St Bride's: Sermons

God & The Big Bang

bigbang.pngThe excitement caused by the starting up of the Large Hadron Collider deep under the Swiss Alps has stimulated fresh interest in the origins of the universe, the Big Bang theory, and whether a Supreme Being, God, could have had any part to play in this extraordinary process.

The question "Where does God fit in?" has caused battle lines to be drawn between creationists and evolutionists, and the contest seems to be hotting up. Professor Richard Dawkins has consistently attacked religious belief as unintelligible and nonsensical, and has deplored the teaching of creationism in schools. Professor Michael Reiss, also a biologist and a Christian priest has recently argued that creationism should be taught alongside evolution as a legitimate world view, and now the Royal Society supports his view. Most of us caught in the middle of this argument look on bemused, and wonder why there is the need to polarise points of view in this way.

The kind of faith I believe in is not one that insists that the Biblical stories in Genesis are factual and that the world began 4000 years ago. It is perfectly possible to combine acceptance of the theory of evolution with the belief that God is the cosmic brain that caused the process to start, the uncaused cause of everything in the universe. Science and religion are not enemies, but friends. Chance combines with design to give us the kind of world we live in. Chance may explain how billions of electrons, atoms, etc. combined to create the Big Bang, but chance doesn't explain why human beings cherish certain values, such as beauty, truth, goodness and justice. All my instincts cry out that the presence of these highest values in our consciousness point to the existence of something wonderful and beautiful outside us, that is God.

God's genius was to create a universe in which chance, order, chaos and design came together and combined to produce the right conditions for human existence and human flourishing. This, I believe, is what most Christians instinctively believe and why much of the present controversy is un-necessary.

So do I believe that creationism should be taught in schools? I believe it should be mentioned as a world-view held by some, but not accorded equal status with evolution. And the point should always be clearly made that evolution and a more enlightened view of the Bible are not in conflict, but together can help us better understand the wonder and mystery of the created world.

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