How did the Universe begin and where did mankind come from?
Claims of speculation, faith, and fact.

Everybody who tries to answer these questions ends up giving a response that is anchored in faith. We no choice but to believe what happened because it is impossible see it, to repeat it, or to test our understanding in any meaningful way. Scientists, who typically profess to be rationalists, working only with cold hard facts, don't like to admit that they too have to speak from faith when they delve into this major issue. It is a foremost issue. Anchored within it are additional questions regarding our existence, purpose, and the meaning of life. Many scientists will also include a few, perhaps lesser, additional questions...

How did the universe come to be? It is perhaps the greatest Great Mystery, and the root of all the others. The rest of humanity's grand questions-How did life begin? What is consciousness? What is dark matter, dark energy, gravity?-stem from it.1

The drive to know what our origins are and, for that matter, our future destiny, both seem to be part of how God has made us. One word best describes the focus of this longing; "eternity."

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (NIV)

Because fallen mankind cannot naturally understand what God has done, nor are people normally inclined to seek out God 2, answers to these questions remain a compelling mystery.

"All other mysteries lie downstream of this question," said Ann Druyan, the author and widow of astronomer Carl Sagan.3 "It matters to me because I am human and do not like not knowing."

A summary of the quest and perceived means of arriving at a solution (no matter how valid or invalid) are as follows:

Quest: To know the origins of the universe and mankind.

Solution 1: To have observed it
Solution 2: To have trustworthy record from one who has observed it
Solution 3: To experimentally recreate the conditions and result
Solution 4: To deduce the conditions and result.
Solution 5: Speculation

Immediately, two opposing propositions can be offered regarding the Quest itself:

Proposition 1: We can find an answer
Proposition 2: We can't find an answer

If a person believes in proposition 2, that we can't find an answer, logically it would hold that there is no sense in trying. The very fact that we have a list, of five proposed means of solution, says that there are many who hold to proposition 1, that we can find an answer. If this isn't the goal, why bother to search?

The mere act of searching is, of itself, an exercise of faith - faith that there is an answer. Wait a minute, some would say. We have a reason to believe that we can arrive at an outcome - our sciences have always come up with answers. But how much true science actually applies to this quest? Is it observable? No. Is it testable? No. Is it repeatable? No. Hosts of scientists would also argue against even the cornerstone of legal proof: Were there witnesses? No. It's important the topic of legal proof be raised early. The confines of the remaining quest, to examine resultant evidences, are more in search of legal proof than of scientific certainty. The result, for most, becomes an exercise of blind faith operating under solution number 5, total speculation. Albeit it is often educated speculation, so it can sound good when couched in technical and scientific jargon.



    n. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.

    n. Christian. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1"

To be fair, most scientists claim to be utilizing solution 4, believing that they can deduce all the original conditions, and intermediate state, by looking at now present evidences. But it's the lack of these evidences that leads them to invent concepts and things to fill the gaps - the many gaps! Even the evidences, we're assured are actually there, are often suspect. Admittedly, hosts of known and unknown forces, or circumstances, may or may not have acted on these evidences, perhaps distorting them beyond all recognition. And, of course, there are evidences that - for no particular (or presently understandable) reason - contradict each other, often requiring one to be discarded in favor of another. This is as scientific as flipping a coin. While appealing to solution 4 as a nobler means, the actual result still looks a lot more like solution 5, speculation.4

Solution 3 calls for recreating the conditions and testing results. If everyone was honest, they would have to admit that there is no way to recreate the conditions of our origins, for two major reasons. Firstly, no one knows for sure exactly what was happening at that time. Secondly, small tests in a limited environment cannot guarantee that the same result would be possible, or probable, in a large-scale cosmic setting. These problems drive the scientist to start with limitations, preconditions, or presuppositions. (For example: even if it was possible, creating life in a lab does not prove that it arose naturally and spontaneously.7 Doing so would, perhaps, be better evidence that it took an intelligent designer - assuming the intelligence of the scientists involved.)

It's common for scientists to proclaim their belief in the unchangeability of systems and currently observed constants (i.e. the speed of light), but these too are acts of faith. Others dogmatically, a priori, dismiss any fundamental proposition that opposes the prevailing theory or their own preferred explanation. A science program, viewed while writing this article, illustrates this well. The commentator was clear of his belief ("faith") that evolutionary origins are based in fact, while all creationist views are founded on a fiction. Though not fully defining the alleged fiction, the implication was any belief in some supernatural Supreme Being.

Since recreating the conditions of our origins is untenable, most scientists confine themselves to half of solution 3, testing results. From their starting hypothesis (or "presupposition") they test their predicted results - what should be observable today, or as found in other available evidences - with a goal of logically establishing a course of events. If they were impartial, this should not exclude testing alternate starting presuppositions, no matter how widely they differ from the accepted view. This rarely happens. The evolutionist will gladly discard hundreds of variations of their own hypothesis, to test another, so long as the next option still assumes a totally materialistic and mechanistic starting place.5 Their chosen limitation is also a derivative of their faith. To believe that everything came from nothing, by something that came from nothing, is (no matter what they call it) an act of faith. Observed evidence and testing shows that something cannot come from nothing by something (force, process, etc.) that also arose from nothing. Postulating that, therefore, all matter/energy comprising the universe is eternal doesn't answer this challenge either.6 This is another declaration of their faith. Perhaps the greatest failure of this method arises in the arena of life. While science has been quite able to manipulate life, or existing building blocks of life (i.e. DNA, RNA, etc), one of the most persistent observations (or conclusions) has been that life does not arise from non-life.8 To claim otherwise, without any proof, is a statement of faith.9 And no, the mere existence of life cannot be construed to be the proof that somehow it arose from non-life. Moving the origins of life into space, a theory called Panspermia, doesn't solve this problem either.10



    n. The supposed development of living organisms from nonliving matter. Also called autogenesis, spontaneous generation.

    n. biology. The now discredited theory8 that living organisms can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter; spontaneous generation.

    Note: Evolution, with its nothing to something and non-living matter to life theory is a modern form of abiogenesis - something that testable science has proven impossible by natural means. It's an exercise of blind faith to believe otherwise.

Even though some scientists claim to be able to peer back in time, through their telescopes, often claiming to see "shortly after the Big Bang", this too is a statement of faith, one that assumes that there was a Big Bang before it. The only thing these scientists can say with certainty is that they are seeing conditions after everything existed - which may or may not infer anything about how they came into existence. The results, of all their studies and speculations, has left most resolutely clinging to their latest model solely by faith, hoping that it might just turn out to be true and yet no way to know for sure.

"Does the universe resemble any of the physical models we make of it? I'd like to hope that the effort society pours into scientific research is getting us closer to fundamental truths, and not just a way to make useful tools," said Caltech astronomer Richard Massey. "But I'm equally terrified of finding out that everything I know is wrong, and secretly hope that I don't."

Solution 1, to have observed our origins, would be the most preferential solution, but as we know, it didn't happen. Both creationists and evolutionists are in rare agreement here. A close second, then, is a trustworthy record from one who was there, as the next best thing. This is our single act of faith as Bible-believing Christian - and not one that is without evidence. We believe, from God's word, that he was there. In believing the Bible to be God's word, His perfect revelation of Himself and what He has done, we start with a solid presupposition. Logic alone tells us that everything cannot come from nothing, by a process created by nothing, let alone that life came from non-life. This leaves our Bible-based presupposition logically tenable, that everything was created by an all-powerful Being, along with the subsequent conclusion that all life came from that Life.

Secondly, our faith in the Bible as being God's word, as something trustworthy and accurate, has been repeatedly shown to have stood the test of time and examination. Those who argue that the Bible is full of contradictions and errors do so from arguments of silence or ignorance, not study. Perceived contradictions have always shown they have a higher unity that can be discerned through a fair and diligent search. Multitudes of "we've never found evidence to support this" have fallen aside through the efforts of archaeologists. And many a "we've proven this didn't happen" have been retracted as further evidence has been uncovered causing necessary reconsideration of earlier interpretations. Simply put, the number one reason that people discredit Scriptures is that they have, as many scientists have done, started with a presupposition that everything must have a natural explanation. This view discards any active God along with all miracles.

It's time for people to start speaking the truth on this matter of origins. Sure, they can believe in their nothing to everything, or molecules to men, theories, but teach them as they really are: theories and models founded on their faith (presuppositions). Writing as one who is a Bible-believing creationist, I'll gladly proclaim that my understanding of these things is also rooted in my faith. My starting point, believing in God and His revelation, to me, takes far less faith than theirs.

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (NIV)

Isaiah 45:18 For this is what the Lord says - he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited - he says: "I am the Lord, and there is no other. (NIV)

One final thought. To have faith in the God who created everything is far different than having faith in a nothing that supposedly created everything. Only God can provide a reason for living. As the source of our origins, He is the source of our purpose, meaning, goals, and hope. When faith is placed in anything outside of Him, such as a process (i.e. evolution; that they claim stemmed from their nothing), there can never be a real purpose for living, let alone hope for eternity. If you are merely a product of chance, random processes, and an uncaring universe - having only the here and now - nothing really matters as everything is beyond control. As a believer, I freely confess that much is beyond my control, but the big difference is that I serve the One who has everything in His control. My hope rests in God who created all things with a purpose.

Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (NIV)

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)


End Notes

1. Quotes throughout this work, unless otherwise noted, are excerpts from "Greatest Mysteries: How did the Universe Begin?", written by Ker Than, a staff writer for, August 13, 2007. This article is also one part of LiveScience's weekday television series "Greatest Mysteries". Ker's article came about because they "asked several scientists from various fields what they thought were the greatest mysteries today."

2. It is clearly stated in Old and New Testament scriptures, that the human race does not naturally seek God. The very fact that any do find Him has to be the result of God's gracious revelation of Himself to them.

Romans 3:10-11 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. (NIV)

Psalms 14:2-3 The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3 All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. (NIV) [Also Psalms 53:1-3]

3. The late Carl Sagan, perhaps best known from his book and series "Cosmos", was an ardent humanist and evolutionist. His self-empowered quest for answers, to this timeless mystery of origins and destiny, led him to the conclusion that mankind was an insignificant speck in the vast reaches of space, the product of solely natural forces. Ultimately the extent and focus of his faith was expressed in the lie he embraced to the end, "We've evolved only recently... Evolution is a fact, it really happened!"

4. Ker Than writes (see end note 1)...

According to the standard Big Bang model, the universe was born during a period of inflation that began about 13.7 billion years ago. Like a rapidly expanding balloon, it swelled from a size smaller than an electron to nearly its current size within a tiny fraction of a second.

Initially, the universe was permeated only by energy. Some of this energy congealed into particles, which assembled into light atoms like hydrogen and helium. These atoms clumped first into galaxies, then stars, inside whose fiery furnaces all the other elements were forged.

This is the generally agreed-upon picture of our universe's origins as depicted by scientists. It is a powerful model that explains many of the things scientists see when they look up in the sky, such as the remarkable smoothness of space-time on large scales and the even distribution of galaxies on opposite sides of the universe.

But there are things about it that make some scientists uneasy. For starters, the idea that the universe underwent a period of rapid inflation early in its history cannot be directly tested, and it relies on the existence of a mysterious form of energy in the universe's beginning that has long disappeared.

"Inflation is an extremely powerful theory, and yet we still have no idea what caused inflation-or whether it is even the correct theory, although it works extremely well," said Eric Agol, an astrophysicist at the University of Washington.

5. Ker Than's article (see end note 1) continues to show how random appendages get added to their theory, or model, based on observations that otherwise wouldn't work. The resultant hodgepodge, while technically providing an explanation, by no means provides the best or necessarily true explanation. All are still anchored in their belief ("faith") that the start had to be a Big Bang. No challenge is allowed to this initial presumption.

For some scientists, inflation is a clunky addition to the Big Bang model, a necessary complexity appended to make it fit with observations. Nor was it the last such addition.

"We've also learned there has to be dark matter in the universe, and now dark energy," said Paul Steinhardt, a theoretical physicist at Princeton University. "So the way the model works today is you say, 'OK, you take some Big Bang, you take some inflation, you tune that to have the following properties, then you add a certain amount of dark matter and dark energy.' These things aren't connected in a coherent theory."

"What's disturbing is when you have a theory and you make a new observation, you have to add new components," Steinhardt added. "And they're not connected ... There's no reason to add them, and no particular reason to add them in that particular amount, except the observations. The question is how much you're explaining and how much you're engineering a model. And we don't' know yet."

6. While Than echoes the claim that an eternally existing universe is a radical departure from the dogmatic Big Bang starting point, it is not. In fact it merely multiplies the questions, with repeated Big Bangs in infinity and perhaps the arrival of life during each, again all through mysterious and inexplicable means. Instead of everything coming from nothing, by forces produced by nothing (and then life from non-life), this theory attempts to drop the initial "nothing." To claim that everything is eternal is a leap of faith as great as claiming that there is a God who is eternal. In fact, unless they claim their initial energy and matter to have some innate intelligence or ability, it still begs the question of how their eternal "everything" without a purpose or ability (i.e. nothing) started making everything.

In recent years, Steinhardt has been working with colleague Neil Turok at Cambridge University on a radical alternative to the standard Big Bang model.

According to their idea, called the ekpyrotic universe theory, the universe was born not just once, but multiple times in endless cycles of fiery death and rebirth. Enormous sheet-like "branes," representing different parts of our universe, collide about once every trillion years, triggering Big Bang-like explosions that re-inject matter and energy into the universe.

The pair claims that their ekpyrotic, or "cyclic," theory would explain not only inflation, but other cosmic mysteries as well, including dark matter, dark energy and why the universe appears to be expanding at an ever-accelerating clip.

While controversial, the ekpyrotic theory raises the possibility that the universe is ageless and self-renewing. It is a prospect perhaps even more awe-inspiring than a universe with a definite beginning and end, for it would mean that the stars in the sky, even the oldest ones, are like short-lived fireflies in the grand scheme of things.

7. The Associated Press distributed another news item during the time I was working on this article. It's title, "Scientists still can't define life, but can modify it." (by Seth Borenstein. The Tennessean, August 20, 2007), summarizes a key issue in this whole quest for origins. Life is certainly different from non-life. Speculations that life can be created in a lab, or invented through programming (i.e. robotic intelligence), all presuppose that life is a natural product of existence. Yet, in the biological realm, all science has been able to do is manipulate, or reinvent, utilizing life that already exists or components of that life. Life is something that goes beyond mere mechanics, or processes, having a spiritual component whose effect science can observe but never create.

Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 Remember him - before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, 7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (NIV)

Grand claims accompany many of mankind's manipulations of life. The aforementioned article confidently proclaimed...

In June, researchers replaced the genetic identity of one bacterium with that of a second microbe. Other scientists are trying to build life from scratch. Nasa scientists are searching for life in space but aren't sure what it will look like. And some futurists are pondering the prospect of robots becoming so human they might be considered a form of life. ... In suburban Washington this summer, prominent scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute, who were key players in mapping the human genome, switched DNA from one bacterium into another, changing its genetic identity. That put the world on notice that man's ability to manipulate life is dancing around the point of creation.

Manipulation of life and its existing building blocks should never be misrepresented as creation. When science can make it from nothing (Genesis 1:1), or a human out of dirt (Genesis 2:7), then they could legitimately make such a claim. Reconfiguring that which God created is something that mankind has been doing all along, only perhaps now becoming more scary in the results.

"We're all sort of thinking that the next origin of life will be in somebody's lab" said David Deamer, a University of California, Santa Cruz, biochemistry professor who is one of the leading experts trying to create life. But ask Deamer what life is, and he responds by saying it's best to describe it, not define it.

It's only a matter of time before the definition gets changed enough for someone to declare themselves a creator.

8. Louis Pasteur disproved the theory of spontaneous generation of life from nothingness in 1859. Evolutionists, who nominally affirm this disapproval, subsequently add millions of years and a professed host of intermediate processes to, in fact, embrace the opposite.

9. Both creationists and evolutionists profess to be using the same science in their study of the natural world. Evolutionists often, unfairly, claim that creation scientists are merely making religious statements, asserting that they alone are dealing with science. The reality is that both use the same operational science. Each equally use, and appeal to, sciences such as genetics, geology (distinguishing types of rocks), and even natural selection (which is observable). What the two sides are irreconcilably at odds over is their view of history. Their starting presupposition (or belief), of what happened in the past, is what causes them to interpret the viewed evidences in opposing ways. The creationist's biblical history combined with operational science provides a consistent and more rational explanation to the observable evidence. Admittedly it's one based on faith, but so too is the less rational evolutionary alternative.

10. The host of evidence, and experimental science, that actually opposes the spontaneous generation of life on earth, has led some scientists to take a leap of faith. Certainly it is not one towards the revealed truth of Scripture, but one that still enables them to cling to a professed naturalistic understanding of origins.

With every new piece of experimental/observational evidence that comes to light showing that microbial life can withstand the rigors of space travel, there is a renewed interest in panspermia. Until recently, panspermia was not even regarded as scientific hypothesis. Now that has changed. The general view still prevailing is that although life could easily be transported, terrestrial life must have begun on Earth. There is no logic that demands that and at the present time all the evidence is against that point of view. (Astronomer Chandra Wickramasinghe, director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology. From the article "Panspermia Q and A: Leading Proponent Chandra Wickramasinghe" by Robert Roy Britt, senior science writer for, October 27, 2000)

Panspermia enables a scientist to push the origins of life out into space, where somewhere and somehow they believe that the right conditions for it to spontaneously arise must have existed. It had to be out there, because they concede observable evidence actually supports the creationist view that there is no evidence that it happened. Placing origins into space becomes another act of faith, completely non-testable, but certainly one that still allows them to cling to the equally untenable view that everything else subsequently evolved here on earth.

The survival properties of bacteria under extreme conditions show clearly the feasibility of transferring microbial life across galactic distances. On the other hand the emergence of life from a primordial soup on the Earth is merely an article of faith that scientists are finding difficult to shed. There is no experimental evidence to support this at the present time. Indeed all attempts to create life from non-life, starting from Pasteur, have been unsuccessful. (Ibid)

The odds against microbes surviving such a space journey pales into insignificance when compared with the insuperable odds against starting life anew in a warm little pond on the Earth. (Ibid)

Life got started on a cosmological scale including the combined resources of all the comets around all the stars in all the galaxies of the entire universe. Once started, the robustness of life as demonstrated in the recent articles ensures its essential immortality. It survives and is repeatedly regenerated in the warm watery interiors of comets. The space between stars is littered with cometary debris, some of which contains the seeds of life. Comets arriving at the Earth from the 100 billion-strong Oort cometary cloud of our solar system brought the first life onto our planet some 3,800 million years ago. Evolution of life on the Earth was directed by the continued arrival of cometary bacteria, bacteria which must still be arriving at the present time. (Ibid)

Panspermia is merely another theory built on hosts of non-testable claims and fanciful speculations. It's easy for each theory to point a finger at others and say "your's is an article of faith" but, as this entire article establishes, all theories of origin are built on an article of faith.

Written by Brent MacDonald of Lion Tracks Ministries. (c) 2007
Duplication permitted as long as the source is cited.