Some interesting excerpts from John C. Lennox’s book – “God’s Undertaker: Has Science Burried God?”
“For much of the modern scientific era following Copernicus, Galileo and Newton, belief in general reverted to the idea of a universe infinite in both age and extent. Thereafter, from the middle of the nineteenth century, this view began to come under increasing pressure, to the point that it has completely lost its domination. For belief in a beginning is once again the majority view of contemporary scientists. Evidence from the red-shift in the light from distant galaxies, the cosmic microwave background and thermodynamics has led scientists to formulate the so-called standard ‘Big Bang’ model of the universe.
..Stephen Hawking adopts a similar view: ‘Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning probably because it smacks of divine intervention.’
One such was Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944), who reacted as follows: ‘Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant… I should like to find a genuine loophole.’ That repugnance was shared by others. In the mid-twentieth century, for example, Gold, Bondi, Hoyle and Narlikar advanced a series of steady-state theories in which it was argued that the universe had always existed, and that matter was continuously being created in order to keep the density of the admittedly expanding universe uniform. The creation rate they needed was incredibly slow – one atom per cubic metre in ten billion years. This meant, incidentally, that there was no real possibility of testing the theory by observation.
…It is rather ironical that in the sixteenth century some people resisted advances in science because they seemed to threaten belief in God; whereas in the twentieth century scientific ideas of a beginning have been resisted because they threatened to increase the plausibility of belief in God.”
And speaking of Hoyle who contributed to those steady-state theories… :
“For life to exist on earth an abundant supply of carbon is needed. Carbon is formed either by combining three helium nuclei, or combining nuclei of helium and beryllium. Eminent mathematician and astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle, found that for this to happen, the nuclear ground state energy levels have to be fine-tuned with respect to each other. This phenomenon is called ‘resonance’. If the variation were more than 1 percent either way, the universe could not sustain life. Hoyle later confessed that nothing had shaken his atheism as much as this discovery. Even this degree of fine-tuning was enough to persuade him that is looked as if ‘a superintellect has monkeyed with physics as well as with chemistry and biology’, and that ‘there are no blind forces in nature worth talking about.”