Life, Hope & Truth

Does the Big Bang Theory Require a Miracle?

Scientists ask us to believe theories of creation that defy all known laws of physics. Who is exercising more faith—scientists or those who believe the Bible?

Do miracles really happen?

For most religious people, the answer would be yes, while many scientists take a very skeptical view.

The generally accepted definition of a miracle is “an event that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a divine or supernatural cause” (Random House Dictionary). Is it possible to prove that a miracle has actually occurred? If indeed this can be proven, does that not help prove that there is a God? By the generally accepted definition, are there any events in history that can be proved to be miracles?

Two fundamental miracles

Two foundational events come immediately to mind: the creation of life and the creation of the universe. Since there were no human witnesses to these events, the proof can only be based on circumstantial evidence (unless you are willing to take the word of the God of the Bible).

First note that there has been no scientific basis established to back up the hypothesis that life spontaneously occurred from nonliving chemicals by natural laws (see the article “Proof of God” for more discussion on this topic). Indeed, natural laws confirm that life comes only from life.

Is the creation of the universe a miracle?

However, the focus in this article will be on the creation of the universe. Throughout the ages, religious people believed God created the universe, but as modern science developed, focusing only on what can be physically measured and discerned, scientists came up with other ideas. Until about 100 years ago the generally accepted scientific answer to “Who created the universe?” was that no one did. Many scientists believed that the universe had always existed in an essentially static and unchanging form. According to that idea, there was no need for a creator.

However, in the early 20th century, observations by the astronomer Edwin Hubble indicated that the universe was expanding. This discovery began a century of related scientific discoveries on the nature of the universe. It is now believed that the universe is not only expanding, but that the rate of expansion is increasing.

The idea of an expanding universe also led to the inevitable conclusion that the universe must have had a beginning. And, if it had a beginning, the obvious question was, how was it created? Scientists could no longer ignore this question by saying the universe had always existed.

One popular answer was nicknamed the “big bang” theory. Now enough scientific evidence has been accumulated that it is considered to be the standard model for the origin of the universe.

An expanding universe implies that at some point in the past all the material components of the universe must have originated from a single point (referred to as a singularity). Currently, the thinking is that the universe was initially very small, with temperatures in the billions of degrees. Scientists now believe that the “bang” occurred around 13.7 billion years ago and that the universe has been expanding ever since.

As larger and more powerful telescopes were developed and launched into orbit outside the earth’s atmosphere, phenomena were observed that could not be explained without modifications to the big bang theory. Among the questions arising from the theory were:

  • First and foremost, if the universe had a beginning, who or what created it? What power can create something from nothing?
  • What power held all the component materials of the universe in place prior to the “bang,” and what caused the “bang”?
  • Why does the cosmic microwave background radiation (believed to be the remnant heat signature of the blast) appear the same in every direction?
  • How did matter clump together to form stars, planets and galaxies after the “bang”?

A miracle within a miracle?

Here’s where it really gets interesting. To address some of the problems with the theory, a solution was proposed and is now generally accepted: inflation. This modification to the big bang theory postulates that at the initial “bang,” the miniscule universe increased to something perhaps approaching 50 percent of its size today in less than one billionth of a second!

While defying all known laws of physics, this scenario of inflation does answer some of the questions of how the universe we see today came to be. If inflation is true—and it’s still a theory—has science introduced God into the equation? When the observed evidence defies all known natural laws, is there a better example of a miracle?

This theory has gained general acceptance in the scientific community and is referred to as the “hot inflationary big bang theory.” See a schematic representation of this theory above (from the NASA website). Depicted on the left of this diagram is the period of inflation that scientists believe occurred instantaneously at the “bang.” After a gradual cooling period leading to the “dark ages,” stars, galaxies and planets formed over billions of years as the universe expanded.

There is general agreement that initially there had to have been a “seed,” although no attempt is made to explain how something can spring from nothing (the initial miracle). But then the universe suddenly inflated with an unimaginably large explosion in an instant (the miracle within a miracle).

There are no laws of physics to explain this inflationary stage. So how do scientists justify this theory?

If the shoe fits, wear it

By introducing inflation into the big bang theory, the makeup of the universe we see today can be explained by the laws of physics, but only after that point. Without going into detail here, inflation, among other things, provides an explanation for the cosmic microwave background radiation observed today as well as how the influence of gravity resulted in the formation of planets, stars and galaxies.

Thus, while inflation cannot be explained by the laws of physics, it does provide the trigger that explains much of the observable data in the universe.

So, did inflation occur at a “bang” that created the universe? The scientific evidence points to an answer of yes. If, indeed, this inflation did occur, is it not yet another confirmation of what the Bible teaches—that God is the Creator of the universe?

Clearly, God claims responsibility for creating the universe:

  • “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).
  • “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Psalm 33:6).
  • “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
  • “For by Him [Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).

Is inflation suggested by Isaiah 40:22, 25-26? “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. … ‘To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing” (emphasis added throughout).

While the inflationary big bang theory is just that—a theory—it has become widely accepted in the scientific community. Interestingly, its foundation is based on miracles, though not all scientists would acknowledge this conclusion.

  • First, there’s the existence of the universe condensed to a point with no explanation of how it came to exist other than by a supernatural miracle.
  • And second, by another miracle, there’s the sudden instantaneous inflation of that universe leading to the universe we observe today.

Exactly what natural laws are responsible for this occurrence? What natural laws explain how the entire mass and energy of the universe could have existed in a single point? And, finally, where did it all come from? Can something be created from nothing?

Unless evidence from natural laws can answer these questions, is not the creation of the universe a proof of God?

Can science answer?

The hot inflationary big bang theory is consistent with the universe we see today. Scientists may, or may not, have it right as to the sequence of creation events. If they are wrong, there still remains the problem of explaining how matter and energy can be created from nothing—unless you believe in miracles. If they are right, how can inflation be explained—unless you believe in miracles?

It is interesting that some scientists ask us to believe theories of creation that defy all known laws of physics. Since scientific evidence indicates that the universe had a beginning, is not this beginning a miracle that could only come from God? Who is exercising more faith in their beliefs? Scientists? Or those who believe the Bible?

God’s miracles didn’t end with creation. His miracles are ongoing in those who turn to His revealed Word, the Bible, and follow it. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Evidence points to the existence of a Creator God who can, and has, performed miracles. More important, this God can, and will, perform miracles in your life. Use this website to learn more about that God and His path—a path that will lead to miracles in your life.

Read now about one of His greatest miracles in the articles in the section on Christian conversion

About the Author

Rick Avent

Dr. Rick Avent is a retired professor of civil engineering at LSU. He is happily married to Sandra with three grown children, and is an elder in the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

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