19th Century science assumed a universe that always existed. That model gave way in the 20th Century to the concession that the universe had a beginning and time, space and matter sprang into existence in an instant that has come to be known as the “Big Bang”.
Scientists who succeeded in the line of the materialists of the 19th century, who embraced Darwinism as they gladly shed the shackles of religion and faith, feared that the Big Bang might reopen the old doubt that God may exist after all. From the beginning, the idea of a Big Bang that began the universe was met with caution and reluctance.
Albert Einstein’s response to the consequences of his own general theory of relativity may be reasonably interpreted to reflect a possible concern about the peril of a confrontation with the Creator. Through the equations of general relativity, we can trace the origin of the universe backward in time to some sort of a beginning. However, to evade this seemingly inevitable cosmological conclusion, Einstein introduced a cosmological constant, a “fudge factor,” to yield a static model for the universe. He longed for a universe that was infinitely old. In fairness, Einstein later considered this to be one of the few serious mistakes of his scientific career. However, even this concession must have been painful, as Einstein had a strong conviction that all physical phenomena ultimately should be accounted for in terms of continuous fields everywhere (see Max Jammer’s 1999 book Einstein and Religion).