The Big Bang Theory is a Good Thing for Christianity

The Big Bang Theory is a Good Thing for Christianity

The Big Bang Theory is a Good Thing for Christianity

Few scientific theories are more despised by Christians than the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution. The reason that Christians object to the theory of evolution is that some parts of the modern theory of evolution reject the Bible’s teaching on the origin of species.[1] The reason that Christians demur from the Big Bang Theory is that it seems to reject the Bible’s teaching on the origin of the universe. But does it really?

Think about what the Big Bang Theory actually says. Though I’m not a cosmologist, the bite-sized version of the Big Bang Theory—Big Bang Theory for dummies, if you will—says that the universe came into existence a finite time ago. That is, the Big Bang Theory says that there was nothing until,[2] boom, there was everything.

I’ve often wondered what exactly Christians find so objectionable about this bare-bones Big Bang Theory. The Bible says that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”[3] That is, the Bible teaches that the universe came into existence a finite time ago. Thus, it would seem that the nugget of truth driving the Big Bang Theory fits quite well with the Bible’s teaching on the origin of the universe.

Not only does the Big Bang Theory fit with a Christian perspective on cosmology, it also bolsters one of the famous arguments for God’s existence: The Kalam Cosmological Argument. The Kalam argument is extremely simple:

  1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.[4]

(1) is a general statement about the way the world is. It’s basically commonsense! We all know that whatever begins to exist has a cause—things don’t just happen. For example, if a firefighter found a baby sitting outside of the fire station, he would be quite right to assume that this little life came from somewhere; humans don’t just pop into existence! Instead, we all have a cause. Similarly, imagine sitting in a restaurant having dinner when, suddenly, you’re startled by a loud gunshot. Now imagine your waiter attempting to calm you by saying something like, “don’t worry, those just happen here. Nothing caused that!” You would think the waiter was mad, for you and I both know that whatever begins to exist must have a cause. So, let’s agree that there’s a general class of things that share the characteristic of coming into being. In this class belongs trees, birds, the grass, the sun, etc. Let’s also agree that since they came into being, there was something else that caused them. For the tree, it was the acorn; for the bird, it was the egg; for the grass, it was the seed. Thus, we can agree that whatever fits into this class of things which come into being has a cause exterior to itself.

(2) is the claim that the universe as a whole fits into this class of things which come into existence. In establishing this claim, the bite-sized Big Bang Theory is the Christian’s best friend. The Big Bang Theory, however, is just one piece of knowledge that supports (2). For more reasons than I can list here, just know that it’s ubiquitously accepted that the universe has not always been here; the universe simply had to begin to exist at some time in the finite past. The universe is a contingent thing that must have an exterior explanation for its existence.

Now comes the important part: If you accept (1) and (2), you have to accept the conclusion, (3). That means that you have to believe that something, or someone, caused the universe to come into existence. Alright, you might think, that’s no big deal. While Christians want to claim that the cause is God, perhaps there’s another way out. Perhaps, for example, this cause is a fluctuation in a primordial vacuum, or perhaps our universe was spawned by another universe in the multiverse, or something like that.

So, what would the cause that (3) points towards be like? First, the cause would appear to be non-physical. Before the universe, there was nothing physical out of which the cause could be made, so the cause can’t be physical. Thus, it cannot be a fluctuation in a vacuum or another universe; both of these assume a physical something. The first cause would have to be a non-physical reality, for it predated and is the cause of all physical things. Second, the cause would have to be overwhelmingly powerful. This cause would have to be able to make something out of literally nothing; to do so requires unrivaled power, the likes of which we have never seen. Third, this cause would have to be strikingly creative. Consider, for example, the fact that the average house is home not only to human beings, but to over 500 different species of insects![5] The cause of the universe was creative enough to come up with that many different species of insects, not to mention different types of fruits, colors, rhythms, flowers, and thumb prints. Finally, this cause of the universe had to be personal. Non-personal things don’t have free will; rather, they operate according to predetermined laws. That is, they cannot choose to do one thing or another. For example, I’m typing on my Mac which is operating according to laws. When I press the “z” key, my computer types z. It doesn’t have the ability to choose otherwise; however, since the first cause existed prior to the universe, there were no physical laws to determine its actions. Thus, it had to be personal, for it chose to create—a choice it could never have made had it not possessed free will, which only personal beings do in fact possess.

Therefore, this great first cause must be non-physical, overwhelmingly powerful, strikingly creative, and personal. Though that definition doesn’t equate the Christian definition of God, it sure does come close. Seen in this light, the Big Bang Theory is just one theory that points towards the existence of God by reminding us that there must be something, or Someone, behind this grand universe of ours.

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Notes & Sources

[1] I say some of the theory rejects the Bible’s teaching because there are actually two forms of evolution within the larger Theory of Evolution: micro-evolution and macro-evolution. The former is evolution within a species; for example, if a golden retriever mates with a poodle, you get a labradoodle, which is a still a dog. The latter is the kind of evolution that says that a Blue Jay’s great great great grandfather was a T-Rex. The biblical data are comfortable with micro-evolution; macro-evolution, however, is much more problematic.

[2] Until is a poor word to use here. Without the universe, there would be no time. Technically, then, there can’t really be an “until” until the universe comes into existence.

[3] Genesis 1.1, NIV.

[4] William Lane Craig has spilled much ink over this very short argument. His work is more than worth checking out. His website is http://www.reasonablefaith.org/.

[5] Erin Blakemore, “How many types of bugs live in your house right this minute? Science weighs in,” The Washington Post, January 19, 2016, accessed August 19, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/01/19/how-many-types-of-bugs-live-in-your-house-right-this-minute-science-weighs-in/?utm_term=.6dfcb58f1e42.

2 Comments

    leemarsh

    Nick, glad you shared! I discuss both concepts of The Big Bang and Evolution in my classes. However, I also share the Creation story! I think you just helped write my lesson plan!

      Nicholas Maricle (Author)

      There’s a lot more on the Big Bang Theory’s relationship to Christianity. William Lane Craig’s “Reasonable Faith” has nearly 100 pages of content just on the “Kalam” Argument I mentioned in the blog. He talks about how the Big Bang supports Christianity by positing that the universe couldn’t have existed from all eternity. He also uses a really interesting analogy which I wish I could’ve included. It’s known as Hilbert’s Hotel, and there’s a three minute long YouTube video which explains it really well. The basic idea is that, while infinity is a useful concept in mathematics, it’s not actually possible to achieve. Thus, the universe couldn’t have been here for an infinite amount of time, because there’s no such thing as an actual infinite. Therefore, the universe had to come into existence at a time in the finite past. However, if the universe came into existence, it has a cause.

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