“The heavens declare the glory of God;The cosmological argument is basically the answer to the question “why is there anything at all?” The next question is “why is the universe such that life can exist?”
the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
Some claim science has removed any need for God as an explanation of the universe. The truth is actually the opposite: The more we learn about the universe, the more science points toward God.
There is no reason that the universe should be a hospitable place. In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking wrote, “The laws of science ... contain many fundamental numbers.... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”
The list of parameters that must be “finely adjusted” only seems to grow with time. One example is the cosmological constant which must be the same within 1 in 10120* (1). How do we even make sense of a number like that? “Let’s say you were way out in space and were going to throw a dart at random toward the Earth. It would be like successfully hitting a bull’s eye that’s one trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter” (2).
The expansion rate of the universe must be tuned within 1 in 1055 (3) out of an infinite possible range (4). The energy of the excited state of a carbon-12 nucleus must be pretty much exactly what it is (5).
Some other examples include:
- The gravitational coupling constant
- The strong, weak, and electromagnetic force coupling constants
- The ratio of electrons to protons
- The ratio of the electron’s mass to the proton’s
- The mass of the universe
- The stability of protons
- The velocity of light (6)
- The ratio of the EM force relative to gravity (7)
There are dozens more. Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose gives the odds that the initial conditions of the universe might produce a universe in which we can live as 1 in 1010123. “Just to speak aloud those billions would require more time than the universe has existed” (8).
But it’s all just coincidence, right? Maybe there are countless universes in some kind of multiverse, and we’re just in the lucky one that can sustain life. Theoretical physicist Lee Smolin boiled it down to just the possibility of a universe in which stars can form. The odds of such a universe are 1 in 10229. “If every proton in the universe represented a universe, ... none of those universes would contain a star” (9). In other words, invoking a “multiverse” doesn’t get us a livable universe.
That’s why Stephen Hawking admitted, “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us” (10).
Sir Arthur Eddington, who frankly found a beginning to the universe philosophically “repugnant,” said, “If we put a kettle of water on the fire there is a [1 in 1020] chance that the water will freeze. ... But it will not happen to me. ... I would much sooner believe in interference by a demon than in a coincidence of that kind coming off; and in doing so I shall be acting as a rational scientist” (11).
If the supernatural is the appropriate explanation for Eddington’s kettle freezing, what else can be the explanation for the mind boggling odds against our just-right universe?
And this is just the laws of physics as they apply to the universe at large. The design that goes into having a habitable planet and living organisms, as well as the origin of information, is equally staggering. When stacked together, it’s not surprising that this argument has convinced many scientists and philosophers that God must exist. God has left his fingerprints on the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology. Whether it’s King David 3000 years ago or astronomers today, people who look at nature with an open mind can see that it declares the glory of God.
For more information, I recommend There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Anthony Flew.
* Click here for a quick refresher on scientific notation
(1) Steven Weinberg, “Life in the Universe,” Scientific American (Oct 94), p 44-49
(2) Robin Collins in Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), p133-4
(3) Alan Guth, “Inflationary Universe,” Physical Review D 23 (1981), p 348
(4) George Gale, “The Anthropic Principle,” Scientific American (Dec 81), p154-71
(5) Weinberg, ibid
(6) Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God (Orange, Ca: Promise Publishing Co., 1991), p 119-128
(7) Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1995), p 111-121
(8) quoted in Gerald L. Schroeder, The Science of God (New York: Broadway Books, 1997), p 186
(9) quoted in Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017), p lxviii
(10) Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), p 125-127
(11) Sir Arthur Eddington, “The End of the World: from the Standpoint of Mathematical Physics,” Nature 127 (1931), p 447-53
Image credit: On Target by Vizzzual, used under Creative Commons