What exactly is the Big Bang?
This question is one of those that everyone knows the answer to, while at the same time not really knowing the answer. Some don’t know it because they’re a little iffy on it. Others don’t know it because they think they do – but they’re actually misinformed.
So, how do most people respond in answer to this question? Something like, “The Big Bang is a description of the origin of the universe. Billions of years ago, there was an explosion that launched matter out into space, and it formed the universe we now live in.”
It’s not just laypeople who have this notion, but many scientists as well. Perhaps even most scientists. However, the laypeople (and scientists) would be wrong. But how can most scientists be wrong? Good question! It’s because, as smart as they are, most scientists are not actually studying the origin of the universe. It may have been addressed briefly in one of their college classes, and they may have read a few articles in some popular science magazines, but they still have a greatly misinformed idea of what the Big Bang truly is (at least according to what we hear from those scientists who actually focus or specialize in that area).
Just a couple things right off the bat. First of all, the Big Bang (again, according to those who are experts in this field) was not an explosion in any normal sense of the word. Secondly, and much more surprising to most people, the Big Bang doesn’t really even account for the origin of the universe! What? It really doesn’t, and here’s why.
The Big Bang doesn’t really come into play until you already have something to go “bang!” The Big Bang model starts with “something” and does not attempt to account for where this “something” came from or how it got here. What is this something the Big Bang supposedly acted upon? It is something they call a “singularity.” So, what was this “singularity?” Imagine all of the matter and energy in the entire universe being squished down into the size of, well, zero size and infinite density and temperature. That’s the singularity secular scientists postulate the Big Bang acted upon.
Where was this singularity sitting and how long was it there before the Big Bang? Now you’re asking silly questions because secular scientists tell us there was no time or space before the Big Bang! (Actually, your questions are not silly, but I think the answers certainly could be deemed absurd.) The Big Bang supposedly was the event that created time and space. The more you look into the model (the Big Bang), the crazier it gets. If the general public has the erroneous idea that the Big Bang was an explosion of “stuff out into space,” it’s a lot easier to keep the game going. However, once you start explaining the actual details, eyebrows start raising, and so they should!
As with all of our “Question of the Month” articles, space limits us from going into a detailed critique of the Big Bang model, but we are in the process of producing a video addressing these issues, both scientifically and biblically.
In the remainder of this article, I will make a few general scientific comments and also share some biblical issues that arise when trying to mix the Big Bang and Scripture.
The Big Bang, contrary to being strongly supported by multiple lines of evidence from what we observe in science, is fraught with numerous problems. It’s covered with band-aids and is somewhat on life-support. The main reason it’s still around is because of its general popularity, and the fact that there aren’t any solid scientific models waiting in the wings.
Consider this partial reprint from an “Open Letter to the Scientific Community” submitted by 33 leading scientists (and signed by about 500 other scientists and researchers):
“The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities… Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory… In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.”
Many Christians are under the impression the Big Bang has been proven by science. Since they also believe God is all-powerful, in their minds, the Big Bang fits perfectly into the Bible. For the most part, however, they are unaware of the numerous scientific problems with this model and also do not realize it does not comport with Scripture. Here are just a few of the biblical issues that arise when attempting to meld the Big Bang into the creation account in the Bible.
Clear teaching of Genesis: Most Christians who believe God used the Big Bang also hold to the belief that Genesis 1 & 2 are just figurative or poetic, not meant to be taken literally. In reality, these chapters are clearly written as literal, historical Hebrew narrative. It was meant to be interpreted as actual history.
Order of events: The order of events associated with the Big Bang do not line up with the order listed in Genesis. Here are just a few examples. The Big Bang has the sun forming first, followed by the Earth millions of years later. However, the Bible states that God created the Earth first on day 1 and the sun later on day 4. The Big Bang has the Earth appearing from a molten state, cooling to a solid rock surface, with the oceans forming millions of years later (from comets and asteroids, plus some water within the Earth). However, the Bible states the Earth was covered with water right from the beginning, and the land did not appear until later, on day 3. Many other “order issues” could be listed.
Death before Sin: One of the most significant issues related to believing God used the Big Bang (or any other view that involves millions and billions of years) is that it means there was death long before Adam and Eve were even created. This is evident from the fact that the layers in the Earth are literally filled with billions and billions of fossils, which are remains of death things. The fossil record represents death, disease, pain, suffering, etc. If these layers were laid down over millions of years of Earth history, long before God created a garden on the surface, then it wasn’t Adam’s sin that brought about death. But the whole reason Jesus came to die on a cross was because mankind’s sin brought death and a curse into God’s perfect creation (Romans 5:12). Accepting these alleged millions and billions of years puts a strain on one’s definition of the Gospel message.
We just scratched the surface regarding the Big Bang with this brief article. I trust it was helpful in thinking through whether or not you accept the Big Bang as “fact” or choose to reject it based on the authority of God’s Word (and also realize there are numerous scientific reasons to question its validity).