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An article donated by Daniel Friedmann:

Is God necessary to explain the universe?

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About the author:

Daniel Friedmann is currently Chairman of the Board of Carbon Engineering, a company dedicated to removing CO2 from the air to reduce the rate of climate change. For 20 years, until 2016, he was CEO of a global communications and information company which built the space station robotic arms, and is involved in space exploration and the Hubble telescope. He is a professional engineer and holds a master’s degree in engineering physics. He has 30 years’ experience in the space industry. To learn more about Daniel Friedmann and his work, visit http://www.danielfriedmannbooks.ca/. 1

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If God created the world, why are scientists able to explain how it came about naturally? Or are they?

Let’s look for an answer in Genesis. When we read Genesis, we have to realize two things. One is that the whole first chapter of Genesis, which describes the creation of the world, is narrated not by God in his essential name YHVH, but by God in his name, Elokim. This name means "Master of all the forces." We know this because the root word is el, which means power. The second part of the name, hem/him, indicates ‘them’; in this case, ‘them’ means all the other powers. So Elokim means ‘the Power over all the powers.’ In other words, not only is God the Creator, as Genesis makes clear, but He is also the master over all of the forces of nature in the universe. So Genesis is telling us that God chose to accomplish the whole of creation by acting within nature. Of course, He created nature at the very beginning, and He could have created the universe in a way that would seem miraculous to us, but instead, He stayed within natural laws.

The second point we need to grasp is that most of the creation acts in Genesis are what we would call "making," meaning taking something and making it into something else. From hydrogen and helium, for example, the sun was made; in the same very general way, we would take wood and nails and make a chair. This means that the majority of the acts in Genesis involve taking something, making something else, and doing this within the laws of nature. This is precisely what science is all about: observing how something changes and explaining the change with a natural law. Hence, for all of those acts, science will have a completely natural explanation. Why? Because God chose to hide within nature and make all of these acts transpire naturally, so we could have free will. That’s why science is so successful at explaining how the universe came to be.

There are only three exceptions, when God worked through nature but started not from something that existed but from nothing. These events are creations out of nothing signified in Genesis by the Hebrew word "bara." One of these events relates to the history of the cosmos, the other two to the appearance of life. The cosmological something-from-nothing event occurred at the very beginning. So in the beginning, God created out of nothing.

And it is precisely this instant, the very beginning of the universe, that scientists cannot understand. Everything else in cosmology is well explained by the Big Bang theory. As physicist and author Brian Green explains in his bestselling book. "The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality:"

"The Big Bang theory delineates cosmic evolution from a split second after whatever happened to bring the universe into existence, but it says nothing at all about time zero itself. [Instead], we’re left rudderless in our quest to understand the beginning of time." 2

Scientists don’t know where time came from. They don’t know where space came from. They don’t know where the forces of nature came from, or why they are as they are. They don’t understand why we have the elementary particles we have identified, or why those particles have properties, such as mass and charge, with their particular observed values.

What happened in that first instant can’t be understood by science because science can’t deal with nothing. The Bible, on the other hand, contains an enormous amount of information about how this first instant happened -- how time, space, and the materials to make the universe came to be.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. book cover Daniel Friedmann & Dania Sheldon, "The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God’s Plan," Inspired Studies (Book 4; 2019), Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Available in Kindle, Audiobook and Paperback formats.
  2. book cover Brian Greene, "The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality," Vintage (2005). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.

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Original posting: 2019-MAY-25
Latest update: MAY-26
Author:
Daniel Friedmann
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