Claims by scientists that a 17-mile super particle accelerator will likely re-produce a mini version of a the Big Bang has had virtually no effect on the faith of many Christians who still believe God is the Creator of life.
Researchers from the European Organization for Nuclear Research switched on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located just outside Geneva, last Wednesday. They plan on using the enormous linear machine to accelerate two beams of protons to near light speed and then smash the particles into each other in hopes of creating concentrations of energy which they believe were mimic seconds after the Big Bang. Additionally, scientists hope to find evidence of the Higgs boson, also known as the God Particle, believed to add mass to matter.
Scientists have only fired test shots and won't start making steps toward the main objective of the experiment until mid-October when larger-scale firings are scheduled.
But some critics are telling on-lookers not to hold their breath.
"[O]ur guess is that no matter what happens when the beams collide, researchers will use it to justify and/or explain what they believe happened in the moments after the big bang," Peter Galling of Answers in Genesis recently remarked on the group's Website.
Answers in Genesis holds the belief of Young-Earth Creationism, the view that God created the earth as detailed by the literal account of Genesis. The organization is behind the Creation Museum, located in Kentucky, which showcases Adam and Eve along with dinosaurs and has an exhibit on Noah's Ark.
Ironically, the Big Bang experiment is also a matter of faith, suggested Galling.
"The problem is that because the big bang was (allegedly) a one-time event—just like creation in Genesis — no amount of 'repeating it' nor any scientific experiments could provide evidence for it," he wrote. "Rather, it must be accepted on faith, and then the results interpreted within that framework."
He added, "[T]he LHC experiments will no more confirm the big bang than creationists could confirm Genesis 1 by shining a flashlight on a swimming pool on a dark night, saying, 'Let there be light' and leaning over the surface of the deep."
Information about the Big Bang found on the group's Website says that the Big Bang is only a story of what happened afterwards and fails to offer an explanation for the origins of the universe.
The experiment has drawn also strong reactions from Christians in the blogosphere.
One blogger who linked to Galling's response in his posting on the Big Bang experiment felt the scientists were trying to disprove God.
One Christian commented in response that he held no qualms about the scientific endeavor.
"This post is typical of narrow-minded Christianity," wrote LayGuy. "They're trying to understand the nature of matter - not disprove God."
He optimistically said he hopes the discoveries by scientists can draw them closer to the Divine.
"These laws are what these scientists are trying to understand. And I hope that if it's pursued without bias, many of these scientists will be struck in awe at the awesome amount of design in our physical world."
Early physicists had "a large degree of openness towards the Christian faith," said scientist and theologian the Rev. Dr. David Wilkinson on a United Kingdom radio program last week, The Church Times reported.
According to The Times, Wilkinson will be leading the first online degree program at the Anglican Theological Training College, Cranmer Hall, this fall that examines "the new dialogue of science and theology in mission and ministry."
Wilkinson, who was a scientist before becoming the principal of St. John's College of Durham University in the U.K., told The Journal that he welcomed the Big Bang experiment.
"As a Christian theologian and astrophysicist I am excited by the possibilities. I am amazed by the construction of the LHC and excited by the opportunity to study in detail some of the crucial questions of the composition and early evolution of our universe," he said.
"It in no way worries or undermines Christian faith and I welcome the possibilities of new insights into creation."