The Bible’s Big Bang, Creation of the Universe
The most profound mystery of mankind is the origin of the universe. In juxtaposition, its origin is also the most profound event known to man. Since about 1200 BC the Bible has declared in its first sentence that the universe has a beginning and was created by the biblical God. It wasn’t until after 1900 AD that this beginning concept was first inferred by the discovery of general relativity with an expanding universe and later affirmed by the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation in 1964.
The initial scientific Big Bang hypothesis has through experiment and observation been framed and refined over the past one hundred plus years by thousands of scientists into a rock-solid theory now referred to as the standard model of cosmology. This is a great achievement of humanity in such a short period of time. Along the way many have attempted to use these great achievements to marginalize the Bible in its perceived inaccuracy of creation.
Introducing the Bible’s Big Bang
If you perceive Genesis as an account of the creation of the universe, you are barking up the wrong tree. Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth ; is a proclamation of the creation event, while the remaining chapter is about the formation of the solar system . The Bible’s Big Bang (BBB) account of creation is found in the book of Romans and the discovered scientific Big Bang affirms it.
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‘God creating the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars’ (17th century) by Jan Brueghel the Younger. ( Public Domain )
Since early times theologists have correctly resisted a concordance perspective of the Bible and the science of creation. Remember it was only the last one hundred years since mankind learned what actually happened pertaining to the creation event and afterwards. And if the Bible has an account how could anyone know what to reference it to. However, with the knowledge of the cosmos today we can ascertain what the BBB is referring to.
In the third century Felix the Manichean priest in a dispute with Augustine claimed that the Holy Spirit had revealed to Manicheus the orbits of the heavenly bodies, Augustine replied that God desired us to become Christians, not astronomers. Felix’s assertions have been compared to observational reality and found to be in error. All so-called revelations must be affirmed to be credible.
Too often the claims of the Bible and what science discovers are presented as a binary decision to choose one or the other, as Augustine implied. Is there really a problem with being both a Christian and an astronomer? Titan figures in theology and science are often quoted to imply a truth, when in fact they are humans like all of us with limited knowledge which affects our perspective.
“Lift Up Your Eyes on High…”
A great amount of knowledge has been attained since Augustine, and has changed the biblical/scientific paradigm. The scientific history of great Christian scientist affirms the notion that one can be both an astronomer and a Christian in the modern age. There is a scripture outside the Gospels that instructs the reader, Christian or unbeliever, to actually be an astronomer and/or consult the observations of the science. The scripture below infers there is information from the study of the stars that will affirm the God of the Bible as their creator. This requires concordance of the information with the Bible.
“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things,” - Isaiah 40:26a.
Ancient stargazers. ( Crystalinks)
The context of this verse pertains to the stars in the heavens, to which ‘these things’ refer. While the verse is simple, it needs some unpacking. It instructs the reader that the cosmos has answers to who created the heavens. That natural evidence has to be compared with the scripture to demonstrate the God of the bible has firsthand knowledge of creation to confirm the who.
Behold means to investigate, a cursory glimpse is not adequate. The use of the aperture of our eyes infers God’s accurate and truthful messenger is light. The cosmic knowledge in the study of astronomy, cosmology, and astrophysics has been obtained almost exclusively from the information contained in light. If the God of the Bible is claiming to create the stars, he is also claiming to be the creator and science is a witness to that claim.
The witness principle that Jesus proclaimed in John 5:31 ‘If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true,’ will be applied to this origin of creation. This is not an authoritative assertion. There are sufficient biblical assertions of how the stars are born in Psalm 19 and that they die in Isaiah 34 to affirm the specific claim of the creator of the stars, however the focus of this article is the creation event of the universe.
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The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
- Proverbs 8:22-23
The Bible’s Big Bang (BBB) was established with wisdom from everlasting, prior to the creation event the creator decided to and had a plan for the universe before he created it. This is plausible when considering the laws of physics and fundamental forces are distinct and operating within the first second of creation. Thus, the framework of the universe was established and baked in within the first second.
There is no time duration to evolve, this appears to be an act of creation. Observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation indicates the start of the universe was orderly with an extremely low entropy. It was not an explosion as the name Big Bang can convey, instead it was an exponential orderly expansion of energy.
It was not an explosion as the name Big Bang can convey, instead it was an exponential orderly expansion of energy. ( Pixabay License )
The manifest use of God’s unabridged knowledge (information) is demonstrated at and within creation. Information is fundamental to the universe from the beginning as verse 23 infers. Webster's Unabridged Dictionary defines wisdom as “knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it.” Our abstract wisdom resides in our mind and is only manifest through our actions such as speech and the works we do. It is plausible to conceive of the abstract wisdom (blueprint) of God as residing in his mind before creation and only made known through his actions resulting in the first creation event, initializing time. At the time of the writing of Hebrews 11:3 the understanding of the universe’s framework was only through faith that God was indeed omniscient.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3
Now by knowledge obtained through observations we know the laws and forces indeed undergirds all of creation and were established within the first second of creation. ‘By the word of God’ not only refers to his fiat (command), but also to the information contained therein. A decree or command is impossible without information. This framing was based upon a plan, not an accident.
Now that mankind better understands the creation events, Romans 1:20 can be better understood. This verse was mostly known by the general interpretation of the invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature of God manifested in creation at large. By observing the heavens as instructed by scripture we can certainly see and appreciate the beauty, symmetry, and majesty of all that has been made from the original creation. However, upon an in-depth investigation of the heavens an additional revelation emerges. I will unpack a very special revelation of the same verse to reveal the origin and early stage of creation.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
The evolution of the Universe from the big bang to the present. ( CC0)
Let the unpacking began. The context of this scripture is the creation of the universe in which we live and can observe. The reference to invisible things (plural) are natural because they are indeed natural things, not yet in the visible spectrum. These invisible things are proclaimed to be from the creation event of the natural world, placing it at the very start of time. The physical things that are referred to here must be both invisible and clearly seen.
The invisible thing at creation is energy. The Bible’s Big Bang (BBB) declares the state of things at creation were invisible. The BBT declares the radiation (energy) era of the very early universe was in the extreme high energy gamma ray part of the electromagnetic spectrum, making it invisible to humans just as the Bible declares. Because of an extremely high estimated temperature of 1032 Kelvin at creation in which the constituents of mass could not exist as a unit resulting in an opaque plasma and photons (light) that could not be emitted for an estimated 380,000 years.
Until it cooled enough for atoms to bind (cosmic recombination) and space became transparent (clear) allowing photons to be emitted and is now detected in the microwave spectrum, called the cosmic microwave background radiation. This is the first visible light of the universe. The scripture (BBB) declares the original creation condition has changed from invisible to now clearly seen, implying an unclear existence like the opaque plasma conditions which match the standard model of cosmology.
In the Greek words translated clearly seen means to see with the eyes. Wait, there seems to be a conflict; scripture also declares - “let there be light” in Genesis 1:3! There is no conflict, the Genesis light is a reference to our Sun being born from existing material which matches the context of Genesis 1:2 through Genesis 2:4, the formation of our Solar System.
“Let there be light!” ( Nikki Zalewski /Adobe Stock)
The BBB proclaims creation was initially invisible (energy) and that is now clearly seen (mass), and that both is one and the same, but requires understanding. To understand this phenomenon is certainly not obvious, it took the genius of Einstein at the turn of the 20th century to figure it out. That understanding turned out to be the most famous equation known to humanity, E=MC2.
Experiment has affirmed that energy and mass are one and the same just as the BBB proclaims. The expansion of space/time in tensed time allowed the invisible energy to cool and transform into visible matter affirming E=MC2. This is the duality of invisible energy and the clearly seen mass spoken of in the scripture.
This invisible phenomenon is ‘of him,’ which asserts the creator is the source of the original creation energy. Romans 1:20 and Proverbs 8:22 respectively declare the source of energy and information came from God himself. Thus, ex nihilo, creation from nothing from the non-material God is clearly declared. These two verses infer God has the freedom to establish the order and design of the universe because its very inception is from him. That initial finite amount of energy at creation contains all the content of energy/mass in the universe.
The creation event itself is the start of space/time. While no one knows what energy is, it can be regulated, managed, measured and used in various ways to do work. Of a surety energy is natural, which makes it incapable of creating itself. To create itself, energy would have to exist before it came into existence, which is impossible.
A young pulsar shows its hand. ( NASA)
If the BBB is correct and compares to reality (BBT), then God is indeed the efficient cause of energy making God the origin of this universe. This prescientific era knowledge of the duality of energy and mass and the initial creation conditions along with its change of state came from the God of the Bible without the need of instruments or mathematics.
This is not a story witnessed by someone passed along to biblical scribes. The only plausible way the author, not the scribes of the Bible, could know this was to be there when it happened. Thus, it is plausible that the affirmed ‘who’ in Isaiah 40:26 is the ‘cause’ in the Kalam cosmological argument :
Whatever begins to exist has a cause;
The universe began to exist;
Therefore, the universe has a cause.
God-like Attributes of Creation
The attributes of the creator are reflected in his creation as the scripture declares; even his eternal power and Godhead. What attributes of energy are similar to the creator? God is very difficult to describe and like God energy is difficult to describe, as a matter of fact no one knows what energy is, and both are invisible. The most prominent attribute of energy is its eternal essence; like God energy cannot be created or destroyed. This is the first law of thermodynamics - energy can be transformed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed.
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The word “ Godhead” is translated from the Greek word theiotes, which means “divinity” or “divine nature.” Occurring in the Bible only here, it is unique in its description of the Creator as being transcendent, unconstrained by the natural world in order to create it, having authority over all. Being divine and thus greater than nature, God’s power is the source of creation itself.
The natural world is all around us as a witness of the works of God, leaving us without excuse. The natural world is the most common reference to reality by humanity. While the Bible is not primarily a science book, it is a book of science. The scientific disciplines can tell how the universe work, but it takes both the Bible and science to affirm who created it.
While Romans 1:20 is an overview of the early radiation and subsequent matter era of creation that is reflected in scientific observations, the Bible has declared even more scientifically affirmed phenomena about the development and operation of the universe.
Miniature containing Creation scene, with God, holding a pair of compasses, creating heaven and earth, with a decorated initial 'A' beginning the text of Genesis 1, below, and full foliate and ivy leaf borders. (British Library/ CC0)
The scale of this topic is certainly too large for this article. More biblical phenomena can be found about creation including the birth and death of stars, Higgs field, general relativity, dark matter, dark energy, cosmic inflation, plate tectonics, accelerating universe, mass extinctions, the first second of creation, Genesis 1 account and others in my new book, ‘ God Answers Science, From Origin to End.’ (Driver, 2018) www.god-science.com
Top Image: Big Bang and the hands of God representation. Source: rolffimages / Adobe Stock