Until the 1960's, scientists held to the Steady State theory that the universe has no beginning or end in time and that the earth has always existed in one form or another. They scoffed at the Bible for saying that the earth had a beginning.
The first use of the term 'big bang' was by physicist Fred Hoyle on a BBC broadcast in 1949 when he used it to contrast the Steady State theory to an emerging the hypothesis that all matter of the universe was created in one big bang at a particular time in the remote past, a concept he argued against and said was 'irrational and outside science.'
But, as a result of better telescopes and the results of experimental observations of the universe's constant expansion by Edwin Hubble and others, by the 1980's the 'big bang' was the preferred term used by astronomers and astrophysicists.
Today, the big bang theory is the predominant explanation of how the universe began and is now generally regarded as settled science. The theory says that the universe started with a 'singularity' (Christians say 'God'), then exploded, expanding and cooling over the next 13.8 billion years into the cosmos we know today – and it's still expanding!
In the first second after the universe began, the surrounding temperature reached about 10 billion degrees Fahrenheit according to NASA, heat so intense that light could not penetrate it.
The Bible says that in the beginning the earth was formless and empty – just gasses, everything vaporized.
There was darkness over the face of the deep – light could not penetrate the extreme heat, and the earth was a deep mass of swirling vapor.
The spirit of God was hovering over the waters (as steam was condensing) – God was giving special attention to planet earth because he planned to do something special here.
There are no natural explanations for the universe, either its existence or its purpose.
If the big bang is the beginning of nature, then some intelligence and power outside of nature, and above nature, had to trigger the big bang, to start everything out of nothing, and to establish those predetermined laws of nuclear energy, physics and chemistry that enabled it happen with orderly precision.
Christians believe that only divine intelligence and power could create a universe of such magnitude, majesty and precision.
Apparently it took billions of years – the time between Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 1:3 – for the earth to cool and form a solid crust.
Then God began shaping the earth and putting life on it. In the first stage of transformation, light starts glowing through the thinning cloud cover, the basic energy essential for all life. The six stages are summarized and explained in Origin 1.2.
The compiler/writer of Genesis (generally thought to be Moses) could not have had this scientific insight more than three thousand years ago without special revelation from God.
The earth is still cooling. It is still a whirling glob of molten rock, 8,000 miles in diameter, with a 25-mile crust which supports life, unknown anywhere else in the universe. The place where we live is so awesome that it is almost incomprehensible.
Genesis 1 and the scientific community are now in essential agreement about the beginning of our physical world, the world of atoms.
But there's also another part of our world – the non-physical part – which is the human soul (mind, will and emotion) and spirit (connection to God). Those parts began in a time/place the Bible calls the Garden of Eden, explained in Origin 1.3.
Science investigates only the physical world. Theology investigates the non-physical world. Theology continues where science ends.
There can be no difference between true science and true Christianity because both seek truth – and there is only one truth! Science inquires into the physical, and Christianity inquires into the spiritual, but both are part of the same integrated whole.
Conflicts between science and the Bible have resulted from lack of information and analysis at particular times in history. For example:
Today Christians have no problem believing that the earth is round and rotates around the sun; they regard the Bible references as figures of speech, not scientific statements, but this acknowledgment has not diminished the Bible's central message.
Today scientists have no problem believing that the earth had a beginning, but this acknowledgment has not upset scientific principles.
The views of scientists and Christians eventually come together in light of new information and understanding. Meanwhile, whatever conflicts may still exist are NOT ESSENTIAL ISSUES for either Christian faith or scientific discovery.