Reasons to Believe

Putting the Big Bang to the Test

In 1989 John Maddox, the physics editor for the prestigious journal, Nature, wrote an editorial entitled, “Down With the Big Bang,” in which he (a self-declared atheist) predicted that the big bang theory would not survive even the initial observations coming from the Hubble Space Telescope.[1] In 1990 the Institute for Creation Research also predicted that the big bang explanation for cosmic origins would die soon - before the close of the twentieth century.[2] Meanwhile Reasons To Believe scholars, with an eye to biblical statements about the origin and development of the universe, predicted that evidence for the big bang would grow. The table below demonstrates how the big bang set of models has fared since 1990.

Scientific Evidences for Big Bang Fundamentals

This list briefly highlights recent evidence for the big bang, specifically for three of its major features (all addressed in the Bible): the singularity of its origin, continuous cosmic expansion, and continuous cosmic cooling.[3] For a more complete list with more extensive descriptions, explanations, and references see The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd edition (NavPress, 2001). References to relevant discoveries or announcement papers since the book’s publication are included in this table.

  1. Exhaustive testing affirms general relativity as the best proven principle in physics, and the spacetime theorems derived from general relativity establish a “singular” simultaneous beginning for all the matter, energy, space, and time in the universe. The universe came into existence from a source, or causal Agent, beyond matter, energy, space, and time. 
  2. Stable orbits of stars, planets, and moons are essential to the survival of physical life. Given the law of gravity, this stability is possible only if the geography of the universe is defined by three large space dimensions rapidly expanding for at least several billion years. 
  3. Distant galaxies appear closer together in direct proportion to their distance from us. 
  4. Distant stars and galaxies are seen at earlier stages of their development in direct proportion to their distance from us. 
  5. Astronomers observe stars with masses ranging from a tenth of solar mass to a few dozen times the solar mass in stable burning states. This observation indicates that the universe is expanding at a highly fine-tuned rate. If the universe had expanded too quickly, no stars at all would have formed. If it had expanded too slowly, only black holes and neutron stars would have formed. 
  6. The cosmic background radiation measured at great distances from Earth is hotter than such radiation in Earth’s vicinity. In fact, the temperature is higher in direct proportion to the distance at which that radiation is measured. 
  7. The abundance of elements heavier than helium decreases in proportion to the distance from Earth. This pattern can be explained only by a universe that continuously expands from a creation event and continuously cools. 
  8. The abundances of helium, deuterium, and lithium observed in the universe only can be explained by a universe that continues expanding from an initial state of near infinite density and temperature. 
  9. The angular sizes and amplitudes of temperature fluctuations seen in maps of the cosmic background radiation precisely fit what a big bang creation scenario would predict. 
  10. The measured density of protons and neutrons in the universe matches the prediction arising from the hot big bang creation scenario. 
  11. The “Hubble time,” that is, the cosmic expansion time (determined from the redshift measurements of distant galaxies), proves consistent with the measured burning times of the oldest stars, the measured abundances of long-lived radiometric elements, and the measured temperatures of the cosmic background radiation in distant gas clouds. 
  12. By means of the Tolman test, astronomers established that the redshift measurements of distant galaxies arise from a general cosmic expansion rather than from some unknown property of matter or from hypothesized interactions between light and matter as light travels through space (the “tired light” hypothesis).[4] 
  13. The decay times of distant supernova light intensity (the time taken by an exploding supergiant star to transition from maximum to minimum brightness) affirm that supernovae redshifts are attributable to Doppler-effect velocities. These velocities demonstrate that the universe has been continuously expanding for at least the past ten billion years.[5] Similar confirmation for continuous cosmic expansion over the past ten billion years comes from the observed time dilation in gamma-ray bursts.[6] 
  14. Big bang theory explains astronomers’ observation that the cosmic background radiation is slightly hotter in one direction of the heavens than it is in the opposite direction. This effect, according to the theory, would result from Earth’s motion relative to the rest frame of the cosmic background motion. Recently, British astronomers demonstrated that Earth does indeed move, relative to very distant galaxies, in the direction and at the velocity observed and measured.[7] 
  15. For galaxies and stars to form out of the tiny temperature differences in the radiation coming from the creation event, that cosmic background radiation must exhibit a certain level and distribution of polarization. Astronomers can now detect both the level and distribution of polarization predicted by the big bang.[8] 

The appendix from The Creator and the Cosmos, “Summary of Scientific Evidences for a Big Bang Creation Event”, contains 30 evidences. Three of the evidences in this list are new ones not found in the book.


[1] John Maddox, “Down With the Big Bang,” Nature, 340 (1989), page 425. 

[2] The editors, “Quotable Quotes,” Back To Genesis, No. 17 (El Cajon, CA: Institute for Creation Research, May, 1990), page c. 

[3] Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd edition (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001), pages 23-29. 

[4] Allan Sandage and Lori M. Lubin, “The Tolman Surface Brightness Test for the Reality of the Expansion. I. Calibration of the Necessary Local Parameters, Astronomical Journal, 121 (2001), p. 2271; Lori M. Lubin and Allan Sandage, “The Tolman Surface Brightness Test for the Reality of the Expansion. II. The Effect of the Point-Spread Function and Galaxy Ellipticity on the Derived Photometric Parameters, Astronomical Journal, 121 (2001), pp. 2289-2300; Lori M. Lubin and Allan Sandage, “The Tolman Surface Brightness Test for the Reality of the Expansion. III. Hubble Space Telescope Profile and Surface Brightness Data for Early-Type Galaxies in Three High-Redshift Clusters,” Astronomical Journal, 122 (2001), pages 1071-1083; Lori M. Lubin and Allan Sandage, “The Tolman Surface Brightness Test for the Reality of the Expansion. IV. A Measurement of the Tolman Signal and the Luminosity Evolution of Early-Type Galaxies,” Astronomical Journal, 122 (2001), pages 1084-1103. 

[5] B. Leibundgut, et al, “Time Dilation in the Light Curve of the Distant Type Ia Supernova SN 1995K,” Astrophysical Journal Letters, 466 (1996), pages L21-L24; A. G. Riess, et al, “Time Dilation from Spectral Feature Age Measurements of Type Ia Supernovae,” Astronomical Journal, 114 (1997), pages 722-729; Garson Goldhaber, et al, “Observation of Cosmological Time Dilation Using Type Ia Supernovae as Clocks,” in Thermonuclear Supernovae, Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Study Institute, held in Begur, Girona, Spain, June 20-30, 1995, edited by P. Ruiz-LaPuente, R. Canal, and J. Isern (Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997),  Series C, volume 486, pages 777-784; G. Goldhaber, et al, “Timescale Stretch Parameterization of Type Ia Supernova B-Band Light Curves,” Astrophysical Journal, 558 (2001), pages 359-368. 

[6] Ming Deng and Bradley E. Schaefer, “Time Dilation in the Peak-to-Peak Timescale of Gamma-Ray Bursts,” Astrophysical Journal Letters, 502 (1998), pages L109-L114. 

[7] Chris Blake and Jasper Wall, “A Velocity Dipole in the Distribution of Radio Galaxies,” Nature, 416 (2000), pages 150-152; Hugh Ross, Connections, volume 4, numbers 3 & 4 (2002), pages 1, 5. 

[8] Matias Zaldarriaga, “Background Comes to the Fore,” Nature, 420 (2002), pages 747-748; E. M. Leitch, et al, “Measurement of Polarization with the Degree Angular Scale Interferometer,” Nature, 420 (2002), pages 763-771; J. M. Kovac, et al, “Detection of Polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background Using DASI,” Nature, 420 (2002), pages 772-787. 

Subjects: Big Bang, Origin of the Universe, TCM - Cosmic Design, TCM - Origin of the Universe, Universe Design

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.