All Christians believe that God created the universe, but few give much thought to when or how.
In surveys, most Christians who attend church regularly say that God created everything in six days, less than 10,000 years ago. In view of modern knowledge, many have secret doubts about the timing.
It's a troubling issue because astronomy, geology, biology, archaeology and dozens of scientific testing methods show that the earth is billions of years old, and this is what is being taught in all public schools and universities throughout the world.
Lacking confidence in their stated position, Christians are usually reluctant to engage in conversation on this subject with well-educated people.
This page can build your confidence in the Bible and create a desire to talk about it with family, friends and acquaintances.
Within the past 80 years, the scientific community has completely changed from the steady-state theory (the universe had no beginning or end in time) to the big bang theory (the universe had a specific moment of beginning) – 3,500 years after the Bible said it first!
Doubters and unbelievers want evidence that Christians know what they're talking about, from personal thought and study, and that Christians are aware of major scientific findings. Science is the gradual discovery and investigation of God's amazing design plan.
This page tells the interesting story of how science has come into alignment with the first two verses of the Bible. It's a good story you can weave into your Christian witness.
When confident and informed, Christians become interesting conversationalists on spiritual topics, and soon people begin asking a wide range of questions about God and the Bible.
This page has enough information to enable you to have an enlightened spiritual conversation with anyone about the Big Bang theory of the earth's origin.
Most Christians just shrug off the questions here by saying, 'It doesn't matter to me whether the earth is young or old. Big Bang, or not. It doesn't make any difference.'
But this response misses the real issue: It's not about ME! It's about THEM!
Bible credibility is the issue. If the Bible is wrong about origin and age of the earth, doubters and unbelievers can reasonably conclude that it is probably wrong about other matters, too, and that the Bible cannot be trusted as a book of truth.
Similarly, personal testimony is greatly diminished if others think Christians are uneducated, naive, or brain-washed.
It's important to get it right about the earth in order to establish respect and influence.
Maybe the subject will never come up in open conversation, but every Christian should be ready if it does. Even if doubters don't raise the issue, they think about it! In some situations, a Christian should raise the issue just to flush out hidden misunderstandings and establish better rapport
Until the 1960s, scientists held to the steady-state theory that the universe had 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 the earth had a beginning.
The first use of the term 'big bang' was by astronomer Fred Hoyle in a BBC broadcast in 1949 when he said that a new theory was being proposed by some radical astronomers 'based on the hypothesis that all matter in the universe was created in one big bang at a particular time in the remote past.' He argued against the theory and said it was 'irrational and outside science.'
However, as a result of better telescopes and computers, by the 1980s the 'Big Bang' had become the dominant explanation by astronomers and astrophysicists.
Romans 5 ... vage
If I had not come ... clear
Jesus over Paul
Consistent with rest of Bible
All authority is from Jesus (verse above). Not church, not tradition, not Saint Augustine, not even Apostle Paul.
When we must choose between two or more possible interpretations, we should always choose the interpretation most in accord with what Jesus said.
Concerning Adam and original sin, what did Jesus say? Nothing. Complete silence. Nothing there, so nothing to talk about. There is no record of Jesus ever even mentioning Adam's name. Jesus talked only about our own choices and our own sins.
Original sin is a concept developed by theologians hundreds of years after Jesus and is defended now primarily based on church tradition rather than words of scripture.
We should not add to Jesus' teachings, especially when the add-on is absent or contradictory to his teachings.
Jesus said that our mission is to 'make disciples.' The doctrine of original sin is a human-made barrier to Christian faith and a hindrance to our mission. It demeans God's character, causing doubters and unbelievers to see God as cruel and vindictive rather than loving and just.
Not only did Jesus say nothing about the doctrine of original sin, he made statements that contradict the doctrine:
➤ The closest thing Jesus said on the subject of inherited sin is in John 9:1-3: 'As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Neither this man nor his parents, said Jesus, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'
➤ In John 3:18 Jesus said, 'Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.' By this statement – 'whoever does not believe' – Jesus is saying that people are not condemned at birth but are condemned by personal volition.
➤ John 5:24, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned.' By this statement – 'will not be condemned' (future tense) – Jesus is saying that people are not condemned at birth but are condemned for not believing his words.
➤ John 15:22 Jesus said, 'If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.' By this statement – 'would not be guilty of sin' (conditional) – Jesus is saying that people are not condemned at birth but are condemned by their own sin.
Protestant and Catholic branches of Christianity and hundreds of sub-branches within them all base their beliefs on the same original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, and each branch has excellent scholarship regarding how those words were used and understood at the time and place of the people to whom they were written.
All Christian traditions are in essential agreement on the basics: There is one God, sovereign creator of heaven and earth. God is a Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and we can have a personal relationship with Him. Man is a sinner in need of a Savior (Jesus), who died as a sacrifice for our sins. We should love God and others, and live a life of service in accordance with the Bible. After death, there will be resurrection and judgment. Some people will be saved and go to heaven, and others will go to hell.
But on details and subordinate issues – like original sin – there are major differences in interpretation of the original texts. Each religious group has its own seminaries which teach its own views, adding and expanding over the centuries on what the original manuscripts actually say.
Even though the United States is known as a Christian country, the general population today hardly knows what to believe because so much of the Bible has become convoluted, contradictory, and even repulsive. Increasingly, people are becoming agnostic with thoughts like this: 'I don't know what to believe, and I don't think anyone can really know.'
Christians have contributed greatly to this problem by claiming that the Bible says more than it actually says. We should not add to scripture, and we should test our interpretations by what Jesus said.
A good interpretation principle is to remember that scripture – like the portion of the letter studied here from the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome – was intended to be read to gatherings of ordinary people, not to be debated and stretched by theologians. The recipients were mostly new Christians, coming either from an upbringing in a Jewish synagog or in a pagan temple.
If those people would not recognize an alleged concept within the words being read to them, it probably isn't the concept intended, especially if there is no special effort to explain it.
Jesus said that there is an important connection between heart (feeling) and mind (thinking), and that they are equally important in loving God.
And yet, even though coming clearly and directly from the lips of Jesus, the command to love God with your mind seems like a strange statement to most Christians today.
Over the centuries since Jesus, people have been taught to believe that deep thinking about God's WORD should be left to theologians and pastors ... that deep thinking about God's WORLD should be left to scientists ... and ordinary Christians should just strive for good feelings.
True Christianity is about faith, but it's impossible to build a solid faith on fluctuating feelings. One person's feelings are different than another person's feelings ... an here today, but gone tomorrow ... all with shifting shades of meaning and intensity.
Strong and lasting faith requires facts and understanding, and that's where thinking comes in. Thinking builds the solid foundation. Later, feelings will confirm the reality and give comfort and joy.
Loving God with our mind is hardly ever mentioned in churches these days because emphasis is on arousing feelings though music and preaching.
It's a lazy form of Christianity just to believe whatever spiritual leaders tell us, or what a casual reading of the Bible tells us, and then sit back and wait for the next wave of feelings.
It takes time and dedication to study scripture (God's word) and science (God's world) to know God's purposes and methods as best we can understand them ... a form of worship and preparation for service, obeying Jesus' command to 'love God with all your mind.'
There is probably no topic more awesome and inspiring than the Big Bang, God's instant creation of the universe and then the gradual unfolding of His master plan with majestic precision over billions of years. It's worship just to think about it!
It's exciting because God allows us to understand more of His plan and methods with each passing year, individually and collectively, at an accelerating pace.
It pleases God when we investigate His WORD and His WORLD for new facts and insights to clarify and strengthen our faith ... and to prepare us for intelligent dialog with the secular world.