Is it proper for Christians to spend their time in understanding scientific discoveries? David hints at a positive answer to this question in Psalm 19:1, "The heavens declare the glory of God!" There is so much to learn about our Fatherís meticulous care in providing us a place to live in this universe. The exciting part is that the facts concerning our dwelling place tell us of Godís glory in many different ways. The writers of the bible spent a great deal of time pondering nature and how it shows Godís mighty power and glory. Consider the following scriptures:
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." (Psalm 19:1-4)
"Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you." (Job 12:7-8)
The following is a list of scriptures that tells us that we can learn from Godís creative works: Job 10:8-14, Psalm 104, Job 12:7, Psalm 139, Job 34:14-15, Proverbs 8:22-31, Job 35:10-12, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Job 37:5-7, Habakkuk 3:3, Job 38-41, Acts 14:17, Psalm 8, Acts 17:23-31, Psalm 19:1-6, Romans 1:18-25, Psalm 50:6, Romans 2:14-15, Psalm 85:11, Romans 10:16-18, Psalm 97:6, Colossians 1:23, Psalm 98:2-3
However, it is easy to be intimidated by astronomical and scientific claims. Many Christians feel this way because of the Ďconclusionsí trumpeted by people all over this world that seem contrary to believing in a creator. However, we do not have to shut our ears to theories and evidences from astronomic and other scientific disciplines. More and more scientific facts indicate design and of course by extension, a designer. Even computer simulations about how the universe and our solar system were formed point to intricate fine-tuning as well, as we shall see later. This fine-tuning is making more than a few scientists speculate about the existence of a creator. One of the most famous quotes from a self-proclaimed agnostic astronomer that is often quoted by Christians states:
"For the scientist who has lived his dream by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." (God and the Astronomers by Robert Jastrow, W. W. Norton & Company, second edition, page 107)
Many people believe that we exist by the good fortunes of chance and that our universe exists because there are billions of universes are popping into existence every moment. The substance behind such a theory is that perhaps one of these universes will be lucky enough to have conditions where life to evolve and exist. The reasoning of such thinking is more fascinating than first meets the eye. Almost all scientists have discarded the idea of a universe did not have a beginning. The good news is this conclusion begs the question, "how was the universe created?"
This question leads us to another questions of "who created the universe?" The only hope left for a non-created universe comes from theories based on quantum mechanics. Quantum Mechanics allows for theories stating that a universe can pop into existence at any given moment. While this can never verified through observation or experimentation, it shows how weak arguments against a creator have become, at least in the authorís opinion. If the bible is true, then time and evidence is on Godís side. The more Ďuniversalí facts are uncovered, the more they will point to evidence for the God of the Bible. For now, let us examine the evidence that points to extremely sophisticated design for our universe.
Many brilliant agnostic and atheistic minds have pondered the implications of how the universe came into being. To give you an idea what some of these great minds of our time think about this fine-tuning and itís implications, read on [Editorís note: some atheists and agnostics object to quoting other atheists and agnostics in the context of this article. These are presented as admissions and acknowledgements despite their theology or lack there of.]:
"The laws of science, as we know them at the present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electron charge of the electron and the ratio of the masses of the proton to the electron... The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development for life." (Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, atheist -- italics added for emphasis)
"A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question." (Fred Hoyle, astrophysicist)
"The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. ... His religious feeling takes the form of rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals the intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection." (Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist, agnostic)
What shines out like the sun at noonday to us who believe is the tender, thoughtful care that God has taken to make us a possible place to call home. You may be amazed at the inflexible intricacy of many parameters of physics it takes to have a world that is inhabitable for human life. Here are just a few:
If the expansion rate of the universe had been smaller by just one part in 1055, the universe would have collapsed back on itself before it reached its present state. If larger, galaxies would not clump together since the effects of gravity would be overwhelmed. If you don't appreciate 1055 then this is the actual number. Expansion =
10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 to 1.
If this number seems outrageously large to you, you are correct. Try playing the lottery with these odds. For instance, in 1997, the Illinois Lotto odds of winning the jackpot were = 12,913,583 to 1. The chances of hitting the lotto using the odds for this expansion rate are in reality, impossible.
The Electromagnetic Force determines molecular bonding. If this force were just slightly stronger, the atoms would not release electrons. If just slightly weaker, atoms would not hold on to electrons at all. We can conclude that unless this force is delicately tuned, chemical bonding for life chemistry could never take place.
The strong nuclear force governs the degree to which protons and neutrons stick together in atomic nuclei. If .3% stronger, all protons and neutrons would never break apart and there could be no hydrogen, and thus no stars. If 2% weaker, protons and neutrons would not stick together, leaving us with only helium in the universe. Once again star formation would be impossible. (Source: The Creator and the Cosmos - Hugh Ross, page 112-113)
"If there had not been a small excess of electrons over anti-electrons, and quarks over anti-quarks, then ordinary particles would be virtually absent in the universe today. It is this early excess of matter over antimatter, estimated to be as one part in about 1010, that survived to form light atomic nuclei three minutes later [after the Hot Big Bang], then after a million years to form atoms and later to be cooked to heavier elements in stars ultimately to provide the material from which life would arise." (Stephen Weinberg, "Life in the Universe," The Scientific American, October 1994, pg. 45)
When I was asked to write this article I was humbled that God brought unsolicited information, so quickly to my attention. Here are some excerpts from Sky and Telescope Magazine.
Question: What would have happened if the matter from the creation event had been a little lumpier or a little smoother?
Implication: "...a ten times lumpier "soup" would have former a universe with dense super-massive galaxies. In such galaxies, Tegmark and Rees found, frequently stellar encounters would disrupt planetary systems before life could evolve." (Sky and Telescope, February 1998, pg. 20)
It is a good thing that the lumpiness of galactic evolution was tuned to what it was or no life can exist. Here is another quote concerning the importance of having Jupiter in our solar system.
"The near circular orbit of our largest planet, Jupiter, actually promotes the stability of circular orbits among the other eight planets, simulations have found. If Jupiter were in an eccentric orbit, Earth and Mars would have been flung out of the solar system long ago.... The existence of intelligent life may depend on Jupiter and Earth being in mutually stable orbits." (Sky and Telescope, March 1998, pg. 37 -- Italics added)
"Furthermore, the Moon kept the earthís rotation relative stable. Studies have shown that without the Moon, the tilt of Earthís axis would vary chaotically between 0í and 85í...their report in the September 1997 ĎIcarusí reveals that if the Earthís axis tipped...and evolution of an ecosystem would face catastrophic changes every few tens of millions of years. Life would repeatedly have to reassert itself...These results seem to provide additional constraints on the likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe. It could be that planets need an axis-calming satellite to ensure climatic stability." (Sky and Telescope, March 1998, pg. 21 -- Italics added)
Not a good hope for life elsewhere in the universe, is it? Obviously we are "fortunate" to have the moon regulating tidal flows and axis stability
Astronomer Hugh Ross in his book "The Creator and the Cosmos" has compiled an extensive list of parameters that are needed to have an habitable planet. He lists 41 known factors it takes to have a place in this universe that allows life (and thus humans) to exist at all. By lumping all the probabilities together, he concludes that the probability (odds) of all 41 factors occurring together would be 1051 (10 with 51 zeros after it). I know of no gambler who would takes those odds on a bet. It is hard to fathom why anyone would anyone stake their existence on these odds. It seems certain folly, does it not? Science is showing us more clearly what we already believe by faith about our creator; That he is an awesome, caring God who took great measures to ensure us a place to live. Praise his holy name! (Source: The Creator and the Cosmos - Hugh Ross, pg. 143-144 ) [Recommended reading: God --- The Evidence and Nearer My God]
Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller
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