Friday, September 25, 2009

A Question of Faith

IN THE BEGINNING


...God created heaven and earth.

-or-

...there was a compact ball of energy and matter that
exploded then expanded and it formed the universe.
*******

Is there a real bare bones difference between the big bang theorist and they of faith in God when you get right down to it - right down to how the universe began and what brought it all about? (Please no comments on whether I got either one exactly right - you get the idea from what I wrote above.)

I ask because I have always wondered about that - it seems both have faith in something they truly do not understand though both believe they understand. What I mean is this - if you go back to the very beginning of the big bang theory there was something - it went bang - and everything else is made up of that. The whole universe resulted. In Christianity and some other religions if you go back to the beginning there was god and God created the rest of the universe. Both believe the universe, at least as we know it will come to a cataclysmic end but that the essence of the universe - what created it - will remain.

So, to me, it stands to reason that - in one the universe is made by something that always was and always will be - in the other it is essentially the exact same situation - the universe was made by a being that always was and always will be.

Another thing that I find curious is that in each belief - religious or scientific - it is said that there is a universal or overall connectedness. In other words in religion it is believed (at least in Christianity, Judaism and probably Islam) that one single God is all knowing. In science it is believed that everything is universal or all encompassing - all part of one thing and therefore if a being would be all knowing as it in itself is everything even though there are separate entities within it.

It absolutely amazes me that others do not or simply refuse to allow themselves to see these similarities - especially the one about the beginning - whichever belief is right - that of course is if either one is right.

So dear readers, what do you think?

Of course, you need not answer this or post it - but it is a question that I am always interested in and I would love to read what you have to say about it. You will get no argument from me on it, I am just looking for your view of it.

Now mind you - I am not asking about the followers of either belief system and how they are different in living their lives, nor am I asking about all the particulars of each belief system and how they are alike or differ, I am asking about the basic tenet of each - the bedrock so to speak - the beginning. Are they the same thing? I think they just might be the same - each
created the universe (which one depends on your view), each always was, is and always will be, each is all encompassing, each will remain once the universe ends as we know it, each is totally incomprehensible unless you take either one on faith.

So tell me, and be nice about it, what do you think when you get down to the bare essence of each belief - is there a difference in between them or just a difference in how we mere mortals view it all?

All the best,
Glenn B

Note: The above picture was found at this website: http://www.geocities.com/gccia02/faith.html. Despite there being no copyright for this pic on the page where I found it, I attempted to contact the owner of the site through the email link for permission to use the pic but the email was undeliverable to the address supplied. I then used the pic here as there was no copyright shown.

9 comments:

Jungle Mom said...

Since it seems your question is more about the faith involved than the science, I will only address that.
I happen to agree with you in that I think it takes just as much faith to believe in the Theory of Evolution as it does to beleive in Creationism. Both leave many unanswered questions as to what happened at the beggining.
You can see this 'religious faith' even in the way many scientist 'preach' and react on such an emotional level to anyone who disagrees with that belief. Almost as zealots.
Most people of faith react similarly to a contradiction of Creationism, because the involvement of God in our creation is a foundational truth to our Faith in God himself.
If I can not beleive the words of God, in that He claims to have created the Universe, how can I have faith in His other words? How can I know His Son can redeem me?
The difference in the two 'faiths' will effect our lives and how we live it, because if I believe in an all powerful, creator God, and an after life in His presence, I will be conscience of that future and that there is a set of absolute truths given to me by Him which I should heed.
If I do not believe in a creator God, I can surely still live this life as a moral person, I can make correct choices and live decently, but in the end I have to make all those choices and decisions based on my own will and desire.

The difference in the two beliefs goes back to that question... does God exist and if so, does he involve himself in the life of mere mortals? One's belief on that question will make a difference in how you live and view life.
I am not sure if this answers your question, if not ask me a more directly.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

In terms of time, we are not that far from when experts believed the world was flat. In that short period since then, I doubt that we are anywhere near finding the answers. In a few hundred years, The Big Bang Theory may wind up being laughed at by elementary school students.

My one question about the Big Bang is why only one “bang” coming from one spot. The Chaotic Inflation Theory makes more sense to my primitive little brain.

Glenn B said...

Rita,

I am not looking for anything in particular except for different views on all of this. To me the question is a fascinating one. Of course there are many other sides to it than just God versus the Big bang as James pointed out.

James,

I went with the Big bang because it easily comes to most everyone's minds when mentioned. I have heard of some of the other theories of creation but none are as popular as the BB theory or creation by God. Of course, a theory based upon multiple beginings goes to the same points I was questioning. Were the things that expanded or became the universe always there, will they always be there and so on - therefore making them equivalent maybe not of one God but to multiple Gods or a God who chose to be in more than one place at once such as in the Holy Trinity of Christianity? Maybe other Religions have hit it closer to the truth than monotheism with their belief in many Gods.

I don't know the answer(s) but I do appreciate any respectful answers that anyone gives. Those answers give me something to think about when I wander off into philosophical/spiritual/religious/
scientific realms of thought.

All the best,
GB

Jungle Mom said...

I think the fact that you question where the 'big bang' (or whatever) originated is a great thought and what brings so many to God as a Creator.
It is big unknown in the realms of Science there is no real answer for that. Something has to be decided on by faith as we have no source, other then Genesis, to report it. If you throw out Genesis, then you are still left with a bog question.
Back to the drawing table, so to speak.

Michael said...

I was born Baptist, went kind of nondenominational in my late teens (a euphemism for no religion at all, really), attended Methodist and Presbyterian churches during my early twenties, and discovered Catholicism somewhere in my mid twenties. Now, in my late forties I am a traditionalist Catholic. Can't see myself being anything else, really. Maybe I was sheltered but, through all that, it was only a few years ago that I ever encountered anyone who believed in a six or seven thousand (or whatever) year old earth. The Church doesn't officially teach that and, as far as I know, she leaves you free to believe either way as that's not a key tenet of Christianity. In my opinion, really, it's just something for us Christians to argue with one another about and make ourselves look ridiculous in front of nonbelievers.

Although all denominations have their "young earthers", I've never felt that intelligent design and the big bang theory (and the billion+ year old earth/universe) were mutually exclusive. As a homeschooler who uses curriculum from Christian sources, it's tricky finding a science book that avoids teaching Darwinism as fact yet at the same time doesn't twist itself in knots trying to explain away all the firm evidence that ol' blue here has been around for a lot longer than a few thousand years.

Glenn B said...

"Something has to be decided on by faith as we have no source, other then Genesis, to report it."

Over the millennia we have had plenty of other religious beliefs to look to instead of just those that use the bible. There have been many religions that give us stories about how it all began.

Science was a late comer to the party, I think, because way back when people did not think in scientific ways, nor did they observe in scientific ways, nor did they always have the capability to see or hear things we can now observe from distant galaxies.

It would be a thrill to be able to travel through time a thousand years to see how this question is addressed then. Maybe a whole new concept will have come about by then. Maybe one of those in question now will prove itself out to all. For now though I am still muddled about it all and I suppose to me it does not matter one way or the other so long as I try to live my life as best I can with good intentions and good outcomes in my sights. Of course my view may change, it may make a difference someday, so that is why I keep discussion of the topic going now and then.

All the best,
GB

Jungle Mom said...

Glenn, I should have said 'other than religious sources' being Christian, my mind goes directly to Genesis.


Michael, I did not intend to argue here. I was trying to answer the question asked.

Glenn B said...

Rita,

Understood - I figured that was why you said what you did. The thing about all the other explanations of creation, from other religions and from science, that I mentioned, I suppose, is why all this fascinates me so. I am not trying to point out anybody saying anything wrong, just bringing up what your answer brought to my mind.

As far as I know - no one is right or wrong - or someone is right and others wrong - but I sure cannot tell which is which. I guess I am still searching for an answer even if I am fairly uncertain I will find one.

All the best,
GB

Jungle Mom said...

ah... but the quest is delightful!