In the past thirty five years, scientists have been stunned to discover that the universe is finely tuned to an incomprehensible precision to support life. For many scientist, this points in a very compelling way toward the existence of an Intelligent Designer. Here are some of the data gathered by scientists, both Christians and non-Christians, that point toward complexity and orderedness at the beginning of the universe: Stephen Hawkins has calculated that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed into a fireball. British physicist P.C.W. Davies has concluded that the odds against the initial conditions being suitable for the formation of stars, which are necessary for planets and thus life, is a one followed by at least a thousand billion billion zeros. Davies also estimated that if the strength of gravity were changed by only one part in 10^100, life could never have developed. For comparison, there are only 10^80 atoms in the entire known universe. There are about fifty constants and quantities. For example, the amount of usable energy in the universe, the difference in mass between protons and neutrons, the proportion of matter to antimatter. That must be balanced to a mathematically infinitesimal degree for any life to be possible. For organic life to exist, the fundamental regularities and constants of physics must all have values that together fall into an extremely narrow range.
The probability of this perfect calibration happening by chance is so tiny as to be statistically negligible. Collins puts it well: "When you look from the perspective of a scientist at the universe, it looks as if it knew we were coming. There are fifteen constants...that have precise values. If any of those constants was off by even one part in a million, or in some cases, by one part in a million million, the universe could not have been able to coalesce, there would have been no galaxy, stars, planets or people." Some have said that it is as if there were a large number of dials that all had to be tuned to within extremely narrow limits, and they were. It seem extremely unlikely that this would happen by chance. Stephen Hawkins concludes: "The odds against the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications." Elsewhere he says, "It would be very difficult to explain why the universe would have begun in just this way except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us."
Astronomers are discovering a whole new dimension of evidence that suggests this astounding world was created, in part, so we could have the adventure of exploring it. As astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and science philosopher Jay Wesley Richards, who wrote the book "The Privileged Planet," elaborates. Total eclipse of the sun, which yield a treasure trove of scientific data, can only be viewed from one place in the solar system where there are intelligent beings to view them. Also, earth's location away from galaxy's center and in the flat plane of the disk provides a particularly privileged vantage point for observing both nearby and distant stars. Another example, earth provides an excellent position to detect the cosmic background radiation, which is critically important because it contains invaluable information about the properties of the universe when it was very young. Because our moon is the right size and distance to stabilize Earth's tilt, it helps preserve the deep snow deposits in our polar regions, from which scientist can determine the history of snowfall, temperatures, winds, and the amount of volcanic dust, methane, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The findings of scientists that our world appears to be designed for discovery have added a compelling new dimension to the evidence for a Creator. And, frankly, their analysis makes sense. The finely tuned universe can compel only one reasonable conclusion, a supernatural agent must be responsible for it.
Every time I've come across written communication, whether it's a painting on a cave wall or a novel from Amazon.com or the words "I love you" inscribed in the sand on the beach, there has always been someone who did the writing. Even if I can't see the couple who wrote "I love you," you don't assume that the words randomly appeared by chance of the the movement of the waves. Someone of intelligence made that written communication. And what is encoded on the DNA inside every cell of every living creature is purely and simply written information. I'm not saying this because I'm a writer; scientist will tell you this. We use a twenty-six-letter chemical alphabet, whose letters combine in various sequences to form all the instructions needed to guide the functioning of the cell. Each cell in the human body contains more information than in all thirty volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. For me, that's reason enough to believe this isn't the random product of unguided nature, but it's the unmistakable sign of an Intelligent Designer. In 2004, the atheist world was shocked when famed British atheist Antony Flew suddenly announced that he believed in the existence of God. For decades he had heralded the cause of atheism. It was the incredible complexity of DNA that opened his eyes: In a recent interview, Flew stated, "It now seems to me that the findings of more that fifty years of DNA research have provided the materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design."
Nearly every scientist agrees that the universe had a beginning. The most widely accepted explanation is the Big Bang theory or some variation of it. The question is: What made the bang? If you hear a noise you look for the cause for a little bang, then doesn't it also make sense that there would be a cause for the big bang? Stephen Hawking states, "Almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning at the Big Bang." The philosopher Kai Nielson says, "Suppose you suddenly hear a loud bang... and you ask me, 'What made that bang?' and I reply, 'Nothing, it just happened.' You would not accept that."
Maybe you've heard Christians denying the evidence for the Big Bang theory because they believe it contradicts the Bible's revelation that God created the world. But well-meaning, Bible-believeing Christians have different views on the issue. For example, William Lane Craig believes that the Big Bang is one of the most plausible arguments for God's existence. Adds astrophysicist C.J. Isham: "Perhaps the best argument... that the Big Bang supports theism [belief in God] is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists." Agnostic astronomer Robert Jastrow admitted that, although details may differ, "the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy." Stephen Hawkins has calculated that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed into a fireball. You may have seen the bumper sticker that reads, "The Big Bang Theory: God spoke, and Bang! It happened." It's a little simplistic, but maybe it's not so far off.
"In the beginning there was an explosion," explained Noble Prize-winning physicists Steven Weinberg in his book The First Three Minutes, "which occurred simultaneously everywhere, filling all space from the beginning with every particle of matter rushing part from every other particle." The matter rushing apart, he said, consisted of elementary particles, neutrinos and the other subatomic particles that make up the world. Among those particles were photons, which make up light. "The universe," he said, "was filled with light." Interesting, that's what the Bible says too.
Obstacles to the formation of life on primitive earth would have been extremely challenging. Even a simple protein molecule is so rich in information that the entire history of the universe since the Big Bang wouldn't give you the time you would need to generate that molecule by chance. Even if the first molecule had been much simpler than those today, there's a minimum structure that protein has to have for it to function. You don't get that structure in a protein unless you have at least seventy-five amino acids or so. First, you need the right bonds between the amino acids. Second, amino acids come in right-handed and left-handed versions, and you have to get the left-handed ones. Third, the amino acids must link up in a specified sequence, like letters in a sentence. Run the odds of these things falling into place on their own and you find out that the probabilities in forming a rather short functional protein at random would be one chance in a hundred trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. That is a ten with one-hundred and twenty-five zeros after it. And that would only be one protein molecule, a fairly simple cell would need between three-hundred and five-hundred protein molecules. When you look at those odds and evidence, you can see why, since the 1960's, scientist have abandoned the idea that chance played any significant role in the origin of DNA or proteins.
There is something about nature that is much more striking and inexplicable than its design. All scientific, inductive reasoning is based on the assumption of the regularity, the laws, of nature, that water will boil tomorrow under the identical conditions of today. The method of induction requires generalizing from observed cases of the same kind. Without inductive reasoning we couldn't learn from experiences, we couldn't use language, we couldn't rely on our memories. Most people find that normal and untroubling. But not philosophers! David and Bertrand Russel, as good secular men, were troubled by the fact that we haven't got the slightest idea of why nature-regularity is happening now, and moreover we haven't the slightest rational justification for assuming it will continue tomorrow. If someone would say, "Well the future has always been like the past," Hume and Russell reply that you are assuming the very thing you are trying to establish. To put it another way, science cannot prove the continued regularity of nature, it can only take it by faith. There have been many scholars in that last decades who argued that modern science arose in its most sustained form out of Christian civilization because of its belief in a all-powerful, personal God who created and sustains an orderly universe. As a proof for the existence of God, the regularity of nature is escapable. I can always say, "We don't know why things are as they are." As a clue for God, however, it is helpful. I can surely say, "We don't know why nature is regular, it just is. That doesn't prove God." If I don't believe in God, not only is this profoundly inexplicable, but I have no basis for believing that nature will go on regularly, but I continue to use inductive reasoning and language. Of course this clue actually doesn't prove God. It is rationally avoidable. However, the cumulative effect is, I think, provocative and potent. The theory that there is a God who made the world accounts for the evidence we see better than the theory that there is no God.