Creation of Universe: Biblical and astronomical point of views
How the universe was created? It sounds very hard question, but modern science answered how the universe was created. Then, we may ask does this agree with the record in the Bible?
a) Creation of the Universe from astronomical observations
To answer this question, first we need to know the structure of the universe. Our universe is enormously large. Earth is one of the eight planets orbiting around the sun. Alpha Centauri is the nearest star from the sun and will take about 4.5 million years if we travel by airplane and 4.3 years if we travel at the velocity of light.
Fig. 10. Our Galaxy. It will take about 110 billion years to cross with airplane.
The Andromeda galaxy is the nearest galaxy from us and will take about 2.5 million years if we travel at the speed of light. Our galaxy (Fig. 10) and Andromeda galaxy belong to Local Group and the Local Group itself belongs to Local Supercluster which in turn belongs to Supercluster. The overall structure of the universe can be visible if we reach to this scale length. The structure of the universe appears as a collection of giant bubble-like voids separated by sheets and filaments of galaxies, with the superclusters appearing as occasional relatively dense nodes (Fig. 11).
Fig. 11. Collection of about 60 thousands galaxies.
Our universe was created about 13.7 billion years ago from Big Bang of an enormously dense singular point. Right after the Big Bang, our universe was filled with relativistic particles and entered radiation-dominated era. Subsequently, it entered inflation era and undergone dramatic change: the size of the universe has grown about 1050 times in a brief moment of time. The space created during this period formed a basis of the sky we currently observe. After inflation era, the universe went through quark epoch, hadron epoch, lepton epoch, and photon epoch. After photon epoch, matter-dominated universe started and formed nucleus and elements from which stars and galaxies were formed. After the formation of galaxies, our universe does not undergo a dramatic changes but gradually expand as a result of inflation. This is the current picture of the universe.
Fig. 12. Bigbang. At the beginning, our universe was filled with the light.
b) Creation of the Universe recorded in various religions.
Before discussing the creation of universe written in the Bible, let’s first look at what other religions tell us about it. Most of the religions were originated long before the Big Bang theory was known. So, it will be interesting to see if any of the religions can describe the origin of the universe correctly or not. The result can be served as a criterion for which religion is a true or not.
Buddhism explains the origin of the universe with karma. In the beginning of the universe, there was a karma inside people from which wind flowed and formed a windwheel. Subsequently, a waterwheel and an earthwheel were formed. On the earthwheel, Mt. Sumeru, 4 continents, 9 mountains, and 8 oceans were formed. Humans were living in one of the 4 continents. The height of the Mt. Sumeru which is located in the center of the universe is 1.1 million km (about 3 times the distance between the Earth and Moon) and a half of the mountain is submerged under the water and another half is stood above the water. The sun, moon, and stars are moving around the Mt. Sumeru.
If we carefully examine the Buddhism cosmology we can notice that it is based on human’s idea since it uses wind, water, earth, mountain, and ocean to explain the origin and structure of the universe. Furthermore, it explains the location of 4 continents with directions that can only be applied on Earth; i.e., east, west, north, and south (EWNS). The EWNS directions can be defined with respect to the magnetic field of the Earth. If we see a certain place on Earth from space there will be no meaning of the EWNS directions due to Earth's rotation. New York lies on the east of the Los Angeles on Earth, but it will lie west of Los Angeles if you see it in the space 12 hours later. Even on the surface of the Earth, the north and south directions can be flipped due to the geomagnetic reversal occuring in every 250,000 years on average.
The creation of the universe described in Hindu is similar to that of the Buddhism. The universe is created by Brahma who is born from lotus leaf sprung from the belly button of the Vishnu while she was sleeping on the surface of the water. The universe created by Brahma has a mountain called Sumeru in the center around which a land encompasses and an India lies in a part of the land.
In Taoism, creation of the universe starts with Wuji from which Taiji emerged. Taiji is qi in its complementary aspects of Yin and Yang. It is the “dance” – i.e. the continual transformations – of Yin and Yang that fuels the flow of qi. This stage represents the emergence of duality/polarity out of the unity of Tao. From this dance of Yin and Yang the five elements: wood, fire, metal, water, and earth emerged. From the five elements come the “ten-thousand things,” i.e. all of manifest existence, all of the inhabitants of the world that we experience.
Chinese mythology describes the origin of the universe with Pangu legend. According to the legend, there a formless chaos in the universe and this chaos coalesced into a cosmic egg from which Pangu emerged. Pangu set about the task of creating the world: he separated Yin from Yang with a swing of his giant axe, creating the earth and sky. To keep them separated, Pangu stood between them and pushed up the Sky. After 18,000 years had elapsed, Pangu was laid to rest and his breath became the wind; his voice the thunder; left eye the sun and right eye the moon; his body became the mountain and extremes of the world; his blood formed rivers; his muscles the fertile lands; his facial hair the stars and milky way; his fur the bushes and forests; his bones the valuable minerals; his bone marrows sacred diamonds; his sweat fell as rain; and the fleas on his fur carried by the wind became the fish and animals throughout the land.
There’s no specific explanation of the creation of universe in Islam except that the universe was created with truth as written in Quran 16:3.
So far, we’ve reviewed how the various regions describe the creation of the universe, but all of them are more like a mythological story rather than what modern astronomy have found.
d) Creation of the Universe in the Bible
Now, let’s turn our attention to the creation of universe written in the Bible. The creation of the universe is specifically written in Chapter 1 of the Genesis (the first book of the Bible):
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)”
The detailed description follows in Chapter 1:3 where we can find an amazing work of God:
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light (Genesis 1:3).
What this means is that the creation of the universe started with the creation of light. This is exactly the same as how the Big Bang was started. According to the Big Bang, our universe was started with a full of light (radiation-dominated era). It is quite amazing to see both descriptions correspond to each other.
Another amazing work God has done follows in the second day of Creation:
And God said, "Let there be an expanse...” (Genesis 1:7).
God created the expanse (space) in the second day of the creation. Right after the Big Bang, universe has undergone inflation era during which the size of the universe has expanded to 1050 times and formed the basis of the sky we currently observe. The creation of the expanse refers to this event. It is also quite amazing to see the correspondence of both descriptions.
Now, let’s go back to the Bible. God created earth, ocean, and plants on the 3rd day, sun, moon, and stars on the 4th day, birds and fish on the 5th day, animals and human on the 6th day, and rested on the 7th day. The estimated ages of the plants and animals from fossil record correspond to the sequence of God’s creation; the oldest to the newest are plants, fish, birds, animals, and human being.
This result along with the correct description of the creation of the universe were already written in the Bible by Moses about 3,500 years ago. This suggests that the Bible was written by inspiration of God and not just philosophical or mythological records like other religions, but true records of God's Words.