The Bursting of the Big Bang
The Big Bang theory, in its modern embodiment as popularly taught in the schools, is offered as a refutation of Divine Creation. The universe is said to have happened by accident without a need for God. Starting from the chaos of an explosion, matter became spread out across the universe yet able to gather together into stars and galaxies all under the influence of purely natural laws. (Actually, there are multiple scientific theories offering different details for how the Big Bang occurred, but at the popular level, we still speak of "the Big Bang theory.")
Of course, the Big Bang theory cannot explain the origin of those natural laws and the many particular constants such as the strength of gravity or the mass of the electron, all of which seem so precisely tuned to permit stars and planets and life to exist. But the modern atheistic does injustice to history: the Big Bang theory was initially viewed as a major blow to atheists and as crucial evidence for God. "Let there be light" - the divine command that began the Creation, bringing order out of chaos - was viewed as fulfilled by the Big Bang. A carefully orchestrated explosion that could lead to life in the universe surely must have had a cause, and that cause was God. See "Big-Bang Theology" by Jim Holt (an article on the Slate Web site).
The problem is that modern atheists now overlook the sticky problem of what - or Who - caused the Big Bang (that was a "singularity" which cannot be treated mathematically and thus can be safely ignored). Instead, they focus on the theory that purely deterministic, natural forces can account for everything that has happened since the first instant of the Big Bang, thus appearing to eliminate the need for God. In the popular mind, the Big Bang theory is now just one more aspect of the General Theory Evolution as the source of all life, in contrast to divine origins.
Evidence for the initial explosion or initiation point of the universe - background microwave radiation, the red shift of distant stars, etc. - is taken by many careless thinkers as evidence for all that is said to have happened thereafter, as if proof of an explosion is proof that stars and trees and DNA could all be formed by chance.
A Big Bang may have happened, but we need not put any faith in the broader "Big Bang Theory" that claims the universe as we know it could come into being by purely accidental or natural means after its explosive initiation. True, many scientists claim that the Big Bang theory is "the best scientific explanation" yet for the origin of the universe. And without doubt, the Big Bang Theory as the sole explanation for the universe will continue to be taught and believed for many years to come. However, the reality is that the immensely popular Big Bang Theory is dead.
While few people have seen the obituary, an article by Andrei Linde in the November 1994 Scientific American (pp. 48-55) reveals that the Big Bang Theory has been scientifically brain dead for a long time. Dr. Linde, a professor of physics at Stanford, discusses six of the overwhelming problems in the theory that have been known, but not widely publicized, for many years.
For example, calculations based on the Big Bang theory predict a universe so small that it could hold no more 10 atomic particles; a density of matter 15 orders of magnitude (ten followed by 15 zeros) greater than we observe; and a curvature of space that is off by 60 orders of magnitude. An initial explosion may have happened, but al attempts to calculate what should have happened next (without the influence of God) result in absurd conclusions. The Big Bang cannot explain the nature of the universe as we know it.
Fortunately, Dr. Linde has the solution for those who do not wish to believe in divine creation. He offers a new and improved theory, the "self-reproducing inflationary universe" in which new universes are constantly erupting out of random quantum fluctuations. The mathematics of this model supposedly solve some of the old problems in the Big Bang Theory.
There are elegant aspects to Linde's model, and perhaps he is right. However, I suspect that those without degrees in astrophysics will find the new theory so bizarre and incomprehensible that intelligent creation may seem to be the best scientific explanation yet for the origin of the universe. For that reason, I'm sure that the Big Bang Theory will continue to be taught as gospel truth, for it is much easier to believe. Call that progress, if you will. As for me and many of my friends in the scientific community, the brilliant engineering and masterful art of this planet and universe provide rational evidence for a brilliant Engineer and a masterful Artist.
More recent articles dealing with limitations to the Big Bang Theory include Introduction to Cosmology: Problems of the Big bang Theory at Open-Site.org, and On the Problems of the 'Big Bang' Theory of Cosmology, a summary of three dissident scientists, Eric Lerner, Bill Mitchell and Halton Arp.
Hugh Ross's Reasons to Believe - wonderful resources by real scientists on the divine Creation of the old universe in which we live.
TalkOrigins - the site for the archives of the talk.origins site, with many articles on the issues of evolution and age of the earth from the secular perspective.
Links to other science and religion resources
See the list of my pages.
By the way, I recently encountered a report stating that recent Hubble telescope images cast doubt on the Big Bang theory because very distant, young galaxies appear to be much more mature than is possible according to the theory. This text document is part of a site at Florida State University's Dept. of Physics on the Symmetric Theory, an alternative to the Big Bang.