These words are among the most cherished known to man. Throughout the millennium they have been passed from generation to generation forming the cornerstone of the world's three great monotheistic religions. And there was never any reason to doubt them - for who other than God would know what happened "in the beginning"?
But then, one day, scientists found a way to accomplish the impossible and literally look backwards through time to the very beginnings of time itself. There they discovered that the universe literally exploded into existence creating a gigantic bubble of primordial "soup" which they named "The Cosmic Microwave Background." Over the course of billions of years, this raw material expanded and evolved until eventually it became the universe we know today. Science had discovered an alternative to the biblical account of creation and they named it "The Big Bang Theory."
Humankind found itself face to face with a crisis from which it has yet to fully recover. If the Bible was indeed the word of God, and the Bible was wrong, than that would mean that God himself was wrong! Some have even suggested that if you believe in the Big Bang Theory than you are rejecting God. For although there is nothing in the theory itself that states God does not exist, there is the implication that the Bible, the word of God, is not to be taken literally and this they view as a grave threat to the concept of God itself.
But we have been here before. In the fifteen hundreds it was Copernicus who blasphemed the Church by daring to suggest that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Later Galileo was thrown into prison for publicly stating that Copernicus was correct. The concept was considered heresy at the time yet today, even the Pope will not deny it. Was God wrong? Did the concept of God self destruct as a result of this revelation? Of course not! And the same holds true today.
The fact of the matter is, only a single sentence in the entire bible says anything about the creation of the universe - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth." the remaining three pages of Genesis focuses almost exclusively on the Earth. The 1,200 or so (depending on which version you read) remaining pages in the Bible focus on the story of Man. And there is good reason for this - the Bible was never intended to answer specific questions about the workings of the physical world. It is primarily a social document designed to provide a moral and ethical base upon which civilization can build. The rest we are left to discover for ourselves - as the Bible itself states "God gave man intelligence so that one day he may understand the universe."
|Stars Being Born In Giant Clouds Of Dust (NASA)|
Yet the Bible does make a few undeniable statements about creation that seem to fly in the face of scientific observations - but are the two camps really that far apart? When we look out into space we can watch with our own eyes as stars, still swaddled in there birth clouds, ignite to bring light to the darkness that once surrounded them - and God said let there be light, and there was light. Any planets orbiting these stars would still be in the process of accreting there surfaces. All of the heavier materials, like metals and such, would be sinking to the center of the planet while the lighter materials, like water and gas, would be rising to the surface where they may form vast oceans and thick clouds that enshroud the planets in a primordial cocoon - and the Earth was without form and void: and darkness ruled over the face of the deep. With our telescopes, we can literally watch as the metal we work into tools, the iron in our blood, and the carbon that makes up the very essence of our physical beings is forged within the hellish furry of an exploding star and then scattered about the heavens like the seeds of a dandelion eventually to form the planets and stars of future generations - "From the dust you were created and to the dust shall you return."
True, worlds are not created in six days and it is doubtful that woman was created from Man's rib. But when a child asks a parent questions like where am I from? why am I here? does the parent begin explaining the concepts of molecular biology and child birth ? Most likely they do not. Instead they put the concept into terms that the child can understand and fill in the details when the child gets older. In the Bible God says to Elijah "I do not work through miracles and wonders, I work by touching men's hearts" and this is what the Bible does best. It is there to comfort us and to remind us that no matter how chaotic and cruel the world may seem, it is governed by an intelligence greater than our own and if we wish to understand creation, then we must also understand creations creator.
The Big Bang Theory merely describes the physical process of creation - it does not explain creation itself. The Bible tells us that God created the universe and in increasingly wondrous detail, the Big Bang Theory is simply showing us how he did it. The laws of nature are the hands of God and Quantum physics is the clay with which he works. The Big Bang Theory and the concept of God are not mutually exclusive in fact, they are complementary. The deeper we pier into that primordial fire ball that is the Big Bang the more we will find science and religion reconciling. After all, as any child will tell you - "God lives in heaven" so wouldn't it make sense to look for him there?