God and Evolution

God and Evolution

Over the years I have taught confirmation and Sunday school to many teenagers. Inevitably, we always come to the discussion of Evolution and whether or not it conflicts with the bible. I have saved some of the information gathered over the years. The Kevin Sluder, Rowan Archbishop of Canterbury, Harvard Syllabus and other sources where originally used in compiling the data.  Please see below some of what I have saved that helps us to understand how it is not contradictory to believe in both God and Science. – Sarah  

God, Genesis and the big bang

Understanding Genesis Chapter 1

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

(Psalm 19:1-3, KJV)

Scientific investigation has repeatedly uncovered evidence of an ancient earth. The young earth creationists claim the evidence is being misrepresented but their view is not supported by mainstream science. Archbishop Ussher’s chronology, based on Biblical genealogies has convincingly been shown to be in error as a guide for dating creation at 4004 BC. For believers this can be a source of great conflict. Most people think there are only two choices for Christians. They can hold to the traditional interpretation of Genesis and a young earth creation date, while rejecting science, or accept the evidence of an ancient earth as proof of common descent and reduce Genesis to a combination of myths & legends also known as allegory, and poetic writing.

Another option exists. Genesis can be read literally, and the evidence of an ancient earth rather than conflicting will actually support this view. Let’s read Genesis again for the very first time…

DAY 1

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Gen 1:1-5

Supporting Scripture

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Psa 104:1-2

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Heb 11:3

Before the big bang nothing of our universe existed, not even time or space. It truly was in the beginning when God caused the universe to explode out of nothing. One of the laws of physics is the law of causality which paraphrased says an effect can not be part of it’s cause. Translation – nothing cannot produce something anyway you look at it unless acted on by an outside force – in this case God. Space, time, matter, and energy spread out like a curtain at God’s command. Why didn’t the universe collapse immediately back upon itself due to the immense affects of gravity as physics tells us it could have? Obviously there was enough force to overcome gravity, but this would just as likely have resulted in no matter heavier than hydrogen ever forming in the universe. In the words of the philosopher why is there something instead of nothing (but hydrogen)? Genesis 1:2 tells us it is because the Spirit of God was hovering over creation and He chose to overcome the laws of physics which He set in motion by perfectly balancing the big bang event. In the big bang model of creation it is expected that photons would have been the first recognizable particles of matter to form. A photon is a particle of light. Imagine that! Many billions of years pass with stars forming and collecting into swirling galaxies. The newly forming sun condenses until the nuclear furnace ignites, light fills the solar system. – +15 billion to 5 billion years ago.


DAY 2

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. Gen 1:6-8

God molded the planets of our solar system out of the elements of the cosmos – the leftovers of the gas cloud that formed our sun. This swirling cloud clumped and condensed into the individual planets. Day 2 expresses the work of God in forming and shaping one of these. The core of the gaseous ball that was to become the earth begins to cool until it solidifies. This distinctly separates the waters of the atmosphere from the waters of the earth – 5 billion to 4 billion years ago.


DAY 3

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. Gen 1:9-13

Supporting Scripture

But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. Gen 2:6

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. Psa 104:6-7

Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? Job 38:8-11

The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment. Job 38:14 NIV

The earth continues to cool, steam begins to rise up out of the volcanic rock and forms a shallow sea over the earth. The dry ground is raised up out of the ocean, due to plate movement and volcanic activity. A heavy cloud cover envelops the earth. Life appears in the fossil records of the very earliest rocks that formed. – 4 billion to 1.5 billion years ago.


DAY 4

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Gen 1:14-19

Supporting Scripture

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7

A casual reading of Genesis suggests that the Sun, Moon and stars were made on day four. Taking all of scripture into account we see that these existed long before. What Hugh Ross points out in his books is that scripture records creation from the perspective of an earth bound observer. This observer would see the earth was enveloped in a heavy cloud of volcanic ash, steam and carbon dioxide. The light of the sun was visible but not the sun until this time as the cloud cover begins to clear. As the volcanic ash settles the single celled life forms in the ocean, including blue-green algae are at work cleansing the atmosphere until it is rich in oxygen, making air-breathing life possible. – 1.5 billion to 700 million years ago.


DAY 5

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Gen 1:20-23

During day five we see the filling of the seas and the skies. About 570 million years ago the single biggest period of creation takes place. Today we know this as the Cambrian explosion. Creatures with hard-shelled bodies like trilobites and shellfish were created, creatures with skeletons such as fish spread throughout the ocean depths. Soon after, the Earth sees the first creatures appearing on land, apparently brought forth by the sea: amphibians, reptiles, and insects. Another great explosion of life begins 225 million years ago as dinosaurs appear and they dominate for 160 million years. Note that the KJV translates the Hebrew tanniyn as whale . The translation used in the NIV is creature but it also means a marine or land monster i.e. a sea serpent or dragon . The NASB translates it sea monster as does the RSV and Darby versions. Young’s Literal translation translates it simply as monster . Bet they never told you that in Sunday School or science class.

NOTE: The KJV uses dragon many times in the Old Testament. The dragons are not dinosaurs, as they were extinct millions of years before man was created. The dragons are probably crocodiles with an occasional hippopotamus, but they are not dinosaurs. The same Hebrew word is translated dragon and whale but Genesis 1:21 calls dinosaurs gadowl tanniyn or great monster. The only other place in scripture where this word combination is used is in Ezekiel 29:3, where in Ezekiel’s prophesy great monster refers to Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Late in this day birds begin to fill the skies above the heads of the dinosaurs. – 700 million to 65 million years ago.


DAY 6

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Gen 1:24-31

Supporting Scripture

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7

Day six begins as the dinosaurs become extinct. 65 million years ago mammals begin to rule the earth with the appearance of the grazing animals and wild beasts. True Man appears last with the creation of Adam and Eve. – 65 million to about 10,000 years ago.

What about prehistoric man? I believe they are included with the beasts of the earth just as monkeys and apes are beasts. No matter how intelligent they may or may not have been, there is no evidence that they were created in the image of God. There is no evidence that they had a spirit. The spirit is that part of man that acknowledges the Creator and longs for communion with Him. The Spirit can be suppressed but the result is restlessness and a lack of fulfillment.


DAY 7

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Gen 2:1-3

We are now in day seven – the day of rest. Nothing new has been created since man appeared (More on this later).

The young-earth creationists say the 7 days are literal 24-hour days. The facts of the universe say they have interpreted scripture incorrectly. By realizing the days are long periods of time and establishing an earth bound point of view you can see that science and the Bible tell the same story in complete agreement.

Scriptural Evidence for Long Days

God, Genesis and the big bang  – home

 Copyright © 1998 by Kevin Sluder

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God, Genesis and the big bang

Scriptural evidence for long days

  

2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

2 Tim 3:17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together , and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7

We must consider all related passages when studying Scripture. This passage in Job presents a contradiction to the traditional understanding of Genesis 1, which states the stars were made on day 4. They exist here before the creation of the earth. You cannot throw this passage out because you don’t like it neither can you dismiss it as poetry. It is the LORD speaking. Day 4 should be understood as the cleansing of the atmosphere of volcanic ash, steam, and carbon dioxide. This interpretation does not prove long days but it does line up with the facts of nature. We should therefore search Scripture for more information.

A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.” For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Psa 90:1-4

Here we are instructed that as God’s ways are not our ways so God’s time is not our time. Time and space actually began with the big bang. God is not confined to our universe. He is not limited. He is eternal. He is omnipresent. He is omniscient. He knows the future as well as the past.

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount. Heb 8:5

The things of worship that God commands are shadows of heavenly things, They are copies to enhance our understanding of God.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exo 20:8-11

We are still in the seventh day. God has not created since Adam and Eve. This passage must be understood as a “shadow of heavenly things”.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. Lev 25:2-4

This is another example that is to be understood as a “shadow of heavenly things”.


One of the main arguments against long days is that the days of Genesis 1 are numbered. It is stated that this must mean literal 24 hour days. Does It?

After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Hosea 6:2

Here Hosea is prophesying concerning Israel’s spiritual awakening and subsequent return to the LORD. It should also be clear that the days are not literal 24 hour days but periods of time.


Another argument made for 24 hour days is that the Hebrew word for day yowm means day, and if God had meant long periods of time he would have used another word. In response, this is not true. There are many places in the Old Testament where yowm is translated as something other than a 24 hour day. For the purpose of this study we will look only at a few examples used in the book of Genesis.

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. Gen 2:4-6

This is an example where day is used, but it refers to a longer period of time. In this case whether day means 6 days or 15 billion years makes no difference it does not mean a 24 hour period.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Gen 2:17

Here day seems to indicate when a judgment was made concerning Adam’s future (and ours). I say this because Adam apparently lived a long time after this. Upon banning them from the garden, God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins to insure their survival. God seems to have wanted them to live and procreate. Most people believe Adam died spiritually that day. Certainly his innocence died. But Adam continued to talk with God after this event and Cain was concerned that he would no longer be in God’s presence after being forced to leave his land because he killed Abel. Genesis 2:17 is confusing enough that we cannot be certain of the meaning of day in this passage.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. Gen 4:3

This passage translates yowm as the passing of time. This occurs many times in the Old Testament.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Gen 8:22

The lifetime of the earth is indicated by this use of yowm.

And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. Gen 26:8

Time does not relate directly to 24 hours but it is yowm that is used here.

And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month. Gen 29:14

Once again the word yowm is speaking to us are we listening?

And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he served them: and they continued a season in ward. Gen 40:4

Scripture tells us Joseph was in prison a lot longer than a day. Yowm is translated season in this passage.

I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever: Gen 43:9

How long is for ever ?Longer than 24 hours and yet ever is yowm in Hebrew.

And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. Gen 47:28

The age of Jacob, or the day of Jacob was 147 years.


As has been shown days can and often are understood in Scripture to mean a period of time greater than 24 hours and numbering the days does not force a fixed time limit upon the passage. One argument remains to be addressed:

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Gen 1:5

Young earth creationists insist that the mention of evening and morning in combination with day forces day to be a 24 hour day.

Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. Gen 49:27

The Hebrew word for evening is ‘ereb, it is translated night in this passage. The Hebrew word for morning is boqer and it means sunrise or the coming of light. In each of the creation days we see darkness followed by the coming of light. We see God’s hand at work in his creation day as something that did not exist before or was invisible to us has been brought out into the light to declare His glory. We see what was formless and void receive limits, shape, fulfillment. This does not limit the day in any way to 24 hours. One thing that has always amused me about the traditional literal reading is that and the evening and the morning were not the first day but rather the first night. Of course understanding that the Hebrew day starts at dusk helps but then we are still faced with only half a day. It seems to flow more naturally to understand this verse as… and the darkness and the coming of light of the first creation age, or… and the void and the filling of the first creation age.


In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; Titus 1:2

God’s word is true because God is truth. He has revealed Himself in His word the Bible, and He has clearly revealed Himself in the created universe.

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret , in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. Isa 45:18-19

The heavens declare the glory of God ; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Psa 19:1-3

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Rom 1:18-22

 

God, Genesis and the big bang

The Origin of the Universe

 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2 KJV)

Introduction

In this article we will look very briefly at the science of the big bang theory. We’ll consider some of the history of the developing theory. We will also consider its theological significance.

Marilyn Vos Savant stated in Parade magazine, February 4, 1996, “I think that if it had been a religion that first maintained the notion that all the matter in the entire universe had once been contained in an area smaller than the point of a pin, scientists probably would have laughed at the idea.”

In fact the Bible does say something remarkably similar, and yes it has been laughed at by many. “ In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen 1:1), “ He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8 NIV), and “ Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb 11:3 KJV) In these verses we see God creating an expanding universe which from our perspective was made visible from the invisible.

The big bang theory like any scientific theory is best understood as subject to change. It will undoubtedly be revised as new data is collected. This is good. It shows our understanding is growing. Any new theory will have to satisfy all the existing data better than the theory it replaces. For now the big bang does the best job.

From the Christian perspective a theory of origins for the cosmos must also agree with scripture. The big bang theory does this by acknowledging the universe had a beginning. It is interesting that until the last hundred years the Christian had no evidence to support believing Genesis 1:1. More interesting is the amount of resistance to the evidence by many believers today. Why? Probably because they do not understand the big bang theory and this lack of understanding has led them to the false conclusion that naturalistic evolution must be accepted if the universe is billions of years old. This is unfortunate because it means some of the best apologetic information available today is being rejected by the church. I recently read on an evolution web site that the best evidence against creationism is creationism. Sadly, I am often inclined to agree. Enough about that, let’s get started.


Random Thoughts Coming Together

The First Law of Thermodynamics, also known as the law of conservation, states that matter or energy cannot be destroyed. It can revert to forms difficult to utilize (Second Law of Thermodynamics) or be converted to each other (e=mc^2). No completely new matter or energy has been created since the big bang. (Thermodynamics is a field of physics on whose principles much of science and engineering is based.) As an example of this law consider a piece of wood. If you were to burn it you might think it has been destroyed, but what has actually happened is that it has been converted into ash, heat and other chemical reactions. It still exists but in another form.

Einstein concluded that energy and mass are actually different states of a single energy-matter continuum. Energy is matter in its intangible form; matter is energy in its tangible form. What this means is that all the matter and all the energy that exist in the universe have existed since it’s creation in one form or another. 

From the time of Plato and Aristotle through the beginning of the 20th century it made perfectly logical sense to believe the universe was eternal. Science seemed to support this conclusion.

Einstein’s theory of special relativity changed all that. From it we learned that the universe had a beginning. That beginning includes not only matter and energy, but space and time as well. This obviously presents a problem cooperating with the first law of thermodynamics. The universe could not suddenly exist where nothing had existed before at least not by natural means. This truth was so apparent to Einstein that he inserted a fudge factor into his theory to force the equations to reinstate the eternal universe.

Edwin Hubble discovered that the galaxies were moving away from each other. The more distant the object the faster it was moving away. This indicated the universe was expanding. It took some effort on Hubble’s part but Einstein became convinced of this evidence and removed the fudge factor from his theory. The result was the sobering conclusion that moving backward in time we eventually come to a point where time equals zero. At the moment T=0, matter and energy become compressed into zero dimensional space. Don’t misunderstand that to mean a tiny speck floating in empty space. In fact space itself becomes infinitely small.

There were many theories proposed to explain how the universe came into existence. One of them was the steady state theory. If I understand it correctly, it denied special relativity demanded an absolute beginning to the universe (I assume Einstein’s fudge factor was left in the equation). The universe was still considered eternal. One problem with an eternal universe is that it would eventually fall victim to entropy (the second law of thermodynamics). It would eventually run out of energy. Adherents of the steady state theory attempted to overcome this problem by acknowledging the universe was expanding and proposed that matter and energy were continually coming into existence to replenish the universe. Though this theory was still in high school textbooks in the early 1970’s it was never overwhelmingly accepted by scientists. Why? There simply was never any proof to back it up. That is the way science works.

Another popular theory was the oscillating universe theory, a kind of eastern mystical theory of birth, death, rebirth, where the universe would expand then collapse on itself and then explode into existence again. Again the universe was thought to be eternal. This theory, even if it were true, does not eliminate God from creation for several reasons but it doesn’t matter because the theory falls victim to the laws of gravity and entropy. Basically the universe could only expand a couple of times before it ran out of energy and stopped expanding and contracting. Our universe is not eternal. Therefore our universe had a beginning. See Genesis 1:1 for more on this subject. 

George Gamow first proposed the hot big bang theory. It claimed the universe began as a singularity of extreme density and intense heat that expanded and cooled until particles of matter formed from the energy of the big bang. One of the results of this beginning would be that it would leave a trail of uniform radiation throughout the universe that would still be evident today. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the proof of this background radiation. Supporting evidence made this the leading theory explaining the how of creation. In fact this is now known as the standard cosmology.

There were also problems with the theory. The universe appeared to be too perfect. It might even be appropriate to call it ” very good .” All measurements suggested the universe was too perfectly balanced between open and closed. An open universe would expand forever. A closed universe would eventually collapse on itself. Theologically speaking, this is not a problem. Scientifically, it appears to mean the universe had to begin with unbelievable precision and balance. There was also a problem with the cosmic background radiation. It was just too perfectly smooth. Such uniformity would not allow stars and galaxies to form.

Alan Guth came up with a solution that has so far been touted as having met and beat all competition. He theorized that the universe underwent super inflation (marked by exponentially accelerating expansion) very early in its existence. This period of super inflation is theorized as very short (10-34 seconds) just long enough to resolve the open/closed problem just mentioned. If correct, the universe did not have to start with such precision as is measured today. In fact the inflation theory predicts the measurements would tend towards balance, as the universe grew bigger. This theory like the hot big bang also predicted ripples in the background radiation that would allow for the formation of galaxies. These ripples have since been observationally confirmed.


Theology and science collide

Accepting our universe is not eternal forces scientists to deal with a big puzzle. How can they explain the origin of the universe without violating their own sacred first commandment; the first law of thermodynamics? Remember earlier I said, “The universe could not suddenly exist where nothing had existed before at least not by natural means.” Well, it turns out there is a loophole that many in physics are attempting to exploit. The laws of Newtonian physics cannot be used to explain what happened in the first 10-43 seconds after the big bang (that’s the first 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds). Scientists using quantum mechanics have proposed it is possible to explain the beginning of the universe where in that first 10-43 seconds a birth date is not necessary.

Alan Guth (of the inflation theory) is one of them. In DISCOVER Vol. 23 No. 4 (April 2002) Alan states, “We no longer have to rely on stories we were told when we were young.” He was referring to the Genesis account of creation. I normally avoid quoting individuals in this manner for concern that I will misrepresent what they have said. I make an exception here because his statement is a faith statement. He is convinced it is a fact statement.

Why would he make such a statement? It is possible he is uncomfortable with the obvious theological implications of the universe having a beginning. It is more likely he simply feels theology is irrelevant when it comes to the mathematics of the universe. First we need to try and understand the science behind his view. Then we need to decide if his statement is valid.

Quantum mechanics deals with physics at the sub-atomic level. It gets really weird at this level of physics. In the world we know and love, 1+1=2. In the quantum physics world it is just as logical that zero can become 1. This does not make sense if you are trying to relate it to the laws of the observable world around you. The mathematics of quantum physics are ruled by probability. In the ‘real’ world we know something cannot come from nothing. In the quantum world nothing is subject to the same probabilities as something. What this means is that it is perfectly logical to accept the universe could just appear out of nothing. Further, this theoretically could happen as a completely random unguided event.

Guth theorizes that prior to the big bang there was a repulsive gravitational field – a “false vacuum” – that erupted spewing forth the energy that created our universe. Guth further believes this may not have violated the first law of thermodynamics. It was in his words a “free lunch”. The reason for this belief is that the theory of relativity states the gravitational field was negative energy and the energy that would form matter was positive. Basically the two balance each other so the law is not violated. 

Your first reaction to this may be, “so what”. Logically looking at this, one should be inclined to ask, where did the false vacuum come from? That is what makes quantum physics so peculiar. According to probability it could come from nowhere. Sure doesn’t sound good for the theist. Mathematics and pure unguided random chance have just eliminated God. Or have they?

Allowing an infinite number of possible attempts per second and enough time probability says the universe can create itself out of nothing. The problem with this is that until the universe is created there is no time in which probability applies. Remember our timeline is a created dimension within our universe. The law of causality states that a cause must precede an event and the event cannot be the cause. If time was part of the creation event it cannot be the cause of the creation.

Any attempt to circumvent this reality requires moving the time needed for the false vacuum to occur into a time dimension outside of our measurable universe. Steven Hawking has proposed what he labeled ‘imaginary time’ to overcome this barrier. He admits it is speculation. Therein lies the rub. At this point science moves into the realm of metaphysics. It becomes a belief to be accepted. It cannot be tested or proven. It is therefore not science. It requires faith.

Theologians have been accused for years of relying on a ‘God of the gaps’ approach. What we are seeing with quantum physics is just the opposite. Metaphysics is being used to avoid a beginning. Critics have correctly labeled this a ‘probability of the gaps’ approach.


Resolving the conflict

Ockham’s razor states that the simplest of two or more competing theories is preferable. It is questionable whether this can be applied in this situation. All the testable parts of the big bang model fit as a piece of a puzzle into the Christian theory of creation, just as inflation fits as a part of the big bang theory. It is not the science of the big bang that is in question. It is only when we try to grasp the metaphysical cause that we have divergent views. How then should we proceed?

We could appeal to another of Ockham’s postulates for help. He used logic to show that many beliefs of Christian philosophers could not be proved by philosophical reason, but only by divine revelation. While a good case for divine revelation could be made, this is not likely to convince someone approaching this from a science perspective. Actually, we cannot prove either view with science or revelation, but we can offer logical evidence from which informed conclusions can be drawn. Yes, in the end it will require a leap of faith, but it does not have to be blind or uninformed faith.

Both the Christian and the natural worldview demand a reality separate from our physical universe in order to explain the beginning. Carl Sagan’s belief that the cosmos is all there is, all there was, and all there ever will be, was not correct. Both views demand an eternal reality beyond our own. For the natural cause view it is necessary in order to avoid a deity. In the Christian view it is precisely because God does exist.

Only an eternal alternate reality will solve the problem of origins in the natural cause worldview because anything less begs the question where did it come from. Since we can never verify the properties of the alternate reality through science it is a mute point. But, for the record, the Christian view clearly states God is eternal.

In the natural worldview, the alternate reality must work in a manner that consistently allows the laws of quantum physics to operate as in our universe for the false vacuum to be possible. In the Christian view the rules of the alternate reality may work in the same manner but it is not mandatory. Why? Because, in the Christian view the alternate reality is guided by intelligence. In the natural worldview it is guided by random unguided probability and chance.

The Christian view explicitly states God created. The natural worldview may give the appearance of creating but that is not what would actually happen. Everything would occur as a response to physical properties and particle laws. It comes back to the problem of intelligence.

Where did the properties and laws of the universe come from? How does a negative gravitational field know to give birth to positive matter? How does the super inflation know to stop at 10-34 seconds? If we accept that it was inevitable given probability that the alternate reality would spawn our universe, we must still deal with massive intelligence questions. The primordial soup of our universe would have to contain all the knowledge necessary to build everything in the universe including you sitting at your computer reading this article. You can’t get order out of chaos. How could it happen? The natural science view cannot answer these questions. The Christian view can.

When you view man from the universe’s perspective man seems pretty unimportant. We live on a small planet circling an ordinary middle-aged star on the outskirts of an ordinary galaxy; one of millions of other ordinary galaxies. It is not hard to see why many people misinterpret this to mean God does not exist. If you are willing to open your eyes to the possibilities there are many signs of God’s hand at work in the creation. Examine the fine-tuning seen throughout our universe. Consider the fine-tuning of our solar system. Even our earth and moon show signs of fine-tuning. Non-theistic scientists do not deny this, but they see it as an incredible set of coincidences. The “coincidences” are amazing. See “The Creator and the Cosmos” by Dr. Hugh Ross for more information. 

The universe is not eternal. It had a beginning. The big bang is an interesting explanation of origins but upon closer examination it can’t adequately explain how you came to be a part of it. It can’t explain how you happened by merely natural means. The universe is too young and too small for life to have developed from the primordial soup of the big bang on its own. The earliest forming rocks on Earth contain fossils of life. Insufficient time has passed for evolution to explain life’s abundant presence on earth. The fossil record shows species suddenly appearing and remaining stable throughout their existence on earth. The conclusion I came to by studying the scientific record is that God must have been active in the creation of the universe.

Feel free to disagree with my conclusion, but do ask yourself how the universe knew to give you the intelligence to make that decision.

 

Day/Era 1

 

Scientific view:  Stage 0— nothing exists

                                Stage 1— initiating of the universe where energy, matter,time, and space start to exist

Priestly view:   1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 

Day/Era 2

 

Scientific view: Stage 2— matter and energy begin to go though varying degrees of cyclic changes (stars are born and die; matter is created or transformed). This continues to this day

 

Priestly view:   . 6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day

Day/Era 3

 

Scientific view:  Stage 3— universe becomes increasingly vast

Priestly view:   Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

 

 

 

Day/Era 4

 

Scientific view:  Stage 4— Matter continually aggregates with arbitrary stuff created from the beginning becoming increasingly less common. Stuff begins to localize itself into systems

 

Priestly view:   9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

 11 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day

 

Day/Era 5

 

Scientific view:  Stage 5— at some point, some clusters of matter reach a point where an occasional black hole manifests itself—the total annihilation of some forms of matter/energy is added to the mechanics of the universe

Priestly view:   20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

.

 Day/Era 6

Scientific view:  
Stage 6— the billions and bilions of localized systems just sorta meander around the growing vastness of space.

Priestly view: 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 27 So God created man in his own image, 
       in the image of God he created him; 
       male and female he created them.

 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

 29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

 Day/Era 7

 Scientific view:    The universe is still in process.

Priestly view:  1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested [a] from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

———————— 

The universe so far:

Stage 0— nothing exists

Stage 1— initiating of the universe where energy, matter,time, and space start to exist

Stage 2— matter and energy begin to go though varying degrees of cyclic changes (stars are born and die; matter is created or transformed). This continues to this day

Stage 3— universe becomes increasingly vast

Stage 4— Matter continully aggregates with arbitrary stuff created from the beginning becoming increasingly less common. Stuff begins to localize itself into systems

Stage 5— at some point, some clusters of matter reach a point where an occasional black hole manifests itself—the total annihilation of some forms of matter/energy is added to the mechanics of the universe

Stage 6— the billions and bilions of localized systems just sorta meander around the growing vastness of space.

 

Genesis 1

The Beginning

 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

 2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

 9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

 20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

 24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 27 So God created man in his own image, 
       in the image of God he created him; 
       male and female he created them.

 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

 29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 2 (New International Version)

Genesis 2

 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested [a] from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.