May 30th 2010

Beginning Of Time

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 (NIV)

Augustine of Hippo, a Christian teacher who lived in the fifth century, was taunted by the pagans with the question: “What was God doing before he made the universe?”

The world, Augustine told them, was made “not in time, but simultaneously with time.” In other words, the origin of the universe—that which we now call the Big Bang—was not merely the sudden appearance of matter into some eternally pre-existing void, but it was also the coming into being of time itself. So, Augustine said, there was no “before.”

Remarkably, modern science has arrived at more or less the same conclusion as Augustine. Albert Einstein taught that time and space are not merely like a great stage on which the cosmic drama of visible matter is acted out, but that time and so-called ‘empty space’ are actually essential cast members along with visible matter.

As physical entities, time and space can change. They can suffer distortions as a result of gravitational processes. Gravitational theory predicts that under the extreme conditions that prevailed in the early universe, time and space may have been so distorted that there existed a boundary, or ‘singularity’, at which that distortion was infinite, and therefore space and time could only stretch forward, not backward, confirming what Augustine said.

Some scientists believe that if the big bang was the beginning of time itself, then any discussion about what happened before the big bang, or what caused it, in the usual sense of physical causation, is simply meaningless.

But why should time suddenly ‘switch on’? What explanation can be given for such a singular event? There are two ideas. One explanation is a natural one—space and time just popped into existence out of nothing, just as atomic particles are seen to do in the study of quantum physics. The other explanation is that God simply created it out of nothing.

It boils down to a question of faith. Is our universe a total cosmic accident, or is there a loving God who created it for a purpose? For me, the question is answered by the presence in the world of love. I believe that God created us in this universe for the purpose of sharing his love. Jesus said: “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:35).

I believe that purely natural forces could never have brought love into the world, but a loving God certainly could. He shares his love with us so that we can share his love with others. And that’s a purpose worth living for.


Holy Father, your eternal love transcends this physical creation you have made in which to house mankind. But as a vehicle to learn about you, your physical creation reflects both your perfection and love for your creation, including man. Please accept our grateful thanks and praise in Jesus’ name.


Study by Joseph Tkach 

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