A recent scientific discovery is being called the “smoking gun” of the Big Bang Theory. But if there was a gun and a bang, Who pulled the trigger? Today’s meditation is adapted from the April 1, 2014 blog by John Stonestreet at www.breakpoint.org
You’ve likely heard of the Big Bang theory. But you may not have known that until last week, we had no direct evidence of it.
Maybe now we do. As reported in Discovery News, “Scientists found… a key polarization, or orientation, of the microwaves caused by gravitational waves… miniature ripples in the fabric of space.”
The presence of such ripples, they explain, is exactly what we’d expect if the universe had begun with a Big Bang. And the key word is “begun.” You know, as in, “In the beginning…”
As recently as the mid-twentieth century, the scientific consensus on the universe’s beginning was that it had no beginning. The reigning theory, called “Steady State,” held that the cosmos had always existed and always would. This theory was abandoned in the 1940s and 50s when exposed to new evidence, such as cosmic microwave background radiation.
This suggested an explosive beginning, in which the universe as we know it expanded suddenly from an infinitely tiny point of matter and energy called a “singularity.” The nickname “Big Bang” quickly stuck, and most astronomers and physicists have been referring to it as a matter of fact ever since.
So what existed before the Big Bang? Well, scientists tell us that’s a nonsensical question, because the Big Bang didn’t just give birth to the material universe, but to time and space themselves. Not only was there no “what,” “why,” and “how” logically prior to this event; there was neither “when,” nor “where.”
But what if there was a “Who“? That’s the question Leslie A. Wickman raises in a piece entitled, Does the Big Bang Breakthrough Offer Proof of God? “This new evidence,” she writes, “strongly suggests that there was a beginning to our universe. If the universe did indeed have a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be an agent– separate and apart from the effect– that caused it. That sounds a lot like Genesis 1:1 to me…” (See * below for more of the article)
The late NASA astrophysicist, Robert Jastrow, put it still more eloquently. Taking evidence for the Big Bang as a given, he remarked in a 1982 interview with Christianity Today that, “Astronomers… have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”
Whether this new evidence will bolster that conclusion remains to be seen. After all, humans demonstrate incredible capacity to explain away evidence in service of their prejudices (such as, the common prejudice against belief in the existence of God). And Christians should remember that this isn’t definitive proof for the God of the Bible. It’s still a leap from admitting the universe had a beginning to trusting in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to forgive your sins through His Son, Jesus Christ. But we can conclude two important things.
First, naturalism isn’t enough. By definition, natural science can only experiment and draw conclusions within the realm of physical reality. When scientists try to push beyond this reality into the emptiness before time and physics, they’re literally dealing with the supernatural (that is, a force above and beyond nature, also known as God).
Second, it shows that scientific consensuses can and do change. With “Steady State” theory as extinct as the dinosaurs, many have had to admit that Christianity was right all along on the supernatural origin of the universe. As Jastrow writes in his book, The Enchanted Loom:
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
In the Big Bang, science meets its limits, but so does the materialist worldview. Happily, it is no difficulty to those who know the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega.
We already knew the Big Bang pointed to something outside of our boundaries of knowledge. It doesn’t take a physicist to wonder what made the Big Bang “bang,” or, “If nothing existed before the Big Bang, then where did the stuff that got banged come from?” As Alan Guth once noted, even if you could come up with a theory that would account for the creation of something from nothing through the laws of physics, you’d still have to account for the origin of the laws of physics. –Dr. James Emery White in a blog titled “The Big Banger” (3-20-2014)
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. — C. S. Lewis The Weight of Glory
Genesis 1:1 — In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Psalms 19:1-2 — 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.
Revelation 22:13 — I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 1:8 — “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Lord God, through the light of nature you have aroused in us a longing for the light of grace. To you I give thanks, Creator and Lord, that you have allowed me to rejoice in your deeds. Praise the Lord, you heavenly harmonies, and you who know the revealed harmonies. For from Him, through Him, and in Him, are all things perceptible and spiritual; that which we know and that which we do not know, for there is still much to learn. Amen.
–Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), German astronomer, mathematician, inventor, and Lutheran.
If you want to read a bit more from Lisa Wickman:
* …This latest discovery is good news for us believers, as it adds scientific support to the idea that the universe was caused– or created– by something or someone outside it and not dependent on it.
Atheist-turned-agnostic astronomer Fred Hoyle, who coined the term “Big Bang,” famously stated, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics.” As Hoyle saw it, the Big Bang was not a chaotic explosion, but rather a very highly ordered event – one that could not have occurred by random chance.
We also need to remember that God reveals himself both through scripture and creation. The challenge is in seeing how they fit together. A better understanding of each can inform our understanding of the other.
It’s not just about cracking open the Bible and reading whatever we find there from a 21st-century American perspective. We have to study the context, the culture, the genre, the authorship and the original audience to understand the intent.
The creation message in Genesis tells us that God created a special place for humans to live and thrive and be in communion with him; that God wants a relationship with us, and makes provisions for us to have fellowship with him, even after we turn away from him. So, we know that Genesis was never intended to be a detailed scientific handbook, describing how God created the universe. It imparts a theological, not a scientific, message. (Imagine how confusing messages about gravity waves and dark matter would have been to ancient Hebrew readers.)
As a modern believer and a scientist, when I look up at the sky on a clear starry night, I am reminded that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). I am in awe of the complexity of the physical world, and how all of its pieces fit together so perfectly.
In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah (33:25), the writer tells us that God “established (his) covenant with day and night, and with the fixed laws of heaven and earth.” These physical laws established by God to govern interactions between matter and energy result in a finely tuned universe that provides the ideal conditions for life on our planet.
As we observe the complexity of the cosmos, from subatomic particles to dark matter and dark energy, we quickly conclude that there must be a more satisfying explanation than random chance. Properly practiced, science can be an act of worship in looking at God’s revelation of himself in nature. If God is truly the creator, then he will reveal himself through what he’s created, and science is a tool we can use to uncover those wonders.
Leslie Wickman is director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University. Wickman has also been an engineer for Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, where she worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station programs. The full article can be seen at: