Over the last couple of weeks we discussed the first cause argument. The first cause argument was an argument from the fact that a temporal universe exists to the existence of an eternal creator of it. The next argument, the argument from design, takes a much more detailed look at the universe in search of evidence for God’s existence.
The argument from design focuses on the fact that the universe is fit for human habitation. There are many ways that the universe might have been – it might have had different laws of physics; it might have had a different arrangement of planets and stars; it might have begun with a bigger or a smaller big bang – and the vast majority of these universes would not have allowed for the existence of life. We are very fortunate indeed to have a universe that does.
Assume for a moment (a very brief moment:) that modern science is correct in saying that the universe began with a big bang – that the universe came into existence with an explosion that sent pieces of matter flying in all directions at an enormous rate. The big bang might have been other than it was; it might have involved more or less matter, or have involved a larger or a smaller explosion, for example. That the big bang occurred as it did was crucial for the development of life, because the rate of expansion of the universe, i.e. the speed at which the pieces of matter flew apart, had to fall within certain limits, if life was to develop. Had the rate of expansion been too slow, gravity would have pulled all of the matter back together again in a big crunch; there would not have been enough time for life to emerge. Had the rate of expansion been too fast, then gravity would not have had a chance to pull any of the pieces of matter together, and planets, stars and even gases wouldn’t have been able to form; there wouldn’t have been anything for life to emerge on. The rate of expansion that actually occurred, of course, was just right to allow life to develop; if it were not then we would not be here now.
That this was the case, though, was either an extraordinary fluke, or was intended by the “big bang’s” creator. It is highly unlikely that a random big bang would be such as to allow life to develop, and therefore highly unlikely that a big bang happened at random from which our universe was formed. The fact that the universe is fit for life requires explanation, and an appeal to chance is no explanation at all. It is far more likely that the universe was initiated by a being that intended to create a universe that could support life.
Now, I do not support this model of origins whatsoever (that is, appealing to the big bang), and I know several movies of late have got knocked for assuming a God-guided evolutionary origin of the universe (God’s Not Dead, Noah, etc.). I whole-heartedly hold to a literal, plain interpretation of the six days of Creation. My point though is simply that the fine-tuning of the universe for life (no matter what model of origins you posit) can only be explained with reference to a Creator, as the result of intelligent design. This argument strongly suggests that the universe clearly exhibits the marks of intelligent design – that the universe was created the way it was deliberately, for the purpose of life.
The argument from design and the cosmological argument conclude that God exists, and that He created the universe with life in mind. They do not, however, tell us much about how we ought to respond.
That brings us to the moral argument, which we’ll look at next time.