Is the Big Bang Biblical?
Hugh Ross proclaims in the lead article (“Latest Research Beats out the Mixmaster Model”) that the big bang creation model was first described in the Bible thousands of years ago. Let’s take a closer look at this statement.
There is a strong push, even among conservative Bible scholars, to discount the idea that the biblical creation account provides an accurate description of the origin of the universe. This skepticism rests on the idea that because the biblical authors had no concept of modern discoveries such as big bang cosmology, that it’s a violation to read those ideas into the text.
While it is true that we ought to give first priority to studying Scripture within in its original historical, cultural, and literary context, it is also legitimate to engage in some kind of integration of the descriptions of nature that we find in the Bible. This critical step in what scholars call systematic theology allows for the development of doctrine while remaining faithful to the Scriptures.
With these considerations in mind, here’s how the Bible describes the origin and nature of the universe.
1. The universe has a transcendent cause (Gen. 1:1; Acts 4:24; 17:28; Rom. 4:17).
2. The universe has a beginning (Gen. 1:1; Heb. 1:10).
3. Time has a beginning (1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:20).
4. God is “stretching out the heavens” like a tent (Job 9:8; Ps. 104:2; Is. 42:5; Jer. 10:12; Jer. 51:15; Zech. 12:1).
5. Someday this universe will come to an end and be replaced by a “new heavens and a new earth” (Is. 34:4; Heb. 1:10-12; 2 Pet. 3:10).
Now let’s compare how the Bible describes the creation event with what mainstream scientists say about the universe.
|Time||Began with the creation event; linear (time goes in only one direction, forward)||Began with the creation event; linear (time goes in only one direction, forward)|
|Matter and Energy||Had a beginning at some finite time in the past||Had a beginning at some finite time in the past|
|Cause||Transcendent Cause (God) required||Transcendent (Independent) Cause required|
|Nature of the universe||God is “Stretching out the heavens”||Has been expanding since the creation and will continue to expand in the future|
|End of the Universe||This universe will be replaced with “new heavens and new earth”||Eventually, universe won’t be able to sustain life; universe may collapse or burn up|
Obvious parallels emerge from these descriptions. Although it is certain the ancient authors didn’t specifically have the big bang in mind when they wrote those words, it’s at least possible that the supernatural Author inspired these particular descriptions because He knew they reflected an accurate account of what scientists would discover millennia later.
Studies probing the intricacies of our universe’s early history provide an intriguing way to put certain holy books to the test. The remarkable parallels between big bang cosmology and the Bible place the Christian Scriptures on favorable footing. Conversely, Hindu cosmology teaches the universe is cyclically created and destroyed approximately every 4 billion years. But such an idea clearly conflicts with the best research from the frontiers of astrophysics.
Far from being an atheistic idea to be avoided, big bang cosmology yields powerful support for the supernatural origin of the Bible.