GOD AND SCIENCE ARE NOT ENEMIES
I’ve just finished reading “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel – a great read about the scientific evidence that points towards God. For this and the next few posts I’m going to summarise some of the main points made in that book.
The theory that the universe had a beginning, as opposed to just an eternal existence, is now mainstream cosmology. Mathematical models in the 1920s, derived from Einstein’s theories, predicted an expanding universe. Then Edwin Hubble explained that the red shift of light coming to us from other galaxies was caused by those galaxies moving away from us. Then in the 1960s it was discovered that the background temperature of the universe was exactly that which would be explained by a “very early and very dense state of the universe, which was predicted by the Big Bang model.” No less a person than Stephen Hawking says “Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang.”
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1.
The Big Bang, this immense explosion of energy into matter, included photons – “Let there be light” – Shazam!
The fact that there was a beginning has significant repercussions, because of something called the Kalam Argument. This originated with a Christian philosopher and was then taken up by some Muslim scholars in North Africa at the beginning of the 12th century. The argument has three parts:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe had a beginning.
3. And therefore, the universe had a cause.
The first part of the argument is not the kind of thing that can be proven one way or the other. However, in our observations of how the world works, the premise is constantly confirmed and never falsified, meaning that we have better reason to believe it is true, than to believe that it is false. As explained in the book, if we hear a loud bang and you ask me what made that noise, and I say “Nothing, it just happened,” you’d think I was a raving loony.
And with The Big Bang accepted by most cosmologists as the theory that best fit the evidence as it is known today, it would seem that a cause for the universe is a very plausible theory.
Of course, a cause by itself does not automatically lead to a personal Creator, although apparently the Kalam Argument does argue for one. In my next post, I’ll cover some stuff that does indicate the likelihood of intelligent design.
None of the above constitutes proof of the existence of God. I don’t believe we will ever receive proof in this life, and I don’t want us to. As noted in a previous post, I believe that certain knowledge of the existence of God would give us the same status as Satan – who knew God, still rebelled, and has no way back. As it is, our own rebellion is forgiven through our faith. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.” Ephesians 2:8.
GOD AND SCIENCE ARE NOT ENEMIES - PART II
A bit more from the book I read recently – “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel. In my last post, I quoted some of the scientific evidence contained in the book for the universe being caused by something.
In the arena of physics, something called the Anthropic Principle points to not only a cause, but to intelligent design of the universe. The book says “all the seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common – these are precisely the values you would need if you want to have a universe capable of producing life.” The probability of all these values occurring by chance are so huge that they boggle the mind.
For example, the force of gravity is precisely set to allow life – a breathtaking image given in the book, is that of a massive ruler that is the length of the whole universe, and is marked out in inches. The length of the ruler represents the range of force strengths existing in nature. Gravity is quite weak, while the strong nuclear force is 10 thousand billion billion billion billion times stronger. Increase the force of gravity by just one of those gazillions of inches on the intergalactic ruler, and life would not be supportable.
The cosmological constant, or the energy density of empty space, has to be fine-tuned – too strong, and matter would be repulsed so strongly that galaxies, stars, planets could not be formed – too weak, and the big bang would have been quickly reversed as all matter became subject to an immense attractive force. The fine tuning is estimated to be 1 part in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!!!
In physics, a phase space is a space in which all possible states of a system are represented, with each possible state of the system corresponding to one unique point in the phase space. The original phase space is the phase space for the properties of the universe immediately after The Big Bang. Eminent physicist Roger Penrose estimates that the accuracy required to fine tune the original phase space to the conditions that actually existed (and which went on to support life) is 1 part in 10,000,000,000^123. He goes on to say you can’t even write that number out in full – there are more zeroes in it than there are particles in the universe!
There are many more constants that need to be precisely tuned to an accuracy that, even taken in isolation, seriously challenge the idea of our universe being created by random chance.
As I said last time, there is no proof of the existence of God. Personally, having read this book and others by both Christian and atheist authors, neither do I see any proof of the non-existence of God. I am fascinated by the wonder of our universe and the beauty of our planet, and reading about all these conditions that need to be set just so, strengthens my faith. The apostle Paul wrote: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20.