For thousands of years, people have looked up at the night sky in awe and amazement. It was once thought that supernatural intervention was the driving force behind the mechanisms of the universe. While the many presumptions of the ancients have been demythologized by scientific inquiry as more of the natural reality is understood, that same inquiry now brings us to a place where we can see the universe and the functions of many of its interlocking parts with much more clarity.
Innumerable brilliant minds, through centuries of inventive pursuits, working tirelessly for years on end has given us the ability to replicate the conditions of the early universe. Through a device called the Hadron Collider (and other particle colliders) scientists are now able to get a deeper insight into the conditions of the universe while it was only a fraction of a second old.
The scientific evidence points to the reality that the universe appears to have leapt into existence out of nothingness. A tiny spec, known as the singularity, beyond which all known laws of physical break down, exploded into being and has expanded thereafter to be the universe of today. We use the term explode because there is no other better way to describe the extreme rate of expansion from the singularity, but this rate of expansion exhibits incredible fine-tuning as well. This expansion was so fast and the release of energy so great that the event was deemed to be termed the Big Bang.
Now, since everything we’ve experienced in our lives are things, whether substantive or conceptual, many will have a real big problem fully comprehending nothingness. It is, therefore, helpful to add some context. By nothingness we mean there was no matter. By “nothingness,” we also mean there was also no space. And by “nothingness,” we also mean no time. Now, the best we can do at conceptualizing nothingness is perhaps by thinking of empty space, but it’s important to keep in mind that space is tied to time in some way, shape or form, and by thinking of space we automatically also borrow time in order to help us conceptualize it. However, we must remove all remnants of these natural dimensions in order to fully understand nothingness. Nothingness implies nothing natural and the causal agent of the universe must, therefore, be able to transcend time, space and matter. These are eerily the properties that are generally attributed to God, especially to that of the God of the Bible. Additionally, the Bible communicates the ideas that God is also omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing), giving further credence to the idea that a supernatural cause of the universe is not only reasonable, but far more likely than the known natural world simply exploding into existence out of material nothingness.
Yet, with respect to particle colliders, we’ve not necessarily created a mini Big Bang as some will claim. We’ve simply replicated the conditions of the early universe in order to gain more insight into the mechanisms at work and their attributes. And as has been the case in general for the past few decades, scientific inquiries are lending more credence to the case that the universe does not appear to be the result of a random set of occurrences, but indeed exhibits incredible design and fine tuning.
The Odds of Fine-Tuning
With any engineered system it is a very reasonable expectation for that system to exhibit design at a large scale as well as in its subsystems and composing parts. And it just so happens that this is precisely what we see in the universe as well. Consider the specific rate of the energy density of empty space. What is the likelihood of this specific rate being what it is by mere coincidence, an accidental specificity? Its precision is conservatively calculated to be one part in 1053. To demonstrate the likelihood of this happening by chance, imagine hurling a dart toward Earth from the Moon and hitting a solitary atom (one trillionth of a trillionth diameter)? It’s important to realize that any other rate would have either caused the universe to die out immediately after the Big Bang or to incapacitate it making the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets impossible.
Having just considered one specific property of the universe that exhibits fine-tuning, we can look at all others known and yet to be revealed that allow for the existence and persistence of life. There are actually hundreds of these types of specific properties and rates, which were/are crucial for the existence of life in general, and complex life specifically. As such, to speak of a chance existence turns out to be an oxymoron. In reality, there appears to be nothing accidental about life.