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A reader questions our claim that the big bang is an attempt to explain the universe without God. Dr. Jason Lisle, AiG–U.S., responds.
Jason Lisle wrote the following in an article on how the Big Bang fits with the Bible. “Ultimately, the big bang is a secular story of origins. When first proposed, it was an attempt to explain how the universe could have been created without God.” This is patently false. The Big Bang was proposed by Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaitre as a result of solutions he found in 1927 to Einstein’s Field Equations. Based on his solutions Lemaitre proposed that the Universe originated from a single point at a particular time in the past. He proposed that the Universe has been expanding and will continue to expand at an accelerating rate and that there would now be a pervasive isotropic 3K microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang. Nearly all of Lemaitre’s predictions have been confirmed by observations over the past 80 years. It is absurd to think Lemaitre developed a theory to exclude God; not only was he a brilliant scientist, he was also an ordained Catholic priest.
S.K., MD, U.S.
Jason Lisle wrote the following in an article on how the Big Bang fits with the Bible. “Ultimately, the big bang is a secular story of origins. When first proposed, it was an attempt to explain how the universe could have been created without God.” This is patently false.
Notice that we do not say, “the big bang requires the non-existence of God,” only that it attempts to explain the origin of the universe without appealing to God. That is, God nowhere appears in the standard textbook description of the supposed big bang origin of the universe. It is assumed that the universe, stars, and galaxies have resulted from the laws of nature acting over time. The more philosophical way to say this is that the big bang model is intrinsically naturalistic.
I wish if I could be one of the financial supporters, but unfortunately, [there’s] no way to do it because of the poverty here in my country. But the prayer of faith does the big things that money can’t do. That’s why I believe If I am joining with you in prayer, many miracles can be operated. My church people are very prayerful and trusting in God's power, and I am asking the church to support you in their prayers. I like this marvelous project for the salvation of the unbelievers. Those who are poisoning [minds and hearts with the] theory of evolution. My prayer is to see this program . . . reaching other countries.
—Pastor P.A., Haiti
Mr. Ham and AIG staff, I just wanted to let you know that I just purchased your VBS starter kit for our homeschool group. We (without the help of a church) are putting on your VBS for lower income children in our town. None of our members’ churches are close to town, so we seek to minister to those who will not drive their children to church/VBS. We are not allowing our children to participate, as we make this an outreach instead of just fun for our believing kids. Thanks for giving us a meaty VBS! This outreach will be a wonderful witness to our community as we are all from different denominations! Pray for us!
Let us know what you think.
The Big Bang was proposed by Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaitre as a result of solutions he found in 1927 to Einstein’s Field Equations.
Lemaître assumed that the origin of the universe could be described by natural law—and is therefore not a supernatural act of God. So you’ve made my point for me.
Based on his solutions Lemaitre proposed that the Universe originated from a single point at a particular time in the past.
You’ve got the “cart before the horse.” Only by first assuming that the universe was not created by God with some initial size would it be reasonable to extrapolate the Friedmann equations back to a universe with zero size.
Clearly, the Friedmann equations (describing the expansion of the universe under certain conditions) would not apply before God created the universe. And yet Lemaître presupposed that the equations themselves could describe the origin of the universe—so he just assumed that God had not created it in the recent (by secular standards) past. In other words, only by assuming that God did not create the universe could one reasonably assume that these equations could be extrapolated back to a universe with no size. So, you’ve again confirmed my point: the big bang attempts to explain the origin of the universe without invoking the supernatural.
He proposed that the Universe has been expanding and will continue to expand at an accelerating rate and that there would now be a pervasive isotropic 3K microwave radiation left over from the Big Bang.
Actually, it was George Gamow and others that “predicted” a low average temperature to the universe—not Lemaître. And even they did not specifically mention microwave radiation. The predicted temperatures ranged from a few K to 50K. Moreover, we cannot really call the CMB a prediction, since there was already evidence of it from interstellar absorption lines.
To make matters much worse (for big bang supporters), the CMB was much, much smoother than was expected and exhibited similarities in regions of the universe that are not causally connected—the horizon problem. So, the prediction/discovery of such things is not nearly as clean as you seem to think.
Nearly all of Lemaitre’s predictions have been confirmed by observations over the past 80 years.
Actually, the big bang model today is very different from the “cosmic egg” model that Lemaître conceptualized. The observed universe turned out to be quite different than early big bang models had expected, so a number of additional supporting conjectures have been added to accommodate all the contrary evidence. See Danny Faulkner’s talk on this, Creation & Cosmology.
It is absurd to think Lemaitre developed a theory to exclude God; not only was he a brilliant scientist, he was also an ordained Catholic priest.
Lemaître may very well have believed in God; we’ve never claimed he was an atheist. Nonetheless, his description of the origin of the universe is naturalistic. It does indeed attempt to explain the origin of the universe without God, as we originally stated. Like so many today, Lemaître assumed that the laws of nature working over time could produce the universe we now see—no special acts of God were required in his view.
The Bible tells us that nothing is neutral with respect to God.Apparently, Lemaître himself believed that the big bang was “neutral” with respect to the question of God. He had at one point written: “As far as I can see, such a theory remains entirely outside of any metaphysical or religious question.”1 This view is held by many today, but it is not a biblical view. The Bible tells us that nothing is neutral with respect to God (Matthew 12:30; James 4:4; Romans 8:7). Proverbs 1:7 tells us that knowledge actually begins with God Himself.
There are many professing Christians who are practical atheists. They live by their own standards—ignoring God’s special revelation. Lemaître ignored what God Himself had said about the creation of the universe and made up his own mythology instead. In many ways, this reminds me of what Adam and Eve did. They decided to ignore God’s words about the forbidden tree and chose for themselves what was true. And, well . . . we all know how that turned out. God wants us to use our mind in a constructive way—not a rebellious way. We are to reason starting from His axioms, because any alternative leads to foolishness (Proverbs 1:7; Colossians 2:3; Colossians 2:8).
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.