First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Big Bang in Genesis

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. Genesis 1:3-5 NIV.

I hope that you recognize the creation narrative in Genesis. Hopefully you have also noticed a strange feature of this narrative. Light appears on the first day, before the Sun, Moon and stars are created on the fourth day. Many people have asked; how can this be? I’m happy to tell you that this apparent inconsistency is not inconsistent at all. In fact, the creation story in Genesis fits very nicely with current theories in astrophysics concerning the creation of the universe. We call these theories, the Big Bang. Indulge me a moment while I attempt to show you how this works.

Astrophysicists call it the Plank Era, the moment of creation. They do not know much about it, like where all of this stuff we call the universe came from. We Christians know where everything came from; God. And Christian doctrine says that God created the universe out of nothing, which is in line with where astrophysicists think it all came from. Once something happened and the early universe came into being within the very first moment, 10-35 seconds or a hundred-billionth of a yoctosecond (a what?), the universe was pure energy. And the creation was opaque, which means it was bright, but nothing was visible. The universe expanded quickly, and as it expanded energy was spread out and started to cool. From a hundred-billionth to a hundred-millionth of a yoctosecond, the universe cooled to the point where small elementary particles and antiparticles started to form, and then annihilate themselves back into energy. These exotic particles only exist in our world when we momentarily create them in atom smashers. But it wasn't long (1 attosecond!) before more recognizable particles started to appear; photons and neutrino’s. The elementary particles continued to form larger particles as conditions continued to cool down. Within a millisecond of the beginning of all things electrons and neutrons formed. Within the first second, protons formed and mass as we know it came into being.

The early universe continued on like this for another 300,000 years. But as the creation continued to expand and cool, the opaque light dissipated, and universe darkened; “and there was evening and there was morning, the first day”. The matter that had formed from the Big Bang started to coalesce into stars and galaxies, and we begin to have something that looks like our wonderful home today.

A major piece of evidence supporting the Big Bang theory was discovered right here in New Jersey. Amo Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) at a Bell Labs facility in Holmdel, about 15 minutes from my home. I am fortunate to have been able to visit the receiver which they used. The CMBR is a remnant of the early high energy universe. Energy never disappears; it spreads out and cools down over time and throughout an expanding universe. In other words, the light from the beginning of time when the universe was opaque still exists! It’s like we are looking at the first day of creation. “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 

So, what does all of this mean to those of us who want to understand how God created the heavens and the earth? It means that we should not be afraid of modern science. The Biblical witness covers a great many subjects, including what we would call science. And the Biblical witness can be surprisingly consistent with modern theories surrounding these subjects. It is up to us to learn as much as we can so that we can better understand our loving Father in Heaven, who created the heavens and the earth for us.

God bless you,

Pastor Bill

(Universe; General Editor Martin Rees, DK Publishing, NY, NY)

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