Book: God, or No God?
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How did the universe—including the earth and all life on it—get here? Did the unfathomably vast universe—with all the heavenly bodies, the earth and the marvelously intricate fabric of interdependent life on it—all just fall together by accident, all by itself, out of nothing? There are those who would have us believe just that. Others would have us believe the cosmos has always been here.

Let’s just deal with physical matter: Do the basic facts of science confirm the idea of matter having always existed, or did it have a beginning? Is material existence moving toward greater organization and “higher forms,” or is it essentially breaking down?

One of the best-known and most fundamental laws of nature discovered by scientists is the Second Law of Thermodynamics— also called the “Entropy Law.” Physicist Paul Davies explains what this law means: “In its widest sense this law states that every day the universe becomes more and more disordered. There is a sort of gradual but inexorable descent into chaos. Examples of the second law are found everywhere: buildings fall down, people grow old, mountains and shorelines are eroded, natural resources are depleted.”

After postulating that eventually the universe will wind down and die, “wallowing, as it were, in its own entropy,” Davies concludes that “the universe cannot have existed for ever, otherwise it would have reached its equilibrium end state an infinite time ago. Conclusion: the universe did not always exist.” 1 (Bold emphasis added.)

Starting Off With a Bang

Most scientists today agree that the universe had a beginning. Among cosmologists currently, the most popular theory of how that beginning occurred is the “Big Bang” in its various versions. Since astronomer Edwin Hubble’s discovery in 1927 that “the galaxies are not falling together because they are rushing apart instead,” 2 scientists have extrapolated backward in time to conclude that there must have been a time when the heavenly bodies were all together in one primal mass. This mass was supposedly very tiny and tightly compacted, consisting mostly of matter, anti-matter and
energy. The “big bang” occurred, the theory goes, when this mass exploded into hot gasses, which eventually condensed into nebulae, which in turn coalesced into galaxies, which divided into stars,
planets and the other stuff comprising the universe. The galaxies continue to this day to move away from one another, as Hubble’s photographs show.

No matter which version of the “big bang” (if any) you accept, they all start with something, however infinitesimal, that had to be there to “go bang.” Is it possible for nothing to “go bang?” Is it illogical to acknowledge that nothing IS nothing and DOES nothing? Those who studiously avoid considering any possibility of supernatural creation here refuse to ask, “How does NOTHING go bang?” If they acknowledge that something had to be there to go bang, they refuse to ask, “Where did that ‘something’ come from that went bang?”

Other questions someone should ask include, “What was the detonator that triggered the bang?” If the bang itself happened according to some established laws of physics, where did those physical laws come from? Does a physical law—and the regulated power by which it consistently and reliably operates—come into effect all by itself?

If indeed the evidence does turn out to prove that some sort of “big bang” really occurred, does that by itself disprove the existence of God? To many, the concept has reinforced their belief in God. At least it shows the material universe had a beginning. Further investigations into the universe’s origin, and observations and calculations by astrophysicists, have yielded an impression that it was “not a random explosion, which could never have produced the galaxies we observe, but a precisely controlled beginning for the universe.” 3 If the universe truly did start with a “big bang,” what happened after that? Is all the rest of astronomic history merely one chance, random happening after another, “supervised by no one,” as some would have us believe? Not according to many astronomic observers.

Laws and Forces

From the beginning, multiple laws and forces have governed the material universe. Four of the most fundamental of them are gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force. There is a balance between these forces, without which physical life would be impossible. According to physicist Richard Morris, “Every one of these forces must have just the right strength if there is to be any possibility of life. For example, if electrical forces were much stronger than they are, then no element heavier than hydrogen could form…. But electrical repulsion cannot
be too weak. If it were, protons would combine too easily, and the sun [and presumably all other stars] … would explode like a thermonuclear bomb.” 4

In an expanding universe, the force causing the expansion needs to be precisely balanced with gravitational force. Morris adds, “If our universe had been expanding at a rate that was slower by a
factor of one part in a million, then the expansion would have stopped when it was only 30,000 years old, when the temperature was still 10,000 degrees.” 5 Too-rapid expansion on the other hand
would keep matter from gravitating together to form bodies on which any life could develop.

In addition to the law of gravity, Isaac Newton discovered several other important laws of physics, one of which is called “centrifugal force.” This force causes a circling body to be pulled outward, away from the center of the circle. It is a balance between centrifugal force and gravity that keeps satellite bodies in orbit around their mother bodies—e.g., planets around stars. If gravity were much stronger than centrifugal force, the planets would be drawn into the stars and consumed. If centrifugal force were much stronger, they would fly out into space and eventually reach nearly absolute zero temperature, making any life on them impossible.

Another force, the “cosmological constant” (the energy density of empty space), is according to physicist Stephen Weinberg “remarkably well adjusted in our favor.” If it were greater and electrically positive, it would keep matter from coalescing into heavenly bodies; if it were greater but negative, it would keep the universe from continuing to expand and would force it ultimately to collapse back onto itself. In either case, life would be impossible. Though relatively small, this force is discernable.

More than thirty distinct physical forces regulate all that goes on in the universe, each with a range of differing possible magnitudes. Those mentioned above are just a few examples. Not only do all require precise settings across their respective possible ranges, but they all must be in balance with one another for life to be possible anywhere in the universe—and they ARE, in fact, in that exact balance! Did it “just happen” that way?

Without these and many other physical laws—all operating in balance—there would not have been the formation of elements and compounds, much less galaxies, stars and planets on which life could develop. Did the laws and forces of nature all just happen by accident?