How Did It Begin? - God and The Big Bang
12 October 2015
The Apostles Creed teaches us to believe in a God who is more than an ultimate being - one who is the father of all humankind and creator of the world. The Book of Genesis says the world was created in six days. In contrast, the Big Bang Theory of the Origin of the Universe holds that the universe was formed about 13.7 billion years ago. We are told that there was not a literal explosion, but a rapid expansion of matter from a state of extremely high density and temperature. The subsequent cooling and the action of gravity resulted in the formation of the stars and eventually the planets. The Big Bang continues to drive the heavenly bodies further apart today (the expanding universe). But, the Book of Genesis is not really a book of science; it was written by persons who encountered a personal and loving being who, in their view was the creator and cause of all things.
The Big Bang or The Theory of Evolution neither proves or disproves God. Indeed, you may be surprised to know, that it was a Belgian priest, Georges Henri Lemaître who was the originator of the Big Bang Theory which he originally called the “Hypothesis of the Primeval Atom”. Monsignor Lemaître, who died in 1966, was a Priest, Astronomer and Professor of Physics who made significant contributions to Mathematics, Physics and Cosmology. He was also a decorated war hero and a friend and collaborator of many important figures in 20th century science including Albert Einstein and Arthur Eddington. Monsignor Lemaître was also a man of integrity who reconciled his science with his faith and remained a practicing Roman Catholic Priest and devout Christian throughout his life. The BBC radio show, The Father of the Big Bang provides a fascinating look at Lemaître's life and his contribution to science. It also highlights the role that his Christian faith played in his life. I highly recommend that you give it a listen.
Indeed, the story of Monsignor Lemaître reminds us that science and religion are not fundamentally in conflict. The argument between Christians who follow literally the biblical story of Genesis (the creationists) and those who follow a God who created the Big Bang is an argument between science and the interpretation of the Book of Genesis. It says nothing about our creedal statement which affirms that God is creator and the father of all humankind. Always, remember the first verse of the Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
For us, the important thing is our understanding of our world is that there is a God who created the universe out of love.
To sum up, the Genesis account stresses the following aspects of creation:
- God created the universe from nothing.
- God’s world is good and complete.
- God needed no outside help.
- God created humankind, giving them a special place in creation.
- God’s people are responsible to God and we must care for the rest of creation.