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A miraculous existence

God’s fingerprints are everywhere

A miraculous existence

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

In A Big Bang in a Little Room, Zeeya Merali describes the consensus among science’s biggest brains: “The notion that a god made our universe is several rungs on the wackiness ladder above the idea that it was made by aliens.” Nevertheless, Merali describes herself as both a believer in God and the holder of an Ivy League Ph.D. in theoretical physics, so she asks a good question: If God desired to send us a message, how would He do it?

Thirty-two years ago Carl Sagan’s novel Contact included speculation about finding a code in the digits of pi, which starts out 3.14159 and keeps going forever—but no one’s found it. Others said God might encode a message within the human genome—but that would be useful only for creatures on this planet. Merali suggests a message embedded in background radiation, so any sufficiently advanced creatures anywhere in the universe could perceive it. (Astronomers learn about distant galaxies and galaxy clusters by mapping tiny radiation wrinkles.)

The time to engrave such a message in the sky would be at the moment of creation, Merali writes: “Think of it like drawing a smiley face in marker on a balloon straight out of the package. Blow up the balloon and the picture stretches with the rubber. In the same way, as the cosmos rapidly inflated, its creator’s message would shine out across the whole sky.” She says no one has found such a message thus far, thus disappointing those who believe in God.

No such message? With respect for Merali, who writes charmingly, I think she’s wrong, for three reasons.

We live on a Goldilocks ‘just right’ planet within a Goldilocks universe.

First, we live on a Goldilocks “just right” planet within a Goldilocks universe. The “RTB Design Compendium” at reasons.org lists nearly 1,500 features of the universe and Earth that must fall within narrow ranges to allow for the possibility of life, and then advanced life. For example: We need a particular composition of the Earth’s core and atmosphere, a particular Earth axis tilt and rotation speed, particular capillary action and surface tension, and so on.

We exist because of things most of us know nothing about: cosmic ray protons, intergalactic hydrogen gas clouds, molecular hydrogen formed by supernova eruptions, etc. If one loose definition of miracle is “a highly improbable or extraordinary event,” look at the likelihood of simple bacteria being able to survive anywhere in the universe apart from divine action: 1 chance in 10 followed by 556 zeros. What about the likelihood of advanced life? One chance in 10 followed by 1,054 zeros.

In February’s Super Bowl the New England Patriots trailed by 25 points with 17 minutes and 7 seconds left in the game. They managed to tie the game and win it in overtime: Headlines proclaimed “a miracle comeback.” But what if the Patriots had trailed by 8,216 points and needed to score one touchdown (plus two extra points) in every one of those 1,027 seconds left in the game? That gives us a sense of the unlikeliness of our existence purely through material causes—and we’d have to multiply that physical improbability/impossibility by about a trillion. (That’s why some atheistic scientists grab on to the wacky multiverse theory.)

The second proof of God’s existence: 20th-century theodicy. Decisions by three atheists—Mao, Stalin, and Hitler—led to 100 million deaths. Some people say that shows a merciful God does not exist, but we should flip the surmise: Atheism kills, and we’ve seen since the 1930s what happens when we worship human gods. (Yes, some “Christians” have also murdered, in smaller quantities, but they also claimed godlike status.) God warns us throughout the Bible that sin has consequences: Should we consider Him a liar because He tells the truth?

Why don’t we wake up every morning and realize our existence is miraculous? Maybe because so much noise surrounds us. But here’s a third reason to believe in God: I’ve met some men in their 20s whose thinking as teens was so destructive that it looked as if they would soon be dead, imprisoned, or traitorous. I was one of them. But “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end”—and the Bible tells me so.

God has sent a message, not in background radiation but in our existence, our history, and in what should be our daily reading.

Comments

  • MamaC
    Posted: Wed, 04/05/2017 12:30 pm

    Awesome. Truly awesome.

  • OlderMom
    Posted: Wed, 04/05/2017 01:20 pm

    Now why would a smiley face impress us if we aren't impressed by a sky and surroundings so artistic that all of man's art trying to express what we see in nature so far has not captured everything it says?

  • Yokefellow
    Posted: Fri, 04/07/2017 10:55 am

    Greetings Mr. Olasky:

    I always find your articles to be thoughtful and well written.  More importantly, you are addressing the most important issue of our day, which is has to do with the history of origins. The main reason our culture has drifted so far from believing in God has to do with our buying into Darwinian evoltuion and geological uniformiatrianism as related by Charles Lyell (physical sciences) and the secular psychological school as typified by Freud (social sciences).  Both of these schools of thought have led believers to doubt the Word of God and turn to a materialilst thought process that undercuts their faith.  Thank you for pointing out all the evidences for intelligent design, and thank you for connecting your thoughts to the fact that at the foundation of the evidences is the fact that the Bible told you so.

    However, Christians must go beyond intelligent design.  It is a nice point of entrance for a conversation with unbelievers, but the great tragedy is that in the Christian church most believers don't know how to present a defense of the Word of God that is convincing and augmented by sound scientific argument.

    I notice you make reference to the Reason To Believe Compendium as a reference point for the "1,500 features of the universe and Earth that must fall within narrow ranges to allow for the possibility of life, and then advanced life."  While RTB may do well with intelligent design, they leave much to desire when handling the Word of God and using it to deal with issues regarding the history of our origins.  

    You would be better served to utilize thinkers such as Jonathan Sarfati (PhD in Chemistry and Author of "Refuting Evolution" & "Refuting Compromise" with Creation Ministries), Jason Lisle (Astrophysicist and author of "Taking Back Astronomy" with the Institute for Creation Research) and Hebraist, Steven W. Boyd, (Author of "Grappling with the Chronology of the Genesis Flood) as sources to support your thoughts on othe history and evidences for our origins.  These are people who correctly interpret the Word of God through utilizing hermenuetical principles grounded in the historical-grammitical method and applying scientific thought that is not bent to accept the secular paradigms used to relate the hisotry or our origins. Once Christians begin to realize we can trust the Word of God and believe what it says regarding origins in Genesis 1-11, we will be able to build on a solid foundation and not be part of the "scoffers" mindset related by Peter in 2 Peter 3:1-13.    

    Thanks for your faithfulness and keep up the good work - Mark Corbin

  • Dick Friedrich
    Posted: Fri, 04/07/2017 09:04 pm

    The older I get, and I'm no spring chicken anymore, the more I realize how much I've taken for granted in creation and existence. You touch on some of the points that bring this home to me but there are almost an infinite number more. It's been an adventure discovering them in this life and I can only imagine (poorly) what heaven will be like when Christ's rule is even more evident. "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." Rev 4:11

  • fred1000
    Posted: Fri, 04/21/2017 10:33 pm

    The evidence for Creation is the proverbial elephant in the room. Everyone can see it but won't acknowledge its' existence. People don't reject God because they cannot believe but rather because they wil not believe.

    Coleridge nailed it two hundred years ago.

     Forth from his dark and lonely hiding-place,
    (Portentous sight!) the owlet Atheism,
    Sailing on obscene wings athwart the noon,
    Drops his blue-fringed lids, and holds them close,
    And hooting at the glorious sun in Heaven,
    Cries out, “Where is it?”

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)English poet, critic. Fears in Solitude (1798).

  • ERay
    Posted: Tue, 05/30/2017 12:04 am

    Excellent article with reference to Reasons to Believe's 1500 features that must be fine tuned in the universe or on Earth to allow for intelligent life. I also appreciate the reference to the Patriots impossible come from behind win in super Bowl 51!

    Blessings! Ed

  • ERay
    Posted: Tue, 05/30/2017 12:02 am

    Shared this article with Facebook group pages for Psalm 19 Astronomy (sidewalk astronomy ministry), RTB Austin, TX Chapter and RTB Chapter Leaders (closed group.)