“In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1
So much has been written about these three words, can we really add anything else to the conversation? I don’t think so, but perhaps we can take some things away.
Try to imagine what someone hears when they read these words for the first time. The obvious thing we see is that there was a beginning.
As we consider that simple statement, questions quickly come to mind. Does this apply to everything that exists? And if so, what existed before that?
We may have answers at the ready, but they don’t come from these three words. Some of those answers are in Scripture, and some are in science. Some we have yet to find.
The Bible doesn’t always answer the questions it raises.
Science does not have clear answers to these questions. It works with what can be measured and verified. It may project into what it cannot see, but that is always the result of speculation. (For more on this, see my post Afraid I Don’t Have An Answer.)
This explains why the scientific community was so excited when they were able to measure something that allowed them to project back to the beginning of the universe.
The COBE satellite, launched in 1989, was able to measure the background radiation in the universe. These measurements pointed to an explosive beginning.
George Smoot, who would win the Nobel Prize in 2006 for his work on COBE, famously said, “If you’re religious, it’s like seeing God.” The resulting “Big Bang Theory” is now a fixture in modern science and culture.
How this happened, and how long ago, are still the subject of much scientific investigation. But the fact is, strong evidence exists for a beginning to our world as we know it now.
On this small, but foundational assertion, the Bible and science stand together. While their paths may immediately separate, many of the questions we ask of Scripture are the same that science asks of its theories.
Questions about the origin of the universe, and the laws that govern the existence of matter may not fascinate everyone. But they are questions at which we should allow ourselves to marvel.
Perhaps the confidence some believers have in their faith of makes these questions unimportant. But other believers find them all the more compelling, believing that the God of creation has revealed himself in the answers.
The security of our faith provides a foundation from which we can willingly enter into the questioning of others.
Finding common ground, and working out from there, is an excellent place to start.