Day 37: Living Daily in Reality: Do Genesis and Science Agree About Time?

by Ernest O'Neill

How can God control the universe without turning us into robots ? Physicists like Everett opened the way to a possible answer when they suggested that there may be concomitant universes that exist alongside each other. This is one of the hypotheses presented to explain strange behavior of the tiny particles that make up our universe. They seem to influence and be influenced by each other even though separated by thousands of light-years. Just as Einstein showed that time goes faster or slower relative to space, so it is possible that an intelligent creator could create and reconcile various concomitant developments for your life depending on the choices you make. In that way he could "work all things according to the counsel of his will" without making you choose one way or the other.

This possibility of eternity existing alongside time becomes more probable as we see the convergence of physics with the Biblical account of creation. Schroeder, a scientist and theologian, points out the striking agreement between contemporary cosmologists and the Bible on the age of the universe.

Science generally bases the 16 billion year figure on the existence of cosmic background radiation (CBR) – this is the radiation that has filled the universe in all directions from the time of the big bang beginning. It acts like the clock of the universe because its temperature or frequency used to be millions and millions of times greater than the frigid -2.73K of space today. In our most advanced physics laboratories the temperature of space at the time of the big bang has been measured at about a million million times hotter than today. The stretching of the light waves has slowed the frequency of this cosmic clock so that perceived time is a million million times greater now than then.

This slowing of the cosmic clock is taken together with the gradual slowing expansion of the universe and applied mathematically to the difference between a starting temperature of (10.9 x 10 to the 12th degrees K) and the current space temperature of (-2.73 degrees K). Thus the six days of Genesis cover a gradually diminishing period of time and space, so that one is startled at how closely each day corresponds to the times and the developments observed by many scientists. While the Bible explains the why of creation and does not claim to explain the how, it’s important to see how in thirty-one verses it outlines the events of sixteen billion years in a way that is not incompatible with science.

Thus day one, from 15.75 billion years ago to 7.75 billion years ago saw the creation of the universe with light separating from darkness (Genesis 1-:1-5) or the big bang and light breaking free as electrons bond to atomic nuclei and galaxies form. Then day two, from 7.75 billion years ago to 3.75 billion saw the heavenly firmament formed (Genesis 1:6-8) and the disk of the Milky Way and the Sun. Then day three, from 3.75 billion years ago to 1.75 billion saw oceans and dry land – the first life, plants (Genesis 1:9-13) when the earth cooled and liquid water appeared with the first forms of life – bacteria and photosynthetic algae. Day four, from 1.75 billion years ago to .75 billion saw the sun, moon, and stars become visible (Gen 1:14-19) and earth’s atmosphere became transparent and photosynthesis produced our oxygen-rich atmosphere. Then day five from .75 billion years ago to .25 billion produces the first animal life in the water, with reptiles and winged animals (Gen 1:20-23) - the first multicellular animals, winged insects, and animal life with the basic body plans for all future animals. Finally, day six from .25 billion years ago to 6,000 years ago, land animal, mammals, and humans (Gen 1:24-31) when a massive extinction destroys over 90% of life and the land is repopulated by hominids and then human beings.

Both the Bible and science point thus to an infinity or eternity that contains time and to a universe where time and space affect and are affected by each other in ways that dwarf our local ideas of sequence and cause and effect. Clearly it’s a universe where its originator must be able to see it "all at once", and would say things like his son was "before all things" and was also the "first-born of all creation".

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