The Origin of the Universe -- By: Donald B. DeYoung

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 01:2 (Fall 1980)
Article: The Origin of the Universe
Author: Donald B. DeYoung

The Origin of the Universe

Donald B. DeYoung

John C. Whitcomb

The currently popular theory of the origin of the universe held by the vast majority of astronomers involves a gigantic explosion of matter and energy about twenty billion years ago (thebig bang theory) with subsequent cosmic expansion and evolution. The authors examine this cosmogony from both scientific (empirical) and biblical (exegetical) perspectives and conclude that it does not fit the facts of general and special revelation.

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The dominant theme in astronomy today is that the universe was spontaneously born out of chaos. This “big bang” interpretation assumes that an immense explosion of mass-energy took place about fifteen billion years ago. Ever since, we are told, fragments of matter and even space itself have been expanding outward like a fireworks display. Stars and galaxies, planets and people are said to have gradually formed from these fragments in a purely mechanistic fashion.

However, in spite of the current popularity of this theory, the dramatic beginning of the universe which the “big bang” assumes has proven to be an embarrassment to many cosmologists. Where did the initial mass-energy come from? What caused it to become unstable and begin to expand? Natural science simply does not have answers to these fundamental questions. Some scientists have desperately tried to avoid the entire question of ultimate origins by appealing to oscillating or steady state models of the universe which have neither a beginning nor an end. However, neither of these perpetual motion models is conformable to the presently known laws of physics. Others have tried to read the first verses of Genesis directly into the big bang theory. For example, the American astronomer Robert Jastrow feels that God somehow orchestrated the explosion as the Divine method of creation. This is an unsatisfactory compromise, as admitted by Jastrow in the beginning of his book, God and the Astronomers:

It should be understood from the start that I am an agnostic in religious matters.1

Harvard astronomer Steven Weinberg, one of the leading proponents of the big bang, echoes this same frustration:

Can we really be sure of the standard [big bang] model? Will new discoveries overthrow it and replace the present standard model with some other cosmogony, or even revive the steady-state model? Perhaps. I cannot deny a feeling of unreality in writing about the first three minutes [of the universe] as if we really know what we are talking about.2...

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