Origins of the Universe / the Scientific, Mythological and Biblical Models
The subject of origins, of the Universe, of life, and of man has been much debated, especially over the last 300 years or so. The Reformation that began in the 16th century blessed us with ‘Freedom of Thought’ that was held to be anathema by the Church of Rome. Men had more freedom to question previously held dogmas in the religious and scientific fields, without fear of the inquisition, and this led to an unparalleled growth in our understanding of the natural world. The subject of ‘Origins’ has probably been more hotly debated than any other subject since that time. So today we have three prominent models that attempt to provide us with an understanding of how the Universe came into existence rather than just the religious one. These three models can be termed 1. Scientific, 2. Mythological and 3. Biblical. ‘Science’ excludes both the mythological and Biblical explanations and attempts an explanation of origins all on its own but has great difficulty in proving the origins of Time and Space without making some outlandish assumptions. Mythology on the other hand excludes any ‘scientific’ explanations and differs from the Bible in that it attributes creation to a pantheon of gods who themselves are created beings; creation creating Creation presents its own difficulties that will be discussed later. The Biblical explanation is more comprehensive than either the ‘Scientific’ or ‘Mythological’ ones for it alone describes the entire process in some detail which may be more scientific than that provided by either of the other two models.
The following chapter is a brief overview of the explanation of origins by each one of the three previously noted models. It will be found that the first two models present a ‘Something out of Nothing’, ‘Order out of Chaos’ explanation for origins. The Biblical explanation stands alone in that it presents a diametrically opposite view of an intelligent planned creation; of ‘Order preceding Chaos’. There is much evidence to support the viewpoint that there have been catastrophic upheavals not just on Earth but on a Universal scale at some time in the past that left a state of ‘Chaos’ from which the present Cosmos was rebuilt, whether this rebuilding happened by random events or by design remains to be determined. We will examine and compare all three hypotheses of origins and determine which one proves to be the most scientific, the most logical and most probable of the three. We will use the following three criteria to evaluate the validity of each of these hypotheses:
A) The explanation of HOW matter came into existence
B) Is the explanation logical and reasonable
C) Is there any empirical evidence to support the hypotheses
MODEL # 1 / SCIENCE: The ‘Big Bang’ theory of the origins of the Universe
Let us begin our examination with the ‘Scientific’ explanation for the origins of the Universe. The most widely accepted scientific theory proposed to explain the origins of the Universe is the ‘Big Bang’ theory. FROM WIKIPEDIA: “As used by cosmologists, the term Big Bang generally refers to the idea that the Universe has expanded from a primordial hot and dense initial condition at some finite time in the past (currently estimated to have been approximately 13.7 billion years ago), and continues to expand to this day. Georges Lemaître proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, although he called it his "hypothesis of the primeval atom". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang. In a nutshell the Big Bang theory or ‘Idea’ as Wikipedia terms it does not explain the origins of ‘Matter’ but rather tries to explain the current state of our Universe as a result of an ‘Expansion’ of SOMETHING that previously existed; identified in the Wikipedia article as ‘a primordial hot and dense condition, originally called ‘Primeval Atom’. There is some confusion and great debate about the nature of this pre – existing primordial hot and dense condition for some scientists insist that NOTHING existed prior to the Big Bang. “We also say that space and time both started at the Big Bang and therefore there was nothing before it”: quote from Cornell University’s ‘Ask an Astronomer’ website - http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=364 . The Big Bang therefore maybe an expansion of something that previously existed (Primeval Atom, hot and dense condition) not an explosion as the name suggests. Or it may have been ‘Something out of Nothing’...there seems to be a still ongoing debate whether there was ‘Something’ or ‘Nothing’ that preceded the Big Bang. For sake of this discussion we will go with the Wikipedia article and assume that a hot and primordial condition did exist before the beginning, before the Big Bang. So this theory presumes the existence from before the very beginning of this expansion or ‘Big Bang’ of ‘Matter’ (the primeval atom) and ‘Energy’ (heat), and thus can explain the origins of neither.
The ‘beginning’ according to the Big Bang theory refers to a time when the process of the current expansion of the Universe started, currently estimated to be about 13.7 billion years ago. How or what got this process or the Big Bang started is yet another unknown! From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang: Extrapolation of the expansion of the Universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past... whatever existed at this time (or just before the beginning of Time) is termed a ‘Singularity.’ Infinite density and Infinite temperature – how is that possible, would that not require infinite Energy, so where did that Energy come from? These are legitimate questions to which there is no answer, to which there may never be a satisfactory answer! This instant at which the Singularity started expanding is the very instant of the initial Big Bang, Time is measured from this instant onwards, at least in theory. Once the Big Bang got started the original primordial hot and dense condition started expanding and cooling, and then splitting into galaxies, stars and planets or vice versa, and now we have a perfectly ordered Universe with well defined laws of physics that govern it and thus it would appear that we now have Order out of Chaos!
So evaluating the Big Bang theory according to the criteria previously listed we conclude that:
(A) It fails to explain how ‘Matter’ originated for it presumes that either nothing existed before the beginning or something which can only be defined as Matter (the Primeval Atom) existed prior to the Big Bang itself.
(B) It fails to explain how that which existed before the beginning, ‘the primordial hot and dense condition’ came into being? If there was no Space what did it exist in? It fails to explain what caused this ‘Singularity’, this primordial dense and hot condition to begin expanding, and then cooling down to form ‘Matter’ or did matter already exist and it was simply reshaped into its current form? It does not explain why it did not just continue expanding into one big homogenous whole but rather into galaxies, and stars, and planets? Nor does it explain how it broke up into different elements, which later recombined to form compounds such as water?
(C) It also fails the test of empirical evidence: Once more we turn to Wikipedia: Georges Lemaître proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, although he called it his "hypothesis of the primeval atom". The framework for the model relies on Albert Einstein's general relativity and on simplifying assumptions (such as homogeneity and isotropy of space)... The earliest phases of the Big Bang are subject to much speculation. Although ‘scientists’ claim that there is much ‘ empirical evidence’ to support this theory, a careful examination of the evidence finds much of words and terms such as: Proposed, Theory, Hypothesis, Model, Simplifying Assumptions, Speculation, Debated, Common Models, Underlying assumptions...Words such as those listed above are to be found sprinkled generously throughout the Wikipedia article and in any other explanations of the Big Bang theory. Observed data cited as empirical evidence in support of ‘the theory’ is the very same data that is much debated in the ‘scientific’ community itself and can be ‘adjusted’ with enough assumptions to prove just about anything the ‘scientist’ desires it to prove. In the words of internationally renowned Astrophysicist George F. R. Ellis: "People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations….For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations….You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.” The fact of the matter (no pun intended) is that in the case of the Big Bang as that of many other ‘scientific’ theories there is much speculation but little or no evidence to support it which makes it more the realm of philosophy than science as admitted by the distinguished astrophysicist quoted here. It seems that a large number of ‘Scientists’ (not all) have firmly embraced the Big Bang theory and try to fit all observable data to prove the theory even when the observed data actually disproves or contradicts it. If it was proven fact like a round Earth would not all scientists already have embraced it? The empirical evidence that contradicts the Big Bang theory is too voluminous to be included in here but if readers wish to do their own research, please visit the following website: http://www.spaceandmotion.com/cosmology/halton-arp-seeing-red-errors-big-bang.htm
MODEL # 2 / MYTHOLOGY: Creation by the ‘gods’
Mythologies of various cultures offer somewhat differing accounts of how the Universe originated but they also have a lot of similarities. For one, none of them offer a consistent, coherent and chronological account of creation but the same account can have substantial variance in it depending upon the author, no two authors tell the same story exactly the same. There are also regional differences that make the same story differ slightly in some cases and vastly in others. The following overview of the mythological creation story is based on the Greek version but similar stories are to be found in Hindu, Norse, Celtic and other mythologies. Please keep in mind that this is just one of the many Greek creation myths that are extant but listing them all is a virtual impossibility so one of the more common one has been selected for purposes of our discussion.
It is common amongst almost all creation myths that ‘In the beginning was Chaos’...Chaos can mean different things, the most commonly accepted meanings being:
- Chaos is from the Greek word Khaos, meaning "gaping void". There are many explanations as to who or what Chaos is, but most theories state that it was the void from which all things developed into a distinctive entity, or in which they existed in a confused and amorphous shape before they were separated into genera.
- Ovid the Roman writer described Chaos as an unordered and formless primordial mass. The first Metomorphoses reads, "rather a crude and indigested mass, a lifeless lump, unfashioned and unframed, of jarring seeds and justly Chaos named." Thus Ovid gave Chaos its modern meaning; that of an unordered and formless primordial mass.
Unlike the Biblical account there is no one given order in which creation proceeded according to various mythological accounts. It is generally accepted by all that in the beginning was Chaos but the chronology after that varies according to which version of the creation myth one chooses to reference. One of the more common versions states that out of Chaos, first of all was born Gaia (the Earth) and then Uranus (the sky or the heavens). Gaia and Uranus mated and gave birth to 12 children, the Titans , the leader of whom was Cronus, called Saturn by the Romans. A race of ‘Giants’ is also said to have been born or created around this time that were the enemies of the Titans. The Titans are the elder ‘gods’ that in turn gave birth to a second generation of gods whose leader was Zeus. Zeus and the younger generation overthrew the Titans and imprisoned them in Tartarus which is in the belly of the Earth and corresponds to the Biblical hell. Thus, Zeus triumphed over not only his father, and his father's family of Giants, he triumphed over his brothers and sisters as well, dividing up the universe as he fancied, in short, bringing order out of Chaos.
Much like the ‘scientific’ Big Bang theory, the mythological story of creation is one of either ‘Something out of nothing’, or ‘Something out of something’, depending on the definition of ‘Chaos’. The classical definition of the mythological ‘Chaos’, ‘unordered and formless primordial mass,’ is curiously similar to the ‘scientific’ ‘primordial hot and dense condition’ that existed before the beginning. As we try and evaluate these mythological stories we find that:
(A) there is no clear understanding of How Matter came into existence! We are told that in the beginning there was Something (Chaos) or Nothing (Chaos) depending on the definition and then all of a sudden there was Gaia (the Earth) and Uranus (the heavens). How it happened is not explained anywhere, much the same as in the Big Bang theory.
(B) Unless there is a great deal more fleshing out of the process that was involved in the creation of the Cosmos, and even of the gods themselves the topic of origins cannot be understood from these ancient tales. Ancient god like beings such as Zeus, who supposedly brought ‘Order out of Chaos’, may indeed have been historical figures, but since they themselves have an origin, they cannot be the originators of the Universe.
(C) Although there is much evidence to suggest that other – worldly beings that in many cases may be classified as mythological gods have indeed interacted with ‘Earth’ man, and may have had much influence on the development of mankind, the origins of these ‘gods’ remains shrouded in mystery. So from a mythological perspective we can logically conclude that there is no empirical evidence that can be presented as proof that the Cosmos itself was created by one or more of these ‘gods’ even if they were real beings.
MODEL # 3 / THE BIBLICAL CREATION STORY
Though the Biblical account of creation differs considerably from both the Scientific and Mythological ones, it does have one thing in common with those accounts that it too makes mention of a ‘Chaos’ like state having existed in the Universe at some distant time in the past. This state described as ‘Without Form and Void’ in Genesis 1:2 echoes the ‘primordial hot and dense condition’ of the Big Bang, and ‘unordered and formless primordial mass’ described by Ovid in the story of mythological origins. Where the Biblical narrative differs from the scientific and mythological ones is that it does not place the ‘Chaos’ before the beginning but rather at some point in time that came much later after the beginning. Unlike unknown originators like the ‘Singularity’ of the Big Bang theory, or ‘Chaos’ of mythology the Bible credits God as being the author of creation, not just any god but identifies him by the name of Jehovah which means Self – Existent. Just so the distinction becomes clear, the word god can mean different things and many different beings are spoken of as god but when the Bible speaks of God, it is referencing a specific individual being that is identified by the name of Jehovah. This appellation can apply to no other being even those who are called god, as for example Zeus of the Greeks or Siva of the Hindus. None of the other gods are Jehovah; many beings are worshiped as gods but Jehovah alones claims to be the self – existent creator of all things including these other ‘gods’.
The Bible tells us that ‘In the Beginning’ God (Jehovah) created the Heaven and the Earth (Genesis 1:1). This verse, the very first in the Bible describes the ‘Beginning’ – of both Time and Space. It also tells us that God existed before the beginning: Psalm 90:2 / Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. The Bible does not claim that everything was made out of nothing but rather that everything originated with God. Biblically speaking God is not a corporeal being; He is not made out of matter so his existence outside of Space is possible for matter needs space to exist whereas Energy does not. The following is a Biblical definition of who God is arrived at by referencing the many scriptures that describe the multifaceted characteristics of God: God is a living sentient being, a Spirit that is Invisible and Immaterial occupying no Space yet filling all Space, a Mind of infinite Intelligence expressed in Word and Language, He is also infinite Energy and Power that can never diminish or be destroyed and is therefore not subject to Time. If it can be established that God can indeed exist beyond Time and Space, then it solves one of the biggest problems regarding our origins, namely does the originator himself have an origin? If the originator or creator was himself made of matter, then he would need to exist in Space and must needs have had a beginning in Time. Having established that God is not made out of matter we can at least theorise that he alone was in a position to initiate the beginning because he existed before the beginning of Time and Space.
How did God create all things? The answer to this question is found in many scriptures, the most famous of all being the first three verses of the gospel of John. John 1:1-3 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. There are many other scriptures such as Hebrews 11:3 and Psalm 33:6 that confirm that the Heaven, the Earth, and the heavens (comprising the entire Universe) that are made out of matter have been created by the Word of God. We could say that ‘Matter’ itself has been created by the Word of God but what is the Word of God? The original Greek word use by John to describe both God and his Word is the word ‘Logos’. Logos means Intelligence and Language. We can say that the apostle John is telling us that God made all things by the application of his intelligence expressed through language. The fundamental building block of all matter therefore is Language not a singularity or chaos.
How are things made by the Word? The Word is the underlying language that is written on all particles of matter. The best way to understand this process is to think of the Word as a seed that has an algorithm written on it that when energized brings into existence the very thing defined by the algorithm. The Bible tells us in Psalm 147:5 that the Word of God or the language of God is infinite; it needs to be clarified here that language does not mean just speech but includes a language of mathematics, as for instance that employed by computers. God alone is capable of writing in a mathematical language all possible algorithms required to produce matter. Computers work on algorithms, written instructions that when energized by an electric current produce a screen image whether it be the alphabet or pictures or music or video. Similarly God’s Word is sent forth with specific instructions encoded in it to bring into being that which is defined by the Word or language of God. So what is required to bring something out of seemingly nothing are two things, one is Language (the Word) and the other is Energy. God being both Language and Power is therefore able to bring forth ‘seeds’ that contain the Word (language) as well as the Energy required to germinate the seeds. Since the Word or Language as well as the Energy that makes it work to produce a desired result are literally spirit, beyond Time and Space, the very seeds of Matter, of Time and Space were sown in the beginning from beyond Time and Space. John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The Biblical explanation of the origin of all things from ‘living intelligent seeds’ (not out of nothing, not Ex-Nihilo) sets it completely apart from the scientific as well as the mythological explanations. The Bible also explains that God employs the principle of SEED REPLICATION to bring about an increase in population whether it be of humans or animals or plants or stars or planets. In the process of seed replication both the matter and energy contained in the seed are first replicated, and then the seeds multiply and mutate, so all that is needed to make a human or a plant or a planet is a single seed with the appropriate algorithm written on it and the energy needed to make it replicate and multiply contained within the seed itself. As it multiplies it also mutates into that which is defined by the algorithm. To further gain an understanding of this process, consider cell division in living organisms, a single cell has an algorithm written on it that includes all the mutations that need to take place to produce a living being. A single cell divides (splits itself) and multiplies from 1 to 2 to 4 to 8 to 16 to 32 to 64 to 128 to 256 to......literally trillions of cells that not only multiply but also mutate as required to produce arms, legs, eyes, ears, internal organs, in short everything that constitutes a body. The thing to consider here is that a single seed contains within itself the information (language, words, algorithms) that will produce all the component parts of the body, whether human or plant or even an inanimate body like the Earth itself. The principle is the same whether the desired result is a simple amoeba or a human being or a giant star. The problem is not in the size of the object being created but rather the complexity of the algorithm that needs to be written to form that object. If the algorithm can be written, then all that is needed is a single cell, a single particle of matter, a single seed that has the energy required for it to replicate and multiply and eventually it will be bring forth a rose bush, a beautiful baby or a planet. This Biblical principle of Self Replication has been much theorised by both scientists and Sci-Fi writers that visualize self replicating machines. This Wikipedia article on SELF REPLICATING MACHINES makes for interesting reading when one keeps in mind that scientists are only now visualizing that which was written in the Bible over 3000 years ago.
The concept of TERRAFORMATION, of modifying an existing planet has already been a topic of much discussion amongst astronomers and Sci-Fi writers, and even in movies. Terraforming has also been explored on television and in feature films, including the "Genesis device", a device developed to quickly terraform barren planets in the Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming. Proverbs 8: 22–31 is a description of the Terraformation of the Earth from the very beginning, perhaps from a single particle that multiplied and mutated to bring forth mountains, and hills, and the atmosphere, and the rivers and seas...study the scriptures for yourself and see what they reveal. If earthly scientists can visualize ‘Genesis devices’ for terraformation of existing planets, why can’t God (Jehovah), the greatest scientist of all, whose knowledge and power are infinite, have been the author (the one who wrote the algorithms) that formed the very planets that these terrestrial scientists wish to terraform? The very name of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, is the very same word from which we get words that all have an inherent meaning of ‘seed and replication’ such as genes, genetics, genus, genealogy, beget or reproduce. Reproduce itself...the principle is so simple yet the process so complex! Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. Contrary to commonly held views that the Bible teaches that the whole Universe came into being magically over a period of 6 days, the Bible teaches that everything has a Genesis; everything begins as a Seed, whether it is inorganic matter or living organisms, the seed then begets itself or reproduces itself and mutates according to the algorithm defined on the original seed to (re) produce something entirely new like a human being from a cell. Is this process Science or Magic, let the reader decide! The use of technology in the Bible is so widespread that it is more a book of Science than all science books out there.
Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. A being with infinite power and infinite intelligence can certainly write any algorithm he wishes to, and thus bring forth any type of matter, organic or inorganic. This only Jehovah God is capable of doing, and has done, according to the Bible. When compared to the other two explanations for our origins, the so – called ‘Scientific’ and the ‘Mythological’ ones we find that the Biblical one is the only one that is really scientific, that is logical and reasonable.
(A) The Bible does indeed provide an almost indisputable explanation for the origin of Matter as a seed encoded with a living algorithm (a living energy Word and language), much as a living cell. Without a language to define matter, matter could not exist! This is an axiom that will never be disproven whereas ‘Ideas’ such as the Big Bang have never been proven.
(B) If one looks at the evidence without bias then it becomes obvious that the Biblical explanation of how God transcends Time and Space is logical and beyond refute; therefore Jehovah alone could have set in motion the process that gave us Time and Space.
(C) Empirical evidence such as that of the language of DNA validates the Biblical claim that through the Word (language) of the LORD were the heavens made...Evidence that we observe with our own eyes proves to us beyond the shadow of a doubt that nothing comes into existence without thoughts (words), designing, planning and execution. A house does not build itself, a bicycle does not assemble itself, a bridge has to be engineered and then constructed and so on so forth. The more complex the machine, the more complex the thought process or the language that is required to create it; whether simple or complex it is language that undergirds the structure not beams or tresses. Problems, especially of structural engineering are ultimately resolved only through the application of complex mathematical equations (language), exactly as we find encoded on our own DNA and exactly as the Bible states is encoded on every particle of matter even if man does not yet have the technology to read or recognize this language.
In conclusion one other subject that the Bible does not shun but tackles head on that our other two models completely ignore is the subject of good and evil, of morality, of conscience. Theories such as the Big Bang that rely on random happenstance as the source of origins need not concern themselves with issues of morality. The mythological gods seem to be as immoral as their subjects and therefore their morality is not discussed in all the myths that glorify their deeds, moral or immoral. The reason for this ‘oversight’ is that outside of the Bible there is no discussion of ‘Absolutes’. The Big Bang is based on the theory of GENERAL RELATIVITY but Einstein’s equations themselves depend on constants, even if they are assumed! The one Absolute, the one Constant in this Universe is God, is Jehovah, the creator of all things. As we progress through the History of Creation tough questions such as how and why evil came into existence and why we are mortals will be answered. Having reviewed the evidence of science, of history, of mythology, and of philosophy the only conclusion that can be drawn that is logical and reasonable as far as origins are concerned is the Biblical model is the only one that makes sense and is supported by science and observed evidence. Readers are free to draw their own conclusions.