Albert Einstein published his equations of general relativity in 1915, and a Dutch astronomer named Willem de Sitter discovered a solution to them that predicted an expanding universe. The importance of these discoveries showed the world that the universe was expanding. If the galaxies were moving farther and farther apart, the implication was that they were once closer together. If the universe was expanding, then it must have had a starting point.
In 1923, Edwin Hubble observed the distant Andromeda nebula and calculated that it must be at least ten times farther away than the stars of the Milky Way. He predicted the galaxies were moving rapidly away from one another and that the universe was much larger than anyone had thought.
From this realization, Hubble went one step further. If galaxies that were twice as far away were moving away from each other at twice the speed, he reasoned, they must have begun their cosmic expansion from the same space at the same time. Using his distance/speed ratio, Hubble fixed that time at about two billion years ago. He was off by some ten to thirteen billion years by today’s estimates, but he laid the foundation for the Big Bang Theory, providing evidence that the universe exploded into existence with a furious burst of energy and has been expanding ever since. It was a shattering blow to the centuries-old notion of a static universe.5
The theory of the expanding universe was consistent with Einstein’s theory. Even so, the Big Bang, though thoroughly accepted in our day, was not originally accepted well by scientists.
Robert Jastrow, an American astronomer and planetary physicist, argues that the reason scientists were troubled by the notion of a Big Bang was because if it were true, it would imply that there was a moment of creation in which everything—the universe and its laws—came into existence.
He said in an interview with Christianity Today,
Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they 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.6
In God and the Astronomers, Jastrow said, “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 mountains 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.”7
Lest we allow some form of circular reasoning, it is very important to recognize that before the Big Bang, there were no laws of physics. In fact, the laws of physics cannot be used to explain the Big Bang because the Big Bang itself produced the laws of physics. To be fair, the Big Bang does not disprove classic evolution, but it argues strongly for a specific moment of creation.
Pause with me for just a moment. These are not the words and observations of pastors and theologians; they are the words of top scientists. I’m not throwing my brains in the trash or being anti-intellectual to question evolution. The facts of today’s most recent scientific discoveries demand it.
Ingram, Chip. 2017. Why I Believe: Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
We have just completed a 6-Week Bible Study Lesson Series on Chip Ingram’s book, Why I Believe. It is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription plan. The idea is to invite each participant to purchase their own book and discuss it each week.
Why I Believe, Lesson #1
Chapters 1, 2
Why I Believe in the Resurrection
Did Jesus Really Die?
Why I Believe, Lesson #2
Chapters 3, 4
Why I Believe the Bible
Don’t Take My Word for It
Why I Believe, Lesson #3
Why I Believe in Life After Death
Why I Believe, Lesson #4
Chapters 6, 7
Why I Believe in Life Creation
Science or God?
Why I Believe, Lesson #5
Why I Believe in the God of the Bible
Why I Believe, Lesson #6
How is that Working for You?