difference between no creation and the existence of the universe is infinite. The question of why the universe
exists will remain an unfathomable mystery to science without considering a metaphysical cause.
The similarity and complexity of all life at the molecular, genetic level point to
a single origin and design. The repetitiveness and predictability of events point to existing laws. The wonder
of life is not how long it may have taken for it to arise from nonliving matter, but that it did happen – being
surrounded by incredible improbabilities. Life is both science (predictable laws) and a miracle (one-time event
outside of natural laws).
According to a model of our cosmic origin formulated by NASA, at first quantum
fluctuations took place in virtual (non-existing) space – before the existence of space, energy, and time. This
means that the laws of quantum mechanics predate the physical world and are timeless, abstract, and separate
from nature. This parallels the biblical posit of a timeless, non-physical Creator God having created the
Science and ancient Bible commentators agree that there was only one physical
beginning – the “big bang” or the “creation of heavens and earth”. All that exist is the condensed energy of the
big-bang creation (E = mc2). From our time perspective, billions of years ago the cosmic genesis started as intense,
concentrated energy – electromagnetic radiation akin to super-powerful light beams. The energy then
metamorphosed into the lightest elements, hydrogen and helium. These under the various gravitational forces and
immense pressures formed into heavier elements within stars and supernovae. Through the process, energy was
released appearing as star light. Bursts of supernovae released the 92 chemical elements which as stardust
remains reached the once molten earth in the form of rocks, water and simple molecules. These then gave rise to
life, including sentient beings with self-awareness, feelings and an inquiring mind.
The evidence of life is found in the earliest sedimentary rocks – DNA was already
in place and operating. When life appeared, it already had purpose – the ability to reproduce. To quote
physicist Paul Davies, life is “built into the scheme of things in a very basic way.”
Proteins are formed from amino acids arranged in a particular order. Amino acids
stem from coded information on the DNA (chromosomes) which consists of groupings of four nucleic acids. Twenty
different amino acids combined in various ways to form several hundred thousand proteins which gave rise to all
life on earth. Mutations do occur, but most are neutral or harmful. The probability of random mutations as the
engine of evolution is unimaginably small. Therefore another mechanism must be at work in the process of
progression from simple to complex.
The complexity of information in the natural order needs to be preserved and
sustained by a force or power, otherwise of and by itself, order degrades to chaos. In Genesis 1, the words
“evening” and “morning” have the root or implied meanings of “chaos” and “order” respectively. Through the word
of God, the chaos on earth gave way to life with proteins as building blocks.
Molecules have an amazing ability to “self-assemble” – this is build into the
structure of the universe. The incredible complexity of various processes at the quantum level points to an
intelligent mind being somehow embedded in them. Scientists have indeed begun to perceive a mind at work from
the beginning. They agree that the universe looks more like a great thought than a great machine. Quoting
atheist Michael Shermer, life can be seen as “a passing moment on the proscenium (front of the stage curtain) of
the cosmos”. Any theatre show, however, is directed from behind the stage curtain. Quoting the late biologist,
George Wald: “The stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is mind that has composed a
physical universe that breeds life and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create. ... In them the
universe begins to know itself.”
The Bible agrees. In John’s gospel we learn that “in the beginning was
the logos (Greek for logic or intellect)” – John
1:1. A few centuries earlier the psalmist wrote: “With the word of God the heavens were made.” (Ps 33:6).
Further, Genesis 1:1 states: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” A better translation
of the original Hebrew word in Genesis would be: With a first cause God created the heavens and the earth.” Proverbs 8:12, 22-24 shows this first cause to be
wisdom – a metaphysical emanation from the Creator. Wisdom, also perceived as logic, mind, or information, is
the essence of existence – a ubiquitous substrate of every particle of the world and most evident in the
brains and minds of humans as they wonder about their cosmic origins. The success of life is indeed “written into the fabric of the universe.” In a very real
sense, the world has a “mind of its own”!
The apparent contradiction of the Genesis six-day creation story and the
scientific estimate of the age of the universe being multiple billions of years can be accounted for by the fact
that the flow of time is flexible. The rate at which time passes varies according to the conditions and temporal
locations from which events are viewed. Ancient biblical commentators who wrote the Talmud understood this,
learning from the detailed wording of Genesis that the universe is young and old simultaneously. Hominids walked
the earth at the time of the biblical Adam and before, having human appearance but lacking the human
Much can be learned from both the Bible and nature. Both are complex sources of
wisdom that have intrigued and instructed peoples of all times, races and cultures.
Based on: God According to
God, Chapter 2, by Gerald L. Schroeder (HarperOne, New York, 2009).
Australian readers may find better values at Fishpond which sells discounted books and delivers them