The Point

The Point: Origins in Passive Voice


John Stonestreet

It’s time for a grammar lesson.

Recently at CNN, physicist Dr. Don Lincoln offered a naturalistic explanation of the universe’s origins.

“Just shy of 14 billion years ago,” Lincoln wrote, “the universe was created in an event called the Big Bang.”

Hold on—“was created”? To get nerdy for a second, “was created” is the past tense of a passive verb. Rather than requiring Lincoln to tell the subject that acted upon the object—in this case the universe—his sentence allows him to offer no mention of an actor at all.

He tells us when: 14 billion years ago. And how: an event called the big bang. However, he never mentions who. But the passive verb “was created” requires a subject. Just as a book that “was written” requires a writer, something that “was created” requires a Creator.

The psalmist is clear, “The skies proclaim the work of [God’s] hands.”

For more on science and culture, come to


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Have a Follow-up Question?

Want to dig deeper?

If you want to challenge yourself as many others have done, sign up below.


Short Courses

Related Content