The Creation of the Heavens and the Earth -- By: John C. Whitcomb, Jr.

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 08:2 (Spring 1967)
Article: The Creation of the Heavens and the Earth
Author: John C. Whitcomb, Jr.

The Creation of the Heavens and the Earth

John C. Whitcomb, Jr.

Professor of Old Testament
Grace Theological Seminary

[This paper was given at Western Baptist Seminary, Portland, Oregon, as a part of the Bueerman-Champion Lectureship, September, 1966, and has been revised for GRACE JOURNAL.]

In recent years, many Christians have found George Gamow’s “Big Bang” concept of an expanding universe to provide a convenient gap in scientific knowledge to place the creation of the universe about ten billion years ago. The only significant alternative view presumably available to mid-twentieth century cosmologists, and one that few Christians have been willing to espouse, is the Steady-State theory of Hoyle, Gold, and Bondi; but now this theory has been virtually abandoned by Hoyle himself because of its inability to cope with the “quasar” problem.

Upon closer inspection, however, it must be recognized that the Big Bang theory carries very little resemblance to the creation account of Genesis. It is really more congenial to the god of the deists, who served as a mere philosophical escape mechanism from the absurdities of atheism. After creating the universe, the deists’ god was not expected to perform any more miracles, for this would imply that he had failed to create it with sufficient power to operate under its own laws. After all, no experienced watchmaker needs to tinker constantly with his products.

Most cosmologists today, of course, refuse to allow any kind of ‘god’ to meddle with their Big Bang. Any appeal to God would be a basic betrayal of science at its best. Representative, perhaps, is this statement by William Bonnor, professor of mathematics at the University of London: “It is the business of science to offer rational explanations for all the events of the real world, and any scientist who calls on God to explain something is falling down on his job… If the explanation is not forthcoming at once, the scientist must suspend judgment: but if he is worth his salt he will always maintain that a rational explanation will eventually be found.”1

Thus, a consistent uniformitarian will refuse to be pushed into any kind of theological commitment to explain Nature’s mysteries. If he is asked where the materials came from that exploded into an ever expanding universe, he can always escape to the Oscillating-Universe concept, which claims that the expansion was preceded by billions of years of cosmic contraction. In other words, the universe has been oscillating between expansion and contraction through all eternity (Allan Sandage of Palomar suggests 80-billion year cycles), so there never was a time when matter-energy did not exist.

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