did the universe come from?
3) according to the Bible
want to know how God created this world."3
do not believe in God because I do not believe in Mother Goose."
The biblical scenario.
ACCORDING TO MOSES OR TO GOD?
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:
-- HOW THE BIBLE COMPARES:
A special intentional
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
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.
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
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
-- HOW THE BIBLE COMPARES:
The cessation of
Thus the heavens
and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
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)
-- HOW THE BIBLE COMPARES:
The stars in the
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
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).
-- HOW THE BIBLE COMPARES:
"The waters of the
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
-- HOW THE BIBLE COMPARES: SUMMARY
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
- The universe had
a definite beginning,
- All of space-time
had to have been effected by a cause that preceded it,
- That cause had to
be independent of the time and space which it produced,
- Creation of matter
and energy appears to have ceased,
- There truly exists
the equivalent number of stars in the sky as there are grains of sand
on the seashore,
- The universe is dominated
by darkness and void, and...
- The two components
of water, including water in its various forms, are the two predominant
particles in all the universe; the chief constituent, hydrogen, collectively
comprising more than 99.99% of all known matter.
NEXT: Where did the earth
long did creation take?
Where did man come from?
What about the discovery
of life on other planets?