What Created the Universe from Nothing?

Dr. Robert Jastrow - What Created the Universe from Nothing?
Dr. Robert Jastrow (1925-2008)

At the beginning of the 20th century, many scientists, including astronomers and physicists, believed that the universe was eternal. Since it had no beginning, there was no need to explain what created the universe. In other words, there was no need for God.

That began to change in 1905 with Albert Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity. His calculations indicated that the universe was either expanding or contracting, but he could not accept that. He invented a “cosmological constant” to balance the effect of gravity. Other scientists recognized his error, which he later admitted was the greatest blunder of his life. Then Georges Lemaître theorized, and Edwin Hubble confirmed that the universe was expanding. Since it is expanding, going back in time to the distant past, the universe would become progressively smaller until it began as an infinitely small and dense “singularity.” That was the beginning of time, space, matter, and energy.

The concept of a beginning posed a significant challenge for many scientists due to its religious implications. Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, science continued to confirm that the universe had a beginning. Robert Jastrow, a prominent American physicist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was one such scientist. Despite describing himself as an “agnostic, and not a believer,” He found the idea of a beginning unsettling as it implied a Creator. In his 1978 book God and the Astronomers, he expressed his discomfort in these words:

“This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth… The development is unexpected because science has had such extraordinary success in tracing the chain of cause and effect backward in time. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Even though scientists have scaled that mountain and made great progress in determining when the universe was created, they still cannot explain what created it from nothing. If there was nothing, how can there be a “what” to do the creating? Many scientists are believers in God, but others need to turn to the Bible to find the eternal Creator, the uncaused cause, the One Who created the universe and us for a purpose.

— Roland Earnst © 2024