Is the big bang evolution story of the Universe really science? And is the big bang a valid starting point to argue that science supports the biblical narrative history from the Genesis account and elsewhere? Can we consider a big bang creation in our apologetics?
Foundations for our apologetics
In apologetics1 we are engaged in a spiritual war, which we fight on a daily basis. We win some battles, we lose some, but we know that the war will eventually be won by God. He has told us that fact. Often however our comrades in arms, i.e. other Christians, may themselves not clearly see the enemy’s tactics. That does not mean they cannot see the enemy but may be they are too close in battle to see the whole war.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)
Sometimes we must criticise what our friends have said in an effort to prevent the enemy from developing a breach in the wall of truth and eventually destroying the foundations. In this case our friends are our fellow Christians who have gotten off the track by absorbing too much of the pagan culture in which they live. Continue reading
As a high school student, at a time when I was an atheist, I co-authored a book reviewing the various cosmological models that were discussed in the scientific literature in 1968. That was three years after the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, and the Big Bang Theory had just made a big leap forward in front of its competitor at the time, the Steady State Theory.
In our book—which by the way won us second prize in a Western Australian state-wide science competition—we outlined the two competing models. The Big Bang Theory at that time had three distinct forms:
- the cycloidal model, which would collapse back into a big crunch (and bounce out of the singularity cyclically) because the matter density of the universe was too great to resist the inevitable re-collapse (a finite closed universe);
- the coasting model, which had just the right amount of matter for an infinite universe that is neither accelerating nor decelerating in its expansion, continually expanding but never collapsing (an open infinite universe); and
- the hyperbolic model, an accelerating expanding universe, low matter density but also driven apart by a cosmological constant term (an open and infinite universe).
The most favoured of the three was the closed cycloidal model with a matter density greater than critical so it had to collapse back in a big crunch. Nowadays it is the accelerating infinite (open) universe, which is spatially flat due to dark matter and dark energy content.
On reviewing these models, and even knowing that the CMB discovery favoured these as a prediction of the big bang theorists, particularly George Gamow, I personally favoured the Steady State Theory. The Steady State Theory really had only one model, which was an infinite universe that was eternal both into the past and into the future. It had no beginning and no ending. Continue reading
Part 2 of series “Redshifts and the Universe”
Watch Part 1 here.
Edwin Hubble’s observations in 1929 led to the conclusion that the universe is expanding, but is that the correct interpretation of extra-galactic redshifts? The standard big bang model derived by Friedmann and Lemaitre gave Hubble a solution to his dilemma but did he really believe that cosmological expansion was the correct interpretation for the redshifts he observed? Clearly he did not believe in the Creator and was repulsed at the idea that the universe might have a unique centre and that we might be somewhere near that.
Historically the Universe was once believed to be finite. Finite means its volume is a finite number. Also the biblical view is and was that the Universe was created approximately some 4000 years before the birth of Christ. Psalms 147:4 declares,
“He [God] tells the number of the stars; He [God] calls them all by their names.” (KJVER).
To ‘tell’ means to count and therefore the implication is that the Universe contains a fixed or finite number of stars and hence of galaxies. Only God is infinite (Ps 147:5) but His created Universe is finite and even bounded. That means it has a centre and an edge.
The view was not universally held though. Hindu texts seemed to indicate an eternal, albeit a cyclical universe and infinite in size. But our modern scientific understanding of the Universe has developed from Judeo-Christian beliefs. Within that framework, until essentially the beginning of the 20th century it was accepted the Universe was like a ball of stars around our planet Earth.
Only with Edwin Hubble’s observations did this notion change, as he settled the big debate of the 1920’s, showing in 1929 that the Universe contained many galaxies like our own. Secondly, by observations of redshifts of galaxies and their distances, he discovered that the Universe is expanding, for which he would have won the Nobel Prize, but the selection committee followed the rules established by Nobel (who disliked astronomers) and would not award it to him. He died before they changed the rules. Nevertheless Hubble himself even questioned his own conclusion over the decades following his “discovery.” (I would note here that Lemaître published before Hubble, in 1927, wherein Lemaître developed the now famous relation, the Hubble law–later named after Hubble–but also Lemaître fitted to actual observational data, though his data were a bit poorer quality than Hubble’s in 1929.)
But then until the mid 1960’s, the dominant cosmological belief for the Universe, was the Steady State (SS) cosmology. It held to an eternal (non-cyclical) universe, which was infinite and unbounded. With Hubble’s discovery of an expanding universe and then the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave background radiation (1965) Hoyle and Geoffrey Burbidge modified (1993) their SS model to incorporate cyclical periods of expansion and collapse, yet still an eternal universe–called the Quasi Steady State Creation (QSSC) cosmology. Continue reading