Creation or Big Bang?
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters (Gen. 1:1-2).
There is no way to either confirm or deny Creation or the Big Bang, although some may claim to do so for either side. Our belief or faith is based in part on our intuition about God and in part on our knowledge of the universe. Our decision ultimately will be based on the heart rather than the mind.
Everybody loves a good story, that is, a story that speaks to their experience. Over the next few weeks, we will examine the Bible’s version of how this world came to be as it is, looking more closely at the translations currently in use and offering some alternative interpretations. Perhaps this story will speak to you. Test it by the Spirit.
The story of Creation in Genesis is a poem. Poetry is not only a beautiful way to record an event; it also helps the verbal transmission from generation to generation in a society not oriented to the written word.
The first verse of Genesis pretty well sums up Creation. God is the cause, the hero of the story. All of the universe is created at that moment, all of the matter/energy from which everything will be made. The details of the things that are made are in the following verses.
Science can agree that "the earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep." Light did not even exist!
The Big Bang begins with a singularity, infinite density in an infinitesimally small space, a condition in which all the laws of physics (or anything else) break down. There is no explanation for the origin of the singularity other than quantum theory stating that matter can come from energy, but then what is the origin of the energy?
Something then has to start the expansion, or “inflation” as it is called, that causes the singularity to expand its contents for the purpose of filling our universe. What is the source of the energy that caused the inflation? Perhaps the spirit hovering (Strong’s H7363 – to brood; 1. grow soft, relax; 2. to hover) is the impetus, allowing the forces holding the singularity to relax.
For the evolution of life, to quote George Wald, "Time is in fact the hero of the plot....Given so much time, the 'impossible' becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles." This is not actually an explanation, but probability and time are considered sufficient.
At least the Bible and Science agree that there was a beginning point in time (see Stephen Hawking’s paper) rather than the universe having existed forever!
We live in a time of competing truths as we struggle to know absolutely what is true and what is not. Evidence is often partial and conflicting. Science uses observation and statistical methods with all their limitations. Interpretation of the Bible must rely on understanding the original message through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Faith cannot be held up as "science," but we must remember that Science is simply a tool we have created to help us to understand the world around us. It is a human creation and has a limited purpose. And Science has discovered Quantum Theory, which tells us clearly that there are limits to knowledge (I cannot wait until we get to Genesis 2 and the Tree of Knowledge!).
Clearly, neither interpretation of the Bible nor Science can conflict with observed reality and remain credible. But we cannot observe Creation (except through a lens darkly, perhaps). Each of us makes a choice as to what we believe regarding "The Beginning."
So let us proceed....