Have you heard of the Anthropic Principle?
By Don Ruhl
No question surpasses this one in importance, “Does God exist?” If God does not exist, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1Co 15.32). If God does exist, let us pray and obey, for tomorrow we meet God.
- The universe—the heavens and the earth—did not get here accidentally. Therefore, something caused the universe to be here. What was it?
- The universe has evidence of design. Therefore, Someone designed it. Who was it?
- The universe has the purpose of sustaining life. Therefore, Someone wants us here. Why does He want us here?
Secularists Affirm the Anthropic Principle
Anthropic comes from the Greek work, anthropos, for man or mankind. In some quotes that follow you will see what the Anthropic Principle is.
The number one liberal news magazine in America, probably in the world, said, “The universe seems uncannily well suited to the existence of life. Could that really be an accident?” (Time, “Cosmic Conundrum,” November 29, 2004, page 58).
A conundrum is a confusing and difficult problem or question. Time magazine sees something in the universe that presents a problem, which is, “why the universe, against all odds, is so remarkably hospitable to life” (Ibid.).
That is not a problem to me. Is it to you? Why is it a problem to Time magazine? So many factors have come together to make life possible that it just could not be by Godless, mindless, accidental evolution! They even included a picture of the Crab Nebula, first, making this statement, “Without star debris like this, life would not be possible.” Then in emphatic lettering Time presented this question, “FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE JUST FOR US?” (p. 61).
That is the problem. There is too much about the heavens and the earth to maintain the whole evolution scenario from Big Bang to Man. Time magazine gave just a couple of things about the heavens that make life possible on the earth,
Many of the most fundamental characteristics of our cosmos—the relative strengths of gravity, electromagnetism and the forces that operate inside atomic nuclei as well as the masses and relative abundances of different particles—are so finely tuned that if just one of them were even slightly different, life as we know it couldn’t exist.
If the so-called weak nuclear interaction were a tiny bit stronger or weaker than it is, for example, stars wouldn’t blow up in the mammoth supernovas that spread elements like carbon and oxygen out into space—and without those elements, there would be no water and no organic molecules. If the strong nuclear force were just one-half of 1% stronger or weaker, stars could not make carbon or oxygen in the first place. In 1999 Martin Rees postulated that there were “just six numbers” that make life possible, although other theorists have since added several. And because there is no known law that requires those forces to have the values they do, scientists figure that there must be another explanation for how we got so lucky.
The proposition that the cosmos is—against all odds—perfectly tuned for life is known as the anthropic principle (pp. 58, 59).
However, God-denying, evolution-supporting scientists do not like that. They cannot see God, or they do not want to see God, and so they have concluded He does not exist. Therefore, the Anthropic Principle goes against their thinking. It makes them uncomfortable.
Change one thing—the strength of gravity, say—and life might be impossible (p. 61).
The anthropic principle still makes many scientists uncomfortable—and not just because it gives comfort to theologians. That discomfort, says Stanford theorist Leonard Susskind, is all to the good. “In the end,” he observes, “it doesn’t matter whether the anthropic principle makes us happy. What matters is whether it’s true” (p. 61).
Another nonbeliever observed, “I am not a religious person, but I could say this universe is designed very well for the existence of life” (Heinz Oberhummer, astrophysicist, University of Vienna, Austria [World, September 2, 2000, “Our ‘tailor-made’ universe,” p. 17]).
Listening to these guys and others, you get the idea that they believe the laws of the universe were made to help bring life about, as though the universe anticipated that we would come along!
Scripture Affirms the Anthropic Principle
In Job 12, Job spoke common sense to his friends with something that we should all do, if you have not already, although I suspect that most of you have. Take the time to make some observations that Job encouraged,
“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;
And the fish of the sea will explain to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?”
Psalm 104 shows that the psalmist understood the Anthropic Principle. Listen to him list just a few living things on the earth, how the earth provides food for living things, and in turn those living things provide food for other living things. Speaking of the Lord, the psalmist observed,
He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches.
He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.
After mentioning more things, the psalmist then praised God,
O LORD, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
Hear the boldness of Isaiah 45 as the prophet declares the purpose for which God created the earth, and then the fact that He has spoken on what He has done so that we might know Him.
I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded…
“For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.”
(Isa 45.12, 18, 19)
I included verse 19 in this reading, because I believe it hits the issue. Why do secularists deny that God exists or that He created all things? They do not believe that He speaks things that are right.
Matthew 6 shows Jesus teaching about life on the earth and that it teaches us something. Do we know what the birds and the flowers know?
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?…So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin…Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matt 6.26, 28, 30).
Somehow the earth provides the right kind of food for birds and blooms, and the earth does the same for us. Humans and the food of the earth are somehow matched perfectly for each other. How did that happen? Someone designed it that way! Acts 14 explains that this function of the earth is God showing Himself to us. Are we listening? Are we watching? “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14.17).
Therefore, there is a God in heaven and He knows you and cares for you. He wants you to live with Him forever in heaven as His child. If you do not want to live with Him, then you can go to the alternative, but God and I do not want you to go there. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.