Creation. Source: AGPhotography / Adobe Stock.

How the Universe Came to Be: The Bible and Science Finally in Accord?


For most of our history, scientists have primarily believed that the universe is eternal and unchanging. Aristotle in the fourth century BC asserted that the world is without beginning or end. But this view was not without direct opponents who believed the universe had a beginning.

Aristotle’s works were largely lost for about seven centuries, beginning to resurface in the thirteenth century. The eternity view then largely dominated science until the early nineteenth century.
So predominant was this view that it led Albert Einstein to make what he regarded as the biggest blunder in his career. Soon after he had developed his general theory of relativity (circa 1915), Alexander Friedmann, a Russian mathematician, solved his equations for the whole universe (an early version of the Big Bang theory), showing that those equations meant the universe was expanding.

If this was the case, it must have been expanding from somewhere, some beginning—therefore, it couldn’t be eternal. Einstein then modified his equations to make them show that the universe is static and eternal.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology, discovered the universe is indeed expanding. Einstein then dropped the modifications and went back to the original equations.
But by adhering to the eternal view in the interim, he had missed predicting one of the biggest discoveries in cosmology: the universe’s expansion. From that point on, science has held that our universe had a beginning, and scientists have focused on the Big Bang theory.



Diagram of evolution of creation of the universe from the Big Bang on left - to the present. (Cherkash / Public Domain)

Diagram of evolution of creation of the universe from the Big Bang on left - to the present. (Cherkash / Public Domain )

The Bible at its outset says, “In the beginning, God created…” It has always said the universe had a beginning. Let’s look at what science has learned about how the universe started, then at what the Bible says happened and how.

Creation As Building Blocks

We came to understand the building blocks of the universe by repeatedly taking things apart until we got to the smallest indivisible parts: the elementary particles, such as electrons. To do this, we built particle accelerators to make particles collide at close to the speed of light, then analyzed what resulted.

Smashing particles doesn’t just reveal new ones—it also gives physicists clues about how the particles interact, and it provides insights into the fundamental forces and laws of nature. In the case of the proton, we found out that it’s made of three quarks, which we believe are elementary particles. More recently, at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), the Large Hadron Collider was used to find the Higgs boson, an elementary particle that up to then had been only theorized.

Higgs boson events from collisions between protons in the LHC. The top event in the CMS experiment shows a decay into two photons - dashed yellow lines and green towers. The lower event in the ATLAS experiment shows a decay into four muons - red tracks. (Cteirmn / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Higgs boson events from collisions between protons in the LHC. The top event in the CMS experiment shows a decay into two photons - dashed yellow lines and green towers. The lower event in the ATLAS experiment shows a decay into four muons - red tracks. (Cteirmn / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Why two quarks, one electron, etc.? And why do they have properties, such as mass and charge, with the particular values that they do? The short answer is we have no idea; it’s simply what we’ve learned by breaking matter apart.

When we look at the night sky, we’re not just admiring the twinkling stars and glowing planets , we’re actually looking back in time. It takes light a finite amount of time to travel to our eyes, although usually we don’t notice this. Light travels at about 300,000 kilometers per second, so when we look at the sun, we’re receiving light that left it about eight minutes earlier. If the sun suddenly went out, we wouldn’t know for eight minutes.

When we look at other stars or galaxies, we see light that left perhaps five years ago, a hundred years ago, or a billion years ago. Every object in the night sky we are seeing as it was some time in the past, a different time for each object, depending on how far it is from us. So, as we look at the universe, it’s as though we’re seeing snapshots of different parts at different times: Earth as it looks right now, the sun as it looked eight minutes ago, the center of the Milky Way galaxy as it looked 26,000 years ago, and so on. Today, with the Hubble Space Telescope, we can see light that left thirteen billion years ago—not at the beginning of the universe, but close.

Hubble Space Telescope observing a star. (dottedyeti / Adobe Stock)

Hubble Space Telescope observing a star. ( dottedyeti / Adobe Stock)

Scientists who study the universe adopt both of these approaches: they take things apart to discover the fundamental particles and forces of nature, and they look at the stars and galaxies to piece together what the universe looked like at various times in its history. Combining the results of these methods, they reach an understanding of how the universe came to be and what it is today, and they encapsulate this knowledge in a mathematical form: the Big Bang theory.

Creation and the Big Bang Theory

However, when extrapolating back in time with the Big Bang theory , we can get to almost the beginning but not the beginning. As physicist and author Brian Greene explains in his bestselling book: “the Big Bang theory delineates cosmic evolution from a split second after whatever happened to bring the universe into existence, but it says nothing at all about time zero itself”; instead, “we’re left rudderless in our quest to understand the beginning of time.”

In short, science has a tremendous understanding of how the universe developed a split second after the beginning. But it doesn’t know how the universe started—how time came to be, how space came to be—nor why the forces of nature are the way they are or why we have certain elementary particles with the properties they have. Various approaches have been proposed, such as there being a multiverse, but none of these have gained scientific consensus or at this point are testable.

There is, however, an understanding that the universe came out of “ nothing.” But in this understanding, “nothing” most of the time actually still means something—typically, at least gravity and space. Often, this “nothing” is referred to as the quantum vacuum, which is the very early state of the universe in the first fraction of a second, when the universe was so hot and dense that physical particles could not exist. However, according to present-day understanding of the “vacuum state” or the quantum vacuum, it was and is by no means a simple empty space.

Creation of the universe came out of the quantum vacuum - Quantum field theory and Feynman diagrams. (VectorMine / Adobe Stock)

Creation of the universe came out of the quantum vacuum - Quantum field theory and Feynman diagrams. ( VectorMine / Adobe Stock)

Quantum mechanics holds that a vacuum state contains fleeting electromagnetic waves and particles that pop into and out of existence. In the quantum vacuum at the beginning of the universe, time, space, the laws of physics, and particles all existed. However, the particles did not endure as physical entities because at such a high temperature, as soon as they appeared, they turned back into energy—they were “virtual” particles.

Due to the apparent absence of physical particles, it seemed like there was nothing, but in reality, everything needed to build the universe existed. As the universe expanded and cooled, the particles came into being and remained; eventually, the stars and galaxies formed.

Under close examination, the Bible actually tells us how the universe came to be. In its first line, it says the universe came to be out of nothing physical. The word used in Hebrew is bara, meaning ex nihilo creation. In the Bible, nothing physical means nothing—no time, no space, no forces of nature, no elementary particles. According to Genesis, in the beginning, God created from nothing physical.

The nothing often referred to in science is alluded to in Genesis 1:2: “Now the earth was astonishingly empty [ tohu va vohu ], and darkness was on the face of the deep.” This tohu va vohu is defined very similarly to the quantum vacuum, as a state where the early substance of the universe existed but had not gained potency or tangible form (like science’s virtual particles) and was in a chaotic state.

Creation of the universe came out nothing - this ‘tohu va vohu’ is defined similarly to the quantum vacuum. (kerenby / Adobe Stock)

Creation of the universe came out nothing - this ‘tohu va vohu’ is defined similarly to the quantum vacuum. ( kerenby / Adobe Stock)

But how did the universe develop according to Genesis, and why does the scientific method enable us to understand everything but the beginning?

Does Genesis Explains Creation?

When we read Genesis, we have to realize two things. One is that the whole first chapter of Genesis, which describes the creation of the world, is narrated not by God in his essential name, YHVH, but by God in his name Elokim, which means “Master of all the forces.” We know this because the root word is el, meaning power. The second part of the name, hem/him, indicates “them,” here meaning all the other powers. So Elokim means “the Power over all the powers.”

In other words, not only is God the Creator , as Genesis makes clear, but He is also the master over all of the forces of nature in the universe. So, Genesis is telling us that God chose to accomplish the whole of creation by acting within nature. In the biblical account, He created nature at the very beginning, and He could have created the universe in a way that would seem miraculous to us, but instead, He stayed within natural laws.

Genesis tells us God was master of all the forces and created the universe. (Sergey Nivens / Adobe Stock)

Genesis tells us God was master of all the forces and created the universe. ( Sergey Nivens / Adobe Stock )

The second point we need to grasp is that most of the creation acts in Genesis are what we would call making, meaning taking something and making it into something else. From hydrogen and helium, for example, the sun was made; in the same very general way, we would take wood and nails and make a chair. This means that the majority of the acts in Genesis involve taking something, making something else, and doing this within the laws of nature.

This is precisely what science is all about: observing how something changes and explaining the change with a natural law. So, for all of those acts, science will have a completely natural explanation. Why? Because God chose to hide within nature and make all of these acts transpire naturally.

There are only three exceptions, when God worked through nature but started not from something that existed but from nothing. These are indicated by the word bara. One of these events, as we’ve seen, relates to the beginning of the cosmos, the other two to the appearance of life.

The cosmological something-from-nothing event occurred at the very beginning: in the beginning, God created out of nothing. And this event cannot be understood by the scientific method because by definition it does not deal with anything physical.

In short, science and the Bible agree that the universe came to be via natural means: forces of nature acting on particles over time, forming all the structures we see, including our sun and planet. However, the Bible asserts that the first instant—when time, space, forces, and particles appeared—is not explainable by the scientific method. It was an ex-nihilo act. So far, science has no explanation for this beginning nor for why the forces and particles are the way they are.

Creation was the forces of nature acting on particles over time. (Sergey Nivens / Adobe Stock)

Creation was the forces of nature acting on particles over time. ( Sergey Nivens / Adobe Stock)

The Bible goes further, providing a detailed, accurate timeline and scale factor that allows us to compare the timing of events (such as the beginning, the appearance of the sun, and so forth) with scientific measurements. And the match is within measurement error. That analysis, though, is beyond the scope of this article, although it is discussed further in my new book, The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God’s Plan .

The mystical tradition of the Bible also elaborates on how the beginning happened, and this explanation bears a stark resemblance to what science has postulated: God saw all of time in one glance, everything planned around the numbers six and seven. But this was not physical time as we know it; this was an order or list of events as yet unscheduled.

Next, God withdrew his infinite light, leaving only a small residue, to allow for Creation—the “void.” This void, physical space, was macroscopic in size: “He brought forth from absolute nothing a very small point, left vacant an evenly measured place on all sides,” expanding in size and containing a very thin substance ( tohu, what we encountered earlier as the quantum vacuum) “having a power of potency, from which everything else would be made.”

When we focus on what we can observe and measure about our cosmos, the Bible and science are very much in agreement.

Top image: Creation. Source: AGPhotography / Adobe Stock.

This article has been adapted from a chapter contained in to book The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God’s Plan by Daniel Friedmann, available from Amazon.

You can learn more about this book and more of the authors titles at the website

By Daniel Friedmann


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Friedmann , D. 2019. The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God’s Plan (Inspired Studies). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
Greene, B. 2005. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality. Vintage Books.
Leibush ben Yehiel, M. and Wisser, M. 1875. Malbin on Genesis . [Online] Available at:
Maimonides, M. and Friedlander, M. 1904. The Guide for the Perplexed. [Online] Available at:
Ramban. 1286. Ramban on Genesis . [Online] Available at:
Ramban, N. and Chavel, C. 1971. Commentary on the Torah: Genesis . Shilo Publishing House.
Schneersohn, M. 2007. Derech Mitzvosecha: A Mystical Perspective on the Commandments, Volume II: Mitzvas Haamanas Elokus. Sichos.
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I like to describe this subject like a five year old watching their parent bake a cake.  All they see is their parent puttiing things in an oven and as if by magic VIOLA! you have a cake!  We are working on how the was baked, or made, but our understanding is limited until we find the recipe.


Religion states the universe was created.
Science asks how it was done.

I like to describe this subject like a five year old watching their parent bake a cake.  All they see is their parent puttiing things in an oven and as if by magic VIOLA! you have a cake!  We are working on how the was baked, or made, but our understanding is limited until we find the recipe.


Religion states the universe was created.
Science asks how it was done.

I gave this recent email content to a prominent geologist - and his confrontations by all kinds of bible - and - scientific people. My comment below answers and solves this bogus conflict. The Bible is scientific (without all the rest of the above yah dah yah dah), and science is Biblical and godly. Paleontology, Geology, Archaeology all fall within biblical parameters and vice versa ....

I hear you with your confrontations with others (creationists etc).

This reply was attached to the Geological Timeline video. It is here so that you have both copies to print out, or diagram in a presentation - for such resolution.

I made this discovery decades ago, and it should be massively used by geologists and paleontologists with biblical people. And it supports my biblical stance (Celtic Christian) and your catholic faith (which you admit is very basic).

I have no problems with paleontology and geology, from this discovery, ... and even the original biblical scholars of the Reformation and Renaissance said the same. There is Adam and Eve (ie Bishop Ushers timeline), and all those other critters are "pre-Adamites." They had no problem with any developing science. And it should return to those Pilgrims, Puritans, Deists, and Theists who held these concepts - even as bible-thumping Christians.

So here is the comment. Look up the charts and compare the words and timelines. You might even want a live video of this, and it would surely go viral - but others would listen up (especially those smart young ones in the vids). They will be the New Guards of both sides - and bring resolution. Happy to help you Nick with this issue - although you have great reservations about all my concepts and quandries.

Nick - without resisting this comment, you can readily (as I have) reconcile all the biblical timeline with true paleontology and geology. The sciences have taken all the many words of days, months, years, millennia, eras, epochs, ... which makes it hard to convert biblical words into scientific terminology and vice versa.

And this detailed wordy scientific listing below satisfies both the paleontological and geological record - and how the biblical timeline perfectly fits into that timeline - with paleontological events. And such were the same words YHWH and Moses used in detailing the first Genesis 1:1-25 verses, ... THEN AND ONLY THEN did an account of a biblical timeframe for humanity appear with such 5,000s-4,000s BCE period.

Paleontology uses:
Hadean (4.6 - 3.9 BYA), Archeozoic (3.9 - 2.5 BYA), Proterozoic (2.5 BYA - 540 MYA), Phanerozoic (540 MYA - current).

Phanerozoic is segmented into Paleozoic (540 - 245 MYA), Mesozoic (245 - 65 MYA), Cenozoic (65 MYA - current)

Paleozoic is segmented into Cambrian (540 - 500 MYA), Ordovician (505 - 438 MYA), Silurian (438 - 408 MYA), Devonian (408 - 360 MYA), Carboniferous (360 - 280 MYA), Permian (280 - 245 MYA)

Mesozoic is segmented into Triassic (245 - 208 MYA), Jurassic (208 - 146 MYA), Cretaceous (146 - 65 MYA)

Cenozoic is segmented into Paleogene (65 - 24 MYA), Neogene (24 - 1.8 MYA), Quaternary (1.8 MYA - current)

Now using modified words of the biblical narrative:

Creation manifests The Cosmos (Heaven).
The Earth was not formed yet (formless). The Cosmos "was dark" upon its expanse (waters). The biblical verse does NOT SAY darkness and waters on the planet Earth. It talks about The Cosmos.

Light formed, and cycles of light and darkness appeared. This is all astrophysics evolution of stars starting to turn into visible objects. This ends the first phase of Creation (Genesis 1:1-5). This geologic period is the Hadean (4.6 BYA - 3.9 BYA).

Creation has a separation of physical matter (firmament) from dark empty space, starting accretionary cycles of cosmic evolution into constellations, galaxies, and solar systems. No mention of planet Earth here. This ends the second phase of Creation (Genesis 1:6-8). This geologic period is the Archeozoic (3.9 - 2.5 BYA).

Creation gathers and separates atmospheres (waters) and dry land (solar and planetary systems). And one of these places now is a place of dry land Planet Earth, with eventually created seas. This period is the Proterozoic (2.5 BYA - 540 MYA). Creation has vegetation, herbs and fruit trees. This ends the third period of Creation (Genesis 1:9-13). This period is Proterozoic to Paleozoic-Ordovician (2.5 BYA - 438 MYA) with first plants.

Creation has a repeat of the geological development as parallel creations with solar, galactic, and cosmic lights for daytime and nighttime cycles. This ends the fourth period of Creation (Genesis 1:14-19). This period is a massive repeat and overlapping of the Hadean through Archeozoic (4.6 - 2.5 BYA).

Creation brings forth planetary life of birds and fishes. This ends the fifth period of Creation (Genesis 1:20-23). This period is the Paleozoic-Silurian through Mesozoic-Jurassic (438 - 136 MYA) wth first fish and first birds.

Creation brings for all other kinds of life species, land-based, beasts, cattle, reptiles and amphibians. This is the first part of the sixth period of Creation (Genesis 1:24-25). This period is the Mesozoic-Cretaceous to Cenozoic-Holocene (146 MYA - ~~~ 5,000 - 4,000 BCE).

Creation then of the created humanity (by biblical dating is from that ~~~5,000 - 4,000 BCE period to current day. This is the second part of the sixth period of Creation (Genesis 1:26-31). All other pre-existing non-Adam creatures are paleontological pre-humans 1.8 MYA to 10,000s BCE and later ... Lucy down to Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, and Denisovans et al.

There is NO CONFLICT of the Bible and the scientific paleontological and geological records. And the original Hebrew word translated into English "day" is just as much a generic statement of time that can be any length - as it is a phase of events, although the jewish day starts at dusk and ends at dusk, making a sundown to sundown (evening and the morning) into a perceived period of singular 24 hour day (current biblical uniformitarianism !!!! of a planetary Earth day-night cycle). It can be any length of night to day-night ... and ending at the ending sundown ... which has NO 24 hour period of designation. A human normally works from age 18 to 65. That starting of employment starts at ~8 AM and ends with retirement decades later at ~8 AM. Same concept. Mis-translating Hebrew generic time periods into absolutes is not this words definition.

THUSLY, the BIBLICAL timeline fits perfectly into the PALEONTOLOGICAL AND GEOLOGICAL timelines, and vice versa. THERE IS NO CONFLICT WITH ALL 3 TIMELINES.

Hope this gives you this written reply or chalk written blackboard presentation - when others confront you about distorted comments. THERE IS NO CONFLICT. Paleontology and Geology sciences are Biblical and Godly, and the Biblical narrative and timeline are truly scientific and factual.

I'm not religious in the slightest, but regardless of your clear disdain for people of faith, the Bible was clearly correct and 'science' is merely catching up. Perhaps in the future instead of being such an arrogant prick, you should be a bit more open minded and you might learn something. Apparently though, athiests more and more are becoming the ignorant zealots they claim to oppose.

Christians grasping at ideas that come from science, in order to feel like their religion actually has It's basis in fact not fiction. Laughable.


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