Chronological order in Genesis 1
Big bang beginnings and days before the sun
Published: 8 September 2011 (GMT+10)
This isn’t so much a comment as a question. I am not a scientist only an interested person as it were. Doesn’t the big bang or whatever term is used, imply that at some point in time everything began to exist?
Big Bang cosmology (BBc) seeks to extrapolate what is believed to be the current expansion of this space-matter-time universe backwards in time, using one solution of Einstein’s field equations. That would mean, if you keep going backwards, that there was a point where things began. But there is no reason to believe that one can legitimately make such an extrapolation. As you indicate below, the initiation of such an event is a mystery. But for Christians, there is a temptation to say “aha, let’s put God in there as the lighter of the fuse, and make the Big Bang His method of creation”. But in so doing, it ignores the huge biblical contradictions that arise. For example, the Bible teaches that the earth came 3 days before the sun, BBc has to have the sun existing millions of years before the earth—and it doesn’t end there. The book Dismantling the Big Bang is by John Hartnett, a creationist who is a research physics professor at the University of Western Australia, and the co-author is a popular science writer to help make it accessible to laypeople
Now it would appear to me that nobody knows for certain how that came about, since nobody was there; that is, none of us. But the mere idea or fact that something caused all of this to begin to exist is pretty huge.
The other problem is that in the thinking of many educated believers, God has been increasingly relegated to only initiating the alleged big bang, then sitting on His hands for millions of years. Jesus Christ said people were there “from the beginning of creation”, but BB thinking has them only appearing right at the end of an interminably long creation process.
I have to admit that a lot of what is proposed sounds like the result of someone smoking left-handed cigarettes. Saying that the jump from nothing to everything was caused by nothing is well … past dumb.
Yes it is, and many BB proponents are now saying that the cosmos overall is eternal, and that what we are able to observe as universal expansion is only in one corner of a much larger ‘multiverse’. This is impossible to either prove or disprove, but it shows that if believers get excited about marrying their theology to today’s science, they are in danger of being widowed tomorrow.
A.S. from Egypt wrote in response to Discovery Channel program: How the Universe Works:
Please explain how can we accept that earth was created before the sun? Are we to just shut our eyes to the logical impossibility of lower rank to exist before higher rank in one system? It is same as light to exist without its source!
Dr Carl Wieland responds:
Dear Mr S.
If one accepts the existence of an all-powerful miracle-working Creator God, able to call matter, space, time and the physical laws themselves into existence from nothing, I fail to see the logical difficulty in accepting His account of an earth created first, and then the other objects of the solar system and universe three days later. Or indeed light (electromagnetic radiation) without a source. For light to come into existence without a sufficient cause would indeed give logical difficulties, but since God is the sufficient cause, there is no such logical difficulty.
We are told that light was created on Day 1. That does not mean that it had no [physical] source, but it may not have had. We do know that whatever that initial source of light was (if there was one) it was supplanted by the sun on Day 4. But we know that the earth was rotating from the first, in order to give us a day-night cycle. It also means that the light on Day 1 was directional. [See How could the days of Genesis 1 be literal if the Sun wasn’t created until the fourth day?]
Finally, the ‘ranking’ of objects in the solar system is surely a subjective determination, not some objective truth. How are we to rank solar system objects; by their mass? Their rotation velocity? Spin velocity? The complexity of their contents? Temperature? The pull of gravity between the earth and the sun keeps the earth in its orbit. But this does not only require the mass of the sun, the earth also must have mass, providing a mutual gravitational attraction. It would have been a light matter indeed for the creator of the solar system to have set the earth’s solar orbit in place at the time of the sun’s creation on Day 4.