It’s either the Bible OR Science – this is the view of many atheistic scientists. “Science is not compatible with the Bible” is an often touted phrase to persuade people that Bible believing Christians are ignoring basic observational science. This is simply inaccurate – the findings of observable, testable and repeatable experiments cannot be often disputed where the evidence is clear, which Christian’s would not deny anyway. It is in the field of historical science and the study of origins where the disagreements arise, as assumptions are made and these assumptions are primarily based on the observers worldview! This is the first of three blogs that cover the growing separation between science and intelligent design.
Can we, or contemporary science answer this question: does Earth and the life it sustains exist without purpose or significance in the universe?
From early “flat-earth” beliefs, the knowledge of our planet and universe has increased greatly. Long held beliefs that the Earth was the centre of the universe were proven incorrect with Copernicus’ theory showing the Earth, and all the planets, orbiting the sun. Thanks to Hubble telescope we can see far into our universe and study amazing photos taken of distant stars and galaxies. Now we can see there are billions of galaxies, each made up of billions of stars, with our own Milky Way galaxy having over 100 millions stars.
A cursory look at our planet in such a big universe could initially cause us to agree with Carl Sagan “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.”.
But are we a “lonely speck”, here just by chance, part of a big accident? Or is there something special about our planet Earth and it’s position in our galaxy?
The search for habitable planets continues but still nothing has been found that vaguely matches Earth’s unique features. Scientists are still learning and the list of factors needed to provide the conditions for a habitable planet keeps growing. The typical list has about 20 factors, including:
- Within Galactic Habitable Zone
- Orbiting main sequence G2 dwarf star
- Protected by gas giant planets
- Within circumstellar habitable zone
- Nearly circular orbit
- An oxygen-rich atmosphere
- Correct mass
- Orbited by large moon
- Magnetic field
- Plate tectonics
- Ratio of liquid water and continents
- Terrestrial planet
- Moderate rate of rotation
These are not insignificant small details, without any one of these we would simply not be here!
Our atmosphere has the correct combination for complex life and liquid water!
The habitable zone in our solar system is narrow; 5% closer to the sun – temperatures rise to 900 degrees fahrenheit, 20% further from the sun – carbon dioxide clouds would form in the upper atmosphere.
If Earth was any smaller the magnetic field would be weaker and allow solar winds to strip away our atmosphere. Earth would become a dead barren place like Mars.
We can witness a perfect eclipse of the sun, many factors are needed for this. The sun being 400 times bigger than the moon and the sun being 400 times further away from the moon are two – a coincidence?
We are the only planet with a transparent atmosphere.
Our own solar system is in a special position in the Milky Way Galaxy, in what is called the Galactic Habitable Zone. We are placed in the best position for discovering more not only about our Galaxy but also other galaxies. We could not be in a better place for scientific discovery!
Under Darwinian evolution, there would be no need or purpose in it’s creatures understanding the universe they live in, so why does everything seem so fined tuned? Why does it appear that our universe has been designed to be discovered and observed?
The constants of nature are incredibly finely tuned – relativity, gravitational force, electromagnetic force – change any of them slightly then we would not be here!
There are many factors necessary for a habitable planet, the probability of all the factors for a habitable planet is 1 x 10(15) (1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000). It is a near impossibility of this happening by chance – we are indeed rare in the galaxy!
Are you feeling special yet? You should do, we are in a special place!
These alone are clear evidence that the universe was the product of an intelligent mind. Everything is created for us to not only live, but also to discover! It is not luck, we did not win the cosmic lottery! We are here with reason and purpose.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Good, now we know whose mind it was!
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)
Many truly underestimate or refuse to accept God’s power and look for alternative far-fetched explanations. But it makes more sense to follow the evidence in front of our eyes and give credit and praise to the designer than accept the “chance” theories.
The issue of creation is referred to a vast number of times throughout the Bible from beginning to the end. It seems God is very jealous and protective over being recognized as Creator – how insulting to God that many conclude that the extraordinary world around us was the result of a cosmic accident! We should just simply look to the heavens, be in awe and be drawn to praise our Creator God:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. (Psalms 19:1)
We have the technology to know that the universe is expanding but have never found the boundaries. God is the one stretching:
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: (Isaiah 40:22)
Look up to the skies at night and know that every star you see, and the billions you cannot, have names:
He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Psalm 147:4)
Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. (Isaiah 40:26)
The universe is so finely tuned, it is sustained by God Himself. His power upholds everything:
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: (Hebrews 1:3)
In our current fallen state it is difficult to comprehend everything as our vantage point and perspective leaves us very limited. One day we imagine we will be able to understand the universe fully when we meet our Creator and possibly see every part of it – what an amazing thought. But only those who know Jesus as their Saviour will get that freedom – How to be Saved!