- (Photo: Courtesy of Reasons to Believe)
Some Christian scientific experts believe that the discovery of the "gravity wave," announced earlier this week by scientists working with a South Pole telescope called BICEP 2, provides confirmation for the biblical account of creation by supporting the theory of the "big bang."
"The Bible was the first to predict big bang cosmology," according to Hugh Ross, president and founder of Reasons to Believe, an Old Earth Creationist organization that believes Christianity and science are complementary.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday, Ross explained that the detection of gravity waves from the universe's rapid expansion, referred to as "inflation," shows that "when the universe was a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old, it expanded faster than the speed of light."
These gravity waves are a specific type of quantum fluctuation — tiny ripples in the fabric of space-time — that show how quickly light spread and the universe expanded.
These findings were discovered by a telescope at the South Pole called BICEP 2, which is an acronym for: Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization.
"Inflation is the theory about the 'bang' of the big bang," Chao-Lin Kuo, an assistant professor of physics at Stanford and a co-leader of the BICEP 2 collaboration explains in a video and article posted on the university's website.
The waves seem to suggest that the universe expanded at a speed faster than the speed of light for a fraction of a second, a fact that Ross asserts is essential for the formation of human life.
"If the universe is not thermodynamically connected, it won't have the homogeneity and uniformity that is necessary for life to be conceivable," Ross said.
He further explained that if the universe is too old or cools too quickly, the stars necessary for advanced life will burn out before that life can appear.
Ross contends that human beings are "at the end of the line" because "it won't be long until the sun is too bright for any life on earth." He added that the entire universe is "hostile to advanced life except planet earth," and even earth would be hostile had the universe not expanded according to this inflation.
Leslie Wickman, director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University, told CP on Tuesday that, "evidence for the big bang, in general, tells us that there was a beginning," and "if there was a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be a beginner."
Wickman also believes that the big bang theory supports the Christian worldview.
"One of my passions in life is getting people to understand that we don't have to choose either science or faith. You can be a good scientist and a faithful Christian," Wickman added.
Stephen Meyer, director of the Center for Science and Culture at The Discovery Institute and author of the New York Times best-seller Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, told CP on Tuesday that he also believes "the big bang theory supports a biblical understanding of creation."
"If you look at scientific history, the theory that persisted before the big bang was the steady state theory of the universe, which fits well with Carl Sagan's famous line: 'The universe is all that ever was, all that is, and all that ever will be,'" Meyer said. By suggesting a concrete beginning, the big bang hints toward creation, rather than the eternal universe, as proposed by Sagan and presented in the new series, "The Cosmos."
Meyer even suggests that the recent evidence for inflation supports the scriptural depiction of an expanding universe.
"We find repeated in the Old Testament, both in the prophets and the Psalms, that God is stretching or has stretched out the heavens," he noted, suggesting that there are "at least a dozen references" to this idea in Scripture.
"Space expanded very rapidly, and this is additional evidence supporting that inflation," he said, referring to the study.
Not all Christians who practice science, however, believe that the big bang supports the biblical account of creation.
Danny Faulkner, a professor of astronomy at The Creation Museum who holds a Ph.D. in the field, told CP, "My problem with the big bang is that it's not biblical."
Faulkner believes in a 24-hour interpretation of the "days" in Genesis 1, and claims that the universe is only 6,000 years old, while the big bang model estimates the age of the universe around 13.8 billion years.
"In the Bible we see the earth was there from the very beginning, and the stars came in later," he said.
He also suggested that Christians should not attempt to integrate a biblical worldview with scientific discoveries, since science often changes.
"When Christians have tried to incorporate Christian thinking into the theories of the day, the paradigm shifts and it brings discredit on the Word."
Faulkner mentioned the Copernican Revolution, the scientific discovery that the earth revolves around the sun, as an example of what happens when Christians incorporate science into their reading of Scripture. When Galileo famously challenged the idea that the sun revolves around the earth, Christianity seemed foolish for believing otherwise.
"The problem is people are trying to interpret the Bible in terms of man's current thinking of cosmology, rather than doing it the other way around," Faulkner explained.
He even argued that the scientific discovery of gravitational waves may be a result of the big bang model's need for inflation.
"If inflation didn't happen, then the big bang model is in real trouble," so "there's been a rush to judgment by many people." Faulkner read the report, and said, "they're basically arguing 'we think that we may have found this,' which is not the same as saying we definitely found it."
The experiments, he noted, ruled out one hypothesis against inflation that does not prove that inflation happened.
In response, Meyer asserted that he understands the cautionary note, but added, "the support for a finite universe has been building and building since the 1900s." He also said "it's really odd for people from a Creationist perspective to deny a theory that says the universe began out of nothing physical."
Ross also cited Scripture to argue against six literal 24-hour creation days, and quoted from Hebrews 4, John 5 and Psalm 95 to support his viewpoint that humanity is living in the seventh day of creation.
According to Genesis 1, God made man, male and female, on the sixth day. Ross believes that this means day six must have been a long period of time because Genesis 2 chronicles that Adam tended the garden, named the animals and realized he was lonely before God created Eve.
Meyer's also pointed to three large scientific discoveries in the past century that supports the biblical account for creation: the big bang, which says, "the universe had a beginning;" "the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe," which claims the rules of matter work in a way best suited for human life; and evidence of the information-bearing properties of DNA that the basic building blocks of life have a sort of knowledge.
He also commented on his article, "The Return of the God Hypothesis," which he said explains that only theism, not deism, pantheism or materialism, can account for these new discoveries.
Meyer reiterated his belief that Christians must use the best available scientific evidence and the best available understanding of the Bible and reconcile the two.
Below is a video from Reason to Belive about the big bang theory: