"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible,"

- Hebrews 11:3 NASB

Books on the fine-tuning of the universe and amazingly coordinated relationships between various physical & mathematical constants:

The Anthropic Cosmological Principle by Barrow & Tipler

Universes by John Leslie

The Accidental Universe by Paul Davies

Superforce by Paul Davies

The Cosmic Blueprint by Paul Davies

Cosmic Coincidences by Gribbin & Rees

The Anthropic Principle by Reinhard Breuer

Universal Constants in Physics by Gilles Cohen-Tannoudji

The Creation Hypothesis edited by J.P. Moreland

Mere Creation edited by William Dembski



Where did the universe come from?
3) according to the Bible


"I want to know how God created this world."3

- Albert Einstein

"I do not believe in God because I do not believe in Mother Goose."

- Clarence Darrow


8.4 The biblical scenario.


The very first claim made in the Bible is that there was a beginning; "In the beginning, God..." (Gen. 1:1). Some 3,200 years ago, Moses wrote that down as God directed. Eons of science later, the 1969 Congress of Astronomers acquiesces to nod in agreement - yes, the universe had a beginning. What are we to make of this?

Perhaps one might conclude that Moses just happened to have figured it out, but note: Moses never makes the claim to have figured out anything; only that he was writing by the Lord's direction.

Consider the following parallels between the Bible and scientific findings on:


A special intentional beginning: The fact that the universe not just had a beginning but exists at all is something that is shocking to modern scientists. With the advent of computers, radio astronomy, and satellite excursions to other planets, the existence of a universe having the particular specifications that ours does is proving to be amazing.

Concerning the big bang, research scientist Robert Gange writes,

The 'structure' we see in the heavens - the appearance of asymmetry, with numerous stars clustering here and there - tells us that the stars were programmed to be this way in the beginning. The Big Bang had within it imbalances that foreordained the structure we see today.10 [emphasis mine]

In other words, if the singularity of the big bang had no pre-existing external influences to modify it, the outward expansion of matter would have been perfectly uniform. Gravitational forces would have been perfectly balanced in every direction preventing the asymmetrical clumping that apparently did happen.

This immense information is on display throughout the heavens, and it proclaims an intelligence that is more than the material universe - an intelligence that was present before the beginning. Otherwise, the information has no source. 11 [emphasis mine]

Even more startling evidence of this asymmetry has surfaced quite recently. An article by the Associated Press (4/18/97) reported an analysis of 160 radio telescope observations of distant galaxies by Borge Nodland and John Ralston which indicates a never before seen pattern. This was detected by noticing a polarization of radio waves based upon the direction being observed. The pattern is a directional orientation in the universe having an "ordered structure that extends billions of light-years across space."

Paul Davies cites Roger Penrose who calculates the probability of the universe as an accidental occurrence to be (1010)30 to one against.12 Davies offers even more examples of the improbability of the universe and of what he calls "surprising evidence for a grand design" 13:

What impresses many scientists is not so much the fact that alterations in the values of the fundamental constants would change the structure of the physical world, but that the observed structure is remarkably sensitive to such alterations....An alteration in, say, the strengths of the gravitational force by a mere one part in 1040 would be sufficient to throw out this numerical coincidence. In such a world, all stars would then either be blue giants or red dwarfs. Stars like the sun would not exist, nor, one might argue, would any form of life that depends on solar-type stars for its sustenance.

The list of numerical 'accidents' that appear to be necessary for the observed world structure is too long to review here. (The reader is referred to my book The Accidental Universe for a complete discussion.)... .Alternatively, the numerical coincidences could be regarded as evidence of design. The delicate fine-tuning in the values of the constants, necessary so that the various different branches of physics can dovetail so felicitously, might be attributed to God. It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in the numbers, has been rather carefully thought out. [emphasis mine] 14

Just shy of espousing theism himself, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking reflects this same consideration,

If the initial state of the universe had to be chosen extremely carefully to lead to something like what we see around us, the universe would be unlikely to contain any region in which life would appear.... It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us. [Emphasis mine] 15

At this point, it becomes important to recall that the oscillating universe theory has been abandoned. Otherwise, in a universe endlessly recreating itself, a configuration like ours that apparently beats the odds might literally be attempt number (1010)30 out of (1010)30 attempts. That would still fail to account for its origin, but today's configuration of the universe would be no more of a miracle than drawing the ace of spades out of a standard deck of fifty-two cards after fifty-two tries. Instead, astronomy declares that the universe appears to be a once in forever event as Hawking agrees,

If we add up the masses of all the stars that we can see in our galaxy and other galaxies, the total is less than one hundredth of the amount required to halt the expansion of the universe, even for the lowest estimate of the rate of expansion. Our galaxy and other galaxies, however, must contain a large amount of "dark matter" that we cannot see directly... When we add up all this dark matter, we still get only about one tenth of the amount required to halt the expansion.16 [more examples]


The cessation of creation:

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

- Genesis 2:1 NASB

Common to the new inflationary theory and the big bang theory is the belief that space, matter, and energy are no longer being spewed forth into existence. They are only being stretched out and moved around as described in Eddington's balloon illustration. Accordingly, the prophet Isaiah was not out of line if literally intending, "This is what God the Lord says - he who created the heavens and stretched them out," (Isaiah 42:5 NASB).

The new inflationary theory additionally accepts a specific point of time for the introduction of space, matter, and energy, after which nothing was added. The Bible similarly reflects a cessation of introduction with its closing of God's period of creation stating, "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." (Genesis 2:3 NASB)


The stars in the heavens:

I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars of the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.

- Jeremiah 33:22 NASB

Many people have seldom been far enough from city lights to see all the stars that are capable of being seen by the naked eye. But for people who lived 3,400 years ago, the night sky was comparatively familiar. Familiarity with stars and constellations is not uncommon to find in ancient cultures ranging from Stonehenge to the Egyptians. The visible stars have been counted, charted, and studied for a very long time. As such, it seems foolish for Moses to equate the quantity of stars in the sky with grains of sands on a beach.

Hipparchus lived after the close of the Old Testament and he numbered the stars at a little over 1,000. Ptolemy a few hundred years later revised that number up by only a handful. Galileo's telescope of 1610 was many centuries away, but even that could not reveal the surprising truth of Moses' words.

Only modern day astronomy reveals our own Milky Way galaxy alone to contain 200 billion stars.17 If that is an average number of stars per galaxy, consider Edwin Hubble's observations using a 100-inch telescope. He estimated the number of galaxies to exceed 100 million. Many years later, the Mount Palomar 200-inch observatory increased the estimate to one billion. By 1980, the number of galaxies thought to exist continued to increase exponentially,

we inhabit a universe of galaxies, perhaps a hundred billion exquisite examples of cosmic architecture ...[including] stately giant elliptical galaxies containing more than a trillion stars... 18

All this works out to more than 1022 stars. Only astronomy of this last century has discovered the stars to truly exist in numbers which Moses long ago described as the figurative equivalent to "sand on the seashore" or "dust of the earth" (Genesis 13:16).


"The waters of the deep."

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.

- Genesis 1:2 NASB

Consider the three things mentioned in that verse: darkness (the absence of light), the deep (meaning abyss or bottomless as it was translated into the LXX) 19, and waters. If at this time the earth is formless, the point in time being discussed must be prior to the earth's formation into a planet, yet after the darkness, the deep, and the waters have come into existence (the exciting planet formation aspects will be discussed in the next chapter!). So how consistent is this with twentieth century science?

It is not difficult to accept the blackness and seeming endlessness of space as being appropriately described darkness over the deep. Many times have authors and astronomers referred to the 'void of space'. The relative darkness of the universe is apparent once one leaves the thin atmospheric covering of the planet. The universe may contain 1022 stars, but unless you happen to be snuggled up to one, relatively speaking, the cosmos is only so many tiny pinpoints of light. Physicists even believe that stars could not have formed until a billion years after the big bang.20

What of the inclusion of waters in Moses' account? It was not until the advent of radio astronomy around 1937 that science firmly began discerning elements present in space. Forty three years of radio research and spectrum analysis later, a college text on astronomy states,

For every 10,000 hydrogen atoms we might find four of oxygen, two of carbon, one of sulfur, and one of nitrogen. Such estimates are based on the strengths of their respective spectral lines..." 21

Hydrogen is the most elementary and, by far, most common atom found in the universe. Oxygen, by the same finding, is the second most common atom, though much less so. Together they can form water (H2O). Water, if not one of the most common molecules in the universe, is assuredly the most common form of hydrogen that God could have made understandable to ancient man.

To illustrate the abundance of water in the universe, water in the form of ice comprises up to 95% of comets. "A comet is made mostly of ice - water (H2O) ice, with a little methane (CH4) ice, and some ammonia (NH3) ice." 22 Vast numbers of comets local to our solar system are described to be,

members of a 'comet cloud' ... perhaps extending a third of the way to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, which is located at a distance of 260,000 A.U. ...Many astronomers believe that comets were formed as some of the earliest members of the solar system, before the sun and planets, while the solar nebula was still a very large cloud of gases and dust" 23 [emphasis mine].

In 1950, Jan Oort's comet theory described this as a spherical reservoir of over a billion comets at a radius of about one light year with us in the center.24 By 1985,

we find that the total number of comets orbiting the Sun may be 100 trillion. This is roughly the same as the number of stars in a hundred thousand galaxies like ours. The comets constitute a small universe." 25

"Thus the list of places where we have found water, water ice, or water vapor in the Galaxy (and thus presumably throughout the universe) now includes not only earth, ice caps of Mars, rings of Saturn, frost of numerous moons... but also interstellar space..." 26

This scientific belief in the preponderance of water in the universe is in harmony with the scripture, "by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water" (2 Peter 3:5). Other biblical authors also refer to the scientifically proven abundance of water in space: "Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created" (Psalm 148:4,5 NASB).

Without a doubt, darkness, void, and water were here long before our planet or sun.


This chapter opened by asking where the universe came from. In the Bible, Moses declares God created it, and Moses goes on to describe certain characteristics of its beginning. That declaration appears to be firmly supported by current astronomical observations and theories that concur with the Bible on the following aspects of creation:



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NEXT: Where did the earth come from?

See also:

How long did creation take?

Where did man come from?

What about the discovery of life on other planets?

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In part three on the origin of the universe, we examine the biblical story in light of modern scientific observations and beliefs.

This concludes with a summary of the major Bible verses on the subject and a comparison to what scientific observation tells us.

(See books on the apparent fine-tuning of the universe.)