ARTICLE: Is The Big Bang Theory Evil?

A Historical Approach

In short, no. 

You can choose to read on for a fuller description, or you can suffice with the above resolution. 

There are many out there, most of which do not hold any knowledge of physics or astrophysics, who aim to claim that The Big Bang Theory and the Universe's Old Age is a ploy to remove God from science, remove God from school and so forth. In other words, they view it as evil and attack on Christianity. 

I would like to note that the Big Bang Theory is not a full-proof [FOOLPROOF, but not - full proof meaning that it has reliable proof but is not above dismantle] model; I am open to other models. I am open to young earth or old earth. I'm not stating that TBBT is the best solution, simply that - it is not evil. 

The concept that the universe began to exist was not only shocking to the 1908 cosmologist but a unique reformative thought. When the Catholic Priest set forth his new discoveries and newfound theory it was the religious scientist who rejoiced "we have a beginning!". By contrast, it is a uniquely awkward and surprising development for atheist thinkers; it "was not even remotely expected". (In fact, atheists largely hated it and labeled the idea unscientific.)

  1. • Quentin Smith (Atheist professor of philosophy at Western Michigan): "The central idea of this cosmology, that the universe exploded into existence in a 'big bang' about 15 billion years ago or so, seemed tailor-made to the theistic viewpoint. Big bang cosmology seemed to offer empirical evidence for the religious doctrine of creation ex nihilo." ["A Big Bang Cosmological Argument For God's Nonexistence" in Faith and Philosophy Vol. 9. No. 2 (1992): 217]

  2. • Lawrence Krauss & Robert Scherrer: "In 1908, the scientific consensus was that the universe was static and eternal. The beginning of the universe in a fiery big bang was not even remotely suspected." ["The End of Cosmology?" Scientific American (March 2008)]

  3. • Robert Jastrow (Agnostic cosmologist, director of NASA): "…the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; ..." [14.] "For the [non-believing] scientist... the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." [God and the Astronomers, 2nd ed. (W.W. Norton & Company, 1992), 116.]

In its most reduced form, the idea was known as the hypothesis of the primeval atom, and it originated from an engineer turned soldier turned mathematician turned a Catholic priest turned physicist by the name of Georges Lemaître. When Lemaître published his idea in the eminent journal Nature in 1931, a response to observational data suggesting that space was expanding, he ruffled a lot of feathers. As UC-San Diego professor of physics Brian Keating wrote in his recent book Losing the Nobel Prize, "Lemaître's model... upset the millennia-old orthodoxy of an eternal, unchanging cosmos. It clearly implied that everything had been smaller and denser in the past, and that the universe must itself have had a birth at a finite time in the past."

Aside from questioning the main premise of that days theory, Lemiatre had other starting problems. It was nearly untestable which you need data to test for it to be a scientific theory. Then, he proceeds to state that everything came from nothing or rather, God. It also violated an accepted notion known as the perfect cosmological principle, which suggested that the universe looks the same from any given point in space and time - a claim that turned heads. 

For these reasons, English astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle gathered with a few colleagues to formulate the Steady State theory of the cosmos. The idea kept the observable universe mostly the same in space and time, and it accounted for evidence suggesting that the universe is expanding by hypothesizing that matter is instead being created out of the fabric of space in between distant galaxies. Steady State didn't have the problems inherent to the notion of a primeval atom, and, as Keating wrote "it sure as hell didn't look like the creation narrative in Genesis 1:1."

Observations of distant ultra-bright galaxies in the 1950s suggested the universe was changing, and measurements of the helium content in the universe didn't match the steady-state model's predictions. In 1964, the monumental discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation — direct evidence of a young, hot universe — would deal with the final deathblow to the steady-state model.

"It really seems to suggest … the universe had very different conditions in early times than today," Kaiser says. "And that was just not what the steady-state model suggests."

In an ironic twist, Hoyle used the term "Big Bang" in an attempt to dismiss the theory in a BBC interview. Though his own theory would be largely lost to history, the irreverent name would stick.

To his death, Hoyle would never submit to the Big Bang theory. A small subset of cosmologists still work on resurrecting a steady-state model, but, on the whole, the community overwhelmingly supports the Big Bang theory.

"There are a couple of other puzzles, so cosmologists don't think we're done, but they're now kind of patching or filling in some holes to the original Big Bang models — certainly not replacing it," Kaiser says.

For many years Atheist, with an agenda, attempted to remodel their framework to explain away the Big Bang Theory and robust their models of the "infinite" past universe. However, it was unavoidable, the Big Bang theory reverted cosmology to that of the Ancient Near East models, that is to say, it had a beginning. 

Those who over-divinize the Bible in this way tend to: 

  1. Interpret the Bible literally. To interpret the Bible literally here and allegorically there is to place oneself above the Bible and so above the divine mind.

  2. Read the Bible as a science book as well as a spiritual book. The strictly literal sense of some passages of the Bible, especially Genesis, speaks of things which can be taken as scientific fact. Since deviating from the literal sense is to be irreverent to the Bible, those things must be taken as scientific fact.

  3. Place the Bible above reason, instead of alongside it. When scientific data taken from a literal reading of God's Word conflicts with scientific data taken from God's nature, God's Word must be upheld over God's nature. It is human reason that has to interpret nature, but human reason does not have to be involved in taking a literal sense of the Bible. Because human reason can fail, the literal sense of the Bible is to be preferred over even the clearest conclusions of human reason.

Protestant biblicism sets fundamentalists on a beeline collision course with the Big Bang Theory. It leaves them with only two choices: reject all evidence for the Big Bang Theory or reject the Bible and Christian religion. An article from a 2013 issue of their Creation magazine sums it up this way:

"The timescale in and of itself is not an important issue. It ultimately comes down to, 'Does the Bible actually mean what it says?' The problem is about the trustworthiness of Scripture—compromising with long ages severely undermines the whole Gospel." 

However, it only may undermine the whole Gospel IF you believe that young age for the universe is part of the Gospel. Let me spoil this for you as well; it is not. I'm not saying Genesis is not part of the Gospel; I am saying a YOUNG universe or earth is not part of the Gospel.  

The two most talked about thinkers in Christian history—Sts. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas—sternly warned Catholics not to interpret Scripture against reason. Here is St. Thomas summarizing St. Augustine in the Summa:

"Since Sacred Scripture can be interpreted in many ways, one must not hold so firmly to a given interpretation such that, once that interpretation is clearly shown to be false, he presume to assert that the false interpretation is Scripture's meaning, lest, by doing so, he expose Scripture to ridicule by non-believers, and close off for them the path to belief."

St. Augustine's opinion, the one favored by St. Thomas, was that God created everything at once, not in a period of six days. For him, the six day description was a teaching tool used by the sacred author to communicate religious truths in the most effective way possible.

In our age, a series of Popes have written encyclicals on Scripture clarifying the relationship between the Bible and science. Leo XIII was particularly clear on this question when he wrote the following in Providentissimus Deus: 

"[T]he sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Spirit 'who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation.' [St. Augustine, De Gen. ad litt., i., 9, 20] Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science."

In the end, Catholics have freedom to embrace or reject the Big Bang Theory, for the Church considers it to be a question of science, not of religion. No doubt, most Protestants hold the same opinion. The difference, however, is that Protestants consistent with the spirit of their religion will read the Bible as a science book, while Catholics consistent with the spirit of Catholicism will not. The savvy Catholic exegete, on the contrary, will be careful to protect both faith and reason in his interpretation of the Bible, in order to avoid portraying religion as an exercise in irrationality.

Since the Big Bang Theory is a scientific theory, it needs to be considered on the basis of its scientific merits. We will do this shortly, but only after first mentioning that Pope Pius XII openly endorsed the theory and considered it to provide support for the opening words of Genesis 1. In an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1951, he examined four pieces of scientific evidence pointing to a 5-10 billion year age of the universe. Then, he stated the following:

"Although these figures may seem astounding, nevertheless, even to the simplest of the faithful, they bring no new or different concept from the one they learned in the opening words of Genesis: 'In the beginning . . .', that is to say, at the beginning of things in time. The figures We have quoted clothe these words in a concrete and almost mathematical expression, while from them there springs forth a new source of consolation for those who share the esteem of the Apostle for that divinely-inspired Scripture, which is always useful 'for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for instructing' (II Tim. iii, 6)."

For decades the Big Bang theory was considered by the scientific community– and criticized for being – a religious theory. The theory that gave religious believers the ability to say "It had a beginning" or rather... "In the beginning..."

Simon Singh: "An eternal universe seemed to strike a chord with the scientific community... If the universe has existed for eternity, then there was no need to explain how it was created, when it was created, why it was created and Who created it. Scientists were particularly proud that they have developed a theory of the universe that no longer relied on invoking God." (Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe, Simon Singh, Harper Perennial (November 1, 2005), p.79-80)

In his book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking summarized in one sentence the reason naturalistic scientists resisted a scientific theory which posited a beginning for the universe: "[s]o long as the Universe had a beginning we could suppose it had a creator." (Stephen Hawking: Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays (1993) pages. 133-135.)

These scientists rejected the Big Bang theory and tried finding an alternative cosmological model that would bypass the idea of beginning and still be compatible with the proven expansion of the universe. Contemporary theories include the multiverses theory ("our universe is just one universe among a multitude universes, which spontaneously begin from time to time; therefore, a beginning is not a singularity but a natural, not supernatural, generative force in the universe"); The Big-Crunch or the Oscillating universe ("our universe had a beginning in time, but it will eventually shrink, crush and start again, so there was never really an absolute beginning") or Hawking's no-boundary universe ("the universe is like the North Pole, which does not have an end or a beginning"). These theories, with no factual evidence to support them, were formulated with one main goal in mind: avoiding the uncomfortable question posed by the problematic idea of beginning, i.e., Creation.

In light of the increasing evidence of the Big Bang theory, scientists like Stephen Hawking appealed to the "time-factor," to relay the perception that the Big Bang model is a God-excluding theory because it postulates that the world is 13.5 billion years old, and not 5774, like Biblical religions believe. His argument was very effective and created fundamentalists on both ends of the spectrum. 

Many religious people believe today that the Big Bang opposes religion because of the pivotal differences regarding time since Creation, overlooking the unlikely correspondence between the first word of the Hebrew Bible, bereshit, (in the beginning) and the main novelty of the Big Bang theory – namely that there was indeed a beginning.

There are many ways to ponder the concept of a Big Bang, while knowing and holding to the Bible, especially the valid statement that God did not need a big bang to create. One of them is that according to modern physics space and time are interrelated. The expansion of space necessarily creates an expansion of time. The expansion of the universe creates at least the "illusion of the expansion of time;" in other words, if galaxies A and B were separated from each other by billions of light-years, then when we observe the distance between these galaxies we can assert that it took them billions of years to be where they are now. This can also be calculated using Special Relativity. 

The concept of the Big Bang may startle many fundamentalist or literalist Christians, but it should not. It is not a ploy of deep time scientists; it is an honest effort to understand God and the universe. We've hopefully learned a few things which include the above statement but also bring into light the attempt and ploy from the atheist scientist attempting to scare religious believers into thinking that their religious documents oppose science.  

This, again, is not an attempt to bolster the big bang theory, but I don't entirely hold to the model. Nor is this an article attempting to persuade you in the direction that the earth or universe is old, but rather to correct those who believe this theory opposes our beliefs or was created to try and explain everything without God. Instead, it was an attempt to see HOW GOD DID IT. 

Sources are either Jewish leaders or Christian leaders: