March 20th, 2014
11:14 AM ET

Does the Big Bang breakthrough offer proof of God?

Opinion by Leslie A. Wickman, special to CNN

(CNN) The remarkable discovery, announced this week, of ripples in the space-time fabric of the universe rocked the world of science and the world of religion.

Touted as evidence for inflation (a faster-than-the-speed-of-light expansion of our universe), the new discovery of traces of gravity waves affirms scientific concepts in the fields of cosmology, general relativity, and particle physics.

The new discovery also has significant implications for the Judeo-Christian worldview, offering strong support for biblical beliefs.

Here's how.

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.”

So this latest discovery is good news for us believers, as it adds scientific support to the idea that the universe was caused – or created – by something or someone outside it and not dependent on it.

MORE ON CNN: Big Bang breakthrough announced; gravitational waves detected

Atheist-turned-agnostic astronomer Fred Hoyle, who coined the term “Big Bang,” famously stated, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics."

As Hoyle saw it, the Big Bang was not a chaotic explosion, but rather a very highly ordered event – one that could not have occurred by random chance.

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.

It’s not just about cracking open the Bible and reading whatever we find there from a 21st-century American perspective. We have to study the context, the culture, the genre, the authorship and the original audience to understand the intent.

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.

So, we 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.

In the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, the writer tells us that God “established (his) covenant with day and night, and with the fixed laws of heaven and earth.”

These physical laws established by God to govern interactions between matter and energy result in a finely tuned universe that provides the ideal conditions for life on our planet.

As we observe the complexity of the cosmos, from subatomic particles to dark matter and dark energy, we quickly conclude that there must be a more satisfying explanation than random chance. Properly practiced, science can be an act of worship in looking at God’s revelation of himself in nature.

If God is truly the creator, then he will reveal himself through what he’s created, and science is a tool we can use to uncover those wonders.

Leslie Wickman is director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University. Wickman has also been an engineer for Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, where she worked on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station programs. The views expressed in this column belong to Wickman. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Culture & Science • Faith • Opinion • Science

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soundoff (4,899 Responses)
  1. cancelthefun

    The now questionable inflation discovery was simply confirmation of the Big Bang. As usual, this neither proves nor disproves God, but it is one idea from Science that happens to mesh with the Abrahamic account of creation. Whether this is coincidence or not will be left up to you to determine!

    It still seems the most convincing evidence for God is the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics. http://www.cancelthefun.com/inflation-2/#sthash.z3keTwKq.dpbs

    June 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM


      "The now questionable inflation discovery".

      Inflation was discovered as a possible part of cosmology in the 70's. The BICEP2 observation was merely excluding all other rival hypotheses, it was "the smoking gun". BICEP2 is no more or less questionable than before, because the papers criticizing it are also questionable. And if it should fall, it would only leave inflation as the best hypothesis.

      "was simply confirmation of the Big Bang."

      No, the smoking gun for the Hot Big Bang era, which succeeds the pervious Cold Inflation era, is the cosmic microwave background (CMB). More precisely, the raw data high-l polarization modes that the Planck collaboration has shown rejects all over cosmology.

      The Hot Big Bang mechanism is independent of the previous Cold Inflation mechanism, it is details of it like the uniformity of the CMB.

      "As usual, this neither proves nor disproves [magic agency]".

      Inflation definitely rejects magic agency participating in the energence of the universe and its structures to the usual quality limits of science (and in fact beyond, see below).

      All of that are shown to be predicted by quantum fluctuation in the inflation quantum field. (The local universe, much larger than the observable, emerges as a fluctuation makes a local spacevolume fall down the potential slope of the field. The structures emerges as seeded by later fluctuations making energy density fluctuations.

      Since creationists now claim that their putative "magic seed" volume is diluted 10^150+ times by inflation, their claim is now revealed as the most insanely erroneus idea ever devised by man! Homeopaths only claim that their "magic seed" volume is diluted 10^60 times.

      As a comparison, homeopath claims is like finding a "magic" hydrogen atom among several Earth's worth of hydrogen atoms. While creationists claims is like finding a hydrogen atom among several universes worth of hydrogen atoms. In fact, many more universes that there are stars in the observable universe! (100 billion stars in a galax, 100 billion galaxies...)

      Meanwhile, science can characterize the content of deuterium (a hydrogen nucleus with a proton and a neutron) to the usual quality limits by looking at a spectra from 1000 hydrogen atoms. Empirics don't need insanity, and as I shown it can exclude it.

      "It still seems the most convincing evidence for [magic agency] is the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics."

      Ah yeas, philosophy instead of facts! Mathematics is a human invention, where we develop the math that is useful.

      The claim is like claiming that the most convincing evidence for [magic agency] is the unreasonable fun in computer games. Or that the most convincing evidence for inflation is the unreasonable fun in computer games.

      The description is hence a deepity, a haphazard agglomeration of words pretending to be an insight.

      June 9, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM

        Ouch! So many seplling errors... It has been a long day.

        June 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM

        Also, on the last part. It is nothing but confirmation bias, something that magic believers excel in. (E.g. seeing faces of their myth figures in mundane objects, when it is known that pattern recognition is especially evolved in the separate face recognition system of our brain.)

        June 9, 2014 at 4:17 pm |
      • cancelthefun

        Chill out, my friend! I'm not arguing God exists or trying to crush you. As I said, there's no evidence for God.

        Thanks for the corrections on inflation. As a biologist, I have very little background in this subject. I clearly need to read more.

        I'm not the only one who has pointed out that Math doesn't have to be as effective in describing the natural world as it is. Yet, the effectiveness of math isn't any evidence for magic or a suspension of the laws of the universe. Rather, it begs an explanation, just like the Goldilocks nature of this universe does. If you were a person who wanted to argue for the existence of God, you'd be way better off looking in this direction than anywhere else. If you're convinced this is a futile search, you don't have to tell me. But there are millions of people in the world who act and think otherwise.

        Perhaps the answer is that this is just one universe among infinitely many that can be efficiently described by math. Or perhaps this is asking a question that doesn't deserve an answer, and matter is just inherently understandable because of its nature.

        Anyway, I get the feeling you have been in many arguments with stubborn, fanatical theists (judging from your well-honed commenting style). We're trying to bridge the gap between people who think and people who believe. Often, we find, they're the same person! If you're interested, give us a listen at cancelthefun.com

        June 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM

          "As I said, there’s no evidence for [creationist magic agency].

          I'm sorry, but I couldn't care less about unsubstantiated opinion in empirical matters.

          We know since 2004 that there are no more creationist magic around then there are homeopathic. In fact, we know it by far more certainty. I gave the calculation and the references, it is an easy enough thing to kill off millenniums of magic ideas given the current evidence.

          "it begs an explanation".

          If you are a mathematician, you are likely a dualist (platonist, another kind of magic dualist at the beginning). But if you are an empiricist you can see that it is simply selection bias.

          Selection bias does not beg questions, it predicts answers. E.g. here that there is no question to be begged.

          June 10, 2014 at 9:19 am |
    • dandintac

      What do you mean the "Big Bang" meshes with the Abrahamic account of creation??? They are RADICALLY different. You are either ignorant of what Genesis says, or ignorant of what Inflation Theory says, or both.

      The Bible has the Earth created before the stars for just one example. Talk about WAY off! There is nothing in there at all about galaxies, expansion of the universe, the age of the universe, the speed of light, atoms, or anything at all that an Iron Age man would not have been able to write or make up.

      June 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm |
  2. Alias

    The only people who could beoieve this article are those who do not undrestand science.
    When scienca is a big unknown to you, it can be 'understood' to match anything the bible says.

    May 19, 2014 at 10:34 am |
  3. vincedeporter

    Obviously, the commentator, Leslie Wickman, is biased pro-Bible.

    She says "... this new evidence strongly suggests that there was a beginning to our universe."
    The scientific jury is still out on this — as many also view the big bang as a "breath" of a cyclic universe.

    What this discovery proves, is that there was indeed a big bang... which is not how the biblical creation account describes it at all! One must be of bad faith to tie this in with scripture, that clearly presents the Earth to be a special creation, equal to the 'heavens'. (Gen. 1:1)

    I would gladly hear how the big bang ties in with the creation account.

    Bear in mind that science places the big bang close to 14 billion years ago — not the seven day creationist account.

    May 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
    • nightvisiongoggles

      Someone did not read the article.

      May 9, 2014 at 3:37 am |
      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM

        @nightvisiongoogles: But Wickman is claiming a deepity, not giving a tie in but rather declare the lack of it: "The challenge is in seeing how they fit together." We need a real tie to support the magic claims.

        FWIW, the cyclic universe is nearly ruled out. It doesn't generate these gravity waves. Instead you have to ad hoc add their generation from hypothetical phase transitions of quantum fields as the universe cools. And already the next generation of gravity wave observations should rule it out.

        Instead BICEP2 rule in inflation as preceding the Hot Big Bang. The jury is still out if it had a beginning, indeed if it needs a beginning, and if so if that beginning wasn't spontaneous quantum mechanical on a background of a minisuperspace. The latter is the constraint that small scales are suppressed, or conversely that there are large volumes with "universal" physical laws. In other word, an anthropic theory basis, which excludes any magical agency "purpose".

        May 9, 2014 at 7:28 am |
  4. johnpaily

    The Recent discovery “gravity wave” by BICEP-2 seems to have given great impetus to Big Bang Theory unsettling all other theories such as Ekpyrotic or Cyclical Universe Theory, Self organizing Universe Theory, Chaos and Order Theory, Holographic Universe Theory and so on that made sense from different perceptive. The discovery of BICEP-2, does not tells us the cause for Big Bang. It does not tell us how our ever expanding universe [Proofs for which are also available] implodes on itself to a point to cause the explosion. Further the Quantum Science; the dominating science of the world, speaks of “Observer Effect”. Big Bang does not speak the role of observer in it. In short Big Bang Theory makes sense on paper and drawing board of physicist. However, as it is, it does not make sense. It can make sense, including other theories, when we perceive the “Principle and Design” that is working behind the perpetual motion of particle and the system formed from it. Big Bang makes sense only when we understand “Grand Design of the Universe including Life”. Here I share a link that explores the “Principle and Design” and “Grand Design” that explains the implosion and explosion and perpetual existence of the universe in time sensibly.

    May 6, 2014 at 9:53 am |
  5. ongchowlek4411

    If black hole is due to collapse of mass caused by gravitational force and size of black hole is obtained by Relativity using Kevr solution and Chandrasekhar mass, then how it is be possible to pick up gravitational from Big Bang during the 1st few second where no collapse mechanize happened there it is more appropriate to say they have picked up some kind of polarized wave which turn into gravitational wave from Big Bang tremor. Do they mean these 2 kinds of space disturbances are equivalent in characteristic and nature. If black hole after all the scenario of quantum mechanical process have completed their interactions behave accordingly to Relativity equation to became eventually a tiny speck in space of high intensity mass with very strong gravitation wave could the telescope have picked up such polarization of light from some gravitated wave of dying star or black hole.
    Here is a questionnaire of comparison of fiat Lux and Rotating Black Hole that causes space tremor. How do your account of the similarity of stress / strain of space caused by Big Bang & Black Hole and the signal of polarized light pick up, is this from the Dying or Crying one.

    April 21, 2014 at 3:59 am |
  6. thatinthebible

    Ever notice how it seems as if every time the subject of religion, God, faith, or any subject even remotely related to them comes up, the conversation always appears to be so "black and white?" It's almost always going to be the so-called Believers vs. the so-called Atheists. Never any middle ground. Very interesting...

    I blog at http://isthatinthebible.com

    I really like the idea of taking any random current local, national, or international news event and just seeing what the Bible has to say about that particular subject; if anything.

    April 20, 2014 at 11:48 pm |
    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM

      @thatbabble: Well the important thing is that you have found a way to feel superior to both. [ http://xkcd.com/774/ ]

      I find your interest in pareidolia, matching nonsense myth with whatever sense we can make of real events, non-intentionally humorous. Whatever wags your tail.

      May 9, 2014 at 7:32 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.