|By: Dr. Norman Geisler; ©2005|
|The anthropic principle (Greek: anthropos, “human being”) states that the universe was fitted from the very first moment of its existence for the emergence of life in general and human life in particular. In order for life to be present today an incredibly restrictive set of demands must have been present in the early universe—and they were.|
The anthropic principle (Greek: anthropos, “human being”) states that the universe was fitted from the very first moment of its existence for the emergence of life in general and human life in particular. As agnostic astronomer, Robert Jastrow, noted, the universe is amazingly preadapted to the eventual appearance of humanity. For if there were even the slightest variation at the moment of the big bang, making conditions different, even to a small degree, no life of any kind would exist. In order for life to be present today an incredibly restrictive set of demands must have been present in the early universe—and they were.
Not only does the scientific evidence point to a beginning of the cosmos, but it points to a very sophisticated high tuning of the universe from the very beginning that makes human life possible. For life to be present today, an incredibly restrictive set of demands must have been present in the early universe:
As early as the 1960s it was explained why, on anthropic grounds, “we should expect to observe a world that possesses precisely three spatial dimensions.” Robert Dicke found “that in fact it may be necessary for the universe to have the enormous size and complexity which modern astronomy has revealed, in order for the earth to be a possible habitation for living beings.” Likewise, the mass, the entropy level of the universe, the stability of the proton, and innumerable other things must be just right to make life possible.
Jastrow summarized the theistic implications well: “The anthropic principle... seems to say that science itself has proven, as a hard fact, that this universe was made, was designed, for man to live in. It’s a very theistic result.” That is, the incredible balance of multitudinous factors in the universe that make life possible on earth points to “fine tuning” by an intelligent Being. It leads one to believe that the universe was “providentially crafted” for our benefit. Nothing known to human beings is capable of “pretuning” the conditions of the universe to make life possible other than an intelligent Creator. Or, to put it another way, the kind of specificity and order in the universe that makes life possible on earth is just the kind of effect that is known to come from an intelligent cause.
Astronomer Alan Sandage concluded that “the world is too complicated in all of its parts to be due to chance alone. I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order in each of its organisms is simply too well put together. Each part of a living thing depends on all its other parts to function. How does each part know? How is each part specified at conception. The more one learns of biochemistry the more unbelievable it becomes unless there is some kind of organizing principle—an architect for believers....” And all of the conditions were set from the moment of the universe’s origin.
Stephen Hawking described how the value of many fundamental numbers in nature’s laws “seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life” and how “the initial configuration of the universe” appears to have been “very carefully chosen.” In spite of the fact that only an intelligent cause can “carefully choose” anything, Hawking at this writing remains skeptical about God. He saw the evidence clearly and asked the right question when he wrote: “There may only be a small number of laws, which are self-consistent and which lead to complicated beings like ourselves who can ask the question: What is the nature of God? And even if there is only one unique set of possible laws, it is only a set of equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to govern?... Although science may solve the problem of how the universe began, it cannot answer the question: Why does the universe bother to exist?” Hawking adds, “I don’t know the answer to that.”
Albert Einstein did not hesitate to answer Hawking’s question when he said, “the harmony of natural law... reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”
Even Nobel prize winner Steven Weinberg, an atheist, went so far as to say that “it seems to me that if the word ‘God’ is to be of any use, it should be taken to mean an interested God, a creator and lawgiver who established not only the laws of nature and the universe but also standards of good and evil, some personality that is concerned with our actions, something in short that is appropriate for us to worship.”
Thus, the Anthropic Principle is based on the most recent astronomical evidence for the existence of a superintelligent Creator of the cosmos. In short, it provides the evidence for an updated Teleological Argument for God’s existence.