The creationism and evolution theories are often viewed as being at odds with each other. But are we really dealing with an either/or situation? This post’s focus is on the big bang and the possible origin of life from water and will explore whether we have to pick and choose between Scripture and science.
The Big Bang Theory
The model of the Big Bang was based on the observation that the distance between galaxies is increasing, indicating that the universe is in a constant state of expansion. Doing the reverse engineering, it was felt that if it is expanding with time, it must have been very small at one point in time. According to the big bang theory, the universe was one extremely hot, condensed mass. This quickly cooled and expanded in a matter of seconds.
This tiny mass expanded extremely rapidly. Many varying models exist but according to a commonly held model, approximately 10−37 seconds into the expansion, a thermodynamic transition took place, causing cosmic inflation during which the universe grew exponentially. After the initial violent and massive explosion, some 13.75 billion years ago, there was a gradual expansion of this mass into galaxies, stars, and planets, including our own solar system.
There is no uniformly accepted model in terms of scientific theories about the origin of life on earth, but the deep sea vent theory is one of them, and many scientists believe that life on earth started on the oceanic floor.
Scientists are exploring several possible locations for the origin of life, including tide pools and hot springs. However, recently some scientists have narrowed in on the hypothesis that life originated near a deep sea hydrothermal vent. The chemicals found in these vents and the energy they provide could have fueled many of the chemical reactions necessary for the evolution of life. Furthermore, using the DNA sequences of modern organisms, biologists have tentatively traced the most recent common ancestor of all life to an aquatic microorganism that lived in extremely high temperatures — a likely candidate for a hydrothermal vent inhabitant! Although several lines of evidence are consistent with the hypothesis that life began near deep sea vents, it is far from certain:
We are searching for signs of life in outer space by first trying to find out if there is water in other parts of the universe. Life is not possible without water. This is a well-known and universally accepted fact. (Well may be not in the entire universe but at least by folks on planet earth).
The Big Bang/Aquatic Origins of Life in the Quran
Both of these key, astrophysical and biological theories are referred to in one single verse.
Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? (parted them, according to another translation) We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? 21:30
- The splitting of the heavens and the earth: The bolded words noted above, in Arabic are, Ratqan which literally means ‘joined entity’ and Fataq, which refers to a process of separation, parting or splitting of something whose elements were initially fused together. These concepts are entirely in line with current understanding of the beginning of the universe with the big bang.
- The origin of life from water: The verse states, We made from water every living thing.This could mean that every living object (protoplasm) is predominantly made of water. Others have interpreted this in reference to the origin of life on earth from an oceanic source. No matter how the second part of 21:30 is interpreted, both of them are consistent with the modern knowledge.
The aquatic origins were referenced in the following verse also. This one goes on to more specifically indicate the aquatic origins of the oceanic animals, humans and four-legged animals .
And Allah has created from water every living creature: so of them is that which walks upon its belly, and of them is that which walks upon two feet, and of them is that which walks upon four; Allah creates what He pleases; surely Allah has power over all things. 24:45
The Universe Is Expanding
The big bang and the universe’s expansion are inter-related astrophysical theories, as noted earlier. The terms “space” and “universe” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, Space typically refers to the void that exists between celestial bodies, whereas universe refers to all celestial bodies as well as space.
Does space have an edge? Where does space start and stop? What space is the universe expanding into?
These are very interesting questions, and scientists have varying theories. For example, the Finite theory supposes that space does not have an edge but rather space wraps around itself. So if we could theoretically travel through the universe, we will end up where we started.
The Qur’an does not talk about whether the universe is finite or infinite, but it did refer to it’s state of expansion.
And the heaven We constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its] expander.51:47
For more details on the subject of the Qur’an, Bible and Science, please refer to section 3 of my book, The Quran: With or Against the Bible?