Did it all start with a Big Bang?

Science Curriculum and the Bible #4

Time to read: 4 mins

This post is part of a series written by a secondary school Head of Science, exploring some key areas of the science curriculum where teaching contradicts the Bible. Whilst based on what is taught in UK schools, it will be relevant if you’re studying science at any level or have a general interest in Christian apologetics.

See also:

The Big Bang and the theory of evolution often seem to come hand in hand, but really they are very different theories. Both are proposed as explanations of observations we can make of the universe – the Big Bang for how it began in the first place, and evolution for how life has developed since then.

As explained previously (see Two Types of Science – Can I believe what I’m taught in Science lessons?), science can be split into two categories – observational and historical. We can believe observational science because it is dealing with things which we can observe, repeat, predict and test in the present. In contrast to this, historical science looks at evidence of things from the past (rock layers and fossils, for example) and attempts to explain them by various theories – the problem with this is that we can’t test and repeat the theories because we can’t go back in time.

The three key statements about the Big Bang theory are:

  1. All matter in the universe was initially in a very small, very dense, very hot space.
  2. This matter then exploded and the matter expanded outwards creating the universe.
  3. This expansion is still happening today which is why we observe red shift in the light from stars.

This is all based on the fact that we observe a red shift in the light from stars (this is evidence that the stars are currently moving away from the earth). Scientists reason that because the stars are all moving away from one another now, they must always have been doing so. This would mean that they must at some point have all started in the same place from where an explosion set them moving apart. The Big Bang explosion is their best guess as to how this might have happened.

Of the three key points above, the only statement which can be proven by experimental science is point 3. We do observe red shift in the light from stars. This is something which can be measured repeatedly looking the stars in the universe today and it does suggest that the stars are moving away from us and from one another. Points 1 and 2 above are simply ideas that scientists have which fit with the observation of red shift. They cannot be proven though. We clearly can’t go back to the beginning of the universe and observe what happened. We must, therefore, apply the biblical test – does the Big Bang theory agree with the Bible?

As Christians, we have an account given to us from the only eyewitness who was there when the universe was created. In Genesis 1-3 God himself has left us a clear description of the events which took place and this does not include the Big Bang. We can be certain that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”; the orderly universe we see was carefully designed and created by God, it is not the result of a chaotic explosion.

For a more in-depth study on problems with the Big Bang see this page on the Answers in Genesis website.

Challenges you might face

There are some common questions about creation as an alternative to the Big Bang which you might have wondered about or which people might challenge you with:

  • What about the red shift observed in starlight, can creationists explain this?  Although all creationist scientists agree with the biblical account of creation, there have been a number of cosmological theories proposed by creationists which are compatible with both the biblical account of creation and the astronomical observations made today.  These are very complicated and the authors acknowledge that they are only theories and cannot be proved by experimental science. However, they do demonstrate that the Big Bang theory is not the only potential explanation. If you want to look into these theories in more depth you can read about them here:
  • If God made everything, who made God? You may be asked this question if you say that you believe that God created the universe. It is a good question and the Bible teaches us the answer which we must believe even though our minds cannot really grasp it – God has always been there. However, the Big Bang theory has the same problem, if the universe started with a ball of matter which exploded, where did that come from? An excellent book which addresses this question in more detail is Who made God? by Edgar Andrews.
[A00102 – 09/02/2019]

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