We’re never too old to want to make sense of life. I was recently visiting with someone approx. my age who only recently decided Christ was not a myth & became a Christian. The people who are really confronted with the Anthropic principle & Natural Theology are the scientists, who, at many different levels and in various fields of science, bump into a strange phenomena, the “improbable scenario” that the universe from start to finish is fine tuned to create life. The normal person is unaware of these things: the temperature of the sea, the important role of dust, the distance the earth is from the sun, the tilt of the earth’s axis, the fact that the element carbon even exists and how it exists, and thousands of other specific facets of reality. What makes these circumstances strange & peculiar, and how they came about rather than a multitude of other possibilities, and what they mean are the deeper things of science, not the everyday subjects that people think about. Like Cinderella’s shoe fit her, the universe is precisely fine-tuned to create life, and just as the story has Cinderella wearing the shoe when discovered, I suggest that we should accept the ramifications of natural theology.
IF WE CAN OBSERVE IT, IT MEANS THE UNIVERSE HAS AN OBSERVER, AND MUST THEREFORE HAVE CONDITIONS THAT CREATE AN OBSERVER. Or to put this another way: what an observer (scientist) can expect to see, are circumstances & conditions that are necessary for an observer to exist. As improbable as the universe’s thousands of fine-tuned circumstances (laws of nature, etc.) that exist in a form that allows life, we realize that if we are observing it, these thousands of fine-tuned circumstances would of course have to exist!! So the quantum scientist finds that his string theory shows 11 dimensions existed at the origin of the universe, but that 8 were compatified, leaving only a 3D world. A truly 2D or 4D world would not be able to support life, so the happenchance that a 3D universe exists is peculiar and welcome, for without it we would not exist. (Granted that time is considered a 4th dimension, but it’s not a dimension as the 3 we exist in.) So one scientist, upon observing the universe’s fine tuning to create life, & not just life but intelligent life, wrote: “The more I examine the universe & study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.”(A)
COMPLEXITY. It made sense at the time of Darwin that the atom of physics, and the cell of biology were simplistic things…because they were simply thought of in theory as the basic building block. But we have examined these things in fine detail and have discovered the subatomic world is very complex, and the tiny building block of life, the individual cell, has turned out to be more like a busy city like New York City, built with complex instructions of RNA & DNA. Rather than discovering simplicity, we discovered strange complexity. And this complexity is biocentric, that is, it has properties that are fine tuned in a detailed way for the creation of life. The complexity is so fine-tuned for life, it is impossible for an unbiased observer not to realize it was designed for life. Ouch!! Now we are bumping into a reality that many scientists DO NOT WANT to admit…something may have designed things in this universe with the purpose of creating & sustaining life. Now granted that does not prove God, or prove the existence of the Bible’s God…but it is what one would expect if the Bible were true!!! It is satisfying to realize, the Bible’s view of the universe, matches what we discover when we look closely at the universe. This is why one scientist wrote a paper, “A Scientific Argument for the Existence of God: The Fine-Tuning Design Argument.” (1999)
EXAMPLES OF HOW DEEP IN STRUCTURE OF THE UNIVERSE IS PURPOSE. I want to give a few examples, which hopefully will not bore the common reader… Some of the peculiarities that show fine tuning for life: The strong coupling constant if slightly smaller would permit only hydrogen to exist, and if slightly stronger would not permit hydrogen to form the long-lived stars. The weak coupling constant is also fine-tuned for life to develop. The electromagnetic fine-structure constant is fine-tuned, as is the gravitational fine-structure constant. In fact, the very shape of the universe is dependent upon fine-tuning. The ratio of the electromagnetic force to the force of gravity (which by the way is expressed as the electrical coulomb force between two protons divided by the gravitational force between them) is a fine tuning for life. If slightly smaller large creatures could not exist. Stephen Hawking noted this cosmic fine-tuning in numerous ways, including how the universe is teetering on the dividing line between collapsing & expanding indefinitely. He wrote: “If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been less by one part in 10 to the tenth power, the universe would have collapsed after a few million years. If it had been greater by one part in 10 to the 10th power, the universe would have been essentially empty after a few million years. In neither case, would it have lasted long enough for life to develop, thus one either has to appeal to the anthropic principle or find some other physical explanation of why the universe is the way it is.”
WATER OF LIFE. The concept of the “water of life” is prevalent in the Word of God. Water has many strange properties needed for life. Water is the matrix of life. It plays an important role in countless ways, for instance, many proteins make use of bound water molecules as an internal functional unit. And strangely our planet is the water planet. Scientists try to imagine another fluid that might substitute for water & sustain life. They speculate that liquid ammonia might succeed. It exists in the clouds of Jupiter. But at best it would be a poor substitute.
FINAL WORDS. I have only touched on a vast subject. I will let the Word of God have the final say: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…”(B)
(A) Dyson, Freeman J. Disturbing the Universe (NY: Harper & Row, 1979), p. 250 (B) ROM 1:20