How the Universe Began

by Gene Taylor

The purpose of this article is to consider the historical, scientific and Biblical information available to determine the origin of our universe and the origin of man.

The Limits of Science

Men of science are not in a position to say authoritatively how the universe came into being and how life on earth began. There is no way for the methodology of science, which is the examination of things as they now function, to determine absolutely how they began. Scientists cannot speak with the same authority about how the universe began as they can about how it presently functions.

Scientific observations began long after the creation of the universe. Scientists can only offer hypotheses and intelligent guesses.

Scientists confirm their limitation in this area. Dr. Paul Amos Moody, a leading evolutionist, author of Introduction to Evidences, a widely used textbook in colleges and universities: "The answer is that we do not know and probably never will. The origin of life occurred more than three billion years ago and was not the type of happening to leave a clear indication of its course of events in the fossil record. Why, then, do we discuss the question at all? The best we can do is point to what might have happened." (Introduction to Evolution, 3rd ed., New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1970, p. 115) Thomas H. Huxley, a leading evolutionist: "It appears to me that the scientific investigator is wholly incompetent to say anything at all about the first origin of the material universe. The whole power of his organon vanishes when he has to step beyond the chain of natural causes and effects. No form of nebular hypothesis that I know of is necessarily connected with any view of the origination to the nebular substance." ("Nineteenth Century," February 1886, p. 202)

Creation Hypotheses

Creation hypotheses seek to explain the creation of the universe in terms which correlate to the world seen around us. In a study of evidences, Genesis one is a most important chapter. It begins with a recognition of the existence of God and then describes His creation of the universe. It deals with certain questions which man has wished to understand more fully. "Who is God?" "When did God create the universe?" "How was the creation accomplished?"

In order to explain the seemingly long period of time which the universe has existed, several creation hypotheses have been forwarded.

The long chaos hypothesis. This theory says that God created the universe "in the beginning" and that between verses one and two of Genesis one there is the possibility of an infinitely long period of time during which "the earth was waste and void." During this period of chaos, it is suggested, some of the evidences of great age made their appearance on earth.

The creation-ruination-recreation hypothesis (aka the restitution or gap theory). This hypothesis states that there has been a series of worlds such as our present one. Each time God has destroyed a creation, allowed a period of chaos, and then recreated a new world. It provides the possibility that the earth is much older than the Adamic age. It opens the way for previous inhabitants in prior ages.

The day-age hypothesis. This theory says that the six "days" of the creation really mean six long periods of time. It is suggested that the geological periods -- archezoic, proterozoic, etc. -- might correspond to these.

The pictorial day hypothesis. The six days of creation in Genesis one, this theory states, are not a strict, chronological explanation of the creation. It declares the six days to be merely a device to present the creation story pictorially.

The literal hypothesis. This theory says that the six days of Genesis one are six literal 24 hour days in which the universe was created by God in its entirety as it now appears. Those who object to this theory often cite the fact that the sun was neither created nor set in place until day four (Genesis 1:14-19). When God created each object, He created it to appear as though it had passed through the usual stages of development. Thus the earth looked very old at the moment of creation. Bernard Ramm citing Philip Henry Gosse in The Christian View of Science: "Every object of creation has two times. That which is before time or instantaneous in coming into existence is pro-chronic. That which consumes time is dia-chronic. All processes during the course of the world since its creation are dia-chronic. All things at the moment of creation were pro-chronic. Gosse also uses the terms real time and ideal time. At the moment of creation Adam's real time was zero -- actually he did not exist till the moment of creation. His ideal time was, say for the purposes of illustration, thirty years old. A tree in the garden of Eden would appear fifty years old (its ideal time) whereas it had just been created (its real time)." (pp. 192-194)

The Bible has emphatically stated, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." I believe what it says because it is the word of the only one who was present when this earth came into being.