Until the 1960's, scientists held to the Steady State theory that the universe had no beginning or end in time, that the earth has always existed in one form or another. They scoffed at the Bible for saying that the earth had a beginning.
The first use of the term 'big bang' was by astronomer Fred Hoyle on a BBC broadcast in 1949 when he said that a new theory was being proposed 'based on the hypothesis that all matter in the universe was created in one big bang at a particular time in the remote past.' He argued against the theory and said it was 'irrational and outside science.'
However, as a result of better telescopes and instrumentation, by the 1980's the 'Big Bang' had become the dominant theory of astronomers and astrophysicists.
Today, the Big Bang theory is generally regarded as settled science. The universe started with a 'singularity' (Christians say 'God'), then exploded, expanding and cooling over the next 13.8 billion years into the cosmos we know today – and it's still expanding!
In the first second after the universe began, NASA has calculated that the surrounding temperature was more than10 billion degrees Fahrenheit, heat so intense that light cannot pass through it.
The Bible says that 'In the beginning' the earth was 'formless and empty' (quotation at top of page) – just gasses, everything vaporized.
There was 'darkness over the face of the deep' – light could not penetrate the extreme heat; the earth was a deep mass of swirling vapor.
The 'spirit of God was hovering over the waters' (steam condensing); God was giving special attention to planet earth because he planned to do something special here, to create life here.
The Big Bang – known to science for only about 60 years – is what the Bible has been saying for more than 3,000 years!
There are no natural explanations for the universe, either its existence or its purpose.
If the big bang is the beginning of nature, then some intelligence and power outside of nature and above nature had to trigger the Big Bang, to start everything out of nothing, and to establish the predetermined laws of nuclear energy, physics and chemistry that enabled it happen with orderly precision.
Christians believe that divine intelligence and power is the only reason that can explain an instant universe of such magnitude, majesty and precision.
The Bible does not tell when the big bang occurred, but scientists are now almost universally agreed that it was approximately 13.8 billion years ago. See Origin 1.2.1 for reasons from the Bible itself why 'day' in the creation account means more than a 24-hour period.
Apparently it took about 10 billion years – the time between Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 1:6 – for the earth to cool and form a crust. Then God began shaping the earth and putting life on it.
The stages of transformation are summarized and examined in Origin 1.2.
The compiler/writer of Genesis (generally thought to be Moses) could not have had this amazing scientific insight more than three thousand years ago without special revelation from God.
The earth is still cooling, a whirling glob of molten rock, 8,000 miles in diameter, with a 25-mile crust that supports life, nothing like it anywhere else in the known universe. The place we live is awesome and mostly incomprehensible!
Genesis 1 and the scientific community are now in essential agreement about the beginning of our physical world, the world of atoms.
But there's another part of our world which came later – the non-physical part, even more complex – which is the human soul (mind, will and emotion) and spirit (connection to God).
Man is made in the image of God, a trinity (body, soul and spirit) that mirrors God's trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), discussed in Purpose 2.5.
Science investigates only life in the physical world. Theology investigates life in the spiritual world. Theology continues where science leaves off.
There can be no difference between true science and true Christianity because both seek truth – and there is only one truth! Science inquires into the physical, and Christianity inquires into the spiritual. They make different inquiries in different ways, but both are part of the same quest for truth and understanding.
Conflicts between science and the Bible have resulted from lack of knowledge at particular times in history. For example:
Today these and similar issues have been resolved by our new understanding of the Big Bang.
Science and the Bible are not enemies.
In fact, science is making the case for belief in a single almighty creator God – ONLY ONE GOD!
In ancient times, people believed in many gods. Even at time of Christ, the prevailing understanding of diety was a pantheon of Gods. And even today, particularly in Hindu areas, more than a billion people worship multiple gods.
People believed that hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and diseases were the wrath of angry gods. The gods had to be placated with offerings and rituals.
About 4000 BC, God revealed himself to Adam in a physical form as ONLY ONE GOD.
About 2000 BC, Abraham was called by God to go from Turkey (approximate area of Garden of Eden) to Egypt (nearly a two thousand mile walk), carrying that message. He became the father of all monotheists – Jews, Christians and Muslims – teaching the world that there is ONLY ONE GOD.
About 1500 BC, Moses became leader of the Jewish nation (Israel) and received the Ten Commandments from God. The first commandment was, 'I am the Lord your God ... You shall have no other gods before me.' The main theme of the Old Testament – the story of God's chosen people – is that there is ONLY ONE GOD.
About 30 AD, Jesus gave this first commandment for Christians: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' ONLY ONE GOD!
Science has been a great help to Christianity by revealing a single master design plan, leaving no doubt that the world is NOT run by a pantheon of gods. For most people today, the choice is not which spiritual diety to worship, but whether to acknowledge and obey the ONLY ONE GOD (singular).
We now know that natural disasters and illnesses are not caused by wrath of the gods but by natural laws emanating from an intelligent and predictable master plan of life.