A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing (or How I Came to Love the Big Bang )
An old school friend once invited me to his Baptist church to speak to his youth group about science and the Bible. Courageously, he gave me the freedom to speak openly as an orthodox Christian who accepts the big bang. Despite the chilly temperature on that Wednesday evening and the announcement that there would be a science lecture (yawn), the young people came. They gave me a warm reception and their full attention as I launched into my talk. "How I Came to Love the Big Bang."
I started with a quotation from a Christian leader who, in no uncertain terms, condemns the big bang and everyone associated with it. Why, I asked these high school students, is this man so adamant? What is it about the big bang that makes many Christians react so emotionally, often with venom?
The answers they gave were straightforward and honest: "The big bang means there is no God," said one. "It proves Christianity is false," said another. "The big bang tramples on the Bible and says evolution is true."
These young men and women showed me a mirror image of myself as a teenager. A couple of decades ago I, too, had been fed a select diet of "facts" about the universe and its origin from Christian experts and various youth leaders. Like most of the students seated before me, I had been trained to see the big bang as a main weapon of attack against the Christian faith, wielded by " those atheistic evolutionists." The people who had led me to believe this way were all sincere Christians, for sure. They were deeply concerned about the youth in the Body of Christ, sincerely wanting to protect us from being led astray; they didn't want us to fall prey to the evils of secular humanism. But sincerity and good intentions do not equal truth.
What I shared with the sixty or so young people gathered that evening was a brief history of the big bang theory and the story of its other enemies. Another team rooting against the big bang, I told them, is comprised of the very people who many Christians say are its main proponents-- "those atheistic evolutionists." Some of these individuals have worked vigorously and vehemently during this century to tear down or replace the big bang model, despite the deluge of evidence supporting it. One major reason is that it limits the age of the universe to only about 15 to 20 billion years. Such a recent start date gives their strictly naturalistic processes far too little time to work; their "chance life in a chance universe" doesn't stand a chance, so to speak. Perhaps more to the heart of the matter, "those atheistic evolutionists" have been suggesting one alternative hypothesis after another expressly to avoid the unavoidable fact that the big bang means there was a beginning to "the whole show"; that all the matter, energy, and even the space and time in the universe burst into existence in a single spectacular moment. Therefore--and here is the real coup de grace--this beginning must have had a Beginner, causing and controlling it all. The big bang actually argues in favor of the existence of the God of the Bible. And the more we learn about it, the stronger the argument grows.
The young people were shocked at first, but they listened. They began to develop a whole new perspective, as I did some time ago, on the most dramatic of all cosmic events. They began to see that the big bang has been working for us, not against us, all these years, forcing people to see a Creator they didn't want to admit was really there, that perhaps they didn't want to deal with personally. At the same time, we Christians of the last few generations have tragically rejected this ancient, magnificent phenomenon, the big bang, treating it as a vile enemy We have dressed a sheep in wolf's clothing.
I know I'm shifting metaphors, but please bear with me. Let's picture a hammer. Like other tools. it can be used constructively or destructive!y. Given the skill and motivation, we can use it to build a beautiful edifice with foundations firmly embedded in rock (the Rock). Or we can see it as a dangerous weapon and toss it out, maybe clobbering someone with it in the process. After that evening at the Baptist church, there are, I hope, a few more young people in this next generation of Christians who are prepared to see the big bang for what it is--a marvelously constructive tool. They can use it as one of the greatest single physical evidences of the existence, transcendence, power, wisdom, and care of our Lord. They can use it to support their own faith and to help build the faith of others. My dream is that through the enlightened efforts of these young apologists some of "those atheistic evolutionists" might someday come to accept the facts about our origin and surrender their lives to the Living God.