The standard view today is called the Big Bang Theory and I might
describe that briefly and then comment on it. According to the Big
Bang theory, originally there was a kernel of mass energy, which was
the entire concentrated universe. Then about 15 billion years ago, for
unknown reasons, it exploded. And that was the Big Bang itself. As
time went by in this hot, early universe, clouds began to
precipitateóactually clouds of hydrogen and helium gas, those were the
first elements, again, in the Big Bang story. As more time went on,
these clouds condensed due to gravity; they contracted, and we had
early stars form, first generation stars.
they went through their lifetime, some of these stars in turn
exploded, thatís called nova, or super-nova, type explosions, and in
fact, from those exploding stars you get new clouds which contract and
make stars which go back to clouds again, and youíre caught in a
cycle, round and round. In fact, our sun is called a third-generation
star, thought to be relatively recent in the universe.
Now the rest
of elements beyond hydrogen and helium are thought to have been cooked
inside these stars by nuclear fusion, and so when these later stars
explode, that seeded the rest of the universe with carbon and nitrogen
and all the other elements. And, of course, supposedly then, in our
corner of the universe, some of these materials, instead of condensing
into stars, formed planets, and people as we are here. And so itís
kind of poetic that we are said to be made out of stardust, out of
elements once formed inside stars. Thatís sort of an idea that the New
Agers kind of like, that we are one with the universe.
Theoryóitís an interesting story and very popular today, but many
creationists reject this theory and I think for good sound reasons.
There are a number of weaknesses with the Big Bang that we donít
usually hear. One obvious one is that an explosion, as Iím telling
you, has a difficult time explaining the design which we see all about
us in the universe. And there is design on every hand. Itís
interesting to read many of the technical articles these days as we
are studying far away galaxies, as far as things on the earth. Many of
these articles are filled with descriptions of cosmic coincidences and
accidental relationships. Many things, masses, charges, many different
things that appear to be set up so that we can survive in this
universe. Itís sort of a people-centered universe. Itís made so that
we can get by.
there is a general term that has been coined to describe this kind of
thing called the Anthropic Principle, a man-centered universe. And
there are many examples and the science world is not quite sure what
to do with thisówhy things seem to be so well fit for our survival.
Just to mention a few of these design things that you bump into in
astronomy, there are obvious ones, like the planet we live on, planet
earth. As we know, we are the third planet out from the sun, and we
are in just the right place so that we can live and survive here with
comfortable temperatures. If you go either way, you get into trouble.
inside our orbit would be Venus, just 30% closer to the sun, with a
runaway greenhouse effectó900 degrees Fahrenheitójust a terrible place
where you cannot survive. If you move in the other direction from the
sun, the fourth planet would be Mars, just 50% further out than we
are, and there the surface of Mars is very cold, averaging 50 degrees
below zero, just a deep freeze. So what weíre saying is, if you
would go either way from planet earth, you get into trouble in a
hurry. The earthís position and our position here seem to be
Then you go
right down to the lower levels. Letís go down to the microscopic
levelóprotons, neutrons, and electrons. Now those are the elementary
particles that weíre made out of, and their properties are rather
interesting. And you might first say, "Well, big deal; those small
little things, what does it really matter what theyíre like?" But it
does matter in a big way.
instance, consider something like a neutron. Now it has enough mass
that it can spontaneously decay and a neutron can turn into a couple
of particlesóa proton and an electron. We donít have any free neutrons
floating aroundótheyíre unstable. On the other hand, a proton does not
have quite enough mass to decay in a similar way, and protons are
rather stable. Well, you see, the interesting point is that protons
are very abundant. Thatís another way of describing a hydrogen atom.
Thatís what many stars are made out of, thatís what part of water is
made out of, and ourselves. And so if protons and neutrons didnít have
the kind of mass that they actually do, if the proton was a little bit
heavier, for instance, just 2/10 of 1% heavier, the universe would go
into chaos. The protons would decay; there would go the water, the
stars, there would go us, and it would all be over. It appears that
the mass of protons and neutrons has been carefully chosen and planned
so that we can have a stable universe. There are whole books written
for these design arguments, again called the Anthropic Principle.
one might just be the Law of Gravity, the strength of gravity. It has
been chosen and planned very well. If gravity was slightly stronger,
the earth would crash into the sun, the universe would cave in and it
would all be over. If gravity was slightly weaker, then everything
would spread out and orbits would again be unstable, and again the
whole universe would go into chaos. Gravity is finely tuned and
balanced for a stable universe that we can live in.
So what Iím
talking about here is design. And weíre seeing more of this than ever,
as we look at both the microscopic as well as the whole universe
itself, and seeing that itís quite evident that there is a Creator who
has intelligently planned what we have.
I follow where youíre going. The person thatís listening to you is
saying, "Is it possible that could have happened by naturalistic
methods?" Is it possible, because there is randomness, it seems, in
other parts of the universe, and there is some design? Whatís the
balance? How do we know that that actually points to a Creator rather
than it just happened?
Well, the design details that Iím talking about I think really set
this area apart even from the biological world. Now, we talk about
design in living things: our eye and every other part of us. And in
that case, secular science has an answer: that mutations and natural
selection can change things and sort of force its own design. But when
I talk about gravity, or the mass of protons or neutrons, those are
non-living areas. They donít mutate, they donít evolve. They had to be
established from the very beginning. So I believe itís a strong
argument, like a watch which doesnít change, it demands a watchmaker,
because of the design we can see.