If you’re a creationist, you presuppose the veracity of the bible.
If you’re a naturalist, you presuppose the nonexistence of the supernatural.
What happens when you set aside presuppositions and merely look at the evidence? When it comes to the topic of the universes’s origin, a number of models have been proposed. For simplicity’s sake, they have historically fallen in two camps. Up until the middle of the twentieth century, most of humanity had assumed that the universe has always existed. It had no beginning, and quite possibly will have no end. For most in the science community, that view crumbled quickly as evidence for the Big Bang mounted.
From the first indications of the reality of the Big Bang, scientists anticipated the theological implications of a “Big Bang”. In short, “a big bang requires a big banger”. (I don’t want to get into that here – that will be the subject of future posts.) Some have undertook to reclaim the notion of an infinite universe. They have attempted to wipe away notions of a Big Bang and explain how the universe has always been. Whether attempting to escape from the “Who did it?” question that the big bang begs, or simply following an instinct, some scientists have pressed on proposing inflation/deflation cycles, bubble universes, a multiverse, and more.
Preeminent physicist and cosmologist Dr. Alexander Vilenkin, along with colleagues Alan Guth and Arvin Borde, analyzed these models for decades until ultimately releasing the “Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem” in 2003. Through their work, they were able to prove that any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past but must have a past space-time boundary.
Since that time, myths have arisen that Vilenkin was misunderstood, and that in private communications he contradicted this statement. Rather than attempting to lay out the various unsubstantiated positions, I think it is better to listen to the man himself.
From the YouTube description:
Physicist and cosmologist Dr. Alexander Vilenkin refutes some scientific models (like Eternal Inflation, Cyclic Evolution, and Static Seed (Emergent Universe)) that supposedly argue for a universe without a beginning. He then offers his own explanation (via the Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem) why the universe did have a beginning.
From Dr. William Lane Craig’s Facebook status July 8, 2012
There has been a lot of disinformation on the web about the implications of Alexander Vilenkin’s work, based on out context quotations from private correspondence with Vilenkin and misunderstanding of his answers. To see and hear what the man himself holds, look at this video of his lecture at Cambridge University at a conference celebrating Hawking’s 70th birthday. It’s remarkably straightforward and clear. Nota bene his closing statement: “For all we know, there are no models at this time that provide a satisfactory model for a universe without a beginning.”