The Bible and the “Big Bang”

If you’ve watched “What’s in the Bible?” #1, you probably noticed that I made a very brief, joking reference to the “big bang theory” when we talk about Creation.  I’ve had a few fans write to complain about the joke, because they believe the big bang theory is anti-Christian, and therefore shouldn’t be mentioned in any way in a Christian video.  At first I was surprised by the response, since the reference was just a humorous aside, but I’m thinking now I probably need to address it head-on before too many people get concerned at Phil making “un-Christian” jokes.  So let’s talk a bit about the big bang theory, because it actually isn’t un-Christian at all.  Actually, it’s quite the opposite.

Here’s what I mean:  The big bang theory states that the universe is expanding in all directions from one point (which is verifiably true), and therefore must have come into existence at one point in time and space.  In other words, the universe has a beginning.  This was a very radical thought at the time it was suggested because many scientists, especially atheist scientists, previously maintained that the universe was “eternal.”  It “always was.”  This was their best way of getting around a need for God.  “We don’t need an eternal God to explain the universe,” they would say, “because the universe itself never had a beginning.  The universe itself is eternal.”

When other scientists discovered the expanding universe and suggested that the universe DID in fact have a beginning (the “big bang” theory), many atheist scientists initially opposed the new idea because it sounded too much like the Genesis account of Creation.  If the universe had a beginning, once again we need to explain who or what made it start.  Who set off the “big bang” that flung the universe into existence?  Scientists who aren’t opposed to the idea of God of course said, “God!  He’s the force that created the universe!”  In fact, the astrophysicist who found the evidence proving the universe is expanding actually said it was like “seeing the footprints of God.”  He knew his discovery once again supported the idea that there was a Creator behind the universe.

A stickier issue is when to date the big bang.  When did it happen?  Some scientists, of course, would say “billions and billions of years ago,” whereas some Christians would say, “No, if Genesis 1 is literal, it couldn’t be more than 6000-7000 years ago.”  The big bang theory doesn’t speak to a date at all.  So either point of view could be true, and still work just fine with the big bang theory.  Which is why I felt comfortable making my reference in “What’s in the Bible?”

I hope that explanation helps.  Again, rather than feeling the big bang theory is “anti-biblical,” many scientists believe it actually supports the Bible.  The big bang theory cries out for a Creator.  That’s why I included it in my show.

As always, I hope any of you who have a concern about something you see in one of my films will drop me a note and ask about it.  I really do think these issues through, and I’m more than happy to explain my reasoning to the people I’m serving with my ministry!

Now I’m going to get back to trying to explain all the violence in the book of Joshua…

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34 comments
Ellen
Ellen

I found your comment as I studied the Big Bang for the first time in a college level Earth Science course. The more I've read about it, the more I see that it in no way supports the Biblical account in Genesis of the Creation. How could God have created the trees on the 3rd day and the Sun and the Moon and the stars on the 4th if it was done the way the Big Bang proposes? It could not. Sciences puts it forth as if it made sense, but there are many secular scientists who do not agree with it either. It does not fit the evidence they are now finding; there are many holes. I really don't think as Christians we should support it in any way. God spoke all right, but that isn't what happened when He did.

Michele
Michele

My complaint is not with the joke but with the inclusion of an "explanation" of the definition of the word "Day." If we can't take Genesis at it's word, then how can we take the rest of the Bible literally. Very disappointing ... my kids found it very confusing and they are 11 & 9 ... how much more confusing to younger viewers. I found it completely un-necessary to bring that debate into a Christian video. Kids get enough debate in our culture. Children know that when they read a "day" that it means a "day." That has been explained exhaustively and to suggest that it's "okay" for Christians to accept Millions of Years is uncalled for. I am so disappointed. I am considering returning the whole set I purchased without even finishing the other two because I find it so upsetting. I don't want to show that to my primary Sunday school class. A little leaven .... such a shame.

Melanie
Melanie

Michele, Here is a response from Phil to your comment: Hi Michele, Thanks for voicing your concern about our treatment of Genesis 1 in What's in the Bible. Your question "How can we take the rest of the Bible literally?" really is the central issue here, because not everything in the Bible is meant to be taken literally. The Bible has big chunks of Hebrew poetry, for example, that all scholars agree are often figurative. Psalm 91 says God has feathers. Several other Psalms say the earth doesn't move. Dealing directly with Creation, the author of Job says God used a "measuring rope" when he laid out the foundation of the earth. I don't know of any parents, though, that teach their kids about God's feathers, or deny that the earth moves around the sun (and rotates around its own axis), or teach their kids that God used a really long rope to create the world. Why don't we teach those things? Because we all understand this language is figurative. We're sure we aren't supposed to take it literally. If a passage of scripture is written in the style of historical prose, we know it is intended to be taken literally. The Historical Books of the OT, the Gospels and the book of Acts are all examples of historical prose. They demand to be taken literally. Genesis 3-31 are written in the style of historical prose. Genesis 1 & 2 are a whole different style, though. They're actually a rather unique genre of Scripture called "exalted prose," somewhere between historical writing and poetry. So, most scholars agree, there is the possibility of figurative language in Genesis 1 and 2. The question is - which parts are figurative? This is something Christians have been debating since the time of Augustine (who himself declared that we might never know exactly how to interpret these first two chapters of the Bible). So that's the debate we're explaining in What's in the Bible. It has nothing to do with whether or not we believe the Bible is true, and everything to do with determining how certain genres of Scripture are best interpreted. Does God have literal feathers? No. Since God is omnipresent, if he had literal feathers we'd all be buried in feathers. Wherever God is, there would be feathers. That statement is written in a book of classical Hebrew poetry, though, in which non-literal meanings for words and passages are common. Did Jesus literally live, die and rise again? Absolutely. That teaching is VERY clear, because of the historical style of the writing. Is Genesis 1 meant to be read 100% literally, or perhaps somewhat figuratively? We don't know for certain. It clearly isn't historical prose, yet it's not quite full-on Hebrew poetry. It's somewhere in between. Hence the debate. Most of the Bible is much more clear in intent. Genesis 1 is tricky. That's why different Christians interpret it differently, which is really all we're trying to explain to kids. I hope that explanation helps. Phil

Carlin
Carlin

Thanks for all your hard work, Phil. I love your show so much and look forward to buying a white T-Shirt with a big picture of Buck Denver on the front with the words "Man of News" across and the back of the T-shirt with the back of Buck Denver. Thanks also for your strong, uncompromisingly apologetic content. Those are the questions we have to be bringing right to the table for our kids so they can start thinking early! Bless you and your family, -Carlin

Donna
Donna

Well, at least there was not a song teaching kids to sing, "I don't love my mom or my dad just the bunny" or "I won't go to church, I won't go to school, that stuff is for sissies but bunnies are cool!" That's when you really get in trouble.......LOL! Love the jokes, love the depth, love the church history, love the early teaching that God is not male nor female - so happy with this series! We are blessed by it!

myndi orr
myndi orr

Great explanation. Whenever I am witnessing to an athiest and they bring up the big bang theory I always say how the Big bang proves there was a creator and they look so puzzled!!! This just shows I'm not crazy! HA!!! Thanks for this series!

Susan Easterdau
Susan Easterdau

I'm thrilled that you included a current term that our children will likely learn over their lifetime. My husband and are learning more and more about a young earth, including theories related to the Big Bang and blue stars, etc. We need to weave science into our Bible learning--it's important to help our kids believe the Bible as credible.

Kristopher Pierce
Kristopher Pierce

Hey Phil, I don't see why there is any controversy over the Big Bang in the Christian community. As you explained, the Big Bang is actually amazing evidence for the creation event. I'm trying to convince my pastor of this(and have been for some time). Unfortunately, there is much misinformation among our ranks concerning the Big Bang. All of us could benefit from a little more education in science. Science today points to our Creator! I just learned that our local Bible bookstore has the DVDs in! I can't wait to see them! And I can't wait for my nephew and to watch them. My wife and I are expecting our first baby in July. I can't wait till he's old enough to understand these videos. Keep up the good work! To God be the glory, Kris

Stephanie D
Stephanie D

Although I didn't have a problem with the comment, I do appreciate your explanation. So many people think we have to somehow separate our faith from science, or soften our science to adhere to our faith. But God is the creator of the laws of physics and biology and chemistry, therefor there's no reason for us to feel that science is contrary to our beliefs.

Annie Bonner
Annie Bonner

This is so good. This discussion is a great one, because it allows people and children to be OK with the idea that although we don't understand everything, we can have faith that God does. We don't have to understand everything to believe. In life we have to put our trust in God over our own limited understanding. That's faith.

Janet Landwehr
Janet Landwehr

I actually never gave it a second thought because where Mark said above regarding the bumper sticker “I believe in the big bang. God spoke and BANG, it happened.” Phil being the jokester ... I just thought he was making a similar joke ... no harm no foul!

Amanda Elven
Amanda Elven

I'm so glad that you are tackling the "tricky bits". I laughed out loud when Buck refused to get involved with the question of earth's age. It's so easy to try and steer clear of these issues with our kids. Not only do you address the issue head on, but you do so with such a manner of respect. I had extremely high expectations for this project and What's in the Bible has far exceeded everything I hoped for. Bravo!

Jonathan
Jonathan

Its good you can talk about such deep subjects! What's in the Bible also sounds like a bit of a theology series - awesome! Jonathan

Calum Henderson
Calum Henderson

Glad to see that once again you're not shying away from the big issues!

Angela Stone
Angela Stone

Wouldn't you know, when we watched this with friends on Sunday they commented "did they just say bang!?" We were able to have a whole conversation about this blog post when I mentioned you had addressed just that thing.

Cory Lara
Cory Lara

Jellytelly rocks! The way to change the world is to teach the next generation their faith. Let's teach those kids!!!

DKStangeland
DKStangeland

You rock Phil! It's level headed, kind and educated responses like that one that will make us all better followers of Christ. Thanks!

Drewsan03
Drewsan03

Thank you so much for putting that reference in. As a graduate if a secular religious studies program I live funding things that can be used towards my faith that many people, both Christians and non-Christians think ate anti-Christian!

Lauren
Lauren

Phil, Thanks for the explanation. We really appreciate what you're doing! I grew up watching VeggieTales, but I expect What's in the Bible to have a far greater impact, and that's exciting!

Renee Morris
Renee Morris

I am very excited about these DVD's and have been sharing them with friends. Can't wait to view them in entirely as they're for my children at Easter. Thank you for helping us as parents share the love of God with our children!

Amanda Wilson
Amanda Wilson

This topic of conversation has, inevitably, come up every single year I have been teaching Confirmation. The kids have questions, real questions, about how to connect these concepts. Thank you for giving some helpful language to share with youth/children around this subject. You have, again, given me tools for teaching! (And, yes, I am definitely considering using the WITB with my 9th grade students . . . they may think they're getting a "day off" of the boring lecture, but they'll probably be learning more than average!! Thank you!!)

Princess Leia
Princess Leia

I have yet to see the DVDs (we're hoping the Easter Bunny drops them off!), and I appreciate your candor in responding quickly and thoughtfully to the concerns. Something to consider: an expanding universe does not necessarily imply the "big bang" model (not a theory because scientific theories are reproducible - similarly, creation and evolution are not theories, but models) because God created the universe in a particular state (for instance, He created light first, so that's why it's possible for light to have already reached Earth from a source millions of light years away, even if the universe is only a few millennia old). They'd be the "initial conditions" in a physics problem in school. Having said all of that, I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing these and love that my 3-yr-old begs to see JellyTelly!

S Club Mama
S Club Mama

I think it's great to help kids understand better what's in the Bible. Looks like a great program

Karen F.
Karen F.

Thanks for the explanation . . . I appreciate it! I think your reference will bring about great conversation with our girls. I'm always happy to have the opportunity to talk with my girls about these complex ideas and to see God's perfect design!

Teresa
Teresa

Digital downloads are great for churches!

Kathy R.
Kathy R.

We can't wait to see these videos. We have recently felt very strongly about teaching our children the Bible on a much deeper level. I think these videos will be great tools-just as Veggie Tales have been!!

Mark Byerly
Mark Byerly

Phil, Thanks for what you're doing. Everything is great! Especially your Big Bang comment! Thanks again. Mark

Phil Sawatsky
Phil Sawatsky

Hi Phil, This blog post is actually the first time I'd had that explained to me. Thanks! A question about the downloadable movies because I'm North of Niagara Falls and am too cheap to pay for shipping: Do the digital downloads for sale on this site come with the menus and bonus features that the DVDs have? What file format are they in? I'm looking into getting a digital media player so all my Veggie Tales discs don't get scratched and slobbered on! Hope to also be able to use them on my ipod. Also I wonder if you have any apps in the works? If you offer them for sale on iTunes I might purchase them that was as well. Apprehensively appreciative, Phil

charley gordon
charley gordon

Hi Phil- Great explanation. We Christians can claim the high ground when it comes to the Big Bang. It is strongly supported by science and completely baffles atheists. What is perplexing is that some denominations don't like it. It just shows what happens when God says "let there be light"- BANG!

Doug Hanna
Doug Hanna

Nicely written Phil! I actually recently wrote a screenplay featuring a Christian explanation of The Big Bang Theory. Itching for DVD Number Three! -Doug!

Josh Stone
Josh Stone

Phil, Thank you so much for posting this explanation. You have done it again, taking an extremely controversial topic and providing rational (and at times humorous) commentary. Thanks!

Barbara Graves
Barbara Graves

Awesome answer! Though, I was so busy laughing through the DVD, that I didn't stop to think that someone might complain about the joke! Seriously, we have lots of theories, but I haven't met anyone yet with a video of creation!! God did it. How exactly, or when? Maybe one day He'll show us. Until then, I'm loving the "What's in the Bible?" series. I showed a portion in our children's church last week, and I can't tell you who laughed more, the kids or the volunteers serving with us that day. But I can tell you who was up at midnight, watching the bonus features at her desk..... Praying many blessings as you continue telling these stories of God to our kids (and us children's pastors, too)

Mark
Mark

Big Bang is so often associated with evolution, I can see where people would be confused by the reference. However, I also like the bumper sticker from when it was finally accepted by scientists. "I believe in the big bang. God spoke and BANG, it happened."