Did God Make the Entire Universe for Humans?

galaxy_universe-normal

QUESTION:  The universe is unimaginably huge.  Do you think the whole thing was created for humans, even the part of the universe that is 13 billion light years away from Earth?  Why would God create all of that if humans on Earth were his main concern?

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Interesting question.  This is my quick answer:

Psalm 19:1 says,

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

And here’s my longer answer:

God reveals himself through two means: natural revelation and special revelation Natural revelation is how we learn about God through the natural world.  This would include observing beauty and order in nature and through our innate sense of morals and worth.

Special revelation is God’s unique interventions in the world outside his normal providential care, which includes all the miraculous events recorded in the Bible as well as the Bible itself as God’s inspired scripture.  Someone who has never read the Bible can know there is a God and draw certain conclusions about God from natural revelation, but special revelation is needed to understand God more completely and for salvation.

Paul writes about natural revelation in his letter to the Romans:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (1:18-20)

 and

“For all who have sinned without the Law [of God] will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them…” (2:12-15)

If we look at the creation story recorded in Genesis (by special revelation), God creates the universe, and humans are the end product – the climax of God’s good creation.  If we look at the universe without the aid of scripture (through natural revelation) from the Big Bang until now, I’d argue that because of the fine-tuning of the universe for life to exist and the sheer improbably of human existence that we are not the product of random chance.

bigbang1

In fact, the Big Bang itself points to God.  All energy, space, matter, and time came into existence from nothingness at that moment; atheist scientists attest to this.  As we know from every observation of the natural world, the thing that creates always transcends the thing that is created.  Thus, whatever created the Big Bang is matterless, spaceless, timeless, and self-sufficiently more powerful than all energy that has ever existed.  Interestingly, this exactly describes the God of the Bible – immaterial, eternal, and self-existing.  If creation is random, what are the chances that the Big Bang would led to us, humankind: a unique creation that can observe, study, appreciate, and contemplate the universe around us?

But it doesn’t end with us.  God’s creation then points us back to him.

Again, Psalm 19:1 says,

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”

Isaiah 40:25-26 says,

“’To whom then will you liken Me

That I would be his equal,’ says the Holy One.

 Lift up your eyes on high

And see who has created these stars,

The One who leads forth their host by number,

He calls them all by name;

Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,

Not one of them is missing.”

CaseforCreator

Good introduction to the idea that science points towards a Creator

In Lee Strobel’s book The Case for a Creator, he interviews scientists who see evidence for God in nature.  He interviews Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, an astronomer, along with philosopher Dr. Jay Wesley Richards, who co-wrote a book with Dr. Gonzalez, The Privileged Planet.  In the interview, Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Richards speak of this idea that not only is life on Earth fine-tuned for life, but that the conditions on earth and the placement of Earth in the solar system give us on Earth a unique ability to observe the surrounding universe.  (I have heard this idea other places, but have yet to have time to read more about it.)

Here is some of what Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez and Dr. Jay Wesley Richards had to say:

“There’s a striking convergence of rare properties that allow people on Earth to witness perfect solar eclipses… There’s no law of physics that would necessitate this.  In fact, of the nine planets with their more than sixty-three moons in our solar system, the Earth’s surface is the best place where observers can witness a total solar eclipse…

“What’s really amazing is that total eclipses are possible because the sun is four hundred times larger than the moon, but it’s also four hundred times further away.  It’s that incredible coincidence that creates a perfect match.  Because of this configuration, and because the Earth is the innermost planet with a moon, observers on Earth can discern finer details in the sun’s chromosphere and corona than from any other planet, which makes these eclipses scientifically rich.

“What intrigued me was that the very time and place where perfect solar eclipses appear in our universe also corresponds to the one time and place where there are observers to see them… What’s more, perfect solar eclipses have resulted in important scientific discoveries that would have been difficult if not impossible elsewhere, where eclipses don’t happen.”

Later, Strobel summarizes by writing, “the extraordinary conditions that create a hospitable environment on Earth also happen to make our planet strangely well-suited for viewing, analyzing, and understanding the universe.”

In the middle ages, some in the church decided that humans were so important that the Earth was the center of the universe.  Scientists has proven that theory wrong.  Moreover, the Bible doesn’t support that theory either.  The verses they used to support their error say nothing about the location of the Earth in the universe and are mostly from the book of Psalms, a poetic book of the Bible that uses much figurative language.  Despite this, both natural revelation and special revelation tell us humankind is a special creation, and like all created things, both humankind and the universe reflect their Creator.

I, for one, cannot look at the enormity of the universe and not be in awe of the God who created it.

milky-way-galaxy-615

*Side note: Since this question inevitably comes up:  I don’t think the discovery of life (intelligent or otherwise) elsewhere in the universe would change what I wrote above.  The Bible is about God’s relationship with humans and our redemption from sin.  The Bible writers didn’t write about dinosaurs, pyramids, or platypuses (or aliens) because even if they knew about them (through God’s special revelation or otherwise), they don’t fit into the scope of the biblical record.  Currently, there’s no evidence for life off our planet, so I’ll save any further thoughts on the subject for when and if they do.*

***One of the reasons I started this blog is to address the questions of my friends, whether they be atheists, agnostics, Christians, or of other faiths.  I don’t propose to have all the answers, but by addressing these questions I hope it will benefit everyone involved, including myself and those who take the time to read this blog.***

*This question was asked by my friend Ian J. Keeney, a former Satanist/atheist, and director of the documentary The Meaning.  Read my interview with Ian & learn more about The Meaning: Part 1 & Part 2*

*Read more about science and God here.*

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23 thoughts on “Did God Make the Entire Universe for Humans?

  1. I agree with Petter that we don’t mention any amazing coincidences about other planets. When you have an infinite universe, there are bound to be things we find really cool about our planet. While they may point us to thinking about the existence of God, I don’t think they provide any certainty.

    That being said Petter, your example of you completing coincidences and being worshiped isn’t an accurate analogy to Jesus. People supposedly witnessed miracles over and over again. That’s what he was known for, even by historians who weren’t Christian. So it wasn’t a one time event or two times or three times that cause people to worship him. There’s more to it than that. Just like the Buddha gaining followers, he was more than just a slick act where he pulled the wool over everyone’s eyes. In my opinion, if millions of people still follow these figures, they weren’t fakers. They had some bits of truth on life, even if they weren’t completely true in what they claimed.

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  4. “As we know from every observation of the natural world, the thing that creates always transcends the thing that is created.”

    [citation needed]

    It seems to me that nature is full of emergent properties. Trees are more complex and interesting than seeds. People are vastly more complicated than zygotes. Random wave motions of the sea creates bands of sorted sands. Chaos theory demonstrates that immeasurably small causes may have vastly great consequences.

    “The creator must be greater than the created” is often asserted by apologists, but I’ve never encountered it in any other context.

    “Thus, whatever created the Big Bang is matterless, spaceless, timeless, and self-sufficiently more powerful than all energy that has ever existed. Interestingly, this exactly describes the God of the Bible – immaterial, eternal, and self-existing.”

    Then I guess that whatever created the God of the Bible must be meta-matterless, meta-spaceless, meta-timeless, and self-sufficiently more powerful than all the gods that have ever been created. You KNOW that this argument has a problem of regress; pretending that it ends in “ergo Yahweh” is simply dishonest.

    “If creation is random, what are the chances that the Big Bang would led to us, humankind: a unique creation that can observe, study, appreciate, and contemplate the universe around us?”

    There’s a false premise right at the start. The emergence of humans is certainly not due purely to random chance, as the laws of nature, the logical laws of natural selection, and so on are all deterministic.

    Apart from that, though, there’s an interesting question. What ARE the chances? Of course, it’s disingenuous to demand that it be precisely humankind. If we were three-eyed, green Martians, you’d ask “What are the chances that the Big Bang would lead to us, three-eyed green Martians, a unique creation…?” The more meaningful question is: What are the chances that the cosmos, on at least one of the trillions of stars circling the hundred billion stars in our galaxy — or another planet among the trillion planets in each of the other hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe — or another planet beyond the observable portion of the universe — what are the odds that at least one planet among those countless quadrillions would produce life, in some form or other, capable of contemplating astronomy?

    Your answer is, of course, that the odds are massively against this occurring naturally on any of the countless quadrillions of planets in the universe; so massively, in fact, that we can discard the notion entirely, shrug away the various versions of the anthropic principle, and assume that the explanation must necessarily be other than natural. Personally, I am not convinced.

    • I don’t understand how a comparison to trees and seeds/people and zygotes are comparable to creator and created. Trees and seeds/people and zygotes are cyclical in the tree creates the seed, seed becomes the tree etc. (zygote becomes person, person creates zygote). A creator is the sense of a deity is not created again by what it just created. The two can’t be compared. The argument doesn’t stand.

      • Hi, Petter, I appreciate you reading my blog and commenting. To add to what Sharon said above, what you are describing is “begetting,” not creating. Trees beget trees. Humans beget humans. Humans create cars, paintings, and books. Bird create nests.
        Your point about God being created doesn’t hold water. Since we can’t recreate the Big Bang and observe it for empirical evidence, we need to use forensic science to draw conclusions about it. Scientists have said NOTHING existed before the Big Bang. All that nothing can beget is nothing. Thus, something with a mind had to make a decision to cause it. This is what philosophers call the Uncaused First Cause. As I said above, if time, space, matter, and all energy came into existence, whatever caused it must be beyond those things. That thing would have to be eternal, timeless, & self-existent, meaning it is not created, nor is it the result of anything. Interestingly, even before the idea of a Big Bang was around philosophers figured out a long time ago that time cannot go eternally into the past; there had to be a beginning. So, I look at the forensic evidence in nature (and God’s special revelation in the Bible) and draw the conclusion that some sort of intelligent mind is behind the creation of the universe. Based on the evidence, this is the most logical conclusion.
        It’s funny, because I didn’t think this would be a controversial blog post; I was simply answering a question given to me by a friend who believes in God and follows Jesus. Had I been writing this article to try to convince atheists of the existence of God, I probably would have approached it slightly differently.
        Your other comments (including the one below) have to do with probability and your disagreement with what the scholars I quoted said. I’m going to humbly recommend you read works by scholars who have come to very different conclusions than you about the probability of life, since I am not the man for that debate, but there are definitely those with much more scientific/mathematical minds and backgrounds/schooling than me who hold the exact opposite opinion of what you’re saying.

      • Actually, Steve, there has been a lot of scientific exploration of what may have caused the Big Bang, to the extent that concepts like “before” and “after” can apply outside the concept of spacetime.

        I won’t pretend to have a solid grasp of it; I recall Stephen Hawking in “A Brief History of Time” referring to the Big Bang as a quantum event, rather than a Newtonian or relativistic event; and I vaguely recall something about quantum foam and sound but ultimately unproveable theories about a multiverse where new universes form continually. Again, this is a very bad layman’s understanding of something, but essentially as one universe begins to expand beyond the point its gravity can contain it, its growth may lead to new universes forming within it, also expanding outward at the speed of light and (in a sense) overwriting the empty space left within the expanding larger macroverse.

        In any event, the Prime Mover is an old philosophy, and it’s endured because there is something to it, but it’s something that philosophers probably need to square with new science.

      • I don’t think anyone is seriously considering the multi-universe theory much anymore. It runs into the same issues that theories on an infinite past run in to. Also, there is absolutely no evidence to support the theory. Anyone can come up with a theory, but what does the evidence make plausible?
        Interestingly, I remember reading Hawking’s Brief History of Time when I was an atheist and being extremely uncomfortable in the section where he explains the singularity of the Big Bang, the universe coming out of nothing. I remember thinking, “This sure sounds like a miracle to me” even as an atheist.

      • The comparison to trees and seeds is an illustration of the fact that greater complexity can come from lesser. We don’t yet have clear examples of this from human creations (examples yes; clear no): Arguably, the internet is something that humans have created with more complexity (it certainly contains more information) than any human mind. Keep in mind that single computer processors are already beyond the power of their creators to design! (The only way new processor designs are created and improved, given their vast complexity, is by improving the simpler software that does the real, detailed design work.) Thus a creative mind can create something greater than itself by composing simpler rules which interact in ways that result in emergent properties. Thus the example of seeds. (And thus evolution, of course.)

        As for creation ex nihilo, humans cannot do it, so we actually have zero established examples of it happening at all: a pretty poor situation for reasoning about its properties and constraints. The only true knowledge we have of emergence ex nihilo are quantum events wherein, for examples, virtual particle pairs may emerge from quantum foam that temporarily violates energy constraints in local sub-areas even while the long-term conservation principles of the greater system are maintained, as some theorists postulate may be true of our universe as a whole. See Stenger for more (and considerably more informed physics than anyone commenting here is likely to produce — obviously not exempting myself).

        (I almost missed the reply; apparently WP email notifications to FB accounts aren’t working. If you counter and I fail to reply, that’ll be why — I do disagree with you guys most strongly, but I’m not trying to be rude.)

      • Hi Petter, I appreciate your level-headed comments and friendly tone,

        “Thus a creative mind can create something greater than itself by composing simpler rules which interact in ways that result in emergent properties.”

        Exactly. As you said, a “mind” can do this.

        “As for creation ex nihilo, humans cannot do it, so we actually have zero established examples of it happening at all: a pretty poor situation for reasoning about its properties and constraints.”

        Exactly. Yet it doesn’t stop skeptics from proposing all kind of theories that have little to no evidence. It all comes down to a worldview issue. We all bring presuppositions to the table and that effects how we understand the evidence.

  5. “What’s really amazing is that total eclipses are possible because the sun is four hundred times larger than the moon, but it’s also four hundred times further away. It’s that incredible coincidence that creates a perfect match.”

    That is certainly an improbable coincidence. However, it’s not clear that we should be amazed. Consider: Throughout history, people have observed billions upon billions of events, from solar eclipses and supernovae to ants wandering in confused circles to paint drying. Out of these billions upon billions of events, would it not be extremely remarkable if none of them were (considered individually) improbable coincidences? Keep in mind that this is in no way pre-specified. It’s a perfect example of shooting at a wall and painting a target around the bullethole: The eclipse thing is a phenomenon that we observe here, so naturally it’s one we remark upon. We do not remark on whatever peculiar coincidence happens to be true of Mars, or of any one of the hundreds of billions of planets in our galaxy. How many astronomical facts do you suppose might have been true of our planet, but in fact aren’t?

    I’ve experienced some remarkable coincidences in my life. One occasion was during a power outage, when a friend and I were waiting for others to arrive for a friendly game of poker, which might have to be cancelled if we had no power. After twenty minutes or so of growing darkness, I stood up and dramatically pronounced, “Let there be light!” And lo!, there was light. From this I might infer either that I am, in fact, a god with the power to telekinetically repair power lines; or I might reason that I’ve said a terrible lot of things over the decades I’ve been alive, things have been happening in my surroundings on every single one of those thousands upon thousands of occasions, and it’s hardly surprising that a few of those occasions look improbable when regarded in isolation.

    You may choose to worship me if you prefer to stand amazed at coincidences, but personally I choose the more prosaic explanation.

  6. Not only is there no compelling evidence, the universe would be much less amazing with a god in it. If God showed me that He was real, I would be terribly disappointed and definitely unmotivated to worship Him. The only case for worshiping such a petty and incompetent creator is the promise of eternal life, which would also be terrible. Seriously, Christians, I don’t get the motivation here. Aren’t you disappointed in your lame deity? Luckily for all of us, God is fake!

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