God, The Creator

Up until this point in our study of God, we have relied on information from the Bible that we have accepted by faith. For example, we know that Yahweh is God’s personal name only because, as the children’s Sunday School song says, “the Bible tells us so.” As we will see later in our study, there are very good reasons for believing that the information given to us in the Bible is reliable. But in the end, much of it is information that cannot be verified by other means, and therefore must be received by faith.

At this point, however, we are going to turn from faith to physics. The information we want to deal with now consists of facts that have been deduced and verified by scientific observation. Here is a concise, ten word statement of what this evidence indicates:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

That’s physics? Absolutely! The statement is, of course, the very first sentence in the Bible, recorded in Genesis 1:1. But we present it here not as a theological declaration , but a scientific one. Why scientific?

In 1929 astronomer Edwin Hubble (for whom the Hubble space telescope is named) initiated a revolution in astrophysics when he verified that the universe is expanding. His observations, now called Hubble’s law, demonstrate that every astronomical object in the universe is moving away from every other object. It’s the same effect you would see if you tossed a stone into a pond of still water, then observed the wavelets as they rippled outward. Each specific point on a wave is moving away from every other point on the wave as it expands further and further from its origin.

The importance of Hubble’s law is that it indicates that all the objects in the physical universe started their outward expansion from a single point, just as waves rippling outward reflect the point at which that stone you threw entered the water. In other words, Hubble’s observations of an expanding physical universe show conclusively that the universe had a beginning. Known as the Big Bang, this explosive commencement of the universe at a specific point in time and space is now universally accepted as scientific fact that no one disputes.

Further observations, including calculations of the rate of the expansion, and the total amount of matter in the universe, indicate that it will continue to expand forever, rather than eventually falling back in on itself and starting the whole process over again.[1]

So the scientific evidence shows that the universe not only had a beginning, but its beginning was a single, unique, one-time event that has never been, and never will be repeated. Here is how one scientific paper published in “Scientific American” [2] and indexed in The Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System [3] describes that event:

“The universe began from a state of infinite density. Space and time were created in that event and so was all the matter in the universe.”

The fact that the universe began from a state of infinite density is extremely significant. The formula for calculating density is

ρ = m / V, where ρ is density, m is mass, and V is volume.

For the value of ρ to be infinite requires that the volume, V, be zero. Thus, at the time of its creation, the universe had zero volume, which means zero size. There was nothing there! So, not only was the universe created, it was created out of nothing.

Remember, all this is physics, not theology. But it leads to an inescapable theological conclusion. We know from physics that something that does not exist cannot just spring into existence on its own. Thus, the fact that the universe was created out of nothing requires that there be a Creator. And since the universe could not create itself, this Creator had to be an entity that was outside of the universe and able to take action to bring it into existence.

Here’s where we move from the scientific to the theological: let’s agree to call that creative entity God. Thomas Aquinas called Him the “uncaused cause” of the existence of the universe. And that is exactly who He is.

So, Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,”  is simply a statement of scientific fact. But it is more than that. It is also God’s self-identification that totally separates Him from all the other deities that people have ever believed in. He is the Creator, a role that no other “god” can claim; there is none like Him.

Isaiah 40:25-28 “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing. 27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over by my God”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

So, now we know God not only as Yahweh, the great “I AM,” but also as God the Creator, at whose word the entire universe sprang into existence. What a mighty God we serve!

Ron Franklin

What do you think?


Notes:

[1] See “The Ultimate Question of Origins: God and the Beginning of the Universe” by Dr. William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. He sums up the scientific evidence this way:
The absolute origin of the universe, of all matter and energy, even of physical space and time themselves, in the Big Bang singularity contradicts the perennial naturalistic assumption that the universe has always existed. One after another, models designed to avert the initial cosmological singularity–the Steady State model, the Oscillating model, Vacuum Fluctuation models–have come and gone. Current quantum gravity models, such as the Hartle-Hawking model and the Vilenkin model, must appeal to the physically unintelligible and metaphysically dubious device of “imaginary time” to avoid the universe’s beginning. The contingency implied by an absolute beginning ex nihilo points to a transcendent cause of the universe beyond space and time. Philosophical objections to a cause of the universe fail to carry conviction.
[2] J. Richard Gott III, James E. Gunn, David N. Schramm, Beatrice M. Tinsley, “Will the Universe Expand Forever’?” Scientific American, March 1976, p. 65. This article is a popular rewrite of their article, “An Unbound Universe?” Astrophysical Journal 194 (1974): 543-53.
[3] Here is the abstract of this article in The Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System:
The evidence for an expansion of the universe is examined, taking into account aspects of isotropic expansion, the concept of the big bang, and questions regarding the gravitational interactions of the components of the universe. Questions concerning the correspondence of the universe to either an ‘open’ or a ‘closed’ model are investigated. If the expansion continues perpetually, the universe is said to be ‘open’. In a ‘closed’ universe the expansion will stop at some time and reverse direction. Attention is given to aspects of gravitational deceleration, the geometry of space, approaches for measuring deceleration, the age of the universe, the average density, primeval density, and plausible cosmological models. It is concluded that the various factors considered strongly support the concept of a universe which will expand forever.

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About RonElFran

Ron Franklin is a graduate of Denver Seminary in Colorado, and is the now retired founding pastor of a church in Harrisburg, PA. A former engineer and manager for high-tech companies such as IBM, Ron has written extensively on matters relating to the Christian faith, modern technology, the Civil War, and African American history. You can see a selection of his articles at http://hubpages.com/@ronelfran .
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