a christian view of origins
What should be the position of the Christian concerning the origins of the universe? Does the bible contradict what objective science has proposed to be true? Nothing in scripture requires a Christian to do so.
Many Christians have tried to derive the age of the earth using the different genealogies presented in scripture. Using this method they have concluded that the earth is about six thousand years old. Hebrew genealogies were given to establish family lineage rather than give a thorough account of one's ancestry and so probably should not be used to establish the age of the earth.
Other Christians use the genealogies to derive a young age for mankind, but maintain the earth is much older. Many make the Genesis account into an account of restoration of the earth by reading events into Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. This is not the only view that forces an interpretation onto the text. Another is the idea that the word day in the Genesis account represents a long period of time. Though some scientific evidence supports this view, I don't believe it is necessary and it is in fact an exercise of poor hermeneutics. Let the word day retain its natural meaning, refrain from imposing meaning into the text and let Scripture speak for itself by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. What happened here and what amount of time passes between this point when the elements and the universe were made and the first day no one can know. The period of time is not specified and it is not within the realm of theology to attempt a suggestion.
The first day is marked and distinguished by light. Before this point there is no real time as we mark the word. It is by morning and night that we judge time. If we judge by another method, such as the rate of radioactive decay, we might arrive at a different age for the earth. All that occurred in the preceding verses occurred before day and night were created.
Because the earth was created before time began a young earth hypothesis is not necessary. Scripture does not indicate how much time passed before the first day. Did God wait billions of years before dividing light from darkness? God is eternal and time does him no effect. Scripture does not indicate nor imply how old the earth and its elements are. All scripture indicates is that sometime before time (before the first day) God created the heavens and the earth and all of its elements.
Logic does not support the thought that the days were marked by great periods of time rather than literal days. We see from scripture that God created "grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind" (Gen. 1:12) on the third day of creation. We know that plant life needs the light of the sun to survive. One could easily see plant life surviving 24 hours without the light of the sun. It would be difficult to imagine, however, that plant life could survive on it's own for whole eons without sunlight.
Did God create in such a way so as to give the appearance of age? How did God create and is the appearance of age characteristic of God's creative work? In Christ we see God giving the appearance of age to his miraculous works. One of the best examples of this was at the marriage in Cana of Galilee when He changed the water into wine (John 2:1-11). The wine had the very appearance of good wine, something that takes time to produce. We see that God did not set a process in motion to produce a result. Rather, He spoke and the result occurred in a mature state - even with the appearance of age.
So, what is a view of creation that is acceptable to a Christian? Any view could be acceptable when one speaks about the creation of the Universe and the elements within it, so long as it holds that the creative cause is God. Therefore the Christian on grounds of faith need not discard the hypothesis of the Big Bang or almost any other reasonable scientific theory of origins. The Big Bang hypothesis does not contradict anything in scripture. So, what science has purposed and accepted as a probable hypothesis of origin a Christian can also accept as a reasonable hypothesis of origin - recognizing that God is the ultimate cause of origin whatever the hypothesis.