INTRODUCTION – LOOKING FOR A GOOD CAUSE?
If Whatever Begins to Exist Has a Cause – In nature, there are no instances of something coming into existence out of nothing. When scientists believed that the universe had always existed, they did not dispute “whatever begins to exist has a cause.” Now many do.
Then the Universe Had a Beginning – “Almost everyone now believes that the Universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the big Bang.” (Stephen Hawking). In the Big Bang theory, the universe (time, space and matter) came into being in an instant in a cosmic explosion. The effects of this have been scientifically observed (stars and plants are rapidly moving away from each other and from a common origin). In other words, if you reverse the direction of the expansion it must have started at some place and time.
Therefore, the Universe Had a Cause – There are two possible types of causes:
- Impersonal Cause – Explained in terms of initial conditions and natural laws that cause result. Example: Why is kettle boiling? – kinetic energy of flame conducted by metal bottom of kettle to water, causing water molecules to vibrate faster and faster until thrown off into steam.
- Personal Cause – Explained in terms an agent and that agent’s volition and will. Example: Why is kettle boiling? – I put it on to make a cup of tea.
ALMOST A MIRACLE?
THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN – EVIDENCE FOR DESIGN
There is nothing unusual about the earth. It’s an average, unassuming rock that’s spinning mindlessly around an unremarkable star in a run-of-the-mill galaxy – “a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.” (Carl Sagan)
- Spiral Galaxies – The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy. Spirals provide safe zones for habitability. Safe zones are between the spiral arms (such as where the earth is), away from exploding star formations. Earth is also away from the nucleus (black hole) that has destructive energy and high radiation. Outer regions do not have enough heavy elements to form planets.
- Elliptical Galaxies – Are less massive and luminous. Smaller galaxies do not have enough heavy elements for planets to form. Our Galaxy, on the other hand is in top one to two percent in mass and luminosity. Stars in these types of galaxies visit every part of the galaxy, including dangerous zones for planets.
- Irregular Galaxies – These are galaxies that distorted a ripped apart, with no safe zones for planet formation and existence.
- Orbits – Other planets in other solar systems usually have elliptical orbits, taking them, at times, too close (too hot, water, critical for life formation evaporates) to their “sun” and at other times too far away (too cold, water freezes, ice ages).
- Other Planets – Jupiter, because of its mass and gravity, attracts comets before they can penetrate the inner solar system and endanger the earth. Inner planets (Mars and Venus) do the same with asteroids.
- Moon – The moon stabilizes the tilt of the earth’s axis, making seasons possible. Without the moon, the tilt would swing wildly with major temperature swings. The moon also increases tides, which helps distribute ocean nutrients and moderate temperature. The moon “just happens to be the right size and right distance to help create a habitable planet.”
- Size – Our sun is among the top ten percent in mass. With smaller suns, a planet would need to orbit closer to maintain sufficient heat for liquid water (needed for life). But this would be too close, causing the planet to stop spinning (same side always facing the sun) and large temperature variances between sides.
- Flares – The affect of the flares of our sun compared to most other stars is less heat spike and radiation. Many other stars do not produce enough ultraviolet light, which is necessary for oxygen to build. Light is stable preventing temperature swings.
- Metal Rich – The sun’s metallicity is near golden, and contributed to formation of planets.
- Circular Orbit – Unusual compared to other stars its age. The circular orbit keeps our solar system (and hence earth) from getting too close to spiral arms in the galaxy.
Average Unassuming Rock?
- Mass – Needs minimum mass to retain atmosphere (form oxygen, retain heat). Cannot be too big and surface gravity less likely to form ocean basins and mountains (whole earth would be smooth and covered by water).
- Continental Drift – Found only on earth in our solar system. Aids formation of mountains (no water world). Helps balance greenhouse gases (regulates livable temperatures).
- Goldilocks – The earth’s location, its size, its composition, its structure, its atmosphere, its temperature, its internal dynamics, and its many cycles (carbon, oxygen, etc…) that are essential to life, testify to the degree that our planet is exquisitely and precariously balanced.
Strobel, Lee (2004). The Case for a Creator (pp. 153-192). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
The Teleological Argument. The teleological argument reasons that a design requires an intelligent designer. It goes like this:
1. All designs imply a designer.
2. There is great design in the universe.
3. Therefore, there must be a great designer of the universe.
There are many forms of the teleological argument, the most famous of which derives from William Paley’s watchmaker analogy. Any time we have seen a complex design, we know by previous experience that it came from the mind of a designer. Watches imply watchmakers; buildings imply architects; paintings imply artists; and coded messages imply an intelligent sender.
The greater the design, the greater the designer. Beavers make log dams, but they have never constructed anything like the Golden Gate Bridge. A thousand monkeys sitting at typewriters for millions of years would never produce Hamlet by accident. Shakespeare did it on the first try. The more complex the design, the greater the intelligence required to produce it.
Since the universe is exceedingly more complex than anything that we could possibly conceive, it must follow that there must be a maker of the universe that is exceedingly more intelligent and powerful than any known designer. Such a designer would have no peer. Such a designer must be more than a god, such a designer must be The God.
Geisler, N. L. (1999). God, Evidence For. In Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics (pp. 277–278). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed (had a beginning) at God’s command (caused), so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible (began to exist). (Hebrews 11:3)
And these are but the outer fringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him! (Job 25:14)