You’ve likely heard of the Big Bang theory. But you may not have known that until last week, we had no direct evidence of it.
Maybe now we do. As reported in Discovery News, "Scientists found … a key polarization, or orientation, of the microwaves caused by gravitational waves . . . miniature ripples in the fabric of space."
The presence of such ripples, they explain, is exactly what we’d expect if the universe had begun with a Big Bang. And the key word is “begun.” You know, as in, “In the beginning.”
As recently as the mid-twentieth century, the scientific consensus on the universe’s beginning was that it had no beginning. The reigning theory, called “Steady State,” or the idea that the cosmos had always existed and always would, went kablooey in the 1940s and 50s when exposed to new evidence, such as cosmic microwave background radiation.
This suggested an explosive beginning, in which the universe as we know it expanded suddenly from an infinitely tiny point of matter and energy called a "singularity." The nickname "Big Bang" quickly stuck, and most astronomers and physicists have been referring to it as a matter of fact ever since.
So what existed before the Big Bang? Well, scientists tell us that's a nonsensical question, because the Big Bang didn't just give birth to the material universe, but to time and space themselves. Not only was there no "what," "why," and "how" logically prior to this event; there was neither "when," nor "where."
But what if there was a "Who"? That's the question Leslie A. Wickman raises at CNN.com in a piece entitled, "Does the Big Bang Breakthrough offer proof of God?"
"...this new evidence," she writes, "strongly suggests that there was a beginning to our universe. If the universe did indeed have a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be an agent – separate and apart from the effect – that caused it. That sounds a lot like Genesis 1:1 to me..."
The late NASA astrophysicist, Robert Jastrow, put it still more eloquently. Taking evidence for the Big Bang as a given, he remarked in a 1982 interview with Christianity Today that,
"Astronomers…have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth.
And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact."
Whether this new evidence will bolster that conclusion remains to be seen. After all, humans demonstrate incredible capacity to explain away evidence in service of pre-ordained conclusions. And Christians should remember that this isn’t definitive proof for the God of the Bible. It’s still a leap from admitting the universe had a beginning to trusting in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to forgive your sins through His Son, Jesus Christ. But we can conclude two important things.
First, materialism isn’t enough. By definition, natural science can only experiment and draw conclusions within the realm of physical reality. When scientists try to push beyond this reality into the emptiness before time and physics, they’re literally dealing with the supernatural.
Second, it shows that scientific consensuses can and do change. With "Steady State" theory as extinct as the dinosaurs, many have had to admit that Christianity was right all along on the supernatural origin of the universe. As Jastrow writes in his book, "The Enchanted Loom":
"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
In the Big Bang, science meets its limits, but so does the materialist worldview. Happily, it is no difficulty to those who know the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: April 2, 2014