Christianity can be reconciled with scientific theories of the Big Bang and an old universe, said Deborah Haarsma, president of Bio Logos, in a speech at Hillsdale College last week.
Haarsma spoke to students at the “God and the Multiverse” talk at the Searle Center on Thursday, Feb. 7 as a part of the Natural Science Series, hosted by the President’s Office. BioLogos is an organization which aims to show the church and the world “the harmony between science and biblical faith,” as presented in an “evolutionary understanding of God’s creation,” according to the BioLogos website. Before a large crowd of students, Haarsma addressed a variety of issues facing Christianity and science with a focus on the multiverse.
Haarsma opened her presentation by arguing that scientific evidence pointing toward the universe beginning 13.7 billion years ago does not conflict with Christianity. Before touching upon the multiverse, Haarsma first discussed the age of the earth and origin of the universe.
“The Big Bang is often a term used as a competitor for God,” she said. “It is unfortunate that it has come to be associated with atheism. The Big Bang does not replace God. It explains how God began and governs the universe.”
Haarsma’s presentation on the multiverse highlighted the string-theory multiverse as well as the use of quantum mechanics with gravity. Haarsma emphasized that it was the discovery and progress in quantum mechanics that led to the string-theory multiverse theory. Haarsma said the inflationary universe is “the most accurate model of the early universe.”
“This universe did not just happen. It was shaped by a creator. When I study astronomy and the star clusters, I am studying the handiwork of God.”
When taking questions from the audience, Haarsma said it is theoretically possible, albeit unprovable, that God could have created the world already mature.
“God could have created the universe 10,000 years ago,” she said. “There is nothing science could say to disprove that.”
Junior Chloe Sparks said she thought the talk was helpful for Christian students who wonder about how scientific theories such as the Big Bang aligns with the Bible.
“I strongly believe that her intentions by giving these lectures are not only good but desperately needed,” Sparks said, “and I’m immensely grateful for people like her who are spreading the idea that these scientific discoveries not only are compatible with Christian beliefs, they can enhance them.”
Sophomore Emily Ju said Haarsma was very knowledgeable and full of passion.
“Dr. Haarsma is a model of being a scientist who is a Christian — or a Christian who is a scientist — in her desire to glorify God, her respect for the rules of the field of science, and her unshakable faith even in the face of controversial scientific theories,” Ju said in a Facebook message. “She shows us that Christianity and science are not enemies.”