Friday, March 21, 2014

In the beginning...

I am generally disinclined to engage debates about origins either with believers or with non-believers since, it seems to me, there are far more central issues and these discussions often divert — perhaps intentionally — from those more important issues. I do like the sort of argument in this column since it compels thought about why anything exists at all. It will annoy some believers, though, because it messes with their understanding of scriptural inspiration. From Leslie Wickman, "Does the Big Bang breakthrough offer proof of God?":
.... The prevalent theory of cosmic origins prior to the Big Bang theory was the “Steady State,” which argued that the universe has always existed, without a beginning that necessitated a cause.

However, this new evidence strongly suggests that there was a beginning to our universe.

If the universe did indeed have a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be an agent – separate and apart from the effect – that caused it.

That sounds a lot like Genesis 1:1 to me: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.”

We also need to remember that God reveals himself both through scripture and creation. The challenge is in seeing how they fit together. A better understanding of each can inform our understanding of the other. ....

The creation message in Genesis tells us that God created a special place for humans to live and thrive and be in communion with him; that God wants a relationship with us, and makes provisions for us to have fellowship with him, even after we turn away from him.

...[W]e know that Genesis was never intended to be a detailed scientific handbook, describing how God created the universe. It imparts a theological, not a scientific, message.

(Imagine how confusing messages about gravity waves and dark matter might be to ancient Hebrew readers.)

As a modern believer and a scientist, when I look up at the sky on a clear starry night, I am reminded that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). I am in awe of the complexity of the physical world, and how all of its pieces fit together so perfectly and synergistically. .... [more]