Where did the universe come from? Why does it exist?
Don’t yawn! The questions carry much greater significance than dorm students debating philosophy.
The Troublesome Consequences of “No Beginning.” If science can prove the universe had no beginning, we should burn our Bibles and close down our church buildings. We who trust our lives to Jesus Christ
” . . . are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Why? Because the Gospel of God starts with this declaration: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). If science can disprove that one statement, everything that follows all the way to Revelation 22:21 is a myth. There is no God, no sin, no Savior, no heaven, no new creation. Life is nothing more than a series of random events from birth to death. The only meaning it holds is the meaning we give it. The only hope we have lies in our own heads.
Old Greek philosophers to today’s atheists–including many “scientists”– have rejected the idea that the universe had a beginning. Carl Sagan–astronomer, astrophysicist, and author who died in 1996–pop- ularized that rejection with this pronouncement: “The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.” No beginning. No God. No Gospel.
A Startling Discovery. Then in 1929 Edwin Hubble (the telescope guy) discovered that light from distant galaxies appears redder than it should. His conclusion: the redder light shows the universe is expanding. William Lane Craig, analytical philosopher and Christian theologian, illustrates. “[I]magine a balloon with buttons glued on it. As you blow up the balloon, the buttons get farther and farther apart, even though they are stuck in place. These buttons are just like the galaxies in space. As space itself expands, all the galaxies in the universe grow farther and farther apart” (Who Made God?, edited by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler).
What’s the point? If we’re going to fly to another galaxy we better go now while it’s closer? No. The point is the farther back in time, the denser the universe until we reach a point of infinite density from which the universe began to expand. This initial event is what scientists call the “Big Bang.” Philosopher Quentin Smith says: “[The Big Bang] belongs analytically to the concept of the cosmological singularity that is not the effect of prior physical events” (Who Made God?). In other words (for us commoners who got lost in “cosmological singularity”), the Big Bang event could not have been caused naturally and physically. Therefore, the universe had a beginning and seems to have been created from nothing !
A Reluctantly-Convinced Scientific Community. Naturally, this idea disturbed some people. In fact,
“The history of twentieth century cosmology has been the history of the repeated falsification of . . . nonstandard theories (of the universe) and the corroboration of the Big Bang theory” (Naturalism: A Critical Appraisal, edited by William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland).
This led J. M Wersinger, associate professor in physics and NASA Grant Fellow at Auburn University, to write, “At first the scientific community was very reluctant to accept the idea of a birth of the universe. Not only did the Big Bang model seem to give in to the Judeo-Christian idea of a beginning of the world, but it also seemed to call for an act of supernatural creation . . . It took time, observational evidence, and careful verification of predictions made by the Big Bang model to convince the scientific community to accept the idea of a cosmic genesis . . . the Big Bang is a very successful model that imposed itself on a reluctant scientific community” (“Genesis: The Origin of the Universe,” National Forum, 1996).
Science has not disproved Genesis 1:1. Quite the contrary: the scientific community has (reluctantly) accepted the idea of a “cosmic genesis” that apparently surrenders to the idea of the universe’s beginning and supernatural creation. Opponents remain. But the scientific fact stands strong against naturalistic (atheistic) ideology.
The Bigness of the “Bang”. Can a society that submits to “the final word” of science believe Genesis 1:1? There’s no legitimate reason not to, since a reluctant scientific community has signed on to “the Big Bang”. Faith in God’s Word isn’t limited to scientific nincompoops! Good science bears witness to the holy Scriptures.
But our reaction should be more than intellectual; it should be doxological. That is, it should be glorious words of worship like those the apostle John heard the twenty-four elders sing before God’s throne . . .
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
When we put science’s Big Bang together with God’s Genesis 1:1 the outcome should be Big Worship!