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Creation: Big Bang, or what?

Creation according to God? Or according to science?

Scientists talk about the 'Big Bang' theory of the appearance of the universe. How does the Big Bang compare with the Bible's description of creation?

'Big Bang', says Science...

Singularity and the Big BangThe scientific approach says that in the beginning, before the universe appeared, there was nothing. And at some stage, there came the biggest 'Big Bang' ever: a tremendous explosion of energy, matter, and of course, light. There never was such an enormous explosion of light, either before or after this event.

In scientific terms, in the cosmology of Physics, the Big Bang theory states that that the universe appeared from nowhere as an extremely dense and hot state, about 13.7 billion years ago (±2%). This is based on observations indicating the expansion of space, as indicated by the Hubble red shift of distant galaxies, taken together with principles of cosmology.

If we extrapolate these observations into the past, they show that the universe exploded from a 'gravitational singularity' - the tiniest pinpoint of the most extreme density and temperature (as predicted by general relativity) which contained all the matter and energy of the entire universe.

What scientists cannot explain is "Why?"

'Let there be Light', says the Bible

We can read this in the very beginning of the Jewish scriptures and the Christian Bible, in a book called Genesis. Here are the words from the New International Version,
Genesis chapter 1, verses 1 to 5:

Let there be light - and how!'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. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.'

How should we interpret this?

The word Genesis in Hebrew: בראשית, in Greek: Γένεσις, have the meanings of "birth", "creation", "cause", "beginning", "source" and "origin". Genesis is the first book of the Torah, the first book of the Tanakh and also the first book of the Christian Old Testament. Jewish tradition considers it to have been written by Moses, so it is sometimes also called The First Book of Moses.

Bible scholars generally agree that Moses wrote Genesis under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, during the forty years that the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness (1450 - 1410 BC). This society of semi-nomadic herdsmen lived in that region, in a period that we would call the late bronze age, just entering the iron age. This ties in with descriptions in the Old Testament that refer to bronze, copper, iron, etc.

So, how would God describe the stages of His creation to semi-nomadic herdsmen? How would you?
The concept of counting in 'hundreds' appears in Genesis 6; the concept of 'thousands' does not appear until Genesis 20. So, how would you explain to bronze-age man the concept of 13.7 billion years? (Can you even imagine it yourself?) Around 3,400 years ago, we would explain creation in "stages" or "phases", so that the listeners could understand; we would probably call them 'days'.

And what is time, to God?

In the New Testament, 2 Peter 3:8 says this, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.' "

Try this: If each day in a thousand years is another thousand years, that works out to one of God's days being 365 million years. Repeat the process and you have ten times the scientific age of the universe. 

The message for us here is, don't get hung up on God's timescales. Think of it like this: God's days are as long as He decides they will be. He might be looking at our 24-hour day, or his own heavenly timescale of what a "day" is: an aeon, a large period of time. So we don't have to think of creation as being seven, earthly 24-hour days. Think of it as seven of God's really big days, explained to bronze-age man, and you'll get the picture.

Again - Let there be Light!Big Bang: The First Day

So the first 'day', the first stage of creation was "Let there be light". And there was the biggest blaze of light the universe has ever seen, in the massive explosion of the Big Bang. What a wonderful description; what a wonderful picture the Big Bang event creates in the mind's eye!

Big Bang and Scientists

I am a scientist; I studied Physics, Electronics and Control Engineering at four universities. And I have no problem with reconciling the story of creation as read in the Bible, with the scientific Big Bang theory. To me, they are the same thing.

Scenario: Suppose you are a scientist, like me. How would you explain the scientific story to semi-nomadic, uneducated, mostly illiterate tribesmen in the semi-desert regions of Maasailand in Kenya today? (I have been there and met these wonderful people.) Wouldn't you explain the Big Bang in pretty much the same way that God does in the Bible? 

The simple life: the wonderful Maasai people

Big Bang: something to think about


1: Science explains what happened - they call it the Big Bang; but science cannot explain why creation came about, nor where it all came from.

2: The Bible tells us that God decided to create, and He did. It's the same story as science, but it explains the "why?" and the "where from?"  And so, here we are today.

In the Beginning: Life on Earth...

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