Science, Common Sense, and Genesis 1:1
The most fundamental question that a person can (and should) ask is: “Where did the Universe and everything in it (including myself) come from?” Before a person seeks answers to questions such as, “Why am I here?” or “Where am I going?” he first needs to know from whence he came? It is fitting that the only God-inspired book in the world—the Bible—answers this very question in its opening statement: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added). In the subsequent verses, man is informed that not only did God create the heavens and the earth, but He made everything in the heavens and on the Earth (Genesis 1:2-31; cf. Exodus 20:11). According to Scripture, everything that exists in the physical Universe ultimately came from an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, infinite Creator (Genesis 17:1; 18:14; Psalm 139; 90:2).
The theory that atheistic evolutionists have advanced for several decades now, which supposedly best explains our existence from a purely naturalistic perspective, is known as the Big Bang. It has circulated via science textbooks all over the world. One of the leading publishers of science curricula for many years has been Prentice Hall. In their 1992 General Science textbook, titled A Voyage of Discovery, they included the following section on “The Birth and Death of the Universe”:
How was the universe born and how will it end? Most astronomers believe that about 18 to 20 billion years ago all the matter in the universe was concentrated into one very dense, very hot region that may have been much smaller than a period on this page. For some unknown reason, this region exploded. This explosion is called the big bang. One result of the big bang was the formation of galaxies, all racing away from one another (Hurd, et al., p. 61, emp. in orig.).
Since 1992 the “birth of the Universe” has been shaved substantially (from 18 to 20 billion years ago to 12 to 15 billion years ago—see Biggs, et al., 2003, p. 159), but the theory is more or less the same. Ask an atheist how the Universe came to be and you likely will hear that “it all started with a big bang.”
So which is it? Did everything in the physical Universe come into existence via the supernatural or the natural? Was it caused by a purely naturalistic Big Bang or an infinite Mighty God? How did Earth get here? How did the other seven planets in our Solar System come into being? Whence came the Milky Way and the billions of other galaxies in the Universe? How did the multiplied quadrillions of stars (some of which are hundreds of times bigger than the Sun) come into existence? Although atheistic, evolutionary scientists are fond of ridiculing Genesis 1:1 as being unreasonable and unscientific, the fact is, Scripture’s explanation for ultimate origins is both sensible and scientific.
First, a study of the material Universe reveals that all physical effects must have adequate causes that precede the effects (a truism known as the Law of Cause and Effect). One drop of rain does not flood an entire city, a paper airplane cannot carry an astronaut to the Moon, nor can a fire extinguisher cool the Sun. But what about the effect of the Universe itself? What was its cause? Was the gargantuan Universe caused by an explosion of a minute ball of matter or by an omnipotent Creator? Just as easily as one can know that a paper airplane is unable to transport an astronaut to the Moon, he can know that naturalistic explanations (e.g., Big Bang theory) are not adequate causes for the Universe. But God is.
Second, from what we observe in nature, matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. Scientists refer to this fact as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Evolutionists allege that the Universe began with the explosion of a ball of matter several billion years ago, yet they never have provided a reasonable explanation for the cause of the “original” ball of matter. An attempt was made a few years ago in the April 28, 2007 issue of New Scientist magazine titled “The Beginning: What Triggered the Big Bang?” Notice the last line of the featured article: “[T]he quest to understand the origin of the universe seems destined to continue until we can answer a deeper question: why is there anything at all instead of nothing?” (194:33, emp. added). The fact is, a logical, naturalistic explanation for the origin of the “original” ball of matter that supposedly led to the Universe does not exist. It cannot exist so long as the First Law of Thermodynamics is true (i.e., in nature matter/energy cannot create itself).
Third, since the physical Universe exists, and yet it could not have created itself, then the Universe is either eternal or something/someone outside of the Universe must have created it. Relatively few scientists propose that the Universe is eternal. In fact, there would be no point in attempting to explain the “beginning” of the Universe if atheists believed it always existed. What’s more, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter and energy become less usable over time, has led most scientists to conclude that the Universe has not always existed (else we would be out of usable energy; see Miller, 2007). But, if matter is not eternal, and it cannot create itself, then the only logical conclusion is that something/someone outside of nature (i.e., supernatural) caused the Universe and everything in it. Christians call this Someone, “the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28).
Finally, not only do the scientific Laws of Thermodynamics and the Law of Cause and Effect support the truth of Genesis 1:1, so also does the fact that design demands a designer. Just as sure as a painting demands a painter and a law a law-giver, the orderly, law-abiding, picturesque heavens and Earth demand, not a random, mindless, unexplained explosion (when have explosions ever caused order and design?), but an intelligent Designer. As the psalmist wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). What’s more, “the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Indeed, both the heavens and the Earth testify day after day and night after night to anyone and everyone who will listen (Psalm 19:2-4) that “He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).
Naturalistic explanations for the Universe and its laws leave an explanatory void that only a supernatural Being (i.e., God) can fill. If man will only open his eyes and ears, he will discover what both Heaven and Earth reveal: that “the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Rather, “God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, emp. added).
Biggs, Alton, et al. (2003), Science (New York: McGraw-Hill).
Hurd, Dean, George Mathias, and Susan Johnson, eds. (1992), General Science: A Voyage of Discovery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.
“The Universe Before Ours” (2007), New Scientist, 194:28-33, April 28.