Can Christians add the big bang to the Bible?
Published: 19 March 2019 (GMT+10)
Many Christians and others today see the big bang theory as a means of harmonizing what the Bible says about the origin of the universe with the current ‘pronouncements of science’.1 So we shall examine what the big bang theory involves, and compare this with what God actually says.
The current big bang theory
According to the current big bang theory,2 all the matter and energy in the universe, along with space and time, were once contained in a dimensionless point or singularity of infinite density and temperature. Some 13.8 billion years ago, this singularity briefly expanded due to a ‘quantum fluctuation’, and then underwent exponential growth at many times the speed of light.
Some of the energy in this expansion formed subatomic particles, which after ~380,000 years combined to form atoms, mostly hydrogen with some helium and traces of lithium and deuterium. After ~700 million years, these atoms coalesced through gravity to form the first stars, called Population III stars,3 and early galaxies emerged. More stars formed, including, after ~9 billion years, the sun from a cloud of gas and dust that gravity shrank and fused to give off light. Then clouds of gas and dust (called the solar nebula) that were rotating around the sun eventually developed into the planets of our solar system, including our Earth. Over further millions of years, our Earth gradually cooled to its present state and somehow obtained water.
In the big bang theory, major points of contradiction to the Bible include:
- The sun is said to exist before the earth, contrary to Genesis 1, which says God created the earth on Day One, but the sun and the stars on Day Four of Creation Week. Also, when God first created the earth, it was cool and dark, while the big bang postulates that the beginning was enormously hot and bright.
- The big bang theory involves a gradual progressive formation of astronomical objects stretching over billions of years. This runs counter to one of the reasons for its appeal to Christians who have not thought it through carefully and so erroneously think of it as an abrupt one-time creation event. Such a gradual progression over vast ages is not an impression that scholarly minds of the past, prior to the popularity of the idea of vast ages (in geology first), ever once gleaned from the Bible (cf. Psalm 33:8–9). God may well have created the universe in an expanding state, but not over eons—we explain below why the Bible in fact specifically teaches against this long-age idea.
Why it matters
Problems in the present
If what God says in the Bible about creation is deemed to be wrong or to need modernizing, this opens the door for non-believers to regard as wrong or needing modernizing other things that God says in the Bible. For example, everyone’s need for forgiveness of sin (Acts 3:19), or the certainty of future judgment by God (Acts 17:31). Either the whole Bible truly is the Word of God or it is not; therefore it is not a mixture of bits that are not true alongside other bits of it that are true. For more on this, see The authority of Scripture.
Big-bang-believing Christians are identified either as
- ‘progressive creationists’ (who reject biological evolution and accept a real Adam and Eve, but have no problem with astronomical or geological evolution), or as
- ‘theistic evolutionists’ (who believe God not only used astronomical and geological evolution, but also biological evolution to create living things).
In each case, huge problems arise if one adds millions of years to the timeframe of the Bible.
Problems re the past
With regard to man’s appearance on Earth, millions of years puts death, suffering, and diseases like cancer, arthritis and abscesses (visible in the fossil bones) all before Adam sinned, instead of as the result of Adam’s sin, which led to that perfect original world becoming cursed (Genesis 3:17–19).
But the Apostle Paul wrote that death was the result of sin, and that sin came into the world through one man, namely Adam (Romans 5:12–14).
Problems re the future
Another aspect for big-bang-believing Christians is what the Bible says about the future, namely that God will create “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13; cf. Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1). So how long do long-agers allow for God to create the new heavens and the new Earth, if they maintain that it took Him billions of years to produce the present heavens and the present Earth?
- The Future: Some issues for ‘long-age’ Christians
- My pastors don’t believe Genesis. Should I leave my church?
- Crisis in the colleges
- Do I have to believe in a literal creation to be a Christian?
What the Bible clearly teaches
According to Genesis Chapter 1, God created everything by His word of command, over a period of six days that were chronological in order and 24 hours in duration, about 6,000 years ago,4
Various strategies have been used to evade this obvious meaning. However, because Genesis means what it so obviously says, which is how the Lord Jesus and the NT writers obviously understood it, it is doubtful if any theological institution would raise these alternatives today if it were not for their desire to be ‘scientifically respectable’. For detailed refutations see the classic commentary The Genesis Account and/or use ‘search’ in creation.com.
- Genesis is history!
- Who wrote Genesis?
- Should Genesis be taken literally?
- Is Jesus Christ the Creator God?
The big bang fails as objective science
The big bang is one of the most non-scientific narratives ever propounded. It has evolved considerably over the last 30 years or so, not so much because of new evidence in support of it, but because more and more problems have needed to be answered.
Here are some of the scientific problems of the big bang:
- Energy can be converted into matter according to Einstein’s equation E=mc², but when this happens exactly equal amounts of matter and antimatter are produced. So where are the 200 billion galaxies of antimatter that had to form to balance the 200 billion galaxies of stars, for the big bang theory to ‘work’? See Missing antimatter challenges the ‘big bang’ theory.6
- The big bang is supposed to have begun by means of a quantum fluctuation. But what was it that quantum fluctuated? And how could this have happened before there was any time or space for anything to quantum-fluctuate in? See In the beginning God created—or was it a quantum fluctuation?
- The big bang depends on early inflation of the universe that lasted from 10-36 to between 10-33 and 10-32 seconds, at many times the speed of light, with no known mechanism either to cause this, or to uncause it once it began. See Does the new much-faster-speed-of-light-theory fix the big bang’s problems?
- The big bang has a light-travel time problem, arising from the fact that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) has the same temperature over the entire sky, namely 2.726 ± 0.001 K (i.e. above absolute zero). However, there hasn’t been enough time for radiation to travel between widely separated regions of space at the speed of light, to produce the consistent CMB temperature over the whole sky. This is technically known as the big bang ‘horizon problem’. See Light-travel time: a problem for the big bang.
- Big bang theory only produces an expanding cloud of gas. Expanding clouds of gas do not spontaneously reverse their expansion and condense into the objects we see in the real universe around us. See Stars.
- Big bang theorists require the universe to be composed of ~27% ‘dark matter’ in order to supply the gravitational force needed to cause the outer edges of galaxies to rotate at the same rate as their centres. The word ‘dark’ means ‘unseen’, i.e. such dark matter is not in the form of stars or planets or indeed any particles that have ever been seen or that emit radiation. See Is ‘dark matter’ the ‘unknown god’?.
- Another conundrum for big bang theorists is that they also need the universe to be composed of ~68% ‘dark energy’. This is an alleged form of anti-gravity that is supposedly supplying the force needed to cause the expansion of the universe to accelerate. This too has never been identified in any laboratory experiment. These dark entities are best described as ‘fudge factors’ conceived only because without them the big bang theory would not ‘work’. All this leaves only ~5% of the universe as identified matter! See Big bang beliefs: busted.
- It may not be widely known that 33 scientists signed a letter published in New Scientist No. 2448, p. 20, 22 May 2004, itemizing these hypothetical, never observed ‘dark’ fudge factors on which the big bang depends, and saying: “Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation.”7(Emphasis added.) See The revolt against Darwinism, which gives access to the full text, plus the names of many more signatories as of December 2014.
Of course, the big bang in its non-theistic form also contradicts the First Law of Thermodynamics, i.e. energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed from one form into another. So energy could not have been created by the big bang, as secularists maintain. To get around this, it has been proposed that the laws of science themselves have not always been the same—i.e. science itself may be jettisoned if necessary.
On the matter of the importance of heeding what the Word of God actually says, the very first temptation of anybody by Satan was his suggestion to Eve to doubt what God had said: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3: 1). And Satan followed this sowing of the seed of doubt about what God had said by his outright denial of what God had said: “You will not surely die” (v. 4). This in turn led to Eve’s (and Adam’s) disregard for the imminent judgment of God.
Today Satan continues this strategy of initiating doubt and denial regarding the Word of God. People today not only do not believe in the judgment of God—they do not even believe in the existence of God, whose chief communication to us is through His Word, the Bible. Satan’s strategy, which worked with Eve, has proved to be no less effective with modern man. See The ‘Trojan Horse’ of deep time and Strategy of the devil.
Sadly, this reverence for the evolutionary paradigm (with its intrinsic denial of the historicity of Genesis) is now advocated by many theological colleges. This is despite the fact that in the Bible God repeatedly warns believers not to add to or change what He has said.8 The result is that today many theological college graduates who are now church pastors do not believe that what God says in Genesis is historical fact.
Surely God does not want ministers or missionaries to tell converts that God does not mean what He says in the early chapters of Genesis. Jesus warned that those who reject Moses’ writings eventually reject His words too (John 5:46–47). Christian organizations should have a question in their application papers asking what an applicant or prospective member believes about creation and Genesis. See Should missionary societies have a position on creation/evolution?9
So the answer to the question in the title of this article is No! Acceptance of the big bang (with or without accepting biological evolution) undermines biblical authority in crucial Gospel-related ways. It is thus a major reason for the increasing impotence of the church in Western culture. The remedy is self-evident.
Scientific evidence that the universe is young
Here are some of the strong arguments for a ‘young’ age of the earth and the cosmos, from Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s The Genesis Account, pp. 134–36.
- Soft, still stretchy tissues, cells, and proteins are now found in dinosaur fossils that should, by physical laws, have decayed long ago if millions of years old.
- Coal and diamond often contain carbon-14, but this decays so quickly that it would be undetectable in much less than a million years.
- The earth’s magnetic field is decaying exponentially, as a giant resistance/inductive circuit.10 This decay has been accompanied by rapid field reversals, recorded in thin, quickly-hardening lava flows.11,12
- Salt in the ocean is accumulating too rapidly.13,14
- Comets lose so much mass every time they pass the sun (that’s why we see their tails) that they would have evaporated after a few hundred passes.15 This means they could not have been orbiting for millions of years. Proposed hypothetical replenishing sources, such as the Kuiper Belt and Oort cloud, have numerous problems.16
- Polystrate fossils (which span multiple sedimentary layers), show that the layers they span must have been deposited quickly, before the organism had time to decay.
- Flat gaps: smooth boundary lines between geological layers shows that there has been no time for significant erosion between such layers allegedly separated by millions of years.
- Mutations in humans and other ‘higher’ creatures are accumulating so rapidly that they (and we) would have become extinct in well under 100,000 years.17
See also Dr Don Batten’s article Age of the earth: 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe; a shorter version is titled Evidences for a young age of the universe. Also, there are scores of articles on our website about the big bang (out of ~12,000 articles there at the time of writing, added to daily). For further amplification of any of the above topics, readers are invited to explore creation.com.
References and notes
- E.g. the late Stephen Hawking wrote: “The Catholic Church seized on the big bang model and in 1951 officially pronounced it to be in accordance with the Bible.” He tells how he spoke at a conference on cosmology at the Vatican in 1981 and then had an audience with the pope, who said the big bang was “the moment of Creation and therefore the work of God”. Hawking wrote: “I was glad then that he did not know the subject of the talk I had just given at the conference—the possibility that space-time was finite but had no boundary, which means that it had no beginning, no moment of Creation.” From A Brief History of Time, Bantam Books, London, 1988, pp. 50 & 122. Return to text.
- The expression ‘big bang’ was first used by astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915–2001) as a term of derision in his 1950 BBC Radio Series. For more, see Big bang critic dies (Fred Hoyle). Return to text.
- Actually, no Population III stars have ever been found, so their existence is based on computer models and the theory of cosmic evolution. Return to text.
- Based on the unbroken chronologies from Adam to Noah given in Genesis 5, and then from the Flood to Abraham given in Genesis 11, and then on to the Exodus from Egypt, and to the Exile, as detailed in How does the Bible teach 6,000 years? and Biblical chronogenealogies, which also discusses texts and alleged gaps. Return to text.
- See also Is the big bang really scientific? Creation 41(1)48–50, 2019. Return to text.
- This problem is even more acute with recent particle measurements. They show that the proton and anti-proton are exactly equal and opposite down to 1.5 parts per billion, whereas the big bang demands some asymmetry. Hence one report was entitled, “The universe should not actually exist, CERN scientists discover” (Newsweek, 25 October 2017). See also Sarfati, J., Big bang universe should not actually exist: Antimatter still missing! Creation 40(2):55, 2018. Return to text.
- The original 33 scientists were not arguing for biblical creation, but complaining that the only funding was for big bang projects, with none available to investigate other secular possibilities; hence the appropriateness of that part of the quote in bold letters. Thus many secular scientists, too, reject the big bang as non-scientific. See also Wieland, C., Secular scientists blast the big bang: What now for naïve apologetics? Creation 27(2):23–25, 2005 Return to text.
- Cf. Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:8; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 1:8–9; Revelation 22:18–19. See also Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) in Luther’s legacy. Return to text.
- This article is from Creation 12(3):42–45, June 1990, but is even more important today with the demise of older Bible-believing missionaries and the advent of younger missionaries shaky on the truth of Genesis—leaders of today’s missionary societies too. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., The earth’s magnetic field: evidence that the earth is young, Creation 20(2):15–17, 1998. Return to text.
- Coe, R.S. and Prévot, M., Evidence suggesting extremely rapid field variation during a geomagnetic reversal, Earth and Planetary Science 92(3/4):292–298, April 1989. See also the reports by Ph.D. geologist Andrew Snelling, Creation 13(3):46–50, 13(4):44–48, 1991. Return to text.
- Coe, R.S., Prévot, M., and Camps, P., New evidence for extraordinarily rapid change of the geomagnetic field during a reversal, Nature 374(6564):687–692, 1995; see also Snelling, A.A., The ‘principle of least astonishment’, J. Creation 9(2):138–139, 1995. Return to text.
- Austin, S.A. and Humphreys, D.R., The sea’s missing salt: a dilemma for evolutionists, 2nd ICC 2:17–33, 1990. This paper should be consulted for more detail than is possible here. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Salty seas: evidence for a young earth, Creation 21(1):16–17, 1998. Return to text.
- Sarfati, J., Comets: Portents of doom or indicators of youth? Creation 25(3):36–40 2003. Return to text.
- Faulkner, D., Comets and the age of the solar system, J. Creation 11(3):264–273, 1997. Return to text.
- Scally, A., and Durbin, R., Revising the human mutation rate: implications for understanding human evolution; Nature Reviews Genetics 13:745–753, October 2012. (Erratum: Nature Reviews Genetics 13:824, November 2012). Return to text.