Science, Religion, and the Beginning of the Universe

Science, Religion, and the Beginning of the Universe
  • Every translation of the biblical text begins with the creation narrative. It’s the core belief of Christians and Jews. 
  • Science and Islam both believe in The Big Bang, although Islam sees that Allah is the source that caused it. Scientists believe that a cause is not necessary.
  • Both the Bible and the Quran believe that an all-powerful force brought the universe into existence. Although their interpretation of what that force is differs greatly.
  • Harvard physicists adhere to the “bouncing cosmology” theory that states that the universe operates through endless cycles—similar to Buddhism.

“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” – Genesis 1: 1

Nearly every translation of the Bible begins with this opening sentence. This is the core belief of Jews and Christians, that God created everything in existence.

Do Science and Islam Agree on Creation?

Surprisingly, science and the Islam religion agree on the leading theory for how the universe was formed: The Big Bang. However, Islam believes Allah (God) was the force behind the Big Bang, while science offers no explanation.

What Science Says About Creation

Science’s leading opinion of how the universe was created is the so-called “Big Bang Theory.” This theory postulates that everything started as a small singularity, followed by a big blast, then inflated over the next 13.8 billion years into what we know as the cosmos today.

Still, while much of the theory of inflation works well, scientists have no idea what caused the inflation of the universe or whether the theory itself is correct.

One of the most perplexing parts of inflation theory for scientists is dealing with dark matter and dark energy. These two elements, so far, aren’t connected in a coherent theory.

What the Quran Says About Creation

In the Quran, the story of creation is not told in a single chapter, but rather can be formulated by piecing information from verses throughout the holy book.

In 21: 30, the Quran says “the heavens and the earth were joined together as one unit, before We clove them asunder.”

Then in an explosion likened to the Big Bang, the Quran says Allah “turned to the sky, and it had been (as) smoke. He said to it and to the earth: ‘Come together, willingly or unwillingly.’ They said: ‘We come (together) in willing obedience’” (41:11).

Bible and Quran Similarities on Creation

However, despite some differences in how creation initially began, there are similarities.

Corresponding to the Bible, the Quran states that Allah (God) was responsible for creating the sun, the moon, and the planets, giving each their own individual orbits.

“It is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course” (21:33).

Also similar to the Bible, the Quran mentions “six days” as the time duration of the creation, and also similar to the Bible it states that “a day in the sight of your Lord is like 1,000 years of your reckoning” (22:47).

Is the Universe Ageless and Reincarnating Itself?

Some scientists, including physicists at Harvard University, have an alternative theory to the Big Bang that some view as radical.

Their idea is called “bouncing cosmology,” and it postulates that the universe operates through endless cycles of contraction and expansion. Under this theory, the universe would not have been born only a single time, but potentially multiple times.

Those who adhere to this theory say that this ekpyrotic, or “cyclic,” theory not only explains inflation of the universe but additional cosmic mysteries as well, including dark matter, dark energy and why the universe seems to be expanding at an ever-increasing rate.

Such an idea by science seems to fall along with the philosophical teachings of Buddhism that see life as a series of cycles.

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