Today we will apply the advice of apologist Sean McDowell. McDowell, son of “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” apologist Josh McDowell and an author and college professor in his own right, suggests:
#Apologetics Tip of the Day: Arguments must be presented in a way that is faithful to Christ. Both the medium and the message matter.
— Sean McDowell (@Sean_McDowell)
November 8, 2017
With his PhD and years of experience, starting no doubt as a child at the foot of his apologist father, many Christians turn to McDowell for advice on witnessing. And what he provides above is solid advice. So here’s the question: is using the Big Bang as a witnessing tool to back up the Biblical account being faithful to Christ? Let me answer as Jesus often did: with a question. Would you use the details of the back story of Superman to support the miraculous powers of Jesus? Such a story (a work of fiction I would remind you) might go something like this:
Jesus came to earth, a stranger from a strange land which some call heaven, others call Krypton. Growing up from the time he was a baby he soon discovered the light of our yellow sun gave him miraculous powers. He found he could control nature, heal the sick, feed the hungry, even raise the dead. Such powers made him immensely popular with crowds which is why he would often walk across the waters to his fortress of solitude to get away from the crowds for some quiet time with the father or to prepare for his meetings with the Justice League. But his arch enemy, Judas Luther found a way to betray him and have him killed. But being the Son of God, not even death could hold him. He rose from the dead like the superman that he is, and used his super strength to roll back the stone and appear to the guards. Then he flew up into the sky so everyone could see him, and told everyone as he flew to spread the message starting from Jerusalem. Then he disappeared into the clouds as his disciples watched. That’s why we share the gospel message today.
Would this be a good way to spread the gospel? I’m quite sure Sean McDowell would tell you no. Why? Because it is not faithful to Christ. And it’s not faithful to the message of the gospel. Like the devil in “The Exorcist” it mixes lies with the truth – a common tactic of the evil one. But poison coated with candy is still poison. So while some of the details look familiar – because some of the details are true, overall the story is false. It’s one big lie. It’s a whole other story. It’s not the message of Christ. It is not faithful to what the gospels depict. Because of all the insertions of details from the comic book tales of Superman, it’s not true. And so overall I will tell you it’s an inaccurate account not to be believed.
Yet this is precisely what many apologists do when they buy into the lie that with the big bang, “we are dealing with the scientific version of the story of Genesis” as Prof Avi Loeb of Harvard puts it. And so such apologists join with Bible doubting, God denying secular scientists, and insist on claiming that the Big Bang is true so they can use it as evidence of the Biblical creation. Many big name apologists and defenders of the faith fall into this trap. Names such as William Lane Craig (who I studied apologetics under at Trinity Seminary), Hugh Ross and his “Reasons to Believe” ministry. And many Intelligent design advocates and think tanks such as the Discovery institute.
Here we have the reverse situation of an observation I made in my previous article: Whereas ID proponents accuse creationists of trying to squeeze the Bible into science; here we see the big bang supporters trying to squeeze the big bang into the Bible. Many of them really believe the big bang is a scientific presentation of the Genesis creation account. But as I have pointed out a number of times, the two accounts are irreconcilable. They vary in many aspects, and particularly in time duration, purpose and sequence.
I have spoken much of the time difference between the two versions (6 days to create the universe according to the bible versus Billions of years according to the big bang) including in my previous article, so I will not re-examine that here. The difference in purpose is obvious: the purpose of the big bang is to explain why the universe exists without invoking God. The Biblical account exists to give us the true history of the universe while introducing us to the creator of that universe.
Which leads us to the evidence for the third leg of the trio of differences noted above which I will present here: differences in the sequence of events. The Biblical sequence of events is clear. Here is a simplified version of it:
1. Earth was created first, out of water (Gen 1.2),
2. God provided light (Gen 1.3),
3. God created a place for the stars called the “expanse” (Gen 1.6),
4. Vegetation is created on the third day (Gen 1.11),
5. On day 4 God creates the Sun, moon and the stars (Gen 1.14-19)
6. God creates humans on day 6 (Gen 1.26-31)
Here is a simplified version of the Big Bang sequence of events:
1. There is a “singularity” (The term they use for the one-time event where time matter and energy explode into existence. An event they can’t explain, and which does not fit into any of the current laws of physics.)
2. The Singularity creates hydrogen mostly, and trace amounts of helium, along with space and time.
3. The universe begins to cool leaving it dark in a “black fog of hydrogen” for 100 million of years. Depending on who you listen to either regular gravity or dark matter gravity collapses some areas and heats the hydrogen enough to become plasma, eventually hitting between 100 – 180 million degrees – hot enough according to JET  – to generate nuclear fusion and create a star.
4. Thousands of stars are created and die (explode) to produce the heavy elements needed for life and shower those elements into the universe.
5. Planets form from rocks (not water) ejected from super novas (exploding stars)
6. Life evolves from lifeless chemicals (chemical evolution)
Comparing to the two versions:
The biblical account has all things starting as an act of volition by God
There is no reason for the singularity, nor an explanation of where it came from or how. (Things science is normally interested in.)
Genesis starts with the earth made from water
The big bang starts with stars made from plasma
Light is visible by the end of day 1 in the Biblical account
Light is not visible for 100 million years according to big bang theorists
Life (vegetation) exists before stars in the biblical account
Life is impossible before stars according to the big bang because stars make the elements necessary for life
The earth is older than the stars according to the biblical account
The earth being older than the stars is an impossibility according to the big bang – stars must come first to create the elements necessary to make the earth
God created humans on day six
Humans evolved over millions of years, after the earth took billions of years to form
So even if you believe in the day-age theory (each day in Genesis is millions or billions of years), and think things happened sequentially in the same manner, even that theory fails. Clearly even the sequence of events and the details of those events between the two are irreconcilable.
There’s a classic line made by Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men.” The defense attorney, played by Tom Cruise, is pressing for the truth from the self-assured, arrogant Col. Jessep played by Nicholson. In response to a demand for the truth the colonel barks out “You can’t handle the truth.” That is a classic not only because it fits the character, scene and movie so well, but because it has such wide spread application. Many times when people can’t handle the truth they make up stories to avoid it. Stories like the Big Bang and Darwinian evolution – because they can’t handle the truth of having to account to an all powerful creator. This is also true for many Christians who want to squeeze the big bang into the Bible, apparently because they can’t handle the truth that the Big Bang account of origins is irreconcilable with the Biblical account of events. (A note to old earth/big bang believing Christians and Intelligent Design advocates – if the shoe fits…)
So back to McDowell’s advice: “Arguments must be presented in a way that is faithful to Christ.” Christ said,
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?
Jesus affirms the Genesis creation account by quoting from it, and in doing so re-affirms many truths such as: a creator of all things (ʹο κτισάς ), two sexes (male and female) existing from the beginning, and that beginning was the beginning that Genesis refers to – the 6 day creation beginning – not millions of years later. He also affirms the biblical reason for and model of a family. The big bang affirms none of these truths.
I understand why people are tempted to use the Big Bang to defend the faith. In this age of science, it seems like an open door to a science consuming generation. I also understand (as I point out in my previous article), some Christians are ashamed to admit to believing in the Genesis account of origins. But in this year of the 500th anniversary of the reformation, I ask you: Is selling people on the false idea of the big bang in order to interest them in the faith any different from the medieval Roman Catholic church selling people on the false idea of indulgences to support the church all those years ago? Would you support the Catholic Church resuming the practice of selling indulgences while teaching as truth the false story of their application? If you are against that abuse, why are you not against the abuse of the addition of the big bang to the Bible?
Believing the man made story of the Big Bang is true will help your faith as much as believing the man made story of the efficacy of indulgences will get you out of the non-biblical purgatory. That is to say belief in those extra-scriptural items won’t help you at all, rather it will hinder growing your faith in the truth of the scriptures. Luther was concerned with fidelity to the scriptures. That’s why he abhorred the practice of selling indulgences, which is not found anywhere in the Bible. Since the big bang is likewise nowhere to be found in scripture, I suspect if Martin Luther were nailing those 95 these  to the door at the Castle Church in Wittenberg today, they would be expanded to include the abuses of the many apologists trying to persuade people that the Bible is true because the big bang is true. That is a false proposition that couldn’t be further from the truth, and thus should be avoided like a medieval plague. Put your faith where it belongs: not in the fallible theories of man, but the true creator of all things: Jesus.
Duane Caldwell | posted November 14, 2017 | printer friendly version
1 Together, Josh and Sean McDowell have co-authored “Evidence that Demands a Verdict – Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World” (Harper Collins Publishers, 2017)
2. Prof Avi Loeb, Harvard Univ, ref. from Space’s Deepest Secrets episode “Quest For The First Star”, BBC/Science Channel Co-Production documentary, 2015
3. The Kalam Cosmological argument is a cornerstone of Craig’s apologetics, thus confirmation of the minor premise “The universe began to exist” is a key component. Therefore Craig has defended the Big Bang and used it in his apologetics for years, and you can find many examples of it. A couple of such examples: his book which he used as one of the texts in his apologetics class at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School:
Apologetics An Introduction, William Lane Craig, Chicago: Moody Press, 1984, pp. 81-91
And his recent work for popular consumption:
On Guard: Defending Your Faith With Reason and Precision, William Lane Craig, Colorado Springs, Co: David C. Cook Publishers, 2010, (Kindle edition) Loc 1377 – 1490
4. Hugh Ross is one of many defending the Bible by trying to use the Big Bang as support of a Biblical creation, though the facts don’t fit. One of his many articles on that topic:
“Big Bang—The Bible Taught It First!”, Hugh Ross , Reasons.org, June 30, 2000, https://reasons.org/explore/publications/rtb-101/read/rtb-101/2000/06/30/big-bang-the-bible-taught-it-first
5. “ID’s Top Six – The Origin of the Universe”, Evolution News | @DiscovderyCSC, November 7, 2017, https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/ids-top-six-the-origin-of-the-universe/Back
6. My previous article “Are You Ashamed to be a Creationist” highlights 4 evidences of a young universe.
7. Narrator – Space’s Deepest Secrets episode “Quest For The First Star”, BBC/Science Channel Co-Production documentary, 2015
8. Volker Bromm, University of Texas at Austin, using a super computer simulation claims stars can form using normal gravity.
ref. from Space’s Deepest Secrets episode “Quest For The First Star”
9.Carlos Frenk, Director of the Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham University, using a super computer simulation claims stars will form, but will explode before galaxies can form. The only way to get the universe we see today is to include dark matter in the simulation. For more see: Can the big bang explain star formation? note 8
10. JET – Joint European Torus – the World’s Largest experimental fusion reactor.
When physicist Brian Cox observed the process at JET, he noted fusion occurs at 100 million degrees.
– Prof Brian Cox, reference from Can we make a star on earth, BBC Horizon Documentary, 2009
More recently there’s a report:
“Jet research has confirmed that when hydrogen plasma reaches 180 million degrees,
a huge amount of energy is released from nuclear fusion.”
Space’s Deepest Secrets episode “Rise Of The Monster Stars”, Discovery Networks International documentary produced by Windfall Films Ltd., 2017
11. To create stars like our sun, Dr. Stefan Keller of the Australian National University explains:
“In a star like the sun – there’ve been about a thousand generations of stars before it.”
By generations Keller means stars that have existed before and exploded and seeded the universe with ever heavier elements. These are not sequential generations. Secularists believe the universe is 13.7 billion years old, and stars like our sun last about 10 billion years, so it cannot be sequential generations of stars.
Space’s Deepest Secrets episode “Quest for the First Star”, BBC/Science Channel Co-Production documentary, 2015
12. Big Bang theorists use the problematic Nebular Theory for their creation story of planets.
For more on the nebular theory/hypothesis see:
13. Evolutionists will play games on whether the theory of evolution includes chemical evolution because Darwin didn’t include it in his theory. Darwin started with two reproducing members of a species. But evolutionists use the term to explain life without intervention from God therefore they must necessarily include chemical evolution under the generic term “evolution” or they have no way to account for the origin of life.
For a bit more see the Meme Mistake on Evolution Can’t Explain the Origin of Life:
14. The rallying cry and the first of the five pillars of the reformation is “sola scriptura” – only by scripture: the scriptures are the only infallible guide for life and doctrine. For the other pillars, see here.
15.”Martin Luther posts 95 these”, History.com staff, History.com, 2009, accessed 11/9/17, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/martin-luther-posts-95-theses
All images – used by permission from the license holders as noted below
“500 Jahre Reformation”(500 Years of Reformation) © animalflora | Fotolia (used by permission); (Composite by Duane Caldwell)
“The Big Bang and Expansion of the universe” | NASA/WMAP Science Team (Public Doman)
Ironically, Sean McDowell has some weird views that are more closely aligned with Hugh Ross than with biblical creation science believers.
Perhaps, but as I said, if the shoe fits…
If he leads towards toward an old earth, perhaps this will help him re-think it. I tweeted a link to this to him.