Did the Universe Have a Beginning?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Everyone generally accepts that the universe did indeed have a beginning, from the theist to atheist. Both Stephen Hawking, atheist, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, and J. Warner Wallace, cold-case homicide detective and Christian apologist, have both reached the same conclusion.
Stephen Hawking, in his The Beginning of Time lecture, says:
The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago.
J. Warner Wallace in his book, God's Crime Scene, 37, says:
Given the quantity and diversity of this evidence, it is reasonable to infer the universe had a beginning; it is not infinitely old.
But that is where the similarity ends. People may agree on the fact that the universe had a beginning, but not what the beginning looked like or when it took place. Did God create the world in six days about 6000 years ago, or did it begin in the Big Bang? Another view says that God was the cause behind the Big Bang. So the real question we should be asking is not if the universe has a beginning, but how did it begin? Is it young or old? Is God or nature the first cause?
Is how and when the universe began a debate between Science and religion? It shouldn't be. Science in itself does not deny the existence of God. Oxford Dictionary defines science as "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment." Nowhere in this definition does it say that the physical and natural world is all there is. It says that science deals with the physical and natural world. Science uses the physical laws of nature but doesn't tell us where the laws came from. Science observes what can be seen, but doesn't attempt to answer the question of whether the unseen exists.
The Bible tells us that the heavens declare the glory of God (Ps 19:1), and through creation, His invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--are clearly seen, so that everyone is without excuse. (Rom 1:20)
There does not have to be a conflict. Science deals with the physical world and not the spiritual world. But that doesn't mean the spiritual realm doesn't exist. The spiritual world is where God is. If He created the physical universe, then he created science and the laws of nature. And He is in both realms.
Physics Teacher: “Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree when an apple fell on his head and he discovered gravity. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Student: “Yes sir, if he had been sitting in class looking at books like us, he wouldn’t have discovered anything.”