Author Jonathan Noyes
Published on 05/20/2024

The Universe Was Not a Result of Blind Forces

Jon Noyes explains just a few of the ways we can confidently conclude that the universe is fine-tuned by a designer.


Imagine you’re walking to a cabin in the woods, and as you get closer and closer to it, you hear your favorite song emanating from the cabin—whatever your favorite song might be. My mind goes to Bruno Mars. So, you hear your favorite song pumping from this cabin, and you’re like, “Wait. That’s my favorite song. It’s amazing.” So, you start to explore a little bit closer, and then, as you get closer, you start to smell your favorite food. Mine is cherry pie. Man, I love cherry pie. You can smell it from a mile away when it’s baked. Really, really good, with the sugar coating on top. It’s amazing. So, you hear your favorite music. You smell your favorite food. Then, as you get closer to the door, you see on the outside, right there on the mat that says “Welcome,” are your favorite shoes. They’re shoes that you love to wear. They’re brand new, and they’re your size. Then, you’re like, “Wait. This is so weird.” And you see a coat hanging on a rack on the outside. It’s your coat—the coat from Patagonia that you’ve always wanted. It’s in your size. Then you say, “Wait. Okay. I’m going to knock on the door.” You knock on the door, and the door just creeps open, so you just look in—and I’m not advocating breaking and entering. Please don’t do that. But say that you take a step in, and there you see the TV that you’ve always wanted with your video games that you love to play, and all your books are on the bookshelves as if all these things are there for you. And then, you look in the fridge, and it’s all your snacks. Everything is there that you love. You look in the pantry, and there are all those amazing Gushers fruit snacks and the things that we’re not supposed to eat, especially now that we’re older. Then, you go to the bathroom, and all your toiletries are there—your particular type of toothpaste and toothbrush, the mouthwash that doesn’t sting.

What would you say if this happened to you? Did someone prepare that cabin for you, or did it just happen to be that way by chance? I would say this is creepy. Somebody must have known. Who is following me? Who knew I was going to come here?

Well, the universe is kind of like that cabin. Physicist Freeman Dyson—who is not a Christian, mind you—as quoted in Scientific American says, “As we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must, in some sense, have known that we were coming.” This is the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God, the idea that the universe is so precisely tuned for life that there’s no other explanation other than a designer.

Fred Hoyle—again, not a believer—coined the term “big bang.” He actually didn’t believe in the big bang, but he coined the term way back when. He says, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”

Another illustration that helps me process this is that of a snowball. I grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Now that I live in Southern California, I sometimes have to explain this to my kids. This white stuff during the winter that falls from the sky—well, it’s snow. You used to wake up early in the morning. Those of you who live in colder climates are totally going to know what I’m saying. In colder climates, you wake up early in the morning, and you turn the TV on. It used to be you didn’t have the internet. It used to be that you’d watch the news station, and you have a ticker at the bottom of the screen, and it lists your school, and you’re looking for your school—Plymouth canceled. You’re looking for a snow day. There was a big hill in my neighborhood that overlooked the main road, and we’d go, and we’d make 20 snowballs each. It’d be maybe 10 of us, so we’d have about 200 snowballs, and we’d wait for the snowplows to drive by. When we saw one coming, we’d grab a snowball, take a couple steps back, lean into it, and pitch it, and you’d have to get the perfect amount of force up and over the tree line and, then, hopefully, hit the snowplow. It was really hard to do.

The universe is kind of like that snowball. Think of all the things that had to be right with that snowball in order to hit that snowplow. If the little snowball was just a little bit bigger or smaller, it would have fallen far short. If the angle was just a little bit off, it would have gone into the trees, or it would have hit the road. If you used more force, it would have gone too far—or not far enough, if you didn’t use enough force or if the wind changed. All these things had to be in place in order to hit the snowplow. Well, the same thing is true of the universe. Scientists have discovered that the universe is expanding, for example, in every direction, and the mass of the universe is just like the mass of that snowball. It has to be just right. If there’s more mass, then the universe collapses in on itself. If there’s less mass, then it’s going to accelerate into expansion. Either way, you have no stars, no planets, no life anywhere.

Mark Horton wrote a great book. He’s a PhD in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech—a super smart guy. He says that if the balance between gravity and expansion were altered by one part in a million billion billion billion billion billion, there would be no galaxies, stars, planets, or life. That’s a really small number. Altering the mass of the universe just slightly would make it inhospitable to life. That’s just talking about the mass of the universe.

Did you know that there are 30 physical and cosmological laws that make life permissible—like the force of gravity, for example, strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetic forces, entropy levels, gas constants. The list goes on and on. Well, what are the chances that just two of these would be precisely tuned to allow for an inhabitable universe? It’s like dialing in your water when you take a shower in the morning. So, you’ve got the hot water and the cold water faucets, and you turn one—and usually I turn on the hot because it takes a while to get hot—and then I add some cold, and you get that precisely tuned so it makes the perfect shower temperature. Well, what are the chances of having two knobs on the faucets of the universe, so to speak, with these cosmological forces perfectly lined up—just two of the 30—perfectly lined up. Scientists say that it’s one in a 100 million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion. That’s incredible! Well, how about all 30 of these constants? What are the mathematical odds of fine-tuning all 30 of these laws?

Roger Penrose says this is really crazy. Penrose is super smart. He’s not a Christian as far as I know. He’s a mathematical physicist and a philosopher of science. The dude won a Nobel Prize in physics. He says if we combined all the laws in that must be fine tuned—he’s talking about the universe—we couldn’t even write down the number in full since it would require “more zeros than the number of elementary particles in the entire universe.” Wrap your minds around that. The chances of this happening are almost nothing. The very precise and specific initial conditions of the universe that made the solar system stable in the first place require an initial act of design in creation that can’t be explained in an irregularity or even a law, because the law needs to be explained. It had to come from somewhere. How do you explain it? Is it change over time and through randomness, or is it design? To me, it seems indicative of a designer. But Darwinism, scientism, naturalism, atheism, materialism—these worldviews just don’t allow themselves, because of their presuppositions, to go to that answer.