The Fine-Tuning of the Universe…(and Our Food)

I was lucky to stumble across the current book I’m reading. Actually, I didn’t even stumble upon it – it was part of a swag bag given to me at a Christian writer’s conference back in February. I only recently peeked into it again after having forgotten all about the free goodies! (Isn’t that the way it goes with free stuff? We don’t appreciate it nearly as much as the things we spend our hard-earned money on! But that’s for another blog…)

The book is called Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your life by Eric Metaxas, and it immediately drew me in, simply by its Table of Contents, as chapter three is titled “Miracles and Science.” This appealed to me because, while believers are familiar with and believe in the miracles of the Bible (which this book also describes) and even know of or have personally experienced modern-day miracles, most of us aren’t so savvy when it comes to hot-off-the-presses scientific breakthroughs that point directly to a divine designer, the God of creation, and testify to countless miracles that are quite literally out of this world. My husband and I love to learn as much as we can about the science that composes the world we live in, not only because it fascinates us, but because it strengthens our faith and teaches us more about the majestic nature and unfathomable intellect of our Lord.

In his chapter titled “Is Life a Miracle,” Metaxas writes, “As of now, fifteen years into the twenty-first century, we know of so many conditions that are absolutely necessary for a planet to support life that not only is it extremely improbable that any other planets can support life, it’s extremely improbable that our planet should support life.[1] To speak statistically and logically, life of any kind should not exist and we shouldn’t be here. Our existence is a statistical and scientific virtual impossibility.”

Because all the variables that make life possible line up flawlessly, physicists commonly use the term “finely tuned” to describe the universe. Space doesn’t permit me to list all the mindboggling variables, but they range from the mass and rotation of the earth and the presence of Jupiter to the “miracle of the moon” and the precisely set speed of the Big Bang. And not a single variable is only mildly important. No, each one is required to be finely tuned, exactly as they are, for life to be possible. The fact that things like gravity and strong and weak nuclear forces remain constant, calibrated just so to sustain our planet, is a daily miracle we should all be thankful for.

A lunar eclipse from the International Space Station
A lunar eclipse from the International Space Station

In an interview I listened to recently with Mr. Metaxas, he noted that the universe miracle mentioned in the book that was most incredible to him was the making of our moon. The section on the subject in the book is six pages long, so I can’t describe every miraculous aspect of our glowing, nocturnal orb, but here are three fast facts:

  • “If the moon were slightly bigger, it would cause our tides to be much more extreme, since a larger moon would of course exert that much more gravitational pull.”
  • “If the moon were slightly smaller and had less gravitational pull, the tides would be insufficient to cleanse coastal seawater and replenish its nutrients.”
  • “ … the idea that the sun and our moon appear almost exactly the same size from our Earth-bound vantage point [to provide eclipses] is essentially preposterous and bizarre … The moon has a diameter of 2,159 miles. In order for a solar eclipse to be possible, it must look the same size as the sun, whose diameter is 864,327 miles. If you divide 864,327 by 2,159, you get 400.337. In other words, the sun is almost exactly four hundred times the size of the moon. So in order for them to look the same size from Earth, the distance from Earth to the sun must be about four hundred times the distance from Earth to the moon. What are the odds that that should be the case? Nonetheless, the average distance of the sun from Earth is almost exactly 93,000,000 miles, and the average distance from the moon to Earth is roughly 238,857 miles. If you divide 93,000,000 by 238,857, you get…389. That number is so close to four hundred that they really do look precisely the same size to us here on Earth.”

One word: WOW… When we examine the evidence, we see that not only did God breathe everything into being, He methodically and meticulously crafted every inch and invisible atom in such a way that stupefies scientists and skeptics and awakens the eyes of atheists.

Sir Fred Hoyle, who coined the term “Big Bang” in 1949, was an atheist who later in life wrote this:

“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as 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.”

Okay, I’ve already written a chapter’s worth myself, so I will wrap this post up and install Part II next week. I encourage you to give Miracles a read. I’m only on page 75 and already I have been moved to praise and marvel at our Father in heaven who has placed His fingerprints all over this universe, from planets and stars trillions of miles away to, as we’ll see next week, the veggies on your dinner table. Stay tuned!

The heavens declare God's glory

 

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[1] Check out Miracles here: http://www.amazon.com/Miracles-What-They-Happen-Change/dp/0525954422

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