Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask
- Monday, October 18, 2010
We can summarize this cosmological evidence into a concise series of statements:
1. Whatever begins to exist must have a cause for its existence.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe must have a cause for its existence.
4. The attributes of the cause of the universe (being timeless, existing outside of space, and so on) are the attributes of God.
5. Therefore, the cause of the universe must be God.
This is precisely what Christians have always believed. The very first words of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, declare, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In spite of what many people have heard, science is not at odds with belief in God. To the contrary, science actually provides compelling evidence for God's existence!
Evidence #2: Our "Just So" Universe
The more I watch the Discovery Channel and read about the amazing intricacies of our world, the more amazed I am at the beauty and complexity of it all. I often ride my mountain bike along the trails near where I live. Sometimes I stop and admire the unique plants growing along the hillsides or down in the ravines; other times I'll enjoy the surprise of an unexpected deer, coyote, or fox as it runs out in front of me. Often I'll reflect on a sunset showering down brilliant colors of red, yellow, and orange. I'm regularly taken aback by what I see. I think often about how much I relate to the psalmist when he says, "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship" (Ps. 19:1).
But here's what is amazing: this incredible array of life and beauty and complexity did not spring into existence unaided. Rather, what cutting-edge science is now telling us is that the building blocks of our world—the laws and physical constants that govern all the matter in the universe—appear to be precisely balanced and finely tuned for life to occur and flourish.
These laws and constants were set at the singularity event mentioned earlier. In other words, when the universe exploded into being—the Big Bang—there were a number of variables within the very structure of the universe itself that had to be set exactly as they are in order for life to exist. Scientists have so far discovered about fifty of these parameters and constants that must be "just so" in order for life to be possible anywhere in the universe.
Let's hone in on one particular example of this "fine-tuning." Physicists have discovered four forces in nature, and one of them is the force of gravity. Physicists have calculated that the strength of each of these forces must fall within a very specific range or there would be no conscious life possible. If the force of gravity, for example, were to change by one part in ten thousand billion billion billion relative to the total range of the strengths of the four forces in nature, conscious life would be virtually impossible anywhere in the universe.
There are many other parameters and constants that are also finely tuned and that, if changed even slightly, would have disastrous consequences for life in our universe. For example, if the neutron were not exactly as it is—about 1.001 times the mass of the proton—then all protons would have decayed into neutrons or all neutrons would have decayed into protons, and life would not be possible. If the explosion of the Big Bang had differed in strength by as little as one part in 1060 (one part in a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion), the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself or expanded too swiftly for stars to form. Either way, life would be impossible. The list goes on and on.
What makes all this even more fascinating is that these finely tuned parameters and constants are independent of one another. In other words, they could all be just right for life except for one, which is off to the smallest degree—and that alone would have precluded me from existing to write this and you from existing to read it. This makes it yet more unlikely that they all came to be just so by chance. In fact, because of this evidence Paul Davies, one of the leading physicists and cosmologists of our day, makes this audacious claim: "I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of fate. . . . We are truly meant to be here."9 That's quite a statement for one who doesn't even claim to believe in a personal God!
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