I recently stumbled across an article in the Christian Post by Dr. Hugh Ross, the founder of the old earth Christian ministry Reasons to Believe. The article was entitled “Does the Bible teach Big Bang Cosmology?” and, predictably for an old earth group, Ross concludes it does. However, his logic is flawed on multiple levels as is his interpretation of Scripture. Since the Christian Post is not exactly friendly to Biblical creationists, it is unlikely a rebuttal article will appear there so I have elected to respond to Dr. Ross and attempt to educate him on his errors.
Ross’s first section is devoted to expounding on why he believes the Bible teaches the Big Bang. However, it is here he pulls a clever sleight of hand. He admits that the Bible does not specifically teach a Big Bang cosmology, but immediately claims that it is compatible with the text of Scripture in that it teaches the four fundamental features of the Big Bang. What Dr. Ross does not seem to understand is that correlation does not equal causation. In other words, just because the four fundamental features of the Big Bang match Scripture, does not eliminate other possibilities. This is, of course, assuming that the four fundamental features actually do match.
Ross’s four fundamental features look good on paper but do not hold up under scrutiny. His first point is the Bible describes creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). He is correct in making that statement but is incorrect in claiming that the Big Bang came from nothing. Most Big Bang theorists claim that the Big Bang originated from an infinitesimal dot. In other words, it was a dot so small, it was invisible and almost nothing. In order to make it mean nothing, they redefine the word nothing to mean something no cosmologist before the 1900s would recognize.
His second point is that the Bible describes an expansion of the universe from nothing. In this, he is somewhat correct. The Bible does describe an expansion but does not describe it as the result of a massive outrush of energy from an infinitesimal dot. Instead, it describes it as something God does supernaturally. However, even if the expansion were to happen naturally, this would not prove that there was a Big Bang. What it would prove is that the Bible was right. Multiple models could be proposed to account for expansion; it is not restricted to the Big Bang.
Ross’s third point is that the Bible predicts constant laws of physics which is also a fundamental prediction of the Big Bang. In this instance, Ross is just flat wrong. Constant laws of physics are predictions of a creator God making the world in a logical fashion. However, the Big Bang does not predict constant laws of physics. In fact, in a world that originated by chance random processes, you would not expect that physics would work at all, let alone consistently. The Big Bang also repeatedly violates known laws of physics such as in star formation or the formation of planets or going from disorder in the dot to an ordered universe.
The final point Ross says points to the Big Bang in the Bible is entropy, the running down of the universe. This is also questionable. In a post-fall world, cursed because of man’s sin, entropy is certainly in existence. However, prior to the fall, there is debate over whether entropy existed. In Dr. Ross’s mind, it undoubtedly did but I would question whether it happened prior to man’s sin. at least in the form, we know it today. So Dr. Ross’s fourth point is questionable at best.
Ross also conveniently ignores the fact that the Bible contradicts the order of the Big Bang. According to Scripture, earth and plants were created on day three, a day before the stars and solar bodies. According to the Big Bang, stars and planets existed millions of years before life on earth. In other words, the first three days of creation in the Bible do not match up with the Big Bangs order of events. Scripture is earth focused, the Big Bang is universe focused. According to Scripture, earth appears before the rest of the universe, not the other way around.
Ross goes on to respond to atheistic attacks on him and his ideas without ever once bothering to address Biblical creationists. Further, he does a significant misdirect, in focusing on church fathers who taught that the universe was created out of nothing, which, as we’ve seen, is not what the Big Bang actually teaches. Further, he relies heavily on the testimony of a Jewish scribe who interpreted the Torah to teach the aspects of creation he brought out to support his idea. Not entirely certain why the teachings of a rabbi are relevant to Scripture, but he does rely heavily on Maimonides, perhaps the best-known commentator on the Torah.
Unfortunately, Ross is making his typical error. He wants to trust secular science more than the plain truth revealed in Scripture. Given that the Scripture regularly contradicts the Big bang idea, it seems Ross is more willing to make man his authority than he is to make God his authority. It is quite sad as Ross has a great deal of influence with thousands of people and is causing them to also trust in man, rather than the infallible Word of the Living God. The Bible says that God spoke the world into existence, not that He used an explosion of near nothing to make everything.