For over thirty years, the Big Bang Theory has been the reigning paradigm of evolutionary cosmology. It assumes a naturalistic evolution of the space/time cosmos from nothing into an infinitesimal universe which rapidly inflated and then "exploded," expanding eventually into our present cosmos of stars and galaxies, beginning somewhere between l0-and-20-billion-years ago.
The idea was initially developed by the Belgian astronomer, Georges Lemaitre, in 1927, then popularized by Sir Arthur Eddington and George Gamow. Lemaitre called it the "Primeval Atom," but Gamow, as well as Sir Fred Hoyle (who popularized the opposing "Steady State Theory") began calling it the "Big Bang." With the discovery in 1964 of the pervasive "cosmic background radiation" (supposedly left over from the great explosion), the majority of astronomers became committed to the Big Bang.
As a result, a number of evangelical scientists have recently become promoters of the notion that Genesis 1:1 is God's way of identifying the Big Bang. The great majority of professional astronomers, on the other hand, do not believe in supernatural creation at all, although some would accept the pantheistic concept that the cosmos is its own "intelligent" creator. With respect to the attempt to identify Genesis 1:1 with the Big Bang, the British astronomer Paul Davies, says:
When the Big Bang Theory became popular in the 1950's many people used it to support the belief that the universe was created by God at some specific moment in the past, and some still regard the big bang as "the creation." . . . However, this sort of armchair theology is wide of the mark.... It is therefore scientifically plausible to consider a universe with no need for an external creator in the traditional sense.1
Not only have these evangelicals thus been denied a seat on the Big Bang bandwagon by its professional occupants, but the bandwagon itself is now developing many cracks and dents. Even though the Big Bang is still the cosmogony of choice for the majority of astronomers, there is a rapidly growing body of very competent dissenters. One of these is the astronomer David Darling.
Don't let the cosmologists try to kid you on this one. They have not got a clue either.... "In the beginning," they will say, there was nothing—no time, space, matter, or energy. Then there was a quantum fluctuation from which—whoa! Stop right there. You see what I mean? First there is nothing, then there is something—and before you know it, they have pulled a hundred billion galaxies out of their quantum hats.2
Five eminent astronomers, in a significant article in a leading scientific journal, have raised many near fatal objections to the Big Bang Theory, with an understated conclusion as follows:
The above discussion clearly indicates that the present evidence does not warrant an implicit belief in the standard hot Big Bang picture.3
Then they go on to say:
Cosmology is unique in science in that it is a very large intellectual edifice based on a very few facts.4
There are a number of alternative evolutionary cosmogonies that are now being offered in competition with the Big Bang. There is the Plasma Theory, for example, and a modified Steady State Theory, as well as numerous variants of the Big Bang Inflationary Theory, and others. All have fallacies and, consequently, have been unable to displace the Big Bang in the allegiance of the evolutionary establishment as a whole.
There is one cosmogony, of course, which does correlate perfectly with all actual astronomic data, and it is the simplest of all.
"By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. . . . For He spake, and it was done" (Psalm 33:6, 9).
"Praise Him . . . all ye stars of light. . . . for He commanded, and they were created" (Psalm 148:3,5).
"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. . . . And the evening and the morning were the fourth day" (Genesis 1:16,19).
The heavens did have a beginning, but it was by divine fiat, not by a quantum fluctuation of nothingness through a Big Bang which then evolved over billions of years into a highly complex universe.
Now, although the cosmos did not originate with a Big Bang, many scientists are becoming concerned that it may well end with a Big Bang. Evolutionary cosmologists are now speculating not only about how the world began but also about how it might end!
This trend has been stimulated especially by the widespread recent acceptance of the notion that the extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by the catastrophic impact of a comet or an asteroid on the earth about 60 million years ago. We may be due for another gigantic impact any day now, some are saying, since the heavens are cluttered with such objects. Davies says:
Estimates suggest that 10,000 objects half a kilometer or more in diameter move on Earth intersecting orbits.... Many of these objects are capable of causing more damage than all the world's nuclear weapons put together. It is only a matter of time before one strikes.5
That would indeed be a Big Bang! It might even destroy all life on Earth.
Davies suggests other possible Earth-destroying cataclysms that might occur. Our galaxy might collide with another galaxy. A nearby supernova might immerse the planet in lethal radiation. Maybe we might even be pulled into a black hole!
There is also the possibility of a Big Crunch—the opposite of the Big Bang—when the universe quits expanding and begins falling back on itself by gravity. Since the light from approaching stars might take longer to get here than the imploding stars themselves, we might even get thoroughly "crunched" before we would know it was about to happen. Davies says: The "big crunch," as far as we understand it, is not just the end of matter. It is the end of everything . . . time itself ceases at the big crunch.6
Davies ends his book on an incredibly morbid note:
If there is a purpose to the universe, and it achieves that purpose, then the universe must end, for its continuing existence would be gratuitous and pointless. Conversely, if the universe endures forever, it is hard to imagine that there is any ultimate purpose to the universe at all. So cosmic death may be the price that has to be paid for cosmic success. Perhaps the most that we can hope for is that the purpose of the universe becomes known to our descendants before the end of the last three minutes.7
A remarkable commentary on our times is the fact that the famous annual million-dollar Templeton Prize for contributions to the scientific understanding of religion was awarded two years ago to this same Professor Davies!
In any event, we can assure him, on the authority of the Word of the Creator Himself, that the universe does have a wonderful purpose and that it will endure forever!
"He hath also stablished (the heavens) for ever and ever: He hath made a decree which shall not pass" (Psalm 148:6).
"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).
"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: . . . and they shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 22:3,5).
However, the earth in its present form will indeed end with a Big Bang. God's Edenic Curse, pronounced on Adam and all his dominion (including the very elements) because of sin, must first be purged.
"The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (II Peter 3:10).
This will not be the end of the world, of course, for
"We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (II Peter 3:13).
And that new (literally "renewed") heavens and Earth will last forever. So will all those who have been cleansed of sin and given eternal life through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Paul Davies, "What Hath COBE Wrought?" Sky and Telescope (January 1993), p. 4.
2 David Darling, "On Creating Something From Nothing" New Scientist (volume 151, September 14, 1996), p. 49.
3 Arp, Halton C, G. Burbridge, F. Hoyle, J. V. Nartikar and N. C. Wickramasinghe, The Extra Galactic Universe An Alternative View," Nature (volume 346, August 30, 1990), p. 810.
4 Ibid., p. 812.
5 Paul Davies, The Last Three Minutes (London: Orion Books, 1995), p.3.
6 Ibid., p. 123.
7 Ibid., p. 162.
* Dr. Henry Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.