Increasingly, scientists seem to uncover evidence that our universe is not an accident of nature but, rather, was designed. Why isn’t this conclusion embraced?
The scientific world had a shock around the turn of the new millennium, as developments in physics and cosmology were proving that our universe could not have resulted from chance. It appeared that the basic constants of physics had been designed and “tuned” to each other. These findings were not based in mere conjecture, but rather upon scientific facts. The question had to be asked: Is it possible that our universe cannot be understood without being recognized as designed? This question unsettled a lot of scientists, because it challenged their most basic assumptions—not only about the universe, but also about themselves.
What shook the scientific community can be summarized by focusing on a set of six very important numbers, some very large, some very small. Our universe is governed by these six numbers—constants that were established at the moment of the “Big Bang.” If any of them were just slightly different, then stars, planets, the elements themselves, and all life-forms could not exist. If these constants were any different, our universe simply could not exist in its current form. They do not appear as units of length, mass, time, or temperature, but as simple, dimensionless numbers that result from measuring such things. And, once more for emphasis, as a fact of science, the universe as we know it could not exist if these constants were to vary or change by more than the most miniscule amounts!
The situation is a bit like the old story of “Goldilocks.” Upon entering the home of the Three Bears and tasting one of three bowls of porridge, Goldilocks says, “This porridge is too hot!” So, she tastes the porridge from the second bowl. “This porridge is too cold.” She then tastes the last bowl of porridge. “This porridge is just right,” she says happily, and eats it all up. Our universe had to be a Goldilocks universe—“just right”—to be anything like the universe in which we exist.
This fact is explained quite well by Sir Martin Rees in his acclaimed book, Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. Rees was a Royal Society Research Professor, is Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at Cambridge University, and holds the title of Astronomer Royal. He is also a member of the Royal Society, the United States’ National Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is well-qualified to comment on the constants that govern the physics of the universe.
Dr. Rees explains these important six constants and how they operate. “At the start of the twenty-first century, we have identified six numbers that seem especially significant. Two of them relate to the basic forces; two fix the size and overall ‘texture’ of our Universe and determine whether it will continue forever; and two more fix the properties of space itself” (Rees, Just Six Numbers, p. 2). Since Just Six Numbers was published in the year 1999, a number of similar constants have been identified. (See “A Universe Tailored Just for You,” in the September-October 2018 issue for more.)
The following is one of the six constants described briefly by Professor Rees:
Epsilon [ε], is 0.007 and defines how firmly atomic nuclei bind together and how all the atoms on Earth were made. The value of epsilon controls the power from the Sun and, more sensitively, how stars transmute hydrogen into all the atoms of the periodic table. Carbon and oxygen are common, and gold and uranium are rare, because of what happens in the stars. If epsilon were 0.006 or 0.008, we could not exist (Rees, p. 2, emphasis added).
Taken together, these six numbers have been described as a kind of “recipe” for our universe. As Professor Rees has reiterated for us, if any of them varied more than slightly, or if they were not “fine-tuned” to one another, the universe and life as we know it could not exist. The odds of these constants all having their specific values as a result of mere chance are extremely small—nearly zero. Therefore, the existence of a Cosmic Designer must be considered. But many scientists prefer to pursue another explanation.
If the mathematical probability of our viable, life-supporting universe evolving by chance is almost infinitely small, how can anyone explain its existence without a designer? The only way to do so is to assume that an infinite number of universes have formed and that ours—through mere chance—just happens to be the one that works! If our universe did not exist as it does, these scientists reason, we would not be around to know it. That is not a very satisfying answer.
This hypothesis promotes “the multiverse” (as opposed to “the universe”). It is speculative and entirely hypothetical, but it gets tremendous attention from scientists who understand that without the possibility of some kind of multiverse (and many different concepts of a multiverse have been proposed), the only logical conclusion may be that our universe was designed. The implications of this would be enormous. Some argue that science would, in effect, prove the existence of God!
Again, Professor Rees explains his view:
These six numbers constitute a “recipe” for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be “untuned”, there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator? I take the view that it is neither. An infinity of other universes may well exist where the numbers are different. Most would be stillborn or sterile. We could only have emerged (and therefore we naturally now find ourselves) in a universe with the “right” combination (Rees, p. 4, emphasis added).
Professor Rees leans toward this “multiverse” view, but admits that “it is plainly still no more than a tentative hypothesis” (Rees p. 150, emphasis added). He hasn’t changed his mind about these matters; in his 2018 book, On the Future, he writes concerning multiverse theory, “It’s highly speculative… but it’s exciting science, and it may be true” (p. 188, emphasis added).
Highly speculative? May be true?
In other words, he hopes that mankind may someday prove that we live comfortably in a “Goldilocks Universe”—one that is “just right”—surrounded by an infinite number of other universes that are (so to speak) “too hot” or “too cold.”
Dr. Rees explains that one response people have when confronted with these facts is that “we couldn’t exist if these numbers weren’t adjusted in the appropriate ‘special’ way: we manifestly are here, so there’s nothing to be surprised about. Many scientists take this line, but it certainly leaves me unsatisfied” (Just Six Numbers, p. 148). He is not alone in his dissatisfaction!
George F. R. Ellis is a Templeton Prize-winning cosmologist, mathematician, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Complex Systems at Cape Town University. He also co-authored The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with another acclaimed cosmologist, the late Stephen Hawking. Regarding the possibility of a multiverse, Ellis observed
…that no possible astronomical observations can ever see those other universes. The arguments are indirect at best. And even if the multiverse exists, it leaves the deep mysteries of nature unexplained… I am skeptical about this claim. I do not believe the existence of those other universes has been proved—or ever could be…. Parallel universes may or may not exist; the case is unproved. We are going to have to live with that uncertainty. Nothing is wrong with scientifically based philosophical speculation, which is what multiverse proposals are. But we should name it for what it is” (“Does the Multiverse Really Exist?” Scientific American, August 2011, emphasis added).
Researchers are nowhere near an answer to the multiverse question. In his most recent book, Dr. Rees also stated, “We may, by the end of this century, be able to ask whether or not we live in a multiverse, and how much variety its constituent ‘universes’ display” (On the Future p. 186, emphasis added). But is it necessary for the world to wait until “the end of this century” to admit the high probability that our universe has a designer?
Canadian philosopher John Leslie wrote that if he faced a 50-man firing squad, he would not be around later to consider the fact that each of its members had missed him unless they all missed him! But if they all missed, and he did survive the experience, he would naturally conclude that there was a reason why they had missed, and he might want to know that reason. When looking at our “finely tuned” universe, a rational person considers the possibility that it was created. In light of the fact that the alternative to a designed universe is—in the words of famous cosmologists—“scientifically based philosophical speculation,” a “tentative hypothesis,” and “unproved,” it seems irrational to preemptively reject the idea that our universe was designed, as so many do. Ironically, when presented with facts that challenge their personal beliefs, people who present themselves as devoted to reason can be very irrational.
Modern cosmology generally understands that the choice is between (1) a designed universe and (2) a multiverse of some kind. Even many scientists who reject religious faith reluctantly acknowledge that unless definitive proof is found of an infinite number of universes, our universe might have had a designer.
Professor Ellis continues: “Proponents of the multiverse make one final argument: that there are no good alternatives… if we are to give up the multiverse, we need a viable alternative. This exploration of alternatives depends on what kind of explanation we are prepared to accept” (“Does the Multiverse Really Exist?,” emphasis added). Many scientists are very averse to considering the alternative that there was a designer of our universe, because they only accept explanations based completely on the material world—explanations that they feel can be measured and tested. If they were to conclude that our universe was designed, they would have to ask, “Who designed it?” And most would rather not.
Are Those Who Believe in a Creator Irrational?
People often say that they will only believe something to the extent that they see evidence of it. Perhaps you have said it yourself. That statement stems from a philosophy called “evidentialism,” which is the dominant view of modern science and the general educational system. Philosophically, evidentialism dates back to the 1700s, and there are a number of questions concerning what exactly such a philosophical approach truly means and how it is applied. But for now, let’s apply its principle to the universe/multiverse issue.
As noted earlier, the odds of our universe having originated through chance are nearly zero. The evidence of a cosmic design—and of a designer—is profound.
But is there actual empirical evidence of a multiverse? Evidence that can be observed? There is none, though astronomers, physicists, and cosmologists have searched diligently for many years. In fact, multiverse proponents do not even have a solid, operational theory for it; they acknowledge that the multiverse remains only a hypothesis—an unproven idea. Yet highly educated people continue to have faith that a multiverse exists, while rejecting the idea of a designed universe—despite overwhelming evidence for the latter.
So, who is being irrational here? The evidence vastly favors a designer.
If one can believe something to the extent that there is evidence for it, has science provided such evidence for the existence of God? Or, at least, for a designer of the universe?
Rationally, one must admit that without solid, scientific evidence of a multiverse, a designed universe is highly probable scientifically—and is indeed the primary alternative. But this alternative has become “the elephant in the room” that few in the world of science want to notice. Most act as if it is not there.
Let’s be rational and consider the possibility of a universal designer. Would a designer design without a reason? Would a designer have intended our extraordinary blue jewel of life—the Earth—to be apart from a larger design? Would this designer have stopped at “Just Six Numbers,” or is it possible that complex proteins and DNA were designed also? And would a designer not communicate with those who could ask questions about the design?
God reveals information that we cannot know solely by analyzing the physical world. At Tomorrow’s World, we understand that we can be informed by faith in what God says. The Apostle John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:1–3). The Bible reveals Who set those six numbers.
The Apostle Paul gave some straight talk to the critics when he wrote that “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 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, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:19–22). Paul explained further, “… for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Those six constants were designed and “tuned” by Him, and even in the unlikely event that real evidence of a multiverse were found, it would not prove that God did not create it.
Those who create do so for a reason. What is the Creator of the universe working toward? His word answers: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob tells us that He did both the creating and the “fine tuning,” and He reveals His great purpose for the creation and for human existence. No cosmologists, philosophers, theologians, or physicists can deduce what God is doing. God’s purposes must be revealed.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God puts things in perspective. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8–9). He has infinite knowledge and wisdom, and has lived forever.
God issues a challenge to those who think that they can know more than He does: “Remember this, and show yourselves men; recall to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:8–10).
God reveals that He has had a plan from the very beginning of the universe. The Apostle Paul explained, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends [Greek: telos—final outcomes] of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). The final stage of God’s plan intimately involves a people that He is setting apart in this age.
This great plan is not something that people can observe scientifically, or reason through on their own. This plan is revelatory. The Apostle Matthew reported, “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world’” (Matthew 13:34–35).
What is this well-kept secret? That God is creating children! Sons and daughters of God! “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:18–22). This great event—the birth of the children of God—will happen when Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom on earth.
These immortal children will be given a Kingdom that will encompass the whole world, bringing the blessings of God’s truth to all of mankind. “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’” (Matthew 25:34).
At the end of his 1999 book, Professor Martin Rees asks the big question that most scientists would rather avoid. “Are there an infinity of other universes that are ‘badly tuned’, and therefore sterile? Is our entire universe an ‘oasis’ in a multiverse? Or should we seek other reasons for the providential values of our six numbers?” (Just Six Numbers, p. 161, emphasis added).
The true reasons can be known—to those who seek and believe what God reveals.