The Meaning of Life: Where Did We Come From?
Where did we come from? In our quest for the meaning of life, that’s the first of five consequential questions. But before we can answer that we must ask where did the universe come from? For this we must delve into some science. (For those of you whose eyes glaze over at this kind of thing, bear with me. We will only have a few such posts before we return to our regularly scheduled broadcast.)
Genesis 1:1 declares: “God created the heavens and the earth.”
There’s something very interesting about this statement: God existed before anything else. He was first.
The other thing it tells us is that everything that exists now arose from nothing. One moment there was only God. The next, there was God, the heavens, and the earth. Now we ask, does science agree with this?
For the answer we look to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Now don’t panic. We don’t have to understand every detail of this most important theory of physics. All we have to know is what astrophysicist Hugh Ross tells us about it: “Today it can be said that no theory of physics has ever been tested in so many different contexts and so rigorously as general relativity.” He also tells us the theory has been verified to five decimal places. Do a Google search for relativity and you will find even more proofs for this theory than when this statement was written.
What does relativity have to do with Genesis 1:1? One of its important conclusions, for our purposes, is this: The theory tells us that all time, space, and matter are interdependent. One cannot exist without the others. The brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking says this: “The theory of relativity forces us to change fundamentally our ideas of space and time. We must accept that time is not completely separate from and independent of space but is combined with it to form an object called space-time.” For us mere mortals, our minds reel. But bear with me.
Hugh Ross again: “According to the space-time theorems of general relativity, such effects as matter, energy, length, width, height… and time were caused independent of the time dimension of the universe.” This statement has profound theological consequences. This is saying that space, matter, and time were created from a place that was independent of, outside of, and apart from the universe. The creating agent, if you will, was in another dimension. It also tells us that there was an absolute beginning for the universe, and that before this creation, there was—nothing.
This sounds a lot like Genesis 1:1. In fact the Theory of Relativity is one of the best proofs for the existence of God. The theory gives us the Big Bang and a universe that is some 14 billion years old, give or take, and an earth that is about 4 billion years old. In his book, Creator and Cosmos, Hugh Ross describes thirty scientific evidences supporting the Big Bang creation event.
Please note, this in no way contradicts the Bible. The “days” of creation in Genesis 1 & 2 come from the Hebrew word yom, which has three translations: a 12-hour day, a 24-hour day, or a longer, indeterminate length of time. This author subscribes to the Day Age view of creation proposed by Hugh Ross, which reconciles the Genesis Hebrew text with modern science. (See www.godandscience.org for a detailed look at this viewpoint.)
The Second Law of Thermodynamics also proves that the universe had a beginning. And whatever had a beginning had to have a cause. And the First Cause of everything was God.
When scientists looked at the cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang that supported relativity, they knew it proved the universe had an absolute beginning. For some, the data was upsetting. The astronomer Robert Jastrow was once an agnostic. He founded NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies. He was the director of the Mt. Wilson Observatory. In God and the Astronomers, he wrote, “…it should be understood from the start that I am an agnostic in religious matters.” But this is what he wrote after seeing the data: “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: The chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
The evidence is so strong it convinces even agnostic scientists. God created the heavens and the earth. Yes, God created everything. And science agrees.
So where did the universe come from? From the hand of an all-powerful God, in a blinding instant, in a flash of light, heat, and energy.
Next time we’ll look at how science just gave us some important attributes of God.