In 1974, just three years after I was born, my parents bought a 400 acre farm in southeast Kansas. I am told that for the next few years I asked one question over and over as I discovered new things around the farm. Did God make that or did Percy? The question stemmed from the fact that we bought the farm from a man named Percy Rowan, who built the house and some of the barns and fences. Running through the pasture was a large creek that I liked to walk around in when it was dry. Behind the house there was a large shale hill covered with fossils and arrowheads. When I inquired about these types of things my parents told me, “God made those.”
At three years old I’m not sure what I did with that information, but apparently it was important to me to know how the different things on our farm were made and who made them. As I look around the world we live in today, I wonder, does it matter how the universe was formed, and by whom?
There are basically two schools of thought regarding the origin of the universe. Either God created the universe and everything in it, or the universe was created by Percy Rowan. (I’m kidding.) Most people believe that either God created it or the universe somehow created itself.
Before I go further, let me expand on both of these theories.
Over the last century, the majority of scientists have accepted the theory that the universe started with a big bang. The basic idea behind the big bang theory is that billion years ago (anywhere from 10 to 30 billion) all the matter in the universe was concentrated into a single point or dot. At some point in history that dot exploded and the universe began to expand from that point. After this explosion random chance took over. Molecules came together to form the various heavenly bodies. Non-living molecules came together to form simple life on earth. Then, over millions of years, things evolved into the complex life we see today. And, according to the theory, the universe is still expanding.
Since the beginning of man, people have held to the belief that God created the universe and everything in it through a series of spoken commands. From the Biblical account of creation found in Genesis Chapter 1, almost like a refrain, we read, “And God said…and it was so…”
Verse 3: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
Verse 6: “Then God said, ‘Let there be an expanse…,’ and,” end of verse 7, “it was so.”
Verse 9: “Then God said, ‘…let the dry land appear;’ and it was so.
Verse 11: “Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation…;’ and it was so.
Verse 14: “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse…,’ and,” verse 15, “it was so.”
Verse 20: “Then God said, ‘Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of heavens,’ and, verse 21, “God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves…and every winged bird after its kind.”
Verse 24: “Then God said,” and the beasts of the earth were created.
And finally verse 26: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our own image…’ And, verse 27, “God created man in His own image.”
What I hope you will first understand about any theory that deals with the origin of the universe is that it cannot be studied or proven scientifically. The experimental scientific method calls for testing a hypothesis. The beginning of the universe can neither be tested experimentally nor repeated. In addition, no human observer was present to witness the beginning. This leaves lingering questions from both theories unanswered.
For example, even though I believe God created the world, I have no idea how to explain to someone how God was there in the beginning, where He came from, or anything of that nature. It is beyond my understanding. It is beyond the capabilities of even the smartest scientists. I can only look around at the universe surrounding me, make observations about what I see and hear, read what has been written about creation, and then choose to formulate beliefs about how the universe was formed and by whom. According to the Bible, in Hebrews 11:3, this is a matter of faith. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
Like the people who believe God created the world, those who hold firm to the Big Bang theory have uncertainties about how things began as well. Scientists do not know where the original matter came from or what caused it to explode. They can speculate and formulate theories and ideas, but they cannot prove anything scientifically. Therefore, it requires an element of faith to believe in the Big Bang theory. Even NASA seems to agree that the origin of the universe is not something we can completely understand or explain.
According to an article titled Our Expanding Universe: Age, History & Other Facts written by Charles Q. Choi of Space.com – “NASA says it is beyond the model of the Big Bang to say what the universe is expanding into or what gave rise to the Big Bang. Although there are models that speculate about these questions, none of them have made realistically testable predictions as of yet.”
Science cannot prove either theory. They both require an element of faith. Now, having said all of that, let’s return back to my original question: Does it matter how the universe was formed, and by whom?
I believe the answer is yes. What you believe about the origins of the universe will influence how you look at yourself, others, and the world around you.
Reason with me for a little bit. If the world made itself, how would you see yourself? Wouldn’t you be a random piece of matter that really does not matter? How would you see others? If you are just a random piece of matter, then so is everyone else. Eventually this would affect how you treat yourself and other people. You would likely have very little regard for human life. Can you imagine what could happen in this world if an entire generation of young people grew up with this kind of an outlook on human life?
If the world made itself, and we really have no idea if there is any sort of grand design or master plan in mind for the future, then what kind of hope do we have after our few years on earth are complete? Wouldn’t we live our lives with a sense of hopelessness and despair? Wouldn’t we have a hard time finding any meaning or purpose in life and its happenings?
You see, I believe that if God made the world then you are a special creation created for a special purpose. If God made the world then I’m going to look at you as someone who has great value and worth. I’m going to look at myself as someone with a purpose. I’m going to look at the world around me and understand that God has a purpose for all things and all people. Armed with that knowledge I am going to treat others with kindness and respect. I’m going to look at the circumstances in my life differently as well. I am going to see them as opportunities for God to work. He may want to change someone else’s life through mine, or maybe He wants to change me. I don’t always know His plans and purposes, but I do know He has them and I am a part of His grand design. A grand design that includes spending eternity in a place God calls Heaven.
At three or four years old I’m sure that I had no idea how my outlook was being shaped by having parents who told me God created the universe and everything in it. Looking back now I am very grateful because I can see how instrumental it has been in my life. Personally, I do not think it is any mistake that the Bible starts with these words. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I think it’s the very first thing God wants us to know. I believe it is the foundational truth we need to form a Godly, positive outlook on the world and everything in it.
Feel free to comment and let me know what you think.