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The Big Bang, Creationism And Evolution

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Since the dawn of man, humans have striven to explain the many mysteries of the universe, and to explain how it began. Throughout this journey, numerous standpoints on existence have evolved and merged into a complex, abstract manifestation called religion. However, as the human race has grown and advanced itself, many ideas expressed by religion seem less and less plausible. Advances in science and technology have yielded a new breed of human thought that has disturbed and shaken the foundations of religious ideology. Our new, scientifically grounded understanding of the universe has unfolded a plethora of answers to age-old questions, which oppose the explanations offered by religion. As strong scientific evidence has surfaced which is contrary to the prevailing religious view, open-minded believers have adapted their beliefs accordingly, but many fundamentalists refuse to accept scientific evidence. This is the root of the dilemma between science and religion. Many scientists and theists have offered their views concerning the ongoing battle between the scientific �big bang’ theory and the religious creation stories.

The Big Bang theory is the major scientific theory about the origin of the universe. According to this theory, the universe was created between 10 billion and 20 billion years ago from a cosmic explosion that sent matter flying in all directions, consequently creating the universe. Before the Big Bang, every part of the universe was tightly compacted together during a very dense phase. When the explosion occurred, every particle of all that our universe consists of shot out in every direction in that one instant. It is believed that the universe expanded rapidly in its first microseconds, but then slowed, a process called inflation. This process explains how the universe appears similar to a type of flat space. However, we see only a tiny region of the original universe, so we don't notice the curvature. The inflationary universe also shows why the universe appears so uniform. If the universe we observe was inflated from some small, original region, it isn’t surprising that it looks consistent. At about 10,000 years after the Big Bang, the temperature had fallen so much that massive particles began to take form in the universe, rather than the light and other radiation alone. This change in the form of the main matter density meant that the gravitational forces between the massive particles could begin to take effects. This means that if any kind of small disturbance occurred, the density of these particles would increase. About 100,000 years after the Big Bang, the temperature of the universe had dropped enough that electrons and protons were able to combine into hydrogen atoms. This stage is known as nucleosynthesis. “Also, the bulk of helium and deuterium in the universe today was created during this period…thus all theories about the origin of the universe, must correlate to the amount of helium and deuterium we measure today” (Fox, 2002, 178). Roughly eight billion years after the Big Bang, our solar system formed. A large gaseous cloud called the solar nebula (with a mass two to three times of our Sun) was disturbed, possibly by a nearby supernova. The push resulted in the gravitational force taking over and causing the cloud to collapse. As it collapsed, angular momentum caused it to spin faster, thereby becoming warmer. As the forces of gravity, gas pressure, magnetic fields, and rotation acted on it, the nebula began to flatten into a proto-planetary disk. The cloud of dust and gas making up this disk gave rise to the various planets. The inner area was very warm, so mostly metals form the planets nearest the center. The big bang theory seems to make perfect scientific sense. But what would cause anyone to doubt it? The answer to that question is the belief in God and creationism. (Fox, 2002, 175-179).

To best explain the theory of creationism it is best to simply state what is said in the bible. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1). Here, God made the first day and night. “The waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament” dry land and seas and plants and trees which grew fruit; the sun, moon and stars shined light upon the earth; making air-breathing sea creatures and birds, and on the sixth day, the animals of the earth of all sorts. “Then God said, Let us make man in our image ... in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1). On the Sabbath day (seventh day) God rested from the task of completing the heavens and the earth: “So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation” (Genesis 2:1). It is clear from these passages what theologians believe. They believe that an all knowing, omnipotent God created the universe and all of humanity in 6 days, resting on the seventh, holy Sabbath day (MacArthur, 1999, 31-35).

Many religious thinkers have been forced to compromise their position, and have attempted to blend scientific fact with biblical accounts of the age of the earth. Many theists contend that the words of the bible are metaphorical, and can be interpreted in a way that reconciles the biblical account of the earth's age with scientific fact. According to Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, the earth was created in six days: “…And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31) (MacArthur, 1999, 168). They argue that other passages in the book of Genesis can be interpreted to mean that a day to God can be thousands of years, and because of this, the Earth could have been created over a much longer timeframe than six days, and can could possibly be as old as science proves it to be. However, this seems to be a weak point in the argument on behalf of the biblical age of Earth. When questioning the validity of the Bible as a literal work, it opens up the possibility that Christianity may be wrong. When religious thinkers accept scientific fact and try to compare it with the bible, the validity of the entire faith has been undermined, and this puts any biblical based argument on shaky ground (Philippidis, 1995, 190-192).

Another problem sought to be resolved by both religion and science, is the question of mankind's origin. Modern science has provided many explanations concerning the origin of man, which contradict the traditional idea of creation. The best known of these explanations

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