus of infinite density.

b.  Evidences: (1) In 1931, an expanding universe was observed. (2) In 1965, cosmic background microwave radiation, the remnants of Big Bang, was discovered. (3) In 1970, the extension of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity proved that the origin of space-time is a singular point.

C.  Big Bang Theory vs. the Bible: The Big Bang theory does not conflict with the Bible.

     The Bible did not describe the mode of how the universe was formed. The Big Bang Theory supports a definite beginning of the universe and contradicts the belief that the universe was always there. It unavoidably leads to the concept of the First Cause (or God).

     The numerical accuracy of the force of the Big Bang helps to prove the intelligence of God and the impossibility of chance happening. If the universe had expanded at a rate one millionth more slowly or more quickly, then no galaxies would have formed. Some describes this phenomenon as “no less than the handwriting of God”.

13.            Do characteristics of the universe point to creation or existence by chance?

A.  Conflict between science and the Bible:

     There is only one truth. If both science and the Bible express truth, there should no conflict.

     If there are conflict between religious beliefs and scientific beliefs, many will sacrifice their religious beliefs. That is why we need a competent harmonization of the two.

B.  Intelligent Design Theory:

     There is nothing in science that reject creation. Yet, the characteristics of the universe point to the fact that it could not have existed by chance.

     Some proposed the Intelligent Design Theory which holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by intelligent causes. There are two components to the theory: [1] anthropic principle and [2] complexity of biological features.

C.  Anthropic Principle—fine-tuning in the universe:

     The anthropic principle states that the world and universe are “fine-tuned” to allow for life on Earth. If the conditions were altered slightly, many species would cease to exist.

     Christian astronomer Hugh Ross listed 35 characteristics of the universe and another 122 characteristics of the solar system that must be fine-tuned to make life possible and sustainable.

     For example, there are four fundamental forces in the universe: gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force. Scientists discovered that every one of these forces must have just the right strength if there is to be any possibility of life.

     The probability of satisfying all 122 characteristics is one chance in 10160 (1 followed by 160 zeros). It is estimated that there are 1022 planets in the universe. Therefore, the probability that all 122 characteristics are found on one planet is one chance in 10138 (10160 divided by 1022). This is pratically impossible. In comparison, there are only about 1070 atoms in the entire universe.

14.            When was the universe created?

a.  Age of the universe: Most scientists believe the universe was originated 15 billion years ago and the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago.

B.  Evidences of the antiquity (long history) of the earth:

(1)  Geology: [1] The geologic column has many layers of sedimentary rocks. [2] Mountains were formed from mountain building process. [3] Continents were split from a single supercontinent by the continental drift about 60-200 million years ago. [4] Different ice ages in past history.

(2)  Physics: [1] The age of rocks is estimated by radioactive elements to be 2 to 6 billion years. [2] Geological dating, such as salinity of oceans, arrive at different age of 10,000 to 100 million years.

 (3) Astronomy: [1] The objects that astronomers can see are 15-17 billions light-years away. [2] Some astronomical events happened in the past but its light only reached us in recent times.

C.  Age of the universe according to the Bible:

     In 1650, Archbishop Ussher calculated from the genealogies of Genesis that the universe was created in 4004 BC. But because of the possibility of such gaps in genealogies, the creation of Adam could be dated back to 10,000 or even 15,000 years ago.

D.  Different interpretations of creation:

(1)  Creation with age:

        Days recorded in Gen 1 are literal days of 24 hours. Creation is dated at 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. The apparent antiquity was because God created different things with the appearance of age. Many geological phenomena are then explained by the Great Flood (flood geologists).

        SUPPORT: [1] It is the literal interpretation of the Bible. [2] Adam and Eve were apparently created with age. [3] The word “day” in Hebrew normally means 24 hours.

        OPPOSITION: [1] If the sun was created on the 4th day, then there is no standard for time. Also there is a question about source of light on the first day. [2] The theory over-emphasizes the effect of the Flood. [3] Many natural phenomena cannot be explained by this theory.

(2)  Gap Theory:

        Days in Gen 1 are 24-hour days. There is a large gap between Gen 1:1 and 1:2. Gen 1:1 describes the creation of the whole universe. But this first world was destroyed, probably by the work of Satan. Gen 1:2-2:4 describes a re-creation of the Earth 6,000 to 10,000 years ago.

        SUPPORT: [1] It can explain most of the difficulties, such as the appearance of an old Earth. [2] Gen 1:2 describes the world “became” formless and void, possibly the result of divine judgment. [3] Hebrew word “bara” (meaning newly created) used only 4 times in Gen 1.

        OPPOSITION: [1] It implies the failure of the first creation. [2] There is no scientific evidence of a gap in the rocks.

(3)  Day-Age Theory:

        Days in Gen 1 are very long time periods as the Hebrew word “yom” (day) can be translated many ways: 24 hours (Ex 20:8-10); years (Gen 41:1); time period (Gen 40:3; Pr 31:25).

        SUPPORT: [1] “Day” can mean a long period of time (2Pe 3:8). [2] “Evening” (not “night”) and “morning” in Gen 1 may mean “this epoch had its gradual beginning and gradually merged into the epoch which followed”. [3] The theory can explain most scientific evidences.

        OPPOSITION: [1] God does not need long periods of time for creation. [2] It is difficult to harmonize Ex 20:11. [3] Did Adam and Eve live through a long sixth day?

E.  Conclusion: Each of the 3 interpretations is supported by Biblical evidence. There is no need to be dogmatic about which interpretation is the right one as this is not an essential belief.