Bible Study Opportunities
The Riddle of Creation and the Answer
By Jon W. Quinn
The Bible begins at "the beginning". That's a good place to start! But have you ever noticed that it does not begin on what we refer to as "the first day of creation"? Did you know that it begins with God creating all the matter in the universe and only after an unspecified period does He begin to bring order to this matter on days one through six. And we simply do not know how long it was between the creation of matter and the creation week which began with the words "Let there be light." "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was on the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light..." (GENESIS 1:1-3). Now, how long was the earth (and the universe) "formless and void" after the creation of the matter? Was it only a short time? Was it eons? I do not know. I have wondered if this does not help to explain the huge amount of time that some say must have past since the universe began. But I was not there and God, who was there, does not say. There is a respected scientist and astronomer by the name of Doctor Robert Jastrow. He is an agnostic. He does not believe in God, but he does not deny the possibility of God's existence either. He has written a book with some bold admissions about the nature of the universe. Essentially, he has concluded that the nature of the universe he studies fits the account of its beginning as is quoted above from the Book of Genesis. We shall consider some of the statements he has made in his book GOD AND THE ASTRONOMERS, which is written from material originally developed for the Phi Beta Kappa lecture of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Feb 14, 1978. IN THE BEGINNING "O Lord, it is Thou who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them" (ACTS 4:24). Doctor Jastrow begins his first chapter by writing "When an astronomer writes about God, his colleagues assume he is either over the hill or bonkers". So much for open minds. Jastrow quickly adds the following to save his reputation among his peers; "In my case it should be understood from the start that I am an agnostic in religious matters". There, now his friends will not think him crazy. He says he wrote his book because he is fascinated by "some strange developments going on in astronomy - partly because of their religious implications and partly because of the peculiar reactions of my colleagues." What are these "strange developments"? It now seems conclusive from everything that can be observed that the universe had a beginning! While the details of the most common theory for the origin of the universe and the Genesis account differ, Jastrow says the "essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same." Get this point: The more that is discovered, the closer the two accounts come! THE LAW OF THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands" (PSALM 19:1). In addition to discovering that our universe had a beginning, it has also been discovered that it is an expanding universe. Jastrow devotes a whole chapter of his book examining recent astronomical conclusions and commenting on how they dovetail with ancient Bible passages such as the one at the beginning of this section. This law of an expanding universe is also known as the Hubble Law, after the famous physicist. Countless stars make up countless galaxies, and they are rapidly moving outward, from their beginning, as science has recently discovered and as the Bible has said for many, many centuries. THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF STARS "Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, or fix their rule over the earth?" (JOB 38:33). Jastrow states that science now recognizes that the stars themselves are finite bodies with definite beginnings and someday definite endings. Since stars age, then they must have had a beginning. They are going through a known natural process called the second law of thermodynamics. They, and the earth are ruled by these ordinances. THE RELIGION OF SCIENCE "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made..." (ROMANS 1:20). Dr. Jastrow deals with the religious implications of these discoveries. He quotes various theorists and scientists who conclude that nothing suggests or supports the notion that anything of a physical nature existed before the beginning. These people wrestle with the implications. What could have caused the sudden existence of matter? Science has no answer at all for this. None! But even non-believers among the scientists realize that there is one possible answer that is beyond science. Dr. Jastrow discusses the scientists' desire to "pursue that inquiry farther back in time (to before the "big bang" -J.Q.), but the barrier to further progress seems insurmountable. It is not a matter of another decade of work, another measurement, or another theory. At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, 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." Do you see his point? The "theologians" (i.e. believers in God) have known the truth about these realities for centuries. Many scientist have struggled for decades to get away from God but their discoveries support what the Scriptures have always taught. Still they struggle today. Some will never surrender to the Creator of the universe and its laws they so diligently study. They will never surrender, but they will lose.
Reprinted From the Bradley Banner Bradley Church of Christ Bradley, Illinois October 20, 1991